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.
Programs & Events
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!!
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.
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.
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
Join us for a series of hands on workshops for parents and children that have a clock theme. The workshops are free and the activities, which will change monthly, are best for ages 5 - 10. There will be a special, kid friendly tour of the museum at the end of the workshop.
Robert C. Cheney will appraise any type of antique clocks and watches (not just Willard Clocks) that are easy to transport. If the clock is too big to transport, multi view photographs will work (bonnet, face, case - including feet and shots of the interior weights if possible.) Please no modern clocks or poor photographs of watches.
FREE with Museum Admission
In the United States, the first mass-produced Valentines of embossed paper lace were produced and sold shortly after 1847 by Esther Howland (1828–1904) of Worcester, Massachusetts. We have a special exhibit of antique cards in our children’s area. Using them as inspiration, we will create keepsake cards in honor of Valentine’s Day.
Make memories with a special afternoon for you and your child (or grandchild). Bring a favorite teddy or stuffed animal to join you for tea or cocoa and delicious delicacies in our elegant tea room. There will be a holiday craft and a special Teddy Bear Tour of the Museum.
Seatings are from 1:00 - 2:00 and 3:00 - 4:00. Members $15/person, Non-members $17.50/person, Teddy Bears free of charge: includes Museum admission. Reservations by phone required. (508.839.3500)
Banjo 1, Art Activity - Join us today for this special parent/child workshop with artist Janet Scudder. We will make replicas of classic banjos using simple materials. The toy will make "music" and will be a terrific keepsake. Time 11:00 AM - 1 PM.
Banjo 2, Tour in Simon Willard Gallery - Simon Willard invented the "Improved Timepiece", commonly known as a "Banjo Clock". He received a patent for the design of the clock in 1802. Join us for a short talk by our curator about the history of the clock and its unique features. Time 1:15 - 1:30 PM
Banjo 3, Concert - We are proud to present, BLUE PARROT, a duo who plays a lively mix of Celtic, American, French and French Canadian tunes on banjos and guitar. Featured players are Linda Swicker and Linda Abrams. They have been performing together for 8 years. This will be a perfect family friendly concert. Time 2:00 - 3:00 PM
Free with Museum admission
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. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Siblings are welcome.
Call ahead to reserve your spot, as space is limited. 508.339.3500
A relatively small group of a dozen or so Boston-area timepieces have received intermittent attention in the literature over the years. Often extolled for both their rarity and for the refined quality of their workmanship, it is less frequently acknowledged how paradoxical that is; if they are so good, why aren't there more of them?
David Wood, curator of the Concord Museum, will closely examine six examples of the diamond head timepiece, about half of all that survive, in a slide presentation. The aim is to distinguish between the two principal groups (Boston and Concord), and to consider what relationship the form has to Willard's timepiece. Please call and reserve your spot, as space is limited.
Free with Museum admission.
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
What did children do for entertainment? What games did they play? How did they have fun, between chores and school? They made it themselves!! Join us today as we use cardboard, small wooden pieces, fabric, markers, and glue and create some 18th century toys
Come to the Willard House & Clock Museum on Sunday, September 17,2017. The workshop will take place in the barn from 11 am-1 pm and is free!!. There will also be a special, free parent/child tour of the museum at the end of the workshop. For all the fun and festivities, visitors should plan to arrive no later than 12 noon.
What did children do for entertainment? What games did they play? Did they go to school? Did they learn a trade? Participants learn about aspects of life in the past and how it connects to our world today. Ages 7-10 (limit: 12 students) Members $240, Non-Members $255.
Week 1 June 26-30 9 AM-1 PM
How did kids have fun in Colonial Times, between chores and school? They made it themselves!! Join us as we make 18th century toys (ball catchers, marbles, poppets, quoits and more), learn games like Townball, Conquors and Hunt the Slipper.
Week 2 July 10 - 14 9 AM - 1 PM
In Colonial Times, not everyone stayed on the farm. Promising youngsters might learn a trade. Try your hand at being a Tinsmith, Printer, Weaver or Limner (portrait painter)!!
To Register for a class, call 508.839.3500, Wed-Sat 10 AM - 1PM or email email@example.com.