The Sheldon Museum presents: A Story of Weight – The Otter Creek Trestle Collapse of 1893, a talk by Danielle Rougeau, president of the Henry Sheldon board and Middlebury College Archivist. She uses the Sheldon’s photo of the Otter Creek train trestle collapse of 1893 to talk about the town, the train industry, and the forces that shape the story behind that photographic moment. The covered wooden railway trestle spanning Otter Creek collapsed under the weight of a coal train in the early morning hours of Friday May 5, 1893. The engine, boxcars and five fully loaded coal hoppers made it safely onto land on the Water Street side, but as the next five fully loaded coal hoppers rolled onto the 200-foot span, the trestle gave way, sending the five cars to the bottom of the creek and derailing the remainder on the southern side. Less than thirty minutes earlier, a passenger train had safely crossed the bridge.
The Sheldon Museum presents: By Seen and Unseen Hands: Spirit Artists and their Art in the 21st Century, a talk by Associate Champlain College Professor Stephen Wehmeyer, Since the earliest days of its history, the American Spiritualist movement has been closely tied to the visual arts. Renowned mediums like the Bangs Sisters and the Campbell Brothers trafficked in “precipitated” paintings – artwork purportedly produced by spirit hands – while the emergent technology of photography offered believers (and the occasional charlatan) a new tool for capturing visible records of an invisible world. Spiritualism thrives in the present day, and the visual arts remain a vital part of the expressive culture of modern Spiritualists. Since the mid-1990s, Stephen has been exploring the artistic work of Mediums and Spirit Artists from Spiritualist communities in Western New York, Southern California, and New Orleans. This presentation explores the role and function of visual arts in the lives and work of these latter-day Spiritualists, whose vernacular visions of unseen worlds continue to intrigue, delight, and inspire.
The Sheldon Museum presents “The Hutchinson Family Singers: Huzzas, Horrors, and Bumps in the Night,” a talk by Dale Cockrell, a specialist in American popular music. The Hutchinson Family Singers were the best-known, most-loved, and most-hated musicians in nineteenth-century America. Their passionate commitment to talking and singing about the sisterhood of social reforms garnered them notoriety on all sides of a wide range of divides (including spiritualism). Too often overlooked, though, is that they bear a primary responsibility for the ways in which American popular music was then made, heard, and appreciated, legacies still much manifest today.
The Sheldon Museum presents Sinners, Prophets, and Seers: Moral Reform and the Second Great Awakening, a talk by Professor Bill Hart, Middlebury College. No longer governed by a king, the new republic of the United Sates required its citizens to be virtuous and selfless. However, by the first decade of the 19th century, many Americans experienced personal stress and cultural disorientation. Westward expansionism, the rise of individualism, northern emancipation, and technological change led many Americans to question their institutions, beliefs, and values. Many sought to change their personal behaviors and social practices, which gave rise to a series of reform movements. The goal was to perfect the individual, American society, and ultimately the world.
Professional fishing guide and co-owner of Stream and Brook Fly Fishing guide service, Brian Cadoret brings his knowledge of Addison County’s rivers along with a fish story or two in his talk, “Fly Fishing, Guiding and Kayaking in Vermont”. Using videos and demonstrations, Brian shares how days on the river have brought him joy in the outdoors and shaped his stewardship and dedication to Vermont conservation. Did you know Brian spends over 150 days a year fly fishing on lakes, ponds, rivers and streams in VT and NY?
In his enthusiastic and entertaining way, Warren Kimble shares his experiences and the role he played in making the arts a strong presence in his home-town community of Brandon, and his creative, artistic approach to fundraising for the Vermont Arts Council and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. He and Lorraine, his wife and business partner, have been deeply involved in Brandon’s civic life and philanthropy for over forty years. Did you know Warren was a cheerleader at Syracuse University where he received his B.F.A.? Warren is a trustee of the Sheldon Museum.
Archivist Eva Garcelon-Hart and avid ephemera collector, Lucinda Cockrell, present a broad overview of the Sheldon archives’ colorful ephemera collection. The plethora of broadsides, trade cards, posters, catalogs and other formats will provide a unique glimpse into 19th-century local and national business advertisements, medical practices, sports, and entertainment. Eva Garcelon-Hart has managed the Sheldon’s Stewart-Swift Research Center since 2011. She holds graduate degrees in Art History and Information Science from UC Berkeley. Lucinda Cockrell is a retired curator and archivist. She worked for more than thirty years in the museum, archives, and public history field in various states. Did you know that Eva worked for the Nobel Prize laureate poet Czesław Miłosz and for pictorial collections at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley and Lucinda is co-author of the recently published book How to Weed Your Attic: Getting Rid of Junk without Destroying History?
Artist and teacher Amy Oxford traces the origins of punch needle rug hooking, a craft that started in the 1880s, and will go on to discuss its growth and popularity, drastic decline, 1970’s Vermont revival, and the current international punch needle craze that has swept social media. Did you know Amy invented her own rug making tool and in 2013 started the world’s first punch needle rug hooking school in Cornwall, where she offers classes to students who come from all over the world? Recorded 3/20/19.