New Initiative for the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum

Two of the nicest gentlemen you would care to meet. On the left is Andrew Rowand, who has done an incredible amount of work as the Site Manager for the museum. Andrew is incredibly hard working, has fantastic ideas, and is very knowledgeable about Eric Sloane, the museum, and many, many historic crafts and trades. He has been a great partner!
On the right is John Pennings, my successor in every meaning of the word. John is a natural leader, and is very skilled and knowledgeable in more things than I can even remember. Thank you, John, for serving as our board president.
We’re surveying the lean-to shed and listening to Andrew’s needs for an enclosed space dedicated to education…it looks as if this will be the next major project that the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum will undertake in support of our mission to assist the museum. We will keep you posted!

Eric Sloane’s Simple Machines

The latest exhibit @ The Eric Sloane Museum – Eric Sloane’s simple machines

A big thank you to Scott Sheldon and John Pennings of  the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum and museum head Andrew Rowand for all their incredible work on the Noah Blake cabin yesterday! My special thanks to Andrew for going the extra mile in helping me to install the brand new hands-on simple machines exhibit in the cabin. Visitors young and old can now experiment with simple machines and understand fully how they can provide a mechanical advantage.

Eric Sloane Diary of an Early American Boy

Eric Sloane’s classic Diary of an Early American Boy

Thinking over this evening all I have to take to the Eric Sloane Museum to do some spring maintenance on the recently rebuilt Noah Blake cabin. If you haven’t read Eric Sloane’s Diary of an Early American Boy, may I humbly suggest that it is time that you did.

           

“Smoke Houses” by Eric Sloane, N.A..  This charmer is from Eric’s 1966 book “An Age of Barns”.  The book was a first for Eric Sloane in many ways, but the two most significant were that it was his first “coffee table” sized book, and it was arguably his first real tour de force in large, fully rendered pen and ink illustration.  As evident here, Eric could turn a seemingly mundane aspect of early American vernacular architecture (anything from outhouses to smoke houses!) into a fascinating, entertaining, educational, and charming drawing.  Interestingly, Eric almost always created illustrations to size, meaning that he had a good idea of how much space on a page he would have on a finished, published book, and worked his drawings to that size.  One of the aspects of illustrations I love from An Age of Barns is that they are all large, much larger than the finished space they occupy in the published book.  Whether Eric was ensuring that the published drawings retained a higher level of detail – or if the original idea was to print An Ag of Barns in a larger size (or both) – his pen and ink illustrations created for the book are magnificent.  Note also the incorporation of a lined and signed mat.

Eric Sloane painting at his easel

Over the course of his career, Eric Sloane painted many murals.  Quite a few were in private homes, many others were in corporate settings.  These photographs were taken by Wil Mauch in 1999/2000 of a Sloane mural in the headquarters of the now defunct International Silver Company in Meriden, Connecticut.  

     Photos from Wil Mauch’s Aware: A Retrospective of the Life and Work of Eric Sloane. You can learn more about this most fascinating of American, as well as order the Aware biography with proceeds going to the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum, by visiting www.weatherhillfarm.com. 

    

Eric Sloane and the Noah Blake Outhouse Restoration

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In the summer of 2016, Barb Russ of the Eric Sloane Museum was made aware of an estimate to have the Noah Blake Outhouse refurbished, the low estimate coming in at over $7,500. Friends board founder and president James ‘Wil’ Mauch conferred with Barb and with Catherine Labadia of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development concerning the willingness of the state to have the Friends assume responsibility for the outhouse, and it was agreed that Wil would either restore or replicate the outhouse based upon an assessment of the structure.

The underside of the Noah Blake outhouse revealed the substantial degradation of the bottom support structure.  Much of the wood showed signs of wood destroying insect infestation.

The initial intent was to repair the outhouse following the recommendations set forth by the architectural firm hired by the state of Connecticut to provide building assessments for structures at the Eric Sloane Museum of Kent. Unfortunately, the outhouse was more substantively degraded than it appeared in situ. After a thorough condition assessment, it was determined that it would have been very difficult and not cost effective to repair the outhouse following the plan set forth in the architectural overview document.  It was far more cost effective to replace the outhouse, with the added benefit that the outhouse would be more in keeping historically with what Eric Sloane envisioned in Diary of An Early American Boy.

