historic houses and their barns, a reproduction schoolhouse and
bandstand, and a millpond grace this restored country village. Plan to
spend at least 3 hours once you arrive. Bring a picnic or enjoy lunch at our sandwich shop and ice cream parlor on site.
Horse-drawn sleighs, carriages, and trades wagons (like this original butcher's panel wagon that we have with many others) , an 1849 Concord stagecoach, a 1894
carousel, gas engines and exhibits of various trades and tools
– blacksmith, broom maker, canoe builder, cooper, cobbler, harness
maker, printer, wheelwright, woodworker - are just a few of the delightful displays you'll see!
Our 1894 steam powered horse carousel is a rare treat. Yes, you can ride it!
January 2, 2014 Press Release: Willowbrook Receives Grant to Further Hands-On and Living History Experiences: HERE
Our first annual ice harvest was a success. We harvested 18 inch thick ice blocks from the mill pond using only traditional hand tools. A big thank you to the Historical Society of Newfield and The Curran Homestead Living History Farm and Museum for their assistance.
The event was featured on Bill Green's Maine on February 22, 2014. See here
Be sure to check our calendar for exciting events and activities.
See our blog here. Our current list of workshops with full description is found there. Scroll down and photos of past classes may be seen. Also, scroll down and see the offerings below.
Go to our Facebook here.
Traditional Arts Workshops: March, April and May, 2014
Class size limited. Reserve your place now by contacting us. Partner up with a sibling, spouse, friend or parent and get a reduced tuition rate for our workshops. Call: (207) 793-2784, leave a message, or Email: email@example.com
See blog for further information about these classes.
Mon. thru Fri., May 19-23, 2014: timber Framing and Blacksmithing Hardware Making Class. Students will learn mortise and tenon framing techniques in this class of five days. Students will work together to create the framing for a structure 12' high x 12' wide x 14' long. Construction will involve augering holes and pegging tenons. The frame will serve once sheathed and roofed as the museum ice house. The class will also involve time blacksmithing; students will create a set of strap hinges and a hook and eye latch.
Tuition: Course: $675. With 4 nights and 5 days of rooming dormitory style in the adjacent mill house next to the waterfalls with the course: $1000; Course, room and board (breakfast and lunch each day)---the total package: $1175. Tools provided for the class or a tool Kit can be purchased:$125, includes both new and vintage tools: a large 3 inch wood slick, 3 assorted chisels, hardwood mallet, handsaw, scribing tool, bevel square, skill knife, bit and brace in handmade tool box.
Sat. & Sun., March 22 & 23, 9-5PM Woodworking: Heirloom Blanket Chest ( see blog): In this two day, fourteen hour class, you will create what was traditional known as a 6-board chest. This pine wood construction measures 36 inches wide, 24 inches tall, and 18 inches deep. There will be a top with a choice to fit simple steel hinges. Students will first practice dovetail joinery on some pieces of wood. Students will then apply this knowledge to dovetail joints for the two sides, front and back of their chest. The bottom will be fitted without nails. This can be an heirloom given as a gift. All tools and materials supplied. Tuition: Non-Members $275; Members $265
Sat., March 15, 10-4PM. Blacksmithing: Make Hardware. Learn basic metal work with a propane forge. The project may consist of making hinges, latches, a set of handles, a door knocker or coat hook. Tuition: Non-Members $125 Members $115
Sat., April 5, 12 Noon-3PM: Jewelry Pewter Casting For Kids and Adults . Learn pewter casting and create an original Valentine for someone special using traditional jewelry making skills. This involves melting metal and casting from molds. No previous experience required. Materials and tools provided. Age 12 and older to participate. $65 Non-Members, $55 Members
March 30, 9AM-3PM One-Day Make Your Own Metal Casting Furnace. Create a cylinder furnace fueled by propane for aluminum, brass, and bronze casting. The class will involve cutting, drilling and fastener construction. Students will create a refractory cement insulating layer, a black metal pipe propane gas feed with regulator, a stand, and removable lid. Tuition: Non-Members $200 Members $185. Includes all materials for construction. This is a great value! Team up with a sibling or spouse and do one furnace for the cost of one. Take the Blacksmithing/Flint Napping Class on the 29th and we'll give a reduced tuition price for the two.
Sat. & Sun., March 15 & 16, 10-4PM. Blacksmithing: Make a Draw Knife and/or Slicks. Shape a blade with spring steel on a coal or propane forge. Form tangs to fit wooden handles to. This will be offered as a package deal or singularly with the "Create a Shaving Horse Class" (20% discount). Intermediate students can make a froe involving a forge weld. Non-Members $260 Members $250.
This workshop is also offered as a one-day class in Making Hardware: "j" and "s" hooks, strap hinges, hook and eye latches and other items time permitting and skill level permitting for a tuition of $125. We will be using both coal burning forges and propane burning forges for winter time blacksmithing.
