Museum Events and Activities

Our current focus is on the building of a new Noah Blake cabin on the grounds of the Eric Sloane Museum.  We welcome your comments, suggestions, and support at any level to help us to build the Noah Blake Cabin.  When contacting us, tell us your story of your connection to Eric Sloane, the museum he founded, and the Noah Blake cabin.  Send it to wil@weatherhillfarm.com.   We’ll publish your story on our website, www.noahblakecabin.org.

2018 Calendar of Events at the Eric Sloane Museum

Saturday, May 5, 2018                     CAMA Spring Power-Up.  Hewing &              shingle making with Friends members on the grounds of the Eric Sloane Museum, 11-3 p.m.  Discount/Donation Admission 5/5/& 5/6

Saturday, May 12, 2018                   Make a Trug with Joe Brien, Two Sessions 1:00 PM – 2 and 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM.   Children will hand craft a trug, or garden basket, to be used for harvesting, foraging and collecting.  Ten person limit, $10 per student.  Best for kids 6 and up, accompanied by an adult.  *Please call or email to reserve your spot.

Saturday, June 9, 2018                    Connecticut Open House, Free Admission.  Hewing & shingle making with Friends members on the grounds of the Eric Sloane Museum, 11-3 p.m.

Sunday, June 17, 2018                     Make a Back Scratcher (a 20 minute project) with Joe Brien, from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. Just stop in to fashion a back scratcher using real hand tools.  Perfect for Father’s Day!  Best for kids 6 and up, accompanied by an adult.   No extra charge for this activity.

Friday, June 22 – Monday June 25Accepting Artwork for Community Art Exhibit, Show, and Sale. Theme this year: Noah Blake and his Wonderful Cabin.  Up to three pieces of artwork connected to the Noah Blake cabin and story, Diary of an Early American Boy. Art will be accepted from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

Friday, 6/29 – Sunday, 7/1             Community Art Exhibit, Sale and Contest – Visitors vote for Best In Show in three categories.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018                 Independence Day Celebration.  Reading of the Declaration of Independence, Bell Ringing at 2:00 PM, Artists Reception for those artists who participated in the Community Art Exhibit, Show, and Sale. (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.).  Hewing & shingle making with Friends members on the grounds of the Eric Sloane Museum, 11-3 p.m.

Saturday & Sunday July 7&8, 2018            Artists pick up artwork. 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Saturday, August 4, 2018                Build a Tool Box with Joe Brien.  Two sessions: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM and 2:00 to 3:00 PM.  Learn how to safely use hand tools to craft your very own wooden tool box for woodworking tools, art & craft supplies, garden tools and collectibles.  Best for kids 6 and up, accompanied by an adult.  Ten person limit, $10 per student.  *Please call or email to reserve your spot.

Friday, August 10, 2018                   Hewing & shingle making with Friends members on the grounds of the Eric Sloane Museum, 11-3 p.m.

Saturday, August 18, 2018              Make a Paddle Boat (a 20 minute project) with Joe Brien, from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. Just stop in and build and race your very own, high performance, rubber band-powered paddle boat!  Great fun for the whole family!  Best for kids 6 and up, accompanied by an adult. No extra charge for this activity.

Friday, September 7, 2018              Hewing & shingle making with Friends members on the grounds of the Eric Sloane Museum, 11-3 p.m.

Friday – Sunday  9/28, – 9/30           CAMA Fall Machinery Show.  Discount/Donation Admission

Saturday, September 29, 2018       Hewing & shingle making with Friends members on the grounds of the Eric Sloane Museum, 11-3 p.m.

Saturday, October 6, 2018               Whittle a Spoon with Joe Brien, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Learn how to whittle a spoon with a knife and hollow the scoop of the spoon using an ember from the campfire. Lunch Included! The group will prepare soup on the campfire and eat it with your new spoons!  Best for kids 10 and up, accompanied by an adult.  Limit 15.  $20 per student. *Please call or email to reserve your spot.

Sunday, October 28, 2018               Museum Closes for the Season.

 

The Noah Blake Cabin

A visibly proud Eric Sloane poses in front of the hearth-side of the recently completed Noah Blake Cabin

When Eric Sloane’s Dairy of An Early American Boy:  Noah Blake – 1805 was published in 1962, “Eric Sloane” was already synonymous with “American”.  Having painted everything from “cloudscapes” (a term he coined) to covered bridges, and written on subjects as seemingly diverse as meteorology and barns, Eric Sloane was looking for a way to synthesize so much of what he had explored in oils and in words. “Not long ago”, reads the dust jacket of the book, “Eric Sloane was exploring an ancient house and came upon a small, leather-bound, wood- backedvolume…” It was through this volume that Eric found the crucible in which to explore weather, clouds, barns, early American architecture, farm life, and pioneer culture.  Out of this crucible came a profusely illustrated work of great charm and wonder.

