Current Events


On Saturday and Sunday, November 13th and 14th, the Austerlitz Historical Society presents the annual Holiday House & Shop. Let all the stress of the past year go and come and jump into the holiday spirit!

The historic Morey-Devereaux House will be open with the period rooms decorated for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Guest decorators have each taken on a room and the results are truly wonderful–some of the decorations are available for purchase.

The house will also host a bake sale and the famous soup kitchen, with a wide assortment of delicious homemade soups available for easy takeout. While perusing the house to enjoy the decorations (and get a few ideas) you will notice that there are items for sale — don’t forget to check-out the beautiful cards and Advent calendars imported from England.

Additionally, the historic Harvey House, which houses The Shop at Old Austerlitz, will be open with all sorts of bargains and new holiday treats, everything from historic toys, antiques, jewelry, and art. It is the perfect spot to pick-up those unusual and unique gifts.

Admission is free and all purchases benefit the ongoing programs and maintenance of the society.

The Holiday House & Shop will be open on Saturday, November 13th from 10am until 4pm, and on Sunday, November 14th from 12 Noon until 4pm. Old Austerlitz is located at 11550 State Route 22, in the hamlet of Austerlitz.


New Herb Class



JULY 25th, 2021 at 2:00 PM in the Morey-Devereaux Barn

Allison Guertin Marchese

Local history author, Allison Guertin Marchese, will reveal some little-known stories of Columbia County and Hudson Valley history on Sunday, July 25 at 2 pm in the Morey-Devereaux Barn at Old Austerlitz. This is our first in-person “Talk” of the season. The event is free and all are welcome. Allison is the author of two books, The Hidden History of Columbia County, NY (Arcadia/History Press 2014), and Hudson Valley Curiosities (Arcadia/History Press 2017).
Among the intriguing subjects of Ms. Marchese’s talk are the sulphur springs of the county and the spiritualist movement that swept through the City of Hudson taking in its wake a prominent lawyer and judge. She will also expose a little-known fact about Eleanor Roosevelt and the secret behind a special revolver Mrs. Roosevelt received as a gift from her bodyguard. Then there is the story of the hamlet of Neversink which was submerged under water to form a reservoir for New York City. Allison will also provide a sneak preview of her forthcoming book Lost Columbia County to be published in the summer of 2022 by Arcadia/History Press.
Allison Marchese is a graduate of Fordham University with a degree in communications and creative writing. She spent much of her professional career in public relations and fundraising for non-profits. In her work as a writer, Allison has created plays and written short fiction, feature articles, and essays on the people, places and events in her adopted home of Columbia County, NY where she has lived for 30 years. She and her husband live in a former 1740s roadhouse/stagecoach stop in Malden Bridge, NY.
GIFTS!(But what are they?)
We would like to thank Dorothy Meppen for her generous donations to our museum collections.
What in the world is it (above photo)? This is an apple parer (peeler) made by the Reading Hardware Company of Reading PA. Originally patented in 1868, this improved model ’78 was one of their more successful products. The apple pared one apple at a time, but with experience, a good operator could peel ten apples per minute.
Industrialization and the use of iron during the 19th century witnessed an explosion of patented creativity. Over 100 apple parer patents were granted from 1850 to 1890.
When the Reading Hardware Co. was liquidated in 1950, Sterling Withers purchased the patterns and remaining inventory for the ’78. Withers continued to make the ’78 until he sold his rights to Lehman Hardware Co. of Kidron Ohio in 1993. Lehman’s offered their updated ’78 from 1993 to 2020 in their famous catalog.
Dorothy Meppen also donated the following item, can you guess what is is?
The item is an approximately 6″ long glazed stoneware mold, circa mid-nineteenth century. Such molds were used for cold jellied desserts, aspic, blancmange or similar food. (Blancmange is a sweet dessert commonly made with milk or cream and sugar thickened with rice flour, gelatin, corn starch or Irish moss, and often flavored with almonds. If you are up for a challenge, Martha Stewart has a blancmange recipe HERE.)