Interior framing of the Noah Blake outhouse, showing modern dimensional lumber and framing nails.

Detail of the framing used in the Noah Blake outhouse

Unfortunately, most of the sawn lumber was rotted and displayed obvious signs of having been cut with a circular blade.  Ironically, Sloane himself wrote of the invention of the circular saw by a Quaker woman in 1825.  Others have pointed to an earlier date for the invention, but either historical possibility makes it difficult to believe that an outhouse supposedly standing in 1805 would be clad in boards that were cut by a circular saw.

The approach taken in the reconstruction of the Noah Blake outhouse was one that placed the outhouse in context with both what Eric drew in his illustrations for the Diary book, as well as what was happening historically in the Kent area c. 1805.  Both suggested heavier timber framed construction, blacksmith forged nails, period door hinges, split shingle roof shakes, and lumber dressed to reflect ways of working wood in the period.

The discussions and research that informed the approach of the outhouse was considered when discussing the refurbishment of the Noah Blake cabin.   The cabin, it turned out, presented many of the exact same challenges as the outhouse, with an added and important twist

2017 Calendar of Events at the Eric Sloane Museum

2017: Noah Blake and His Wonderful Cabin

Saturday, May 6th – The Eric Sloane Museum kicks off the 2017 season with a series of lectures by President of the Kent Historical Society, Friends of the Eric Sloane board member, and historian Mike Everett. The first lecture, Nature: The Howling Wilderness will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on May 6th. This talk examines the religious implications of “the untamed wilderness”. For example, early settlers took literally the biblical ideal that man is to organize the land, so colonists brought with them new plants that were to alter the landscape. What are the implications today? Suggested donation of $10 per class or purchase a Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum family level membership for $35 for the year and attend all four classes for free (and receive some great benefits, too!). This lecture includes admission to the museum. Other membership levels are also available.

Saturday & Sunday, May 5th & May 6th – Discounted Admission to the Eric Sloane Museum in conjunction with the Connecticut Antique Machinery Associations Spring Power Up.

Saturday, May 20th – The second in the lecture series sponsored by the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum: Geometry – who owned land, how does it get subdivided? What types of regulations were in place compared to today’s standards and what is the evolution of restrictions? This lecture will be held from 9 to 10:30 on May 20th. Suggested donations $10 per class or free with the purchase of a Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum family level membership.

Saturday, June 3rd – The third in the lecture series sponsored by the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum: Built Form – Built to Survive, looking for surplus, wealth, organizations of building, how convention of building changes, how a building indicated status using ornamentation to enhance appearance of class. Ordinary versus extraordinary equaled the distinction that continues through today. This lecture will be held Saturday, June 3rd from 9 to 10:30 on June 3rd. Suggested donations $10 per class or free with the purchase of a Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum family level membership.

Saturday June 10th – Connecticut Open House, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Free admission to the Eric Sloane Museum. Learn about the restoration of the Noah Blake Cabin, view early American tools and methods of construction that would have been used to build a c. 1805 structure, take a tour of the cabin with Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum founder Jim Mauch, and learn about our upcoming hands-on classes in traditional building skills.

Tuesday, July 4th – The museum will be open from 10 to 4 with the traditional bell ringing at 2:00 PM. The bell ringing is free but admission is charged to visit the museum.

Saturday, August 19th Ye Olde Tyme Outhouse program in conjunction with the return of the Noah Blake outhouse, restored off-site by the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum. Historian Georg Papp will bring outhouse models representing separate eras in addition to display boards, photos and articles. This talk will be informative as well as entertaining with some American history mixed in. The lecture is free but donations on behalf of the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum are welcome. 10 A.M., followed by the re-dedication of the restored Noah Blake outhouse. Sponsored by the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum.

Friday, Saturday & Sunday, September 22nd, 23rd, & 24th. Discount admission is being offered in conjunction with the Connecticut Antique Machinery’s Fall Festival, 10 to 4 each day. On Saturday, September 23rd, from noon until 3 p.m., learn about the restoration of the Noah Blake Cabin, view early American tools and methods of construction that would have been used to build a c. 1805 structure, take a tour of the cabin with Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum founder Jim Mauch, and learn about our upcoming hands-on classes in traditional building skills.

