“Gents Bow – Ladies Know How” opens January 24, 2015 and will be on view through May 23. The exhibit features the music, artifacts and stories that document the long and continuous tradition of country dance in the Monadnock Region from the days of the early settlers to the present. Drawing on photographs, early records and stories, documents and music, the exhibit will take the viewer on a journey from the community dances of the 18th century, kitchen dances of the 19th century and the days of Ralph Page and his Orchestra in the 1940s. Featured in the exhibit will be an audio compilation of music and text developed and curated by Randy Miller who wrote the authoritative book, The New England Fiddler’s Repertoire. The exhibit will be complimented by a program series that includes dances and music presentations.
This special exhibit has been developed in partnership with the Monadnock Folklore Society.
Many thanks to the NH State Council for the Arts for their support of “Gents Bow- Ladies Know How”.
This exhibit is sponsored by
The Monadnock Center for History and Culture has a small but impressive collection of early American furniture and decorative arts on display in its museum. Illustrating New England furniture making from the 18th to the 20th centuries, the collection includes objects that were made, owned and collected by Peterborough residents and have been donated to the Center over the last 113 years.
Three distinguished highboys are at the center of the collection. About 1915, Adele Foster Adams donated a circa 1760 mahogany highboy that was built by the Townsend-Goddard workshop of Newport, R.I. This fine example of the Townsend- Goddard style features an arched top with a broken scroll and slender cabriole legs terminating in elongated slipper feet.
The second highboy is by an unknown maker but has a strong Peterborough history having descended through the Wilson family, proprietors of Peterborough’s earliest tavern. Made of maple in a vernacular Queen Anne style, the piece was probably built in New Hampshire or possibly southern Maine. In addition to its fine proportions and beautifully executed shell carving, the highboy’s top molding ingeniously opens to reveal a hidden compartment.
The third highboy is a showpiece by the Dunlap workshop of New Hampshire. This highboy descended in the Morison family, one of Peterborough’s founding families. Built from maple and dating from about 1790, it features exuberant decoration including carved sunbursts, scrolls and a pediment with pierced basket weave panels. Similar examples of the Dunlap workshop are found at Winterthur, the Currier Museum, the New Hampshire Historical Society and Historic New England.
Other examples of 18th century furniture in the collection include two lowboys, a gentlemen’s desk of astonishingly large proportion, chairs and tavern tables. In addition, the Center has an impressive collection of tall case clocks including two examples by Simon Willard.
Among the items made in Peterborough are two Peterborough pianos made by Hagen & Ruefer between 1890 and 1900 at their piano factory on Depot Street. Additional “Peterborough Made” items are a collection of piano stools by the Briggs Piano Stool factory in West Peterborough and a delightful mahogany and chestnut dressing table made by cabinet maker Lorenzo Holt for his eleven year old granddaughter in 1866.