The Book Club meets at AHS at 10 AM on the last Saturday of the month, all are welcomed.
We will be discussing The Language of Flowers on July 31st at 10 AM. The following book is: A Piece of the World which we will discuss on August 28th at 10am.
If you would like more information about the Book Club, please contact Margaret at: [email protected]
The MUSEUM BUILDINGS, ART GALLERY & SHOP are open from Noon till 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays during the summer. There are always new things to see and remember that admission is free to members.
You Are Invited To
Worship Service at the Church – Sunday, August 1 at 10:00 amFollowed by aReception at the Town Hall at 11:30 am(Come to one or both events)5219 County Route 7, Spencertown, NY


Loom restoration in progress


Last Wednesday, Jack Sobon gave his first of three talks on The Hidden Secrets of Your House and Buildings. Jack is a very good speaker and the feedback was amazing. If you would like to join the next talks on April 21st & April 28thsign up HERE. The talks are free and easy to join.


May 1st is the opening day of our first art gallery show of the season. We still need a gallery assistant, for most Saturdays, 12-4PM, May – September. The pay is $15 per hour and we will train you. We also need a few volunteers for fill-in dates. If you are interested please contact Ryan at [email protected]
Museum docents and shop attendants are needed on the main campus for our summer season (June through August). Old Austerlitz will be open Saturdays & Sundays from 12noon till 4pm. The pay is $15 per hour. Again, we also need a number of volunteers for fill-in dates. If you are interested please contact Jeff at jjeffhar[email protected].


Old Austerlitz will hold a Barn Sale on Saturday May 22nd, 2021, 9am – 3pm. Everything must go, so there will be some very good bargains.
If you would like to donate items, you can drop them off at the Morey-Devereaux Barn (the large barn) Saturday May 1st from 12noon till 2pm, or Saturday May 15th from 12noon till 2pm.Items that sell well include: antiques and vintage items, jewelry, small antique/vintage tables and chairs, vintage garden items.
Items that do not sell well (and therefore we do not accept) include: appliances, electronics, books, CDs, stuffed animals, clothing, shoes, large furniture.

The Festivals

Due to the ongoing restrictions and the limitations as to the amount of people we can have on our property, The Blueberry Festival has once again been cancelled for 2021. Instead, we will host smaller events this season (the Barn Sale being the first).
We are very hopeful that with more and more people getting their vaccine shots we will be able to hold our festival in the fall. We will expand this festival and the theme will be WILD AUSTERLITZ: Autumn in Austerlitz. The “Wild” refers to nature appreciation, hunting, fishing, camping, kayaking, bicycling, birdwatching, archery, traditional crafts, etc. If your club, organization, or business would like to participate, please contact Margaret Hover at [email protected]


As you can imagine, fundraising remains a real challenge this year, but we want to keep our momentum going. Please remember to renew your membership this year when you receive your renewal notice. If you are not a member, you can join us HERE.
Donations, above and beyond membership dues, keep us going. Donations make it possible for us to acquire artifacts, produce exhibits, present educational programs, maintain our buildings and grounds, and underwrite our special events. A donation of any amount is greatly appreciated.
You can mail a check to: Austerlitz Historical Society, PO Box 144, Austerlitz, NY 12017 or, if you prefer, you can donate online: DONATIONS
We thank you for your generous support.

Jack Sobon to Give Series of Talks

The Austerlitz Historical Society is proud to host Jack Sobon, an architect and master craftsman, who will deliver three talks, April 14th, 21st and 28th, on the history and development of timber framing in New York and New England.

The series of talks entitled: The Hidden Secrets of Your House and Buildings: English or Dutch? will be of especial interest to owners of historic houses built before the late 1800s and will examine the two predominant techniques used to erect houses and buildings at the time: English and Dutch. The choice of technique can reveal much about the ethnicity of the builder and the house’s original owner. The third talk, The English Barn, will be of particular interest to barn owners and enthusiasts.

Jack Sobon is one of the leading experts on traditional timber framing in the United States. Sobon has published four books (among them: Historic American Timber Joinery, A Graphic Guide and Hand Hewn: The Traditions Tools, and Enduring Beauty of Timber Framing) and numerous articles on the subject and has lectured extensively.
A founding director of the Timber Framer’s Guild of North America and the Traditional Timber Frame Research and Advisory Group, Sobon has devoted his 41-year career to understanding the craft of timber framing. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Sobon teaches and consults internationally on traditional building structures and timber-framing techniques. He is currently restoring a Dutch house recently discovered in Hillsdale, NY.

Talks are free of charge and will be presented via Zoom (if you haven’t used Zoom, it’s simple and free to use, and we have instructions on our Talks page). Each of the three talks requires a separate registration. To register for any or all of the three talks go to our website and REGISTER HERE.