Sat., March 29, 9AM-3PM. Blacksmithing & Flint Napping: Flint & Steel Survival Fire-Making (and cooking ). Create a flint and steel fire making set from scratch. Blacksmith a striker, flint-nap a striking stone, make a char cloth, collect tinder, learn a survival fire lay, and use to make a fire. Cook some food outdoors on an open fire and eat. Tuition: $125, Members $115
Sat. & Sun., April 12 & 13: Two One Day Classes in Blacksmithing/Edge Tool Making/Make Wood Chisels/Slicks and/or a Bowie Knife! Students will cover the basics of a beginning blacksmithing class. Under the guidance of master bladesmith Adriaan Gerber ( see a portfolio of his work here. Students harden shape their blades, a tang to fit their handles on. studnets may fir a handle to their knives, if time permits.Choose the one day class for $125 or the two day class for $250. Make one or two knives in two days, or a chisel/slick.
Sat. & Sun., April 19 & 20. Make a Mortise and Tenon Coffee Table in Steel. Students will cover the basics of a beginning blacksmithing class. Under the guidance of instructor Adriaan Gerber (Visit his website here) students will shape 3/4 inch stock shaping a tenon and then using a keyhole drift they will create a ortise to receive it. Metal wedges will be created to secure each joint. Tuition:$250 tools and materials provided.
By Group Request, Catapult Making (4 Hours) Construct a projectile thowing machine based on the design of Leonardo Da Vinci. This post and beam construction, using wooden pegs, will involve only the use of hand tools. The catapult measure 24" x 12" x 18". All materials and tools provided.
By Group Request, Make a Telegraph Key and Sounder Workshop (3 hours). With a simple candy tin and some hardware create this battery operated telegraph key for the purpose of sending Morse code. practice sending messages.
2014 19th Century Willowbrook Village Membership
Although we don't re-open for visitation until May, it isn't too early to get a membership or renew a membership, especially if you want to take advantage of the reduced tuition costs for our traditional arts workshops available to our membership! here
Read our new November, 2013 Newsletter with 2014 Adopt an Artifact, Building and/or Project Program introduction, adoption list, and adoption form as well as our 2014 Annual Giving Request Form here
Read the May 2013 Newsletter here.
Read the Annual 2012 Update here.
Read the July 2012 Update here.
Read the May 2012 Newsletter here.
2014 Adopt an Artifact, Building, and/or Project Program
View 2014 Adopt an artifact, Building, and/or Project Program details here.
View 2014 Adoptable Artifacts, Buildings, and/or Projects list here.
View 2014 Adoption Form here.
Our New 2014 School Field Trip Flyer here
Go to our "FIELD TRIP" webpage by scrolling down and clicking
Please take another minute to read and share the attached School Field Trip Flyer with a parent, a family member, an educator, or community group whose children would benefit from our unique school programs.
Please, give a child the opportunity to learn about the past, because without understanding it, you cannot plan your future. Willowbrook is the way life used to be. More information available here.
Homeschoolers and Kid Groups (Winter 2014)
We have a full schedule of workshop offerings. These are hands-on workshops that focus on traditional arts and crafts but some provide lessons in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Please contact us if your group would like to schedule a different date and time for these workshops. Contact us about group rates. More details about the following workshops can be found here
The Amos Straw Country Store will be newly stocked for the 2014 season with many items that are Made in Maine and Made in the USA. Don't forget to buy a hunk of our wonderful cheddar cheese and sour pickles served from a wooden barrel!
This two man saw is just one of many hands-on experiences we try to provide for our visitors.
This homemade and running Model T cord saw will be on loan from The Curran Homestead Living History Farm and Museum in Orrington, ME for the next three years. The wood elements of this rig will be replaced this winter ready and made ready for display and occasional cord wood making at Willowbrook starting this 2014 season!
This circa 1870s flat belt pulley powered apple crusher was re-wooded this past season by our talented staff. This will be on display and used for cider making at the museum in the 2014 season in conjunction with our twin screw cider press.
These telegraph keys and sounders were once used by a Western Electric at a railroad station. These will be operable at our new Titanic and Carpathia radio rooms. Send and receive Morse code!
One of our new interactive stations will provide the experience of building a Ferris wheel with an erector set. Sit with dad or mom and learn by doing.
This is our 1849 Abbott-Downing stagecoach in use in 1928.
A ride on our 1894 Armitage Herschell horse carousel is part of your visitor experience. Here adults only ride the steam powered carousel in 1911 at the acton Fairgraounds (Maine). Below is an original advertisement image from the carousel used between 1896-1922 in maine and other parts of New England. The steam engine you see here still runs the carousel; it has been converted to compressed air.
Pop-Up Art was a Victorian phenomenon;our paper enginnering workshops for school children, also available as a weekend group workshop on request, are informed by this. See the paper Jumbo ( P.T. Barnum's elephant) with a mechanical trunk operated from its tail. You can make this elephant in a 35 minute workshop on your class trip.
This knife with a tang style handle was created in one of our recent blade-smithing workshop. Classes are given regularly with master badesmith Adriaan Gerber. Contact us, if you are interested in taking one of these classes. See Adriaan Gerber's knives and other edge tools here.
