Category Archives: Blog

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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Storykeepers – Teaching History Through Family Stories, July 24-27, 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Storykeepers – Teaching History Through Family Stories with Natalie Kinsey-Warnock
Samuel Read Hall Education Center
Old Stone House Museum
109 Old Stone House Road
Brownington, VT 05860
Monday – Thursday
July 24-27, 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
at the
The Samuel Read Hall
Education Center at
the Old Stone
House Museum

To register download, fill out and return the below registration form to:

Education, 109 Old Stone House Rd., Brownington, VT 05860

Download (PDF, 283KB)

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Gala Benefit Auction, July 20th 6-9pm at The Eastside Restaurant

Download (PDF, 327KB)

Some of this years auction items are:

Zulu Nyala Photographic Safari in Africa for 2
2 Old Town Kayaks with paddles
Char-Broil Stainless Steel Gas Grill with side burner
Passes to Jay Peak Water Park
Ski Passes to Jay Peak
Ben Barnes Original Art
Liz Nelson Original Art
2 Hour Aerial Tour out of the Newport Airport
Boston Red Sox Tickets with Dinner at Red Bones BBQ Restaurant in Boston
Many Gift Certificates to Local Businesses for items and experiences

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Heritage Craft Week July 8th-16th

Heritage Craft Week
July 8th-16th

Register for any classes here


Rug Braiding – Mary Ragno –  Monday & Tuesday, July 10 & 11, 1-5pm and Sunday, July 16, 10am – 2pm

Students will create a 2’ x 3’ oval rug using recycled wools and wool-blend fabrics.  In three 4-hour lessons, students will choose colors, fabrics, develop snug braids, and then learn to lace braids to ensure a rug that sits flat.  A 2’ x 3’ rug is the perfect size for learning all of the essential skills needed to carry you into a rewarding new hobby.  Some hand-sewing is required.  If you bring in your own material please bring wool or wool blends.  There will be wool available to buy.

Cost $75 for 3 session course, plus a $17 Supply fee.  (Material not included)

Introduction to Needle Felting – Laura LaCroix – Wednesday July, 12

Join Needle Felter Laura LaCroix of Charleston, Vermont for this very special workshop.. What is Needle Felting? Needle felting is a process which uses barbed needles to interlock wool fibers to form a more condensed material.  Felting needles are used to entangle the fibers.  As the felting needle is moved up and down, the barbs on the needles catch the scales of the wool and entangle them into place.

Traditional Rug Hooking, Diane J. Moore – Friday July 14th and Sunday July 16th, 1pm – 4pm

Enjoy time at the Old Stone House exploring traditional hooked rugs.  We will hook a small project learning the basic techniques of hooking rugs with fabric pieces. Please bring small shears and a hook if you have one.  If you have a pattern you want help with, bring it.  Should you have a hoop or frame, bring it.  Materials fee for the class may be-not more than 0-$10. A pattern and strips are being donated and hooks may be borrowed or purchased.

Cost $45 or $40 for members

Stonewall Building Workshop, Charles MacMartin – Saturday, July 15, 9 am – 4 pm

Charles MacMartin of Queen City soil and stone,  will be teaching an introductory workshop for homeowners and trades people to promote the beauty and integrity of stone.  He will focus on the basic techniques of creating dry-laid garden retaining walls and free standing walls using field stone.  During the workshop we will be working on an existing but falling down stone wall here at the museum.  Cost $100 or $80 for members, please bring a lunch

Complete blacksmith course for Beginners, Courtney Mead, Wyatt Mosely, Lynn Lang – Saturday & Sunday, July 15 & 16, 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.

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Reading of Frederick Douglass’ Independence Day speech at The Grammar School, July 1st at 3pm

Join us  in the reading of Frederick Douglass’ Independence Day speech. Co-sponsored by the VT Humanities The Grammar School, July 1st at 3pm FREE EVENT

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Join us on Saturday, July 1 at 4 pm when Linda C. Lefko, President of CPWP will present a free lecture open to the public on “Porter’s Paintbrush,” at the Old Stone House Museum in Brownington, VT

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The Old Stone House is a stop on the Vermont African American Heritage Trail

You can find a full listing of the Vermont African American Heritage Trail here

Old Stone House Museum is the site of Alexander Twilight’s home, school, church and the stately granite building he built to house students of the Orleans County Grammar School. With buildings dating from 1823 to 1848, the museum is located in the Brownington Village Historic District where Twilight’s dormitory— Athenian Hall—dominates the landscape just as it did 150 years ago. Reverend Alexander Twilight was an educator, minister, politician and the first African American to earn a bachelor’s degree from an American college or university. Except for a four-year absence when the school floundered, Twilight served as the Brownington headmaster from 1829 until his death in 1857. In 1836, Twilight became the first African American elected to public office as a state legislator and served in the Vermont General Assembly. He was known as an innovative and beloved educator, a preacher, a builder and a man of great vision.

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Annual Apple Grafting and Pruning Class Announcement, April 22

Michael Phillips, author of The Apple Grower, a Guide for the Organic Orchardist, will be back again for his popular grafting and pruning course.  He will bring hearty root stocks and scions from a variety of his own apple trees for the morning workshop.  Students are also encouraged to bring in scions from their favorite ancient apple trees.  Students will get to make at least two grafted trees to take home.  In the afternoon, Michael will demonstrate renewal pruning on the Museum’s apple trees and discuss tree health and supply sources.

Apr 22,2017 –     Time: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Class cost is $50 or $40 for Museum members.  Please register early, class fills up quickly. Bring a bag lunch and dress for the outdoors.  Call 802-754-2022 with any questions.

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I Love Winter Festival, Sat., Feb., 25th 11am-3pm at The Twilight House

Join us at the Museum for the I Love Winter Festival
Saturday, Feb. 25 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Twilight House at the Old Stone House Museum in Brownington

Blacksmith Shop Demonstrations, Sugar on Snow, Ski Trails around the Museum Grounds, Children’s Activities, Music, Refreshments

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Collector’s Fair Sun., Feb. 12th 9am-2pm Orleans Elementary School Gym

Download (PDF, 214KB)

If you are interested in showing off your collection please download and print the registration form below and mail in to: Old Stone House, 109 Old Stone House Rd., Brownington, VT 05860

Download (PDF, 84KB)

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