An Exciting Season at ART AUSTERLITZ

Last year we held our inaugural show of contemporary art at Art Austerlitz, the new gallery housed in the historic 1853 Austerlitz Christian Church at Old Austerlitz. The juxtaposition of contemporary art in the historic setting was stunning! This year the gallery will hold it’s first full season with five spectacular shows curated by Ryan Turley.
Ruth Freeman, INCANDESCENT YET FLORESCENT, Acrylic on Canvas 30×40 in., 2019
The initial show, Throwing Shapes, opens May 1, 2021 with an opening reception from 12 noon – 4 pm. Works by Ruth Freeman, Joan Grubin, and Ghost of a Dream will be exhibited. The show will run May 1 – May 23.
Ghost of a Dream (Adam Eckstrom and Lauren Was), 3 Rainbows Phone, Mixed media installation.
Opening on June 5, 2021 solo works by Liz Nielson will be exhibited. Liz Nielsen’s work is a contemporary application of one of the best known and most engaging avant-garde photographic processes, the photogram, whereby an image is created without a camera by placing objects directly onto photographic paper and exposing them to light. The exhibit will include photograms and sculptural explorations and will run through June 27th.
Liz Nielsen, Reaching Out, Analog Chromogenic Photogram, on Fujiflex, Unique, 50 x 73 in., 2020.
Line, Mass, Form opens on July 3rd and will run through July 25th. Artists include Stuart Farmery, Zach Neven, Alon Koppel, and Eric Wolf.
PATTERNS opens August 7th and runs through August 29th with artists: Will Hutnick, Will McLeod, Mark Olshansky, and Padma Rajendran.
ROUTINES is a solo exhibit of work by Dana Piazza and will open on September 4th and run through September 27th.
Will McLeod, Ambidextrous Loss, 111 x 70 x 1.5 in., Triptych, Fabric on screen, 2019
Alon Koppel, 8 seconds of track / 0.4 seconds of train, Digital C Print, 30 x 60 in, 2021
In addition to these five shows, we also have a few surprises in store! Sculptures will be placed on the grounds of Old Austerlitz and there will be a special exhibit in the Morey-Devereaux Barn. Throughout the season we will update you on these artists and shows. For information on dates and times of upcoming shows check the Art Austerlitz page on our website.

Notes From MRS. RUNDELL:

Mrs. Frank Rundell, Sr. wrote a column for The Chatham Courier, focused on life in Spencertown, from the 1940’s through 1972.

The Peddlers Return

Some of us remember the days when come spring, we heard the cheery notes of the fish peddler’s horn, as he sold from door-to-door the night’s catch of herring; or the fumbling sound of the tin peddler’s cart as he came bumping along over the rutty roads when he made his first spring visit.

The tin peddler never heralded his approach with a horn or the peculiar sing-song voice of the city rag man. Oh no, his was a dignified entrance. For weeks, women had been looking out the kitchen door and windows for this big, jolly, fat man, and his big, fat horse and his big, red, wagon that held such treasures. All winter rags had been sorted and put in burlap bags. The white rags brought more money than the colored. Came a warm spring morning, word was passed along, mayhap by a farmer taking his grist to the mill, that the tin peddler was on his way. And so it was… women were waiting beside the road with the winter’s accumulation of rags and paper to exchange for glassware, brooms, and tins.

Of course, the pack peddler also made his first spring appearance and was a welcome guest because at some places he spent the night and slept in the woodhouse chamber. A story is told of one of these peddlers, evidently a new one in this section, and Sam Mallory, who lived in Punsit many years ago on the present Helmrath place. The peddler had come into the house and opened his pack, spreading its contents on the kitchen floor as was their way of doing. Sam Mallory was a large, white-haired man, evidently rather severe looking, but fond of his joke. So, ruffling up his white hair, he came into the room, whetting a huge butcher knife, and shouted, “Some folks say I’m crazy but I’m not.” The terrified peddler, leaving his pack, was out the door and gone before anyone could stop him.
The fish peddler was looked for and welcomed. The taste of fresh fish was relished after a winter diet of mostly pork and salt mackerel. But fish had to be fried and the familiar, heavy iron frying pan had to be washed, so the tin peddler meant something new after looking at the same old things all winter. Even if only bread tins, they were bright and shining.

Also with the coming of spring, along with these various peddlers, came the Singer sewing machine man, who drove from Albany with a horse and business wagon, carrying a sewing machine in the back. There is at least one of these machines in this town today that was bought from this man, and it is still going strong.

