Saturday, November 15, 2008

@ The Alice - December 19

On Friday, December 19 at 7:30 pm The Alice will be transformed into a far away Scandinavian garden, monastery, and mysterious forest when Martha Gallagher, The Adirondack Harper, performs The Christmas Rose. With Celtic harp in hand, Gallagher tells this unusual story through original music and spoken word, weaving together song and story, music and legend.

The concert is inspired by The Legend of the Christmas Rose, a story written by Sweden’s Selma Lagerlof. “My imagination was captured by this story the very first time I heard it, read by a Viking descendant by the light of the real candles that burned on his Christmas tree on a snowy winter night many years ago,” says Gallagher. The Scandinavian story takes place in a monastery garden, a poor village, and a deep, dark northern forest. There are thieves, monks, robber women, herbs, wild animals, and wilder children. There are the rich, the poor, the narrow-minded, and the open-hearted. There is danger, faith, mistrust, love and, of course, there are miracles. The tale is unusual, captivating and perfect for the darkest time of the year, when light and miracles abound throughout the many celebrations and traditions of the season. The concert is suitable for adults and older children; it is not intended for the attention span of young children. Gallagher says, “Although it’s basis is in Christian beliefs, the miracles of the heart; the “heart” of the story, transcends any one religion, making it a universal tale of faith, joy, hope and love.”

Gallagher has been sharing her spirited, distinctive, and richly varied music with audiences for over 30 years. Known in the northeastern region of New York, where she makes her home, as The Adirondack Harper, she has performed with such luminaries as six-time Grammy winners, The Chieftains. Her extensive solo tours have taken her around the US and into Canada, with several tours sponsored by The National Endowment for the Arts. She has been featured on numerous television and radio programs; most recent appearances include BBC Television, Northeast Public Radio, and Good Morning Arizona.

For more information on Martha Gallagher, please visit

Tickets are $5

Seating is limited at The Alice so reservations are required for this performance, 518-846-7336

Or reserve a seat by emailing us at!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Picture (and a few well-placed labels) is Worth...

When The Alice Board began planning to exhibit our collection of Japanese woodblock prints it became obvious that the room to transform into an exhibit space was the Weaving Room. This space has the best lighting to avoid damage to paper - fiber optic lighting. But first, everything had to be removed, walls needed painting, and windows had to be creatively covered to afford increased display area. With a capable and talented maintenance man like Steve Fessette everything is possible! Even to Steve, removal of the big Four-corner Post loom or "barn loom" from the Weaving Room seemed to be the element of the puzzle that would be the most challenging. The loom is a large piece, well-constructed, with tight mortise and tenon joints held together with wooden dowels, or pins.

The loom before dismantling...

The barn loom was made to be taken apart and moved occasionally. Intellectually, we could see it was possible to dismantle, move the loom, store it safely, and then put it all back together again after the exhibit. But none of us had ever tackled this puzzle before! If we took it apart, would we know how to put it together again... so many months later?

One Saturday in June we took on the project armed with labels, a camera, and four good brains! Stephanie Pfaff, Elizabeth Greeno, Steve Fessette and I carefully labeled every joint, took meticulous photographs, and slowly dismantled the loom.

A joins with A, B with B... and so on...

Since that day in June the thought of putting the barn loom back together again has preyed on my mind every now and again! With the weather quickly changing and the time to transform our exhibit space back into the Weaving Room upon us... well, today was the day! So Stephanie, Steve and I marched out to the loom and carried the pieces of the puzzle into the Weaving Room. The labels had stayed intact, and armed with the photographs of the dismantling process, we began to reassemble.

It's amazing how well equipped we were to complete the task! We had taken so much time in the process of taking the loom apart, that putting it back together was accomplished pretty quickly!

The loom among the Japanese prints... note that the windows are still covered.

The barn loom is back in its traditional home. Currently it is surrounded by Japanese prints, but will soon have its old mates back; spinning wheels, samplers and Federal settees... that is, until the NEXT exhibit transforms the Weaving Room, once again, into the Exhibit Space!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

School Days - Boire Family Donation

In May The Alice received two donations from the Boire family - Julie Duprey, Cecile Miller, Susan Mercier and Gary Boire donated these pieces to the museum in honor of their parents Orel and Theresa Boire. The student desk and 1927 Dictionary are originally from Chazy Central Rural School, where Orel worked as an electrician and Theresa was a reading volunteer. Orel acquired the objects when the old school was being razed in the 1960s. Julie, Cecile and Susan shared memories of having used the desk to play "school" as children.

The student desk is a solidly built piece of furniture - truly made to last! On a metal handle of the desk drawer below the seat is inscribed, ' "MOULTHROP" MADE BY LANGSLOW FOWLER COMPANY, ROSHESTER, NY'. Samuel Parker Moulthrop was a progressive and effective educator, a devoted Mason, Sunday school teacher, public speaker, Boy Scout Troop leader, and outdoorsman in Rochester, NY in the 1890s and 1900s.

'Colonel' Moulthrop, as he was affectionately called, developed the design for a desk with an adjustable top in 1905, to be used in Washington Grammar School where he served as School Principal. This desk offered more flexibility for the classroom over the previous use of benches, and was also a better seat for the student. The design attracted the interest of the Langslow Fowler Furniture Company, a maker of Arts & Crafts furniture, and they began producing this new style of desk a short time later. Our desk is about the size used by a kindergarten student, has a recessed pencil holder on the desktop and in the drawer, and a little metal holder for the student's name on the back of the chair.

The 'Funk & Wagnall New Standard Dictionary of the English Language' from 1927 is a large, heavy volume that was probably referenced by many students at CCRS during its heyday! "Prepared by More Than Three Hundred and Eighty Specialists and Other Scholars Under the Supervision of Isaac K. Funk, D.D., LL.D., Editor-in-Chief" this volume must have been a wonderful resource. With over 2800 pages the dictionary weighs at least 20 pounds (it would have been the perfect book to be placed under your shorter cousin to boost him or her up at the Thanksgiving table!) With small engravings on most pages, the volume also includes numerous full-page illustrations (some in full color) on such subjects as Aeronautics, Bacteria, Coats of Arms, Fire-fighting Appliances, and Wireless Telephony.

The desk is now right at home in the Childrens Room, and the fully illustrated Dictionary sits on the table in the Lincoln Library. The Board, Docents and Staff at The Alice are very grateful to the Boire siblings for their thoughtful donation.