October – Fundraising event to raise money for the restoration of the Noah Blake Cabin. More information to be announced.

For more information on any of these programs, please call the museum at 860-927-3849

 

I hope that I might be quoted someday as having said: “The only value of age is that it gave time for someone to have done something worthwhile”.

-Eric Sloane, The Second Barrel

 

Your support helps to preserve and promote Eric Sloane’s legacy.

Find us on the web: www.friendsoftheericsloanemuseum.org

On Facebook: Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum

 

Saturday May 6th

Please join us this Saturday on the grounds of the Eric Sloane Museum in Kent, Connecticut, for the opening of the 2017 programming season : Noah Blake and His Wonderful Cabin.

The Eric Sloane Museum kicks off the 2017 season with a series of lectures by President of the Kent Historical Association, Friends of the Eric Sloane board member, and historian Mike Everett. The first lecture, Nature: the Howling Wilderness will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on May 6th. This talk examines the religious implications of “the untamed wilderness”. For example, early settlers took literally the biblical ideal that man is to organize the land, so colonists brought with them new plants that were to alter the landscape. What are the implications today? Suggested donation of $10 per class or purchase a Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum family level membership for $35 for the year and attend all four classes for free (and receive some great benefits, too!). This lecture includes admission to the museum. Other membership levels are also available.

Thank You to our new and

renewing members of the Friends

of the Eric Sloane Museum

Our thanks to our new and renewing members (since 1/17) in the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum.  Your financial support provides events, programming, and logistical support to the staff of the Eric Sloane Museum.  Your commitment underscores your support of Eric Sloane and the museum he founded.  Thank you.

Volunteer Membership ($20 annually)

Spencer Parrish

Individual Membership ($35 annually)

Anne Gallagher, Anne Gallagher Catering

Hattie Mauch

Bruce H. Perry

Clayton Preston

Scott Sheldon

George Stickels

Gayle Waterman

Dayna Wenzel

Family Membership ($50 annually)

William and Karen Kovacs

Alice and Richard Mandel

Ted and Jeanne Storb

Robert and Susan Vincent

Sponsor Membership ($100 or more annually)

Robin Dill, House of Books

Peter and Carol Kern

James and Rebecca Mauch

David and Allison Shelby

Harold H. Stewart

 Thank You To Our Contributors to the Noah

Blake Cabin Restoration Fund

We thank the following people for their generous financial support for our Noah Blake Cabin Restoration Fund:

Robin Dill (Robin owns Kent’s House of Books and has been a steadfast supporter of the Friends group for years).

Carol Fenner, in memory of her husband Robert Fenner.  Bob was a great admirer of Eric Sloane and worked tirelessly on several projects related to commemorating Eric, one of the most significant being  the Eric Sloane Commemoratives Committee.  Bob organized and ran the committee, with the stated purpose of working to ensure that Eric Sloane was honored on a United States postage stamp.  Bob was of critical help during the formation of the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum, and his wisdom was sought on many occasions.  Specifically, Bob was instrumental in assisting with the onerous task of filing for 501c3 non-profit status with the IRS.  Bob shared with Friends founder James Mauch copies of his work related to forming the Eric Sloane Commemoratives Committee so that the Friends group would have a model from which to work for their own application.  It can be stated that it is doubtful that the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum would have ever achieved non-profit status without Bob’s help.  We’ll all miss his insight, wisdom, and guidance.

Anne Gallagher, Chef extraordinaire, who provided her talents to the Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum during our dedication of the traditional New England dry laid stone wall,  Chef Anne became a member, supporter, and friend.

Arthur C. Hastings

Peter and Carol Kern, long time supporters who knew Eric Sloane.

William and Karen Kovacs

James and Rebecca Mauch, parents of founder James Mauch.

Bruce H. Perry, who has graciously offered some early American tools from his collection to help outfit the cabin.

Clayton Preston, talented artist and supporter, who has shown his art at our annual show since it’s inception.

David and Allison Shelby

Harold Stewart, our friend from the other side of the country, who has supported us generously for many years.

Ted and Jeanne Storb

Dayna Wenzel, another talented artist who joins us annually for our art exhibit and sale.  You can see her art here.

Thank You!