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11 Willard Street
North Grafton MA 01536

5088393500

The Willard House & Clock Museum is a historic place with festive roots, right in the heart of Massachusetts. Come visit us for a guided tour of our museum.

Programs & Events


Flowers in Time
Jun
8
to Jun 9

Flowers in Time

  • Willard House and Clock Shop (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Floral interpretations of the collections at the Willard House & Clock Museum
by the members of the Grafton Garden Club
“Where gardeners grow”

10:00AM – 4:00 PM Saturday
1:00 – 4:00 PM Sunday

Treat yourself to color and fragrance when the entire museum blooms with flower arrangements inspired by the top ten floral designers from the Grafton Garden Club.  They will interpret clocks and decorative ceramic ware from our permanent collection. The galleries will have imaginative arrangements that will dazzle and delight all your senses.

Museum members - Free
Non-members - $10
Children under 12 - Free

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Mr. Potter's 19th Century Magic Show
Jun
2
2:00 PM14:00

Mr. Potter's 19th Century Magic Show

Robert Olson will recreate the magic of 19th century magician Richard Potter in an engaging performance at the Willard House and Clock Museum. Olson uses recreated and original props, 19th century costume, and the early language that appeared in the magic books of Potter's time to transport the audience for an evening of magic and fun. Potter first performed on his own in 1810, at the Columbian Museum in Boston. Advertised as "An Evening's Brush to Sweep Away Care, or a Medley to Please," the show consisted of magic with cards and coins, ribbons and boxes, and a variety of other tricks of magic from over 150 years ago. 

A reviewer commented on how much both children and adults enjoy the show.  The history of magic, the hidden science used by magicians, the elegance of Mr. Potter with his language, all work together so well.  Mr. Potter would be proud if he could come back and see how people today are still enjoying his magic.

Museum members— Free
Non-members— $10
Children under 12 — Free

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Once Upon a Story Time
May
8
1:30 PM13:30

Once Upon a Story Time

Join us for this free program presented in collaboration with the Grafton Public Library. Preschoolers will enjoy a few stories, a short museum tour and a craft project.

Call ahead to reserve your spot, as space is limited. 508.339.3500.

Children must be accompanied by an adult. Siblings are welcome.

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Time & Timekeeping-Presented by David Gow
May
5
2:00 PM14:00

Time & Timekeeping-Presented by David Gow

“Horology” is defined as the science of measuring time and the art of making instruments for indicating the passage of time. David Gow is a horologist with a keen understanding of this fascinating subject.

 David will explore how time has evolved in its perception and impact on society through the ages. He will walk us in the footsteps of our Neolithic ancestors during the creation of Stonehenge and examine with amazement the oldest working mechanical clock in the world, dated 1386 at Salisbury Cathedral. Sand clocks, water clocks, and sun dials will be shown to demonstrate the need for humankind to understand the old maxim, “The Times of Man are in the Hands of God”.

 David Gow is a clock maker, conservator and student of the mysteries of time, the complexity of calendars on clocks throughout the ages, the undisputed role of clocks in global navigation and the role of timekeepers as the most important scientific instrument of all time. Join us for this illustrated lecture on “Time and Timekeeping” in an effort to understand a concept that has puzzled scientists since the dawn of the modern age.  

 Born into a family of craftsmen in Aberdeen Scotland, David Gow continued the tradition by serving a five-year apprenticeship as a joiner and cabinetmaker. This traditional background, formed the foundation for almost forty years in the field of horology.

David has devoted most of his time to restoring clocks from the 18th and early 19th centuries. For almost 25 years he has held the position of consulting Conservator at the Willard House and Clock Museum. His other clients include, historical societies, museums, the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.. He has taught restoration techniques to students, with an emphasis on sensitive conservation/restoration objectives. He also has lectured, including at the annual Robinson Lecture at the Willard House and Clock Museum.

David and his wife Barbara live in Shrewsbury and have two adult sons. He and his wife are avid sailors, having cruised four winters aboard their sailboat Podjo in Florida and Bahamian waters. Subject for another time!

FREE with museum admission

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Simon Willard's Birthday
Apr
7
1:00 PM13:00

Simon Willard's Birthday

How many candles would there be on Simon Willard’s birthday cake?

Come to the Willard House & Clock Museum on Sunday, April 7, 2018 to find out as the museum honors Simon and the legacy of his clocks.

Open free of charge from 1:00 until 4:00 PM.