Then there was the loud-talking, swashbuckling fellow driving a mule team “clippety-cloppin” along selling an improved cookstove, The Home Comfort. He, too, had one of his stoves in the back of his wagon. One of the improvements was the oven door that opened from the top. This man would demonstrate the sturdiness of this kitchen wonder by throwing the lids against a stone wall or any hard object that was handy, and opening the oven door and standing on it.

And so we come to the time when every once in a while some woman would get the urge to have some new silver, a Morris chair, desk, or other articles too numerous to mention, by getting up a Larkin soap order. You were visited at your home and asked to buy the Larkin products. These articles were many and varied. There was a soap powder…the name is forgotten…but it was one of the first, along with Pearlene.
The toilet soap was called Larkin Modjeska. A young man who lived in this town, on being asked by one of these Larkin solicitors, would he not like to buy some of his wonderful smelling toilet soap, replied, “No thank you, we have a large barrel of soft soap in the woodshed which I much prefer.”

The prizes obtained in this way were good, the furniture sturdy and well-made. Some of it is still in use in homes in this town. The teacher’s desks in the schoolhouse were obtained in this manner, by a teacher and two or three pupils. A certain-type “settin’ room” Larkin desk was seen recently at one of the town auctions. It was standing among some broken furniture looking lonely and forlorn, but oh, so familiar. Putting aside the thought to pass it by unnoticed, as you might pass a disreputable person you knew, you stop and say, “Hello, how are all the folks?” If it could have spoken it would have said, “Not so good, there are only a few of us left.”

Mr. Larkin has long since gone to his well-deserved rest, the last tin peddler came through this town many years ago, and it’s longer still since we saw the last pack peddler. The sellers of stoves and sewing machines are also gone, along with all the rest of the ways of doing things in yesteryear.


We would like to welcome Wendy Diskin and Barbara Perlmutter to the Board of Trustees. Wendy has volunteered at Old Austerlitz/Austerlitz Historical Society for many years and has served as a board member in the past. Barbara has also volunteered for many years and this will be her first term serving as a board member.

Will there be a Blueberry Festival? The staff and board continue to monitor the situation. As of this date such large gatherings are not permitted by NY State.


By Jeffrey Harris

It is with deep sadness that I announce the death of Anne Cipkowski. Anne, a native to our area (Copake Falls), served as director of the Austerlitz Historical Society for three years.
In the spring of 2020 Anne informed me that she had not been feeling well. After many doctor visits and what seemed like endless tests, she was eventually diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Despite the diagnosis, I was amazed at her grace and calm. Anne loved the Historical Society and it’s members and continued working for as long as she could. She would often call me with concerns about this-or-that at Old Austerlitz but eventually I had to tell her “Anne, these things are really not so important.” I think that Anne knew this better than I, but she felt a sense of responsibility to her position. In the summer, she finally had to resign.
When I asked Anne if she had adequate support to handle her health situation she replied, “I have so much support, I could not have asked for a better husband and children—they are right there with me.”
I had my first real conversation with Anne at a Blueberry Festival. She was new to the job and what a way to begin! As many of you know, planning and executing the festival is no easy task. She was running here and running there: making sure that vendors were in their proper places and happy, as well as making sure there was enough room for the ducks! I had just stepped out of the shop, when Anne approached me still glancing at her clipboard. “How do you think it’s going?” she asked. The festival looked beautiful, and I told her so. “Look around Anne, I have never seen so many people and they’re all smiling.” She gave me that big Anne grin. I knew she was proud, and deservedly so.
Anne’ s gift was her love for people and conversation, and the two almost always go together. She spent many hours talking with Bob Herron (one of the Society’s principal founders) learning about Austerlitz history, soothing Bob’s concerns, and figuring out what not to do! Whether talking with members, book club participants, or visitors who happened by, Anne would leave everyone happy that they had a conversation with her.
Anne is survived by her husband, Todd Hoyt, her six children: Sabrina, Kayla, Whitney, Alec, Dylan, and Lucas, the many children to whom she served as a foster mother over the years, and her brother Ken Burdick.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to Todd, and all of her children and family. We are so thankful for the time we had with Anne, she will be greatly missed.

Anne in her garden


The Shop at Old Austerlitz all ready for the holidays
Get some of that holiday shopping done before Thanksgiving! This Saturday and Sunday (November 21st and 22nd only) the shop will be open from 12 noon until 4pm.
There are lots of great gifts and wonderful bargains. We have some unique items for Christmas and Hanukah, as well as art, jewelry, toys, stocking stuffers, vintage and antique items – and most important, chocolate gold coins! The place is absolutely packed! (Just remember to bring your mask.)

