There are only two more weekends to view the new Art Austerlitz gallery and the new exhibits at Old Austerlitz, so if you haven’t stopped by, please do. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from our visitors this season, and thought we’d share a few of the things – sometimes surprising things – that people found interesting.
The first photo shows a rare multi-spout whale oil/lard lamp. Made of tin, the lamp has a sculptural quality that always surprises our guests. When filled with oil or lard, the lamp can provide a significant amount of light that will last through the night. While the lamp can be used indoors (with good ventilation), this type of lamp was often used for working outdoors and for night fishing.
The second photo above shows just a small selection from our amazing kitchen/cooking collection. This collection was largely assembled by Alice Corbin and Norma Edsall and generously donated to the society. A highlight of this year’s tour is when Michael Rebic demonstrates the use of some of the more unusual items.
We all know about the quality of French wine, French food, and French fashion, but who would have thought that a French mousetrap would cause a sensation in the late 1800’s? This sign, pointing to the floor, explains what the fuss was all about.
Here is the rather complex French “Marty Trap.” (Notice the mousehole in our exhibit space baseboard.)
This exhibit shows the difference between quill pens and dip pens. Dip pens were invented in 1822, but were not widely used in America until the 1860’s and 70’s. Both quill and dip pens almost forced the writer to write in an elegant manor — and we show several examples. Incidentally, ball point pens were not invented until 1938.
This odd contraption is a pipe rack (notice how long early clay pipes were, sometimes as long as 17 or 18 inches). “When pipes became foul with tobacco juice they were not thrown away, but were laid, as many as two or three dozen at a time, in a rack and then placed in a very hot oven until thoroughly baked, when they would be taken out quite clean and more agreeable to smoke than a new pipe.” The devices were also used on the hearth. (Thank you to Phil Palladino for the donation of clay pipes.)
Another rare item (and we have two) is this 18th century “cup dog.” Used in the hearth, the “cup” would hold small pots with sauces or porridge to keep them warm.
Entering the gallery, this 36″ x 36″ work of art is what artist Peter Bradley Cohen calls “Sugar-coated photography.” The piece is titled “Michael, 2019” and while it has been sold, it can still be viewed until September 6th.
This beautiful, intricate and delicate installation by Joan Grubin is made of paper. When a slight breeze occurs, the piece gently undulates.
Three works of art on paper by Artist Zack Neven.
Fundraising Update: As many of you know, we have set a goal of raising $20,000 this summer to help offset the loss of income from the cancelled Blueberry Festival and we are almost there. We are happy to report that to date we have raised $19,076. A listof donors is available on the website under the Support tab. THANK YOU to all who have donated. If you would like to donate please go to www.oldausterlitz.org
Gardening: We can use a few hands to help lay black plastic in front of several buildings where we will establish or expand beds to plant bushes. We can also use a few gardeners with loppers to help clean-up the growth around the schoolhouse. The Shop: We need a few individuals who can assist us in taking year-end inventory. Exhibit Research: Did you know that the 1770’s was the era of big hair, or that men in the eighteenth century used curlers to style their wigs? We need researchers to assist with a new exhibit on hair. If you have a home computer, you can help us research information and images. If you are interested in any of these volunteer opportunities, please contact Jeff Harris at: [email protected]
Autumn in Austerlitz: Due to the continued Covid-19 pandemic and the state restrictions on large gatherings, we are sad to announce that the Autumn in Austerlitz Festival will not be held this year.
Remember: We are open Saturdays & Sundays, Noon – 4pm through September 6th, 2020We hope to see you soon.
August 1st and 2nd, 2020, was opening weekend at Old Austerlitz and it was a great success! Since we have a lot of photos, we are going to let the photos do the speaking (although, full disclosure, we’re not going to show you everything because we want to entice you to come and see for yourself). Old Austerlitz will be open every Saturday & Sunday through September 6th, Noon-4pm.
A special thank you to the following people for their amazing work in helping to get Old Austerlitz open during these unusual times: Ryan Turley & Matthew Papas, Gale & Bruce Stockman, Michael Rebic, Phil Palladino, Penny Metsch, Vivian & Gary Cunningham, Margaret Hover.
That’s Ryan Turley at the gallery entrance.(Notice the beautiful entry hall.)
Christa Karen and her daughter Hannah Karen
Matthew Papas, Margaret Hover, and Nick Naber taking care of the money and signing up new members.
Inside the gallery
The updated Morey-Devereaux House
There are surprises behind every door!
New barn displays
The Shop at Old Austerlitz
Cellist Will Hutnick – Will is also one of the artists in the show.
Fundraising Update: We have set a goal of raising $20,000 this summer to help offset the loss of income from the cancelled Blueberry Festival and we are getting close! We are happy to report that to date we have raised $18,025. A list of donors is available via the supporters tab. THANK YOU to all who have donated. If you would like to donate, and for further information, please go to our donate tab.