1:00 – 3:30 Parent /child activities will take place with artist Janet Scudder

2:00 - There will be a short tour with Director Robert C. Cheney. He will discuss our new acquisitions in the Simon Willard Gallery.

For all the fun and festivities, visitors should plan to arrive no later than 3:00 PM, since a museum tour takes about an hour.

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Lighting Your Collection
Mar
17
2:00 PM14:00

Lighting Your Collection

American designer Sandra Liotus and British engineer Sir David Crampton-Barden are the creative team behind the Newport, R.I.-based custom lighting design firm Sandra Liotus Lighting Design, LLC (SLLD). Blending their expertise to create innovative lighting solutions, this pioneering duo has developed the art world’s most sophisticated eco-friendly custom lighting system.

Lighting is key to every environment and is just as important to an interior as the fine finishes and decoration that has been carefully curated. If the space is not lit properly without a balance and sensitivity in design, the expensive, carefully planned interiors will look common place.

Sharing a profound attention to detail, while combining their expert knowledge of engineering and design, this talented duo forges bespoke lighting systems as unique as the fine artwork itself.

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Once Upon a Story Time
Mar
13
1:30 PM13:30

Once Upon a Story Time

Join us for this free program presented in collaboration with the Grafton Public Library. Preschoolers will enjoy a few stories, a short museum tour and a craft project.

Call ahead to reserve your spot, as space is limited. 508.339.3500.

Children must be accompanied by an adult. Siblings are welcome.

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Watercolor Demonstration
Mar
9
2:00 PM14:00

Watercolor Demonstration

A still life is a work of art depicting mostly commonplace objects which may be natural (apples, flowers) or man-made items (flower pots, pots and pans).  It can be realistic or abstract, depending on the time and culture in which it was created and on the style of the artist. 

Please come and watch Beverly demonstrate still life painting.

FREE with museum admission.

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Joe K Walsh, mandolin and Grant Gordy, guitarist
Mar
3
2:00 PM14:00

Joe K Walsh, mandolin and Grant Gordy, guitarist

$10 members/$20 non-members
Reservations required. Seating is limited!
Please email info@willardhouse.org or call 508-839-3500 for reservations and ticket sales. Please provide your phone number and we will call you for payment information when we are next in the office.

This program is provided through the generous support of:
Saver’s Bank, with locations throughout south central Massachusetts including Grafton
Gaudette Insurance Agency Inc. , with locations in Grafton and Whitinsville, Massachusetts
Worcester Sound and Lights
This Old Clock Shop,
Worcester

“one of the best acoustic duos performing today” – Fretboard Journal

Monstrously talented guitarist Grant Gordy and mandolin virtuoso Joe K. Walsh are two prominent voices in the world of bluegrass and acoustic music. It's no wonder: Gordy formerly served as guitarist in the David Grisman Quintet, while Walsh was a founding member of progressive string band Joy Kills Sorrow and longtime mandolinist for bluegrass darlings the Gibson Brothers. With a great love and deep knowledge of the great acoustic musicians who have come before, Grant and Joe approach the guitar and mandolin duet with a wide-eyed and infectious improvisatory spirit. They’ve played together all over North America and Europe and, with fiddler Darol Anger, co-founded the wild, inventive string band Mr Sun.

 For several years Brooklyn-based guitarist Grant Gordy has been a major voice in the American roots music world, and one of the most highly regarded young instrumentalists of his generation. He held the guitar chair in the legendary David Grisman Quintet for six years, and has also worked alongside such musical luminaries as Edgar Meyer, Steve Martin, Tony Trischka and Darol Anger. Grant's music has been heard on NPR's Morning EditionAll Things Considered and Tiny Desk Concerts, and he's performed all over the world, from Carnegie Hall to Bonnaroo, Finland to India. “Grant Gordy is a special musician. While being a bluegrass musician at heart, Grant’s incredible breadth of harmonic and rhythmic knowledge from jazz gives him a strikingly singular voice on the guitar; one that is worth giving your attention.” -No Depression

 Hailed by David Grisman as a “wonderful mandolin player”, the CBC-Newfoundland as “one of the best mandolinists of his generation”, Boston-based mandolin player Joe K. Walsh is known for his exceptional tone and taste, and his collaborations with acoustic music luminaries including legendary fiddler Darol Anger, flatpick guitar hero Scott Nygaard, folk star Jonathan Edwards, and pop/grass darlings Joy Kills Sorrow. He’s played with everyone from John Scofield to Bela Fleck to Emmylou Harris, and performed everywhere from festivals to laundromats to Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. After a number of award-winning years as mandolinist with bluegrass stars the Gibson Brothers, Joe currently splits his time between an inventive string band called Mr Sun (featuring Darol Anger, Grant Gordy and Aidan O’Donnell) a duo with Grant Gordy, and his own band. An avid educator, Joe is a mandolin instructor at the Berklee College of Music. He teaches regularly at music camps throughout North America and beyond, and teaches online through Peghead Nation. 

