Events & News

Events

Scientific illustration of a hummingbird on its nest with eggs and fern leaves.
One of the 37 raffle items in the 2024 Maple Raffle is a guided natural history walk of your property. Middletown Springs resident Dr. Jim Graves will walk with you identifying herbs, shrubs, vines and trees, plant communities and habitats, birds and their song, and other wildlife. He will answer your questions, prepare an inventory of the birds and plants identified, write a brief natural history to summarize the flora and fauna and physical and historical factors that account for them, and describe things you can do to maintain or improve your natural resources. His consultation is valued at $150.
Display of vintage maple sugaring items from the 2023 festival.
At the 2024 Maple Festival on March 17, local sugarmaker Ryan Mahar and historians David Wright and Jon Mathewson will give a presentation on maple sugaring history and current practices, complemented with a large display of maple sugaring items from the Historical Society collection. The event will also feature a demonstration of early maple sugarmaking in a cast iron kettle over an open fire outside.

Events 2024

Maple Festival Raffle by Mail

February 9 – March 13

Maple Festival

Sunday March 17, 1-4 p.m.  (Maple Raffle drawing at 3 p.m.)

Strawberry Festival

Sunday, June 23, 2-4 p.m.

Annual Meeting

Sunday, September 15, 2-4 p.m.

Museum Open House

Sunday, October 6, 2-4 p.m.

News

Dramatic Reading of Lucy and Hazel Grover Diaries from 1907 now on YouTube

To extend the experience of the MSHS Museum exhibit, Childhood in Middletown Springs, 1850-1920, which closes after the Maple Festival on March 17, the Society has featured on its new YouTube channel the dramatic reading of the childhood diaries of Lucy and Hazel Grover written in 1907.

On January 1, 1907, Lucy Grover (14) and her sister Hazel (10) began diaries in identical composition books. They lived with their parents, Will and Katie Grover, who owned and operated a farm in West Tinmouth about four miles south of the village of Middletown Springs. Their journals give a rare view of Vermont family farm life at the beginning of the 20th century and document children’s work, education and play—themes that ran through the Childhood exhibit.

Young local actors Anya and Ellie play the parts of Lucy and Hazel, respectively. Their performance was under the direction of Melissa Chesnut-Tangerman, a partner in Theatre in the Woods summer camp in Middletown Springs. To see the video, visit the Society’s YouTube channel

Poster for the Dramatic Reading from Lucy and Hazel Grover Childhood Diaries.

Office Space in Historical Society Available for Rent

Since the Town Office has moved to its new building, its former office space in the Historical Society building on the green has become available for rent. Are you thinking of expanding or relocating your office-based business?

Rented as the Town Office since 1980, the 440 sq. ft. space was remodeled in 1998 and subdivided to create a secure room with an antique fire resistant safe. The main room has built-in shelving and a mini-split heating and cooling system. Interior doors provide access to the building’s accessible restroom and an alternate accessible entrance from the rear of the building. The office is wired for an optional security system through Countryside Lock and Alarm.

The monthly rent is $500, which includes heat and electricity. A lease and security deposit are required. For more information, call Pat Hemenway (802-235-2421) or David Wright (802 235-2376).

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A painting of young Kay Avery above display case with 1920s party shoes, purse and necklace.
The framed pastel portrait of the late Kay Avery, a resident of Middletown Springs, was painted by artist Mary Seymour in 1928. The portrait captures women’s fashion in the 1920s. Kay’s red hair is styled in a wavy bob, and she poses in a soft green sleeveless chiffon dress with a draped ruffle on one side, completing the look with a long string of white pearls. 

Along with her portrait, Kay donated fashion accessories she purchased during the 1920s: a pair of metallic gold high heel shoes from Bloomingdales, New York, and a glass bead necklace from a trip to Venice with her mother, Josephine Gray Avery. The Art Deco enamel mesh bag belonged to Winoma Buxton and was donated by her daughter, Sally Jones.

Vermont Historical Society’s Andrew Liptak Interviews MSHS’s Mary Lou Willits

Mary Lou is curator of Fancy Goods: Hats and Fashion Accessories, 1850-1950, showing at the Vermont History Museum in Montpelier now through February 24. Andrew is PR and Guest Services coordinator for the Vermont Historical Society.

Can you briefly describe the exhibit? Fancy goods were designed to appeal to taste or fancy rather than to what was essential. The primarily ornamental fashion items in this exhibit document what residents of Middletown Springs considered fancy goods. The 37 items, which date from 1850 to 1950, were donated to the Middletown Springs Historical Society collection by local families.

Why did you choose to create this exhibit? Around the turn of the 20th Century, Julia Adams operated a millinery and fancy goods store in the Middletown Springs Historical Society building, formerly known as the Adams House. Julia’s photo with members of her Sunday school class sitting on the steps of the shop beneath the sign “Mrs. S.C. Adams Millinery & Fancy Goods” inspired this exhibit.

What is most exciting for you about this exhibit? I am most excited about the public exposure these exhibit items will have. I think about the people who made or designed them, the men and women who wore them, and the family members who saved them. Our collections team has worked for over 30 years to catalogue and carefully house the items that have come under our care. This part of the collection is having its day to be seen and appreciated in the light.

What would you like people to learn/know about the exhibit and what it tells us about Middletown Springs? The exhibit interpretation puts these Fancy Goods examples in the context of rapidly changing fashions in the United States from 1850 to 1950. While none of the clothing, hats and accessories displayed are extravagant, they still indicate that in rural Middletown Springs people were keeping up with popular fashions, even if it meant altering what they had.

What is your favorite piece/object in the exhibit and why? While I love all the hats and fashion accessories, my favorite object in the exhibit is a framed pastel portrait of the late Kay Avery, a resident of Middletown Springs, that was painted by artist Mary Seymour in 1928. She is posed in a lovely soft green sleeveless chiffon dress with a draped ruffle on one side, and she is wearing a long string of white pearls. Her red hair is cut in a bob style, so fashionable in the 1920s. Note: Kay Avery (1908-2005) was one of the founding members of the Middletown Springs Historical Society back in 1969.

Website Editor Volunteer Needed

Volunteer site editors update content and introduce new content. Our webmasters Sally and David Caras offer personal training support and a comprehensive online mshsvt.org manual for our volunteer Social Media Committee. The MSHS website is the kingpin of our social media outreach. Please join this star committee and help us shake things up!

Screenshot of training manual website featuring page from Justamere Farm brochure.
The online training manual, part of free training for volunteers on the Social Media Committee.