MIDDLEBURY-In celebration of Vermont wood products, the Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History is pleased to present the exhibit The Nature of Wood: Vermont Furniture and Woodware, 1790 to the Present on view through Oct. 23.
Wood is an extraordinarily versatile medium. The Nature of Wood: Vermont Furniture and Woodware combines the Sheldon Museum's rich collection of locally-crafted furniture with private collections featuring a wide array of Vermont-produced wooden objects spanning the history of the state. The exhibit presents a brief overview of the many beautiful and practical ways Vermonters have made a living creating objects from the rich resources of the Northern Forest.
The Nature of Wood focuses on furniture and wooden objects produced in the lower Champlain Valley.
From 1790 to 1855, Middlebury was at the center of a rich furniture making industry, with over 50 craftsmen creating tables, chairs, bureaus, secretaries and other useful wooden objects. Pieces from the museum's collection will present the public with a broad range of styles, from country simple to metropolitan chic. In this era, beautiful and practical furniture was being made locally from imported mahogany as well as native pine and maple.
In addition to the Sheldon's collection and the historic woodcrafts, contemporary furniture created by craftsmen who are still inspired by the nature of wood will also be featured. The monthly schedule for the featured contemporary furniture makers is: Douglas Brooks, June; Jim Geier, July; Kit Clark, August; Edward Allen, September; Timothy Clark, October.
Learning Activities for children and adults can be found throughout the Museum. Wooden puzzles, and wooden toys as well as a wooden hand loom for children to use are available in the downstairs activity room. Visitors can pick up a copy of the Nature of Wood scavenger hunt for children at the admission desk or enjoy a game of checkers on the wooden checker board in the upstairs Children's Hands-on Room.
The Nature of Wood: Vermont Furniture and Woodware, 1790 to the Present has received generous sponsorship from Edgewater Gallery at Middlebury Falls. The exhibit is a 2010 State of Craft Showcase event. The 2010 State of Craft Showcase was organized by the Vermont Crafts Council, in cooperation with the Bennington Museum, the Vermont Folklife Center, and the Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing.
The Henry Sheldon Museum is located at 1 Park St. in downtown Middlebury across from the Ilsley Public Library. Museum hours: Summer through Oct. 17: Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m. Call 388-2117 for more details.