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Watercolor Demonstration -- Still Life
Feb
23
2:00 PM14:00

Watercolor Demonstration -- Still Life

A still life is a work of art depicting mostly commonplace objects which may be natural (apples, flowers) or man-made items (flower pots, pots and pans).  It can be realistic or abstract, depending on the time and culture in which it was created and on the style of the artist 

Please come and watch Beverly Snow demonstrate still life painting.

Free with museum admission.

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Collecting Antiques Long Before it Was Cool
Feb
10
2:00 PM14:00

Collecting Antiques Long Before it Was Cool

An illustrated lecture by Robert C. Cheney, Executive Director and Curator, Willard House and Clock Museum.

This lecture was presented at the Henry Ford Museum as the James Arthur keynote address for the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors.  

The program takes an objective look at collecting decorative arts from the pre-Civil War era through the struggling antiques market in the early 21st century. We meet three important, yet little–known Massachusetts antiquarians who played a vital role in establishing the foundation collections at The Concord Museum, The Essex Institute (now the Peabody-Essex Museum), and the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association. This unusual passion for collecting paved the way for later outdoor history museums such as the Greenfield Village in Dearborn Michigan, Old Sturbridge Village and Historic Deerfield. 

Sprinkled in between, we will take a look in awe at some of the record prices achieved during the booming 80’s and 90’s; a time when it was really “cool” to collect American antiques!

Free with museum admission.

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The Robinson Lecture 2018
Nov
4
3:00 PM15:00

The Robinson Lecture 2018

The Journey of a Genius:  John Harrison then and now

William J.H. Andrewes

Since the publication of Dava’s Sobel’s best-selling book “Longitude” and the documentary and feature film that followed in its wake, John Harrison has become as well-known as Isaac Newton and other great geniuses of their day. Like them, he is now honored with a memorial stone in Westminster Abbey. Fifty years ago, however, his contributions to horology were little understood. Although Harrison was credited with the invention of the first successful marine timekeeper, the accepted history at that time made minimal connection between his prize-winning watch (H4) and the modern marine chronometer. As a result, he was considered by most horologists as “a glorious dead end”. William Andrewes’s lifelong fascination with the life and work of John Harrison began in 1966. In this talk, he tells the story of how John Harrison rose from relative obscurity following his death to his rightful place in history.

Free with museum admission.

 

William Andrewes is a museum consultant and maker of precision sundials. Born and educated in England, he trained as a clockmaker, working under the guidance of George Daniels, Martin Burgess and others, and as a designer, graduating from Kingston College of Art in 1972. Since then, he has specialized in time measurement, working at Eton College, the Old Royal Observatory, The Time Museum, and Harvard University. He organized the Longitude Symposium, edited The Quest for Longitude, and was co-author with Dava Sobel of The Illustrated Longitude. For his contributions to horology, he was awarded the Harrison Medal in 2007.

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Paul Revere: Master Silversmith
Oct
21
2:00 PM14:00

Paul Revere: Master Silversmith

An illustrated lecture by Dr. James A Welu,

Director Emeritus, Worcester Art Museum

Best known as a patriot during the American Revolution, Paul Revere was a man of many talents.  Silversmith, engraver, and early industrialist, Revere ranks among the most entrepreneurial of early Americans.  He also provided metals and labels for Willard clocks.  This lecture focuses on Paul Revere’s career as a silversmith, including his most important commission, the Paine Silver Service, one of the Worcester Art Museum’s greatest treasures.

