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6/21/07 - Gilford’s Historical Society Explores New Opportunities

Written by: Kathy Lacroix

On Monday, July 2, Gilford’s Historical Society is eagerly looking forward to having Jeff Warner of Portsmouth present his program, “Songs of Old New Hampshire” at the Village Bandstand at 7:30. At 7:15 there will be a dessert table set up so all may enjoy a variety of desserts while they are getting comfortable, either in their lawn chairs or on their blankets. Having enjoyed a number of band concerts performed during the summer at Gilford’s Village Bandstand, it was thought that this would be a new opportunity for the Society to present a unique musical program that will appeal to all age groups. We hope that families will feel comfortable bringing their children. The program is sponsored through the N.H Humanities Council, with addition funding from the Charles P. Pardoe Grant and is free to all who attend. IF it should rain, the program will move across the street and be held inside the 1834 Meetinghouse.

Jeff Warner “offers the songs and stories that, in the words of Carl Sandburg, tell us ‘where we came from and what brought us along.’ These ballads, love songs and comic pieces reveal the experiences and emotions of daily life in the days before movies, sound recordings and, for some, books. Songs from lumber camps, the decks of sailing ships and the textile mills offer a view of pre-industrial New England and a chance to hear living artifacts from the 18th and 19th centuries.” It has been said, “With warmth, humor and understated scholarship, Jeff Warner connects 21st century audiences with the music and everyday lives of 19th century people.”

“Jeff Warner is a Folklorist and Community Scholar for the New Hampshire Council on the Arts, and has been named a 2007 State Arts Fellow. He has performed at festivals and in communities and schools throughout America and abroad, and has toured nationally for the Smithsonian Institution.”

We hope that many will take this opportunity to come, enjoy the free program and desserts, and pick up a brochure that describes the upcoming programs offered by Gilford’s Historical Society.

Another first for the Society is that we will have the Rowe House open for the months of July and August for tours every Thursday and Saturday from 10:00-2:00. We were very pleased when 124 people visited the Rowe House during our various Holiday Open Houses; it was thought that if we had the House open during a week day and on a Saturday, that more would have the opportunity to visit and realize what a gem we have right in the middle of our beautiful village.

During the month of May, 20 volunteers donated their time to make possible the third grade field trips to the 1887 Mount Belknap Grange, 1834 Meetinghouse, and the 1838 Rowe House, plus the kindergarten classes visit to the Grange. A total of approximately 180 hours was devoted to making their field trips an enjoyable learning experience.

Many times, students would want to ask more questions concerning items displayed in the Rowe House, but time did not permit us the luxury of spending more time. It is hoped that students will want to bring their parents and they can act as the tour guide as they show them the house, plus, they will then have more time to spend in areas that caught their special attention.

Also, grandparents, bring your grandchildren and share with them some of your memories. Perhaps you remember when milk came in a glass bottle and you had to shake it to combine the cream with the skim milk. We have glass bottles from some of the local dairy farms, when milk was delivered to your home. My husband remembers sleeping in an unheated bedroom; a soapstone would be warmed in the oven of the wood stove in the kitchen, wrapped in a towel, and then used to warm the sheets of his bed and to keep his feet warm as he fell asleep. We have a soapstone near the hearth in the bedroom to make this memory come alive for our young people today.

We are always interested in hearing about programs or activities that you would be interested in coming to see, if you have ideas please share them with us. If you would be interested in presenting a program, please contact us. We welcome new members and new volunteers to help, you can pick your area of interest, from being a docent at any of our three buildings, to helping with the upkeep of the buildings and grounds, to baking for our meetings. You name it, we welcome you to come and work with us.

For information about Gilford’s historical society and a listing of upcoming events, go to www.gilfordhistoricalsociety.org. e-mail at thoames@worldpath.net or call at 527-9009.