Thanksgiving Food from our past (some a bit questionable)

We love vintage ads, they are actually great historical documents. Here we’ve picked a few Thanksgiving ads from the 1940’s thru 1970’s. Please note that we have not tested any of the recipes, so you’re on your own.

Why bother with all those pesky fresh vegetables? Simply throw everything together into one loaf!
A new way to serve cranberries:
It probably tastes great (with all those marshmallows), but we’ve seen better presentations.
If you’ve waited too late to buy that turkey, there’s always Spam.
Yet, more ways to serve cranberries. We have never seen a recipe quite like this one — surely it deserves some kind of an award!
Who knew that Dr. Pepper could be served as a warm punch?
This may be a better option:
Jello is always festive and offers the best solution as to what to do with all those leftovers.
When all else fails, there are always good old-fashioned TV dinners.


Mrs. Frank Rundell, Sr. wrote a column for The Chatham Courier, focused on life in Spencertown, from the 1940’s through 1972.
The store was filled with Thanksgiving shoppers when a woman was heard to say, “Oh I almost forgot the cider! Can’t have Thanksgiving dinner without that!” So the lady goes happily on her homeward way, her jug of pasteurized cider snuggled in between the frozen turkey, prepared dressing, various mixes, frozen vegetables, five pounds of potatoes, and three pounds of apples.

One’s mind, however, goes back to the days of yesterday when fertile farms of the Punsit Valley had filled the barns with hay and grain, the cellars with apples and vegetables, nuts were in the attic, corn was in the bin, and several cider mills were running full time. Load after load of apples were being shoveled into bins from which they rolled down and were caught between two rollers studded with nails. The ground-up apples with the juice were emptied into a huge vat which, when full, was allowed to stand overnight. Then it was pressed between wooden racks and layers of burlap. (The best cider was made by using rye straw instead of burlap.)

When the barrel of cider was brought home from the mill it was put in the backyard and the bung taken out. Here it remained until it worked itself clear, usually so timed that by Thanksgiving the cider was a cold, clear, breezy, sparkling drink… “fit for the Gods!”
However, there was another angle to this cider making. Not every barrel was brought home; some were left at the mill and allowed to turn into hard cider or applejack. The rule for making the latter was “frozen twice and twice drained.” Since in some homes a man’s wife would not allow either of these drinks in the cellar, the friendly cider maker helped the individual in whose home such a condition existed by storing his extra barrel of cider in his own cellar. Each barrel or keg had the owner’s name on it. Each had a glass on top, and, on occasion, when coming to town or drawing logs to the mill on a cold winter day, a man would stop by, go down the cellar…the outside way…draw a glass of his special brew and from a bag of eggs which he had stored there, take one, break it in the cider, and drink it down.

A man whose father once operated a cider mill in Spencertown and who obligingly came to the rescue of his restricted brothers by harboring their barrels of secret sin, said, “I never lost the opportunity of going down the cellar with these men when they came in for their drink, for I was completely fascinated watching the yolk of the egg go down their throats.”

Since the eggs used in this drink were secretly acquired, they were obtained by devious means. Fall and winter eggs were scarce, and the farmer’s wife knew which hens were laying and just about how many eggs she might expect to find in the nests. So, one Thanksgiving morning in a home where the Missus frowned upon any cider drinking that was more than four weeks old, friends and relatives were gathering to celebrate this national holiday with its traditional dinner. The farmer had unharnessed the minister’s horse and was tying it in an unused stall, a spare so to speak, when glancing down, he saw underneath the manger a nest of eggs. He gathered them in his hat, one dozen there was, with the bloom of fresh egg still on them.
He stood viewing his find and began arguing with himself. Mary had wanted more eggs for Thanksgiving cooking, but it was too late now. He didn’t dare buy eggs at the store…somehow she would find out. Hadn’t the minister’s horse led him to them? Wasn’t he supposed to be thankful today for his blessings? Well, this sort of blessing.
Then came the thought of the cold barrel of apple beverage and he closed the argument by hiding the eggs in the oat bin. He walked briskly to the house and as he took his place at the head of the Thanksgiving table, this good man, loving husband and father, kin and obliging neighbor and friend, with a twinkle in his eye and a song in his heart, said, “Dominie, will you ask the blessing?”




