The Thompson-Ames Historical Society writes a
weekly column for the Gilford Steamer.
A recent article is shown below.
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3-10-05 T-AHS Schedules "Heritage Arts Bees"
by Carol Anderson
The last of three rug-braiding bees will be held at the Grange on March 19th from 10 a.m. until noon. All the participants in these bees have enjoyed tremendous success and have produced wonderfully colorful and artistic rugs. These ladies, the youngest being nine years of age, have gotten together to perfect their rug-making skills. Just as women in times past looked forward to bees as a form of enjoyment and companionship, these modern women have found that they, too, have done the very same thing.
In order to find the origin of the popularity of bees in our country, we can take a trip back to the 1800's. As our country expanded westward, pioneers often came together to form "bees". These events were held for the sole purpose of getting a large task done in a relatively short period of time whether it was to build a barn or to husk corn. Children were always included, for this was one way for these essential skills to be passed down from generation to generation.
It was the ladies, however, who got together for the traditional quilting bees. Quilts were certainly made more quickly; but, more importantly women had the chance to swap stories and share ideas. The difficult and very lonesome job of being a pioneer woman must have been considerably brightened by attending one of these events. In so many cases, this was their main form of entertainment.
For the past five years, the Thompson-Ames Historical Society has worked diligently and passionately to preserve the heritage arts. Heritage arts are today considered skills that the American pioneers used to ensure their
survival. These skills include spinning, weaving, knitting, quilting and rug-braiding, to name a few. The Thompson-Ames Historical Society's Saturday workshops and demonstrations as well as various bees have become
a very important way for the historical society to guarantee that these skills from the past are kept alive today and also for future generations.
During one of the most recent board meetings of the T-AHS, several board members discussed the success of the rug-braiding bee and they felt these get-togethers should continue. Other members mentioned the large number of
talented artisans living in Gilford and the surrounding communities. Still other members talked about being approached by local residents who wanted to know where they might learn to knit or crochet.
It has become apparent to the T-AHS that even though people today lead very busy lifestyles, they still long for events like the bees of yesteryear. In order to meet this need, the T-AHS has decided to regularly schedule "Heritage Arts Bees". This newly-formed group plans to carry on what the historical society has already begun. Regular get-togethers, workshops, and guest speakers are currently being scheduled. Suggestions are always welcome for program ideas.
The very first get-together of this group will be held on April 16th from 10 a.m. until noon at the Grange building. We invite everyone to join us in keeping time-honored skills alive and to enjoy a sense of camaraderie. Men and women of ALL ages are welcome to come and learn a new skill or to bring a project that has already been started.
Also at this time of year, the Thompson-Ames Historical Society is putting the finishing touches on plans that have been evolving this winter during the meetings of the Board of Directors. The calendar of events is almost complete, with dates for fieldtrips for the schools set and almost all the programs for the public are in place.
Volunteers are needed in May to help with school fieldtrip activities, including helping celebrate Gilford's cultural heritage by making ABC quilts, acting as docents (tour guides) in museum rooms, and overseeing children's activities during the fieldtrips. Training sessions are offered in order to help volunteers become familiar with museum areas that the school children will visit. Newcomers are also offered the opportunity to shadow or assist during fieldtrips as a stepping stone to gain familiarity.
Volunteers can also share a craft skill with novices, prepare an item of refreshments for gatherings, act as a host/hostess to welcome visitors during events such as Open House, help with office work or preparation of
news releases, assist curators, participate in setting up displays or in membership drives. Help is always needed with spring cleaning, indoors or out. Whatever your timeframe and interests, your involvement as a volunteer will help preserve and celebrate Gilford's rich cultural heritage.
For more information, call the Thompson-Ames Historical Society at 527-9009, or visit our website at www.gilfordhistoricalsociety.org. If your are not already on the T-AHS mailing/e-mail list, do let us know
your name and address as well as your e-mail address and you will be included. Feel free to e-mail the historical society at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by and visit us when the open flag is flying outside the Grange
building located at 8 Belknap Mountain Road in Gilford Village.