Author Archives: Dayna

Early American Wall Murals Free illustrated talk by Polly Forcier Saturday October 7, 2017, 4:00 pm Exhibit of Porter Murals from the Adams Female Academy is currently on exhibition in the museum.

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Fall Harvest Day Registration – Sept. 26th – Open to all 3rd-6th Grade Classes

Fall Harvest Day 9/26/2017

The annual fall harvest day for students in grades 3 – 6 will be held on Tuesday, September 26 from 8:50 am to 2:00 PM

Workshops will include Museum Tour, Civil War Soldier, Cider Pressing, Stones and Bones in the Brownington Village Cemetery, Pie Making, Blacksmithing, Abenaki Culture, Seed Saving and many more.

Cost: 50.00 per group of 10 students. Additional students 5.00 Teachers and Chaperones are free

Download the registration form here:

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Days Schedule

8:50               Arrive, Sign in & Pick up Day’s Schedule of Workshops


9:05–12:25   Five scheduled 40- minute Activity Workshops

Activities start on time, allow a few minutes to walk to location.

10:20-10:30. Snack break 10minutes


12:25-1:00     Picnic lunches on Center Lawn (not in parking lot please use barns if rainy)


1:00-2:00     Explore the museum and forge, view the Grammar School Move with Oxen video and painted theatre curtain in the Grammar School / Grange Hall, explore the barns & gardens, play period games, try out walking with stilts or hike to the Observatory on Prospect Hill

2:00                 Evaluation form returned to Gift Shop at Twilight House

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As our Director Peggy Day Gibson is retiring this year, the Board of Trustees is searching for the right individual to carry on the Museum’s mission.

Museum Director Position Now Open, click here for the position details.

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Cheese & Apple Tasting, Sunday, Sept., 24

Join us on the lawn of the Hall House for our annual Cheese & Apple Tasting! Sunday, September 24th 11-3

Taste Free Samples & purchase local products by over a dozen producers!

Cheese, Apples, Beer, Wine, Cider, Spirits, Breads, Baked Goods, Dairy, Vegetables, Honey, Maple & More!

Watch demonstrations of yogurt and butter making

Press Cider and walk the Old Stone House’s Apple Orchard

Live Music

Free self guided tours of the first floor of the Museum

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Herbal Remedies, with Amy Palaia Wednesday, September 20, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Herbal Remedies, with Amy Palaia
Wednesday, September 20, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Get a head start on winter and prepare some herbal remedies that will help get you through the cold winters. Learn how to make lip balm, hand salve, and cream, to sooth that dry winter skin, and fight those colds with elderberry syrup and echinacea tincture. Cost is $20 or $15 for Members, plus a $7 materials fee (due to instructor the day of class)

Register Online Here

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Fall Foliage Races, Sunday, September 10

Fall Foliage Races, Sunday, September 10

½ Marathon Run, 5K Run, 5K Walk and 12 mile bike race on a Sunday morning on rural Northeast Kingdom back roads. 1/2 Marathon Run: Registration from 7:30 – 8 a.m. Race starting at 8:05 12 mile Bike Race, 5K Run, and 5K Walk: Registration from 8 – 9 a.m. Races starting at 9:05 a.m. All races start and finish in front of the Old Stone House.

Register online here

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Complete blacksmith course for Beginners, September 9, 9am – 5pm

Complete blacksmith course for Beginners, Courtney Mead, Wyatt Mosely, Lynn Lang – September 9, 9am – 5pm

Students will learn the basics of Blacksmithing as they practice half-faced hammer blows, drawing out, twisting, leaf work and a simple weld. Cost $150 or $125 for members plus a $25 Material Fee.

Register Online Here

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Tote Basket Making Class, Sat., Sept. 3rd

Tracie Quirion will be teaching a Tote Basket making class on Saturday, September 2nd.

All classes are held at the Samuel Read Hall House from 10am – 2pm.

Cost is $25 or $20 for members plus a material fee. Please bring a lunch.  
– 6 students max. $26.00 material fee to be paid to instructor on the day of class (cash or check)

register online here

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Old Stone House Museum Day, Sunday August 13, 10am-4pm

Old Stone House Day
“The Grand Opening of the Grammar School”
Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017
10 AM to 4 PM

 Oxen led it home and they are coming back to help celebrate!