Making knives entirely with hand tools.
These knives are wrought from repurposed spring steel.
Class work involves shaping a blade on a coal forge fire (we also use propane forges during the winter). You will polish and sharpen your blade before hardening it and eventually tempering the blade.
Create a sundial or other object from a pattern in our metalcasting classes.
In addition to aluminum, we have also been casting in bronze and brass.
Recent Projects and Developments
Recently, the museum received a long term loan of a theatrical set commissioned and used in a production of Titanic at the Lyric Theatre in Burlington, VT (see one of the props above).
The set was created by art directors Mary and Mike Kenny of South Burlington, VT. This 1912 re-creation of the radio room from the H.M.S. Titanic ocean liner was thoroughly researched and created in wood, metal and other materials.
Our plan is to create two radio rooms, the H.M.S. Titanic and Carpathia, so that students can send and receive Morse code by telegraph. These rooms will include a number of working telegraph keys that will be powered by batteries.
The Telephone Museum of Ellsworth, ME has been working on a project with us. As you might recall, there is a phone like this on the wall in the kitchen of the Dr. Isaac Trafton House. It has always been part of the static kitchen exhibit.
During the summer a telephone wire was run from this phone to the ice cream parlor where a long term loaned phone of similar design will be mounted courtesy of The Telephone Museum. Both kids and adults will be able to communicate between the two phones with other interactive play/learning planned with hand crank dynamos. See blog for more information.
A steel reinforced concrete slab has been built for the new smithy.
We disassembled and transported the 1930s blacksmith shop structure and its contents to Willowbrook. This will sit on the concrete slab.
The shop before disassembly. We will replace the asphalt shingle with a steel roof.
A steel reinforced concrete slab was completed, and we anticipate re-assembling the Tom Flagg smithy that we disassembled last season in Lincolnville, ME and transported to Willowbrook. We will construct two brick chimneys on the slab. Looking for donations of used brick and volunteers to help with the completion of this project. Much thanks to F.R. Carroll Cement of Limerick, ME for their generous donation of materials.
A motor, line shaft, and flat belt pulley powered machinist lathe was donated by Robin Gilpatrick. It was used by both his grandfather and recently departed father Cecil Gilpatrick of South Hiram, ME. This lathe, a drill press and other equipment will form the nucleus of a late nineteenth century machinist shop scenario at Willowbrook. With this donation came another sizeable anonymous one that includes a similar vintage Bridgeport milling machine, bandsaw, and other equipment, which we will move to the museum from Meriden, CT in the Spring of 2014.
This circa 1870s twin screw apple cider press was produced in Waterville, ME. As part of our Davis Family Foundation grant we will replace the two vertical supports as they have become decayed.
The press will be configured as a free standing apparatus and rest on a wooden platform in proximity to a similar vintage flat belt pulley driven apple crusher.
The crusher will be powered with a horse treadmill by visitors as a new interactive activity entitled "Hoof, Paw, Hand, and Foot Power" identifying some 19th century power sources for machinery: work dogs, goats, horses, and human beings.
In conjunction with our new working hand crank telephones, we will have a new interactive learning station that includes varying sizes of hand crank electric dynamos wired to lights and other electric fixtures. Students will have a lesson in how electricity is generated.
This is a zoetrope pattern that will be part of a new museum experience for 2014 school groups. Students will have the opportunity of producing a similar circular pattern and an assembly to spin it by hand and view the results in a new hands-on workshops made possible by a Davis Family Foundation grant. The circular pattern will receive a series of block prints representing subtle movements forwards by a human or animal figure.
When placed inside a viewing assemblage that students construct and spin the individual print fames meld together producing a motion picture. This and other visual devices producing "motion pictures" will be a theme for new hands-on workshops this coming season prefacing a yentatively planned July silent film festival.
There will be both crystal radio sets and working telegraph keys at one of our new interactive learning stations. Visitors may complete the circuit of the radio set by joining wires together and tune into an AM radio station ( we will be transmitting a progam on our campus to tune in to).
Visitors may also listen to radio programming from the 1930s while examining a collection of radios from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s on display in the Trades Building.
Have fun sending and receiving messages in Morse code at Willowbrook!
Dot-dot-dot, dash-dash-dash, dot-dot-dot.
Looking For Volunteers Who Like To Sew and Like Victorian Clothing and/or Free space and Loom for Weaving.
The museum has a a collection of both men's and women's clothing from the late 19th and early 20th century that we would like to exhibit around the museum. We have many dress bodices as well as mannikans that could be used for the purposes of display.
The dresses and other clothing pieces will need to be repaired and fitted using archival materials for the purposes of display under the guidance of the director.
Also, we have acquired a number of lage format weaving looms. We have space to set these up, and if someone were interested in using a loom for free for their own work at the museum, arrangements could be discussed.
If you are interested in an ongoing project to present these clothing treasures and to assist us in building a greater collection, and/or would be interested in free space and a loom for use at the museum, contact the museum director: (207)793-2784 or firstname.lastname@example.org.