Remember: We are open Saturdays & Sundays through September 6th, 2020 We hope to see you soon.
That is our goal – to raise $20,000 this summer for the operating expenses of Old Austerlitz. As many of you know, the Blueberry Festival has been cancelled this year due to Covid-19. The festival is our primary fundraising event of the year—we had expected to raise $33,000.
We are asking all of our members and friends to consider making a donation of any amount. The good news is that we have received our first donations amounting to $1,020 – we will keep you posted as donations come in.
Donations can be mailed to the Austerlitz Historical Society, PO Box 144, Austerlitz, NY 12017 or better still, while you’re thinking about it; you can make an immediate donation via our Donate tab. We thank you in advance for caring about and supporting our wonderful community organization. The names of donors will be listed on our website.
What are we doing with the money?
The funds will be spent on the maintenance of the buildings, hourly wages for our part-time employees, utilities, insurance premiums, gas for our lawn mowers, office, kitchen and bathroom supplies, etc… Any additional money will be used for our programming and special projects.
When will we open?
We are taking a leap-of-faith and planning for an August 1st opening of Old Austerlitz. Of course, this will depend on the progress we make in NY State regarding the virus and an okay from the government.
The opening means that our buildings, new art gallery and shop will be open to small groups of people – fortunately our expansive grounds allow for visitors to spread out and to view Old Austerlitz self-paced. And please remember that members and their guests are permitted, even now, to walk about the grounds and take a peek at the new exhibits being created and the new Austerlitz Bicentennial Bell, the tower is nearing completion; just remember to follow social distancing guidelines.
As you might well have imagined, the Austerlitz Historical Society will be cancelling some of our scheduled summer events due to the pandemic. This is a time when we have been forced to look at things with a new perspective as we make our way through this difficult time. AHS continues to look to the future and prepare for a time when we will once again be able to welcome visitors. We’re currently in the midst of creating exhibits and exploring the possibility of setting up outdoor activities which would easily allow for social distancing.
Even during these difficult times, work at Old Austerlitz goes on. Tim Hawley is creating a base to display a beautiful weathervane. Clarke Olsen is working on rustic wood stanchions for the barn exhibit, and Francene Samuels will soon begin scraping and painting the south side of the Austerlitz church.
One of the things we discovered when reviewing the period rooms in the Morey-Devereaux House is that our collection of lighting sources was woefully inadequate. Here is a recent acquisition:
What is it?
It is a pewter whale oil lamp created by Roswell Gleason (1799-1887). Gleason set up shop in Dorchester, MA and created this piece circa 1825. His wares were in high demand and he sold his works up and down the east coast. And here is a portrait of the rather elegant Mr. Gleason:
As lighting was primarily provided by candlelight or oil lamps during our period, we are also looking for brass candlesticks. Of course, if you happen to own a few and would like to donate them—we wouldn’t refuse. We’ve seen a few appropriate pairs in the $45-$75 range, if you’d like to sponsor their purchase, that would be appreciated too! We are using the wonderful handmade beeswax candles made by Frances Culley of Spencertown.
If you’d like to help with some of our projects we need someone to help research the making of butter—all you’d need is a home computer. We plan a butter exhibit and would like to explain the butter making process from colonial times to about 1930. We’d also like to research butter making items that we can acquire for our collection.
Another way to contribute is to scour your basement and/or barn for old worn-out brooms—yes, you read that correctly. We would like to collect antique and vintage brooms and whisk brooms for our display on broom making. If you are interested in any of these projects contact me at [email protected]
As we settle in for the remainder of the long winter and welcome spring we are actively exploring new possibilities. Listed below are some of the projects planned for this year. We will send out further information as details are finalized.
ART GALLERY OPENS IN THE CHURCH WILD AUSTERLITZ CELEBRATES THE BOUNTY OF OUR AREA OLD CRIMINALS OF AUSTERLITZ OUR MOHICAN CONNECTION AHS COLLECTION EXHIBITS CONSTRUCTION/PLACEMENT OF THE MENEELY BELL HOUSE MOVIE NIGHT ON THE GROUNDS OF THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY FLEA MARKET- JUNE 13TH THE BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL-JULY-26th Autumn in Austerlitz presents: WILD AUSTERLITZ -Celebrating the bounty of our area. OCTOBER-3rd.
The Austerlitz Historical Society will host a Flea Market and Tag Sale on the site of Old Austerlitz. Though vendors will take the majority of spaces, we will once again we offer members a table for $15.00 (while supplies last ) to sell household items only. There will be baked goods, coffee and food trucks on the premises.
Whether you have household items to get rid of or are a flea market vendor, call or email us for more information.