Not just charming and wonderful, it turned out, but very popular.  In fact, Dairy of An Early American Boy:  Noah Blake – 1805 proved popular enough to attract the attention of Walt Disney, who rather clumsily made an offer to purchase the rights to the book for the purpose of creating a movie.  Sloane rejected the offer, hanging Disney’s proffered check over his toilet.

This kind of interest in his book led Eric to conceive a project where he would re-create, on the grounds of the Eric Sloane Museum of Kent, Connecticut, the cabin as described by Noah Blake.  The project began in earnest over the summer of 1974 and was complete and open to museum visitors that autumn. The Noah Blake cabin continued to delight visitors for decades.  By 2002, however, it was clear that the elements were taking a toll on the cabin.  Five years later, the cabin was locked and the public barred from viewing the interior.  Museum curator Barbara Russ, with the help of Sloane biographer and museum volunteer James Mauch, worked a number of avenues in an attempt to focus attention on the condition of the structure.  At the time, the State of Connecticut (the owner and operating authority of the Eric Sloane Museum) showed little interest in the museum and in the plight of the cabin.

By early 2012, however, things began to change.  Mauch tacked to a different course, founding the federally recognized non-profit group The Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum.  Mauch re-conceptualized the task of restoring the cabin from a grass roots effort to bring awareness to a problem to a coordinated effort aimed at advocating for a group of dedicated volunteers to assume direct responsibility for the cabin. The Friends board worked to grow membership and financial support while working closely with Barbara Russ to develop innovative, hands-on programming at the museum.

In the ensuing years the Friends underwrote the annual art exhibit and sale, created a series of hands on workshops that led to the construction of a traditional New England dry laid stone gathering area and fire pit, re-engineered the space between the museum and the Kent iron furnace, and undertook numerous other initiatives to enhance the museum collection and visitor experience.  The organization was also building credibility and rapport with representatives from the State of Connecticut.

THE VISION OF FRIENDS VICE PRESIDENT JEFFREY BISCHOFF – A TRADITIONAL DRY LAID NEW ENGLAND STONEWALL GATHERING AREA, COMPLETE WITH FIRE PIT.

It was in early 2015 that Mauch forged a relationship with Kristina Newman-Scott, the new Director of Culture for the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, the organization tasked with day-to-day operations (among a myriad of other things) of the four state-run museums in Connecticut.  Kristina understood immediately the importance of the four museums and worked diligently to create an environment in which the state could work cooperatively with the Friends organization.  Catherine Labadia, Staff Archaeologist for the DECD, worked tirelessly to create an innovative and creative framework whereby the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum could assume responsibility for the rehabilitation of the Noah Blake Cabin.  In the summer of 2016, the State of Connecticut and the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum entered into a formal agreement to have the Friends assume responsibility for restoring the Noah Blake Cabin.  Currently, the state’s team serving as a liaison to the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum include Liz Shapiro,Director of Operations, Preservation and Museums, Catherine Labadia, DECD Staff Archaeologist, and Todd Levine, Environmental Review/CT Freedom Trail and W3R Coordinator.  Liz, Cathy, and Todd have been great partners throughout the initial phase of planning for the cabin’s renewal.

The Friends are seeking an initial $50,000 in donations to underwrite the first phase of the cabin restoration. Vice President Jeffrey Bischoffwill spearhead this fundraising effort. The Friends intend to re-build the cabin using a series of hands-on learning classes devoted to traditional skills, similar to the very successful series of courses offered in traditional New England stonewall building during the 2015 programming season. Class participants will learn from experts in the fields of timber framing, stone foundation construction, carpentry, shingle making, and many more early American skills, as they become an active and important part in the restoration process. Once completed, the Friends envision utilizing the cabin as a teaching tool for all ages.

Won’t you join us to help bring the magic back to Kent?

Box of Blacksmith-made iron nails- $20.00

Antique glass (for Noah’s window) – $25.00

noah blake window

Shutter or door hardware – $35.00

Bundle of wooden shingles – $50.00

Hewn wooden beam – $100.00

Chimney/Fireplace Restoration Fund – $150.00

noah blake sleds

Period Accessories Fund – $Custom.  We welcome donations of period accessories to compliment the Noah Blake cabin restoration.  We are a 501c3 organization.  Please contact us for more information.

 

 

 

Contact us for more information:

Via Email:  wil@weatherhillfarm.com

Via USPS and for sending donations:

Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum

Post Office Box 871

Kent, Connecticut. 06757

Thank you for your support

eric sloane in front of flag

The Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum is a 501c3 organization.