By Mrs. Frank Rundell, Sr.

As time goes on, the old natural methods of foretelling the weather get more and more impossible. The signs upon which the “setters” in Palmer & Sawyers and William Higgins’ stores at Spencertown depended on for prophesying what we might expect for the coming winter are gone.
The thickness of the burrs on the nuts once foretold the severity of the winter, but the hickory and chestnut trees that once grew along stone walls and in fields are no more.
Turkeys, too, were watched for signs of the weather. It was noted…did they roost on a fence rail or, indicating deep snow, high in a tree. Today they live in a wire cage, their natural instincts bred out of them so they’re just plain dumb.

The farmer of today with his corn harvester pays no attention to the thickness of the corn husks or whether or not they completely cover the tip end of the cob. The farmer of yesterday who sat in the field husking his corn by hand knew about this unfailing prediction.

There are only four natural ways left to predict the weather. Watch the cows in the pasture; note the way they face as they usually head into the wind. If they face south, it usually means rain, but if they face north it could mean cooler and clear weather. Observe the chipmunk and see how he carries his tail. If it’s low, it is said to mean a light winter, but if it sticks up straight in the air it could mean a deep snow. Keep an eye on the direction of the wind during a line storm and if those furry caterpillars are very dark in color it indicates we’re in for a rough winter.

Gone these many years, however, are three of Spencertown’s weather predictors, who were better than today’s forecasters. Tam and Hen Dean, along with Thede Chace, were experts. Young folks never even made plans for a picnic unless they first asked one of these men.

Mrs. Rundell wrote a column for The Chatham Courier, focused on life in Spencertown, from the 1940’s through 1972. Reprinted from the book of her collected columns, And So It Was: Yesteryear in the Punsit Valley, Griswold Publishing, 1993. A very special thank you to Jim Rundell for his generous donations to the society.
We were looking for some natural autumn decorations and came across the idea of waxed leaves! It is very inexpensive, easy to do, and looks beautiful. The leaves will keep their color and shape throughout the season. Here we have a simple arrangement in the Morey-Devereaux House.

Items Needed:
Autumn leaves with stems, in a variety of shapes and colors;
Paraffin wax (available where canning supplies are sold: grocery stores, hardware stores);
A double boiler (a pot within a pot) or a mini crock pot will do the trick;
Waxed or parchment paper to dry the leaves on.
We improvised the above double boiler using a pouring pot within a larger pot. Place a few inches of water in the outer pot and place several blocks of paraffin wax in the inner pot. Bring water to a boil and then reduce heat to low so that the wax slowly melts. (If using a mini crock pot, place the wax directly in the pot.) When all the wax is melted turn the heat to warm.

While waiting for your wax to melt, place enough sheets of wax or parchment paper on a nearby counter to set your drying leaves.
Once all the wax is ready, take a single leaf by the stem and gently lower the leaf into the melted wax. Be careful, the wax is very hot. This is why we prefer leaves with long stems! A single dip is generally enough to coat the entire leaf. Raise the leaf, and let the excess wax drip into the pot. Place the leaf on your paper.
The leaves will dry in about two minutes and are then ready for whatever decorating you have in mind.


While we are unable to hold any large holiday gatherings this year, we are planning to turn our shop into a Holiday Shop for one weekend (date to be announced shortly).If you are an artist or a bit crafty, and like to make holiday decorations, we welcome donations of handmade Christmas and Hanukkah ornaments and decorative items (jewelry too) for sale in the shop. All proceeds benefit Old Austerlitz and the Austerlitz Historical Society.Please contact Jeff at [email protected]


We are collecting old sheets (flat sheets, not fitted) to cover exhibit spaces and furniture for the winter months. If you have any to donate, please email Jeff at [email protected] to arrange a drop off time.
If you order from Amazon you can use instead (with your same password) and a percentage of your purchase cost will be donated to AHS.
Signing up for AmazonSmile is simple:Go to and login with your existing Amazon account, if you have an account Amazon will immediately call you with a verification code, so have a pen ready;Once logged in, scroll down and type ‘Austerlitz Historical Society’ in the box and click ‘search’;Click ‘select’ to choose the Austerlitz Historical Society;Check the box acknowledging that you must visit each time you shop in order to support the Austerlitz Historical Society and click ‘Start Shopping’.


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 list of 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
Volunteer Opportunities:

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.

We Are Open

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.