On December 7th from 1-3 pm the Austerlitz Historical Society will open it’s doors and celebrate the season . The Morey- Devereaux House will be decorated for the holidays with fires lit and refreshments served. As a thank you to all our members and volunteers, we will have a wreath decorating activity (reservations needed) in the Morey-Devereaux house and the Gift Shop will be open, offering a 10% discount to all members and volunteers. Stop by for a visit, decorate a wreath and stroll through our unique gift shop. Reservations for the wreath decorating activity are needed by 11/25/19.
Adults-$7.00 Children under 12- Free No pets please
This year’s Autumn in Austerlitz Festival is held on Saturday, September 28th, 11-4 pm. Rain or Shine. Admission is $7 for adults and children under 12 are free. With attendance averaging at well over 750, the event features a wide array of live demonstrations from sheep shearing to butter making, antiques, live music, entertainment for children, unique vendors, silent auction, quilt raffle and a variety of hot and cold foods to satisfy your hunger including our community soup station featuring over 6 home made soups.
During the summer, we start listing our Crafters, Food Vendors and Entertainers who will be participating in the year’s festival. Please check back for updates. If you’d like to see the vendors that have been at past Autumn in Austerlitz Festivals, please visit our archives page by clicking HERE
Autumn in Austerlitz began in 1997 as a home grown festival to raise money for the Austerlitz Historical Society to expand their educational programs.
Vendor space for our 2019 festival is now OPEN. If you are interested in applying to become a vendor please contact us by email at [email protected] or by calling 518-392-0062.
Following is a list of our 2019 participants as of 9/10/19:
Children’s Area Bubble blowing Pumpkin Carving Magic Show-In the Music Tent Corn Husk Doll Making Corn Kernel play area Wanda Halton’s -Crafting with Natural Materials.
NEW – Ed Simonson and Friends-OLD MACHINES NEW- Antique Tractors NEW- Windsor Chair Making with John Porritt Wild Goose Chase NE, New Lebanon, NY Wanda Halten – Heritage Poultry Breeds, Canaan, NY Berkshire Hills and Dales Spinning Guild – Lee, MA Blacksmithing in the Forge Tin Smith-Walter Fleming-Ballston Lake, NY Cider Making
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Robert Herron, one of the original founders of the Austerlitz Historical Society. Bob continued to be an active member and strong presence in all aspects of the society. He will be sorely missed.
A Memorial Service will be held on August 17th at 12:30 pm, on the grounds of the Austerlitz Historical Society.
Famed Columbia County Auctioneer, Preservationist and
Robert Herron (August 3, 1927—June 29, 2019)
Known by many as the “Mayor of Austerlitz,” Robert Herron of
Austerlitz, NY died on Saturday, June 29th, 2019 at the age of 91. A life-long resident of Austerlitz and
well-known expert on American antiques, auctioneer and local philanthropist,
Robert “Bob” Herron was born on August 3rd, 1927 to Mary Varney—a descendant
of an old New England family which settled in Austerlitz by the end of the
eighteenth century—and William C. Herron, whose family moved to Austerlitz in
the mid-nineteenth century.
A veteran of the U.S. Navy who later attended the University
of Denver, “Bob” Herron began collecting early American furniture as a young boy
and later ran a highly-successful auction house. One of the premier auctioneers
in New England, in 1997 the New York Times wrote that Herron had found “one of
the few major discoveries of the year”—an important collection of early
American furniture which brought antique dealers and connoisseurs from across
the country to the small hamlet of Austerlitz.
Continuing his family’s long tradition of serving the
community and fostering its civic life, Herron and his good friend, Richard
Mugler, Jr., were responsible for the preservation of the local schoolhouse,
the Austerlitz Church, a number of houses in the hamlet and the establishment
of the Austerlitz Historical Society. A generous benefactor, Herron donated
both funds and land to the Historical Society, which now boasts a collection of
late 18th and early 19th century buildings and a local
history collection. In 1987, the New York Times—along with a number of other
media outlets—reported on the restoration of his early house.
“Bob” also made substantial donations to community
organizations, most recently to the Columbia County Land Conservancy and for
the building of the hamlet’s new firehouse.
Known for his keen eye, “sharp as a tack” mind, and
unfailing wit up to his death, Herron will be missed by his family, friends,
neighbors and colleagues and the many volunteers he recruited in his life-long
quest to preserve the best of this country’s and Columbia County’s history.
He is preceeded in death by his brother, William Lee Herron
(1922-2007), and survived by his nieces Ruth Horak, Janet DeMonaco, Janet’s
husband Louis, and his nephew William Jr.’s widow Cheryl.
A memorial service will be held on the grounds of the Austerlitz Historical Society, at a time to be determined this summer. For further information, please check the historical society’s web site www.oldausterlitz.org or call 518-392-0062.
Memorial Donations may be made out to the Austerlitz Historical Society or the Austerlitz Cemetery (please indicate your preference), and sent to :
The Austerlitz Historical Society-PO Box 144- Austerlitz, NY 12017