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Fakes, Forgeries and Marriages: The Pitfalls of Collecting Willard’s Patent Timepiece
Sep
16
1:00 PM13:00

Fakes, Forgeries and Marriages: The Pitfalls of Collecting Willard’s Patent Timepiece

An illustrated lecture by Robert C. Cheney, Director and Curator of the Willard House and Clock Museum

The Patent Timepiece or “Banjo Clock” has been in continual production since 1802 when Simon Willard received a patent for this newly designed wall timepiece. In fact, the banjo clock is probably the most faked American clock found today. Simon and Aaron Willard appear to be alive and well as the banjo clock continues to arrive in the marketplace with period-looking signatures, artificially-aged glasses, and mahogany cases with the finish still wet! Robert Cheney will open the faker’s handbook to show the tricks of the faker’s trade and how to determine the authentic from the fraudulent examples.

 

Robert C. Cheney is a third-generation clockmaker, dealer and consultant to over 35 museums. After a thirty-year career in private practice, he served for a decade as the Director of the Clocks, Watches and Scientific Instruments Department at Skinner Inc., Boston where he held two international specialty auctions a year and appeared regularly on Antiques Roadshow. Today he is Executive Director and Curator at the Willard House and Clock Museum, North Grafton, Massachusetts.

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Star Gazing -- Backyard Astronomy with your Library Telescope!
Sep
9
6:30 PM18:30

Star Gazing -- Backyard Astronomy with your Library Telescope!

Members from the Aldrich Astronomical Society, Inc. will offer a family friendly indoor PowerPoint presentation to introduce visitors to finding celestial objects from their own backyard using a simple technique called star hopping. We will talk about the Library Telescope Program, offer tips on astrophotography and finding bright planets and star clusters!

Aldrich volunteers will also display two tables of space artifacts, meteorites, Mars Soil Simulant and offer free handouts to attendees!

All children who attend will have opportunities to win small spacey door prizes.

Outdoor Star Gazing will be held after the program if the weather permits!

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Willard House and Clock Museum Presents….Blue Parrot
May
13
2:00 PM14:00

Willard House and Clock Museum Presents….Blue Parrot

Blue Parrot, a trio who plays a lively mix of Celtic, American, French and French Canadian tunes on banjos, guitar, pipes, concertina and whistles.  Featured players are Linda Swicker, Linda Abrams, and David de la Barre.  They have been performing together for 8 years.  They met at an Irish session in Gloucester, and quickly realized their musical connection.  They have been playing together regularly, wxploring the music of Quebec and France, as well as continuing on with their love of Celtic music.  This will be a perfect family friendly concert!!

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Simple Crochet Demonstration
Apr
28
2:00 PM14:00

Simple Crochet Demonstration

No one is quite sure when and where crochet got its start. The word comes from croc, or croche, the Middle French word for hook. Crochet began turning up in Europe in the early 1800s and was given a tremendous boost by Mlle. Riego de la Branchardiere, who was best known for her ability to take old-style needle and bobbin lace designs and turn them into crochet patterns that could easily be duplicated.

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Happy Birthday Simon!
Apr
8
1:00 PM13:00

Happy Birthday Simon!

Celebrate Simon Willard’s Birthday at the Willard House & Clock Museum.

How many candles would there be on Simon Willard’s birthday cake?

 

Come to the Willard House & Clock Museum on Sunday, April 8, 2018 to find out as the museum honors Simon.  Open free of charge from 1:00 until 4:00 PM.  For all the fun and festivities, visitors should plan to arrive no later than 3:00 PM, since the tour takes about an hour. 

Understanding 8 day clocks                        Robert Cheney                                   1 – 1:30 pm

What’s in a name?  Grandfather Clock?  Tall Clock? Tall Case Clock?  Join Robert as he explains the name and the basic workings of the 8 day clock.

Understanding Patent Timepieces             Robert Cheney                                   2 – 2:30 pm

Commonly known as a banjo clock, join Robert as he explains the reasons Simon was awarded a patent for this groundbreaking invention.

Kid’s Activities – Clocks for Kids                Janet Scudder                                    1-3 pm

Join us for a series of hands on art workshops for parents and children and begin to explore the magic of keeping time.  The workshops are free with museum admission and the activities, are best for ages 5 - 10. There will be a special, kid friendly tour of the museum at the end of the workshop.

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What You Always Wanted to Know About Auctions
Mar
11
1:00 PM13:00

What You Always Wanted to Know About Auctions

Is an auction the best method of disposing of your antiques? What do you need to know about the auctioneer and the auction house ?  Should I just sell it all to an antiques dealer? Robert C. Cheney has been Director of Clocks, Watches and Scientific Instruments at Skinner Auctioneers holding two sales yearly with an international audience bidding live, online and on the phone. He is a licensed auctioneer in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

FREE with Museum Admission

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