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Annual Meeting of the Orleans County Historical Society 9:30 am

Oxen Demonstration 10am-2pm
Pie Auction – 1pm
Vermont Fiddle Orchestra – 2—4 pm

MUSEUM OPEN HOUSE – 11am to 3pm

Farmers Market, Crafts, Demonstrations of Old Time Trades
Old Fashioned Children’s Games & Activities
Rufus Porter Exhibit
Lunch on the Lawn & at the Grammar School

BROWNINGTON – A year ago the oxen helped bring the Grammar School back home to the site where it was built in 1823, from 1/3 mile down the road where it was moved in 1869.  This Sunday, August 13, they are coming back again to its Grand Opening on Old Stone House Day, the annual celebration of local history that has been held by the Orleans County Historical Society since 1915.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the oxen will be demonstrating their skills on the historic Brownington Common, now reinstated between the Grammar School and the Brownington Congregational Church.  Teams will also be on the museum grounds, pulling the little model Grammar School on logs, and pulling some heavy loads, hitched together with the jingle bobs forged last year before the big move.

Lunch and pie a la mode will be served in the Grammar School, with a view out the newly restored windows onto the oxen corral.  The Brownington Ladies Aid will also serve lunch on the lawn near the Old Stone House Museum, which along with two barns of antique equipment, will be open for self- guided tours.

The Grammar School was the first secondary school in Orleans County, and the headmaster Alexander Twilight built the Old Stone House as a dormitory to house out of town students.  Since 1925 the massive 4-story granite Old Stone House has been the historical museum of Orleans County, with  thousands of artifacts in 25 rooms, including furniture, textiles, tools, paintings, folk art, and the stuff of everyday life. The new special exhibit of Rufus Porter murals and painted furniture is in the first floor gallery.


Alexander Twilight was the first African American to graduate from an American college and the first to be elected to public office.  Samuel Read Hall, the first teacher educator in the United States, also spent the last 25 years of his life in the Brownington Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

On Old Stone House Day there will be demonstrations of blacksmithing, rope making, basket making, violin making, spinning, rug hooking, and lace making.  There will be a farmers market, craft vendors, and local historical society exhibits. And the old fashioned toys and games will be out for the children to play with, as well as the costume box.  At 1 p.m. there will be a pie auction under the big tent on the museum lawn.

Then, from 2 to 4 p.m. the Vermont Fiddle Orchestra will perform, ending with a contra-dance.   The VFO is a multi-generational community orchestra of musicians who enjoy learning, playing and sharing the traditional music of New England, Appalachia, and Down South, as well as Quebecois, Swedish, Irish and Scottish tunes. Besides fiddlers, it includes guitar, cello, bass, banjo, mandolin, flute, pennywhistle and accordion players.

Old Stone House Day is the traditional time of the annual meeting of the Orleans County Historical Society.  This year that will happen in the Grammar School at 9:30 a.m. so as not to interrupt the events of the day.  All current members can vote on new trustees and hear reports of 2016, a big year for the museum, when the final piece of the historic neighborhood came home.

Admission to Old Stone House Day is $5 per carload.  Bikers can park for free on the long bicycle rack just donated by the Orleans Elementary School.    On Saturday evening before Old Stone House Day, from 4 to 7:30, the Amish Families or Brownington will be putting on a benefit fish fry in the Grammar School.

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Rufus Porter Talk at the Old Stone House Museum, Saturday, August 5

Rufus Porter Talk at the Old Stone House Museum in Brownington – Saturday, August 5

Thanks to the generosity of collector Richard Thorner, the Old Stone House Museum in Brownington received a gift last year of 13 murals by renowned early American artist Rufus Porter created for the Adams Female Academy in Derry, NH around 1830.   They had been forgotten for over 100 years, covered by wallboard, their vibrant colors protected from damaging sunlight.  They were discovered when the former academy building was being renovated for private use.

On Saturday, August 5, at 4 p.m., David Ottinger will talk about how he removed the murals from the former academy by cutting out the sections of wall from the outside of the building.  The talk will be in the first floor gallery of the Old Stone House Museum, where the panels which are mounted against the walls surrounding the new exhibit on early American decoration.  The talk is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a wine and cheese reception.

These murals are rare examples of a decorative style original to historic buildings like the Twilight and Hall Houses before the advent of wallpaper.  Perhaps more significantly, these works were created for an institution very much like the Orleans County Grammar School, providing a valuable way for us to understand the culture and environment of rural New England schools in the early 1800s.

Porter was one of America’s most important limners or itinerant painters, who traveled widely throughout New England from 1820 until 1848.  While we don’t have direct evidence that Rufus Porter worked around Brownington, it is possible given his strong family ties to Orleans County.

Names, dates and other graffiti are inscribed on the surface of the paintings, much as they are on the walls and desks inside the Old Stone House.  Porter created his stencil murals for an educational institution very much like the Orleans County Grammar School, and this new acquisition will provide a valuable way for us to understand the physical environment of schools in the early 1800s, as well as the culture of the young men and women who attended.


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