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11 Willard Street
North Grafton MA 01536


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.

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The Manufacture of Six Massachusetts Shelf Clocks - a Work in Progress


The Massachusetts Shelf Clock, with its colorful painted glass and small, attractive form, is one of the highlights of Simon Willard’s productive career. The Willard House & Clock Museum’s Conservator, David Gow, is fulfilling a lifelong dream - the manufacturing of the cases and movements for six Massachusetts Shelf Clocks - and wants to share the experience and what he’s learned from it with you.

David will present the clocks, and give an introduction to the form. By highlighting his original research into and experience in conserving these clocks, he will discuss the choices he made for these reproductions, including primary and secondary materials, which inlay and veneering techniques to use, and what tools he chose to use in the construction of the clocks. This first lecture, based on one he gave to the local chapter of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, will focus on the construction of the cases, however David will also touch upon his plans for manufacturing the mechanisms for the Shelf Clocks as well.

This lecture presents a unique opportunity to learn from one of the most experienced clock conservators in the world, and to compare his reproductions with some of Simon Willard’s original clocks held in the Willard House’s collection.

Born into a family of craftsmen in Aberdeen, Scotland, David continued the tradition by serving a five-year apprenticeship as a joiner and cabinetmaker. Some years later, this background formed the foundation for almost forty years in the field of horology. For over twenty years he has served as Conservator at the Willard House & Clock Museum. His clients include historical societies, museums, the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C., and private collectors across the country. He has taught restoration skills to students, with an emphasis on sensitive conservation and restoration techniques.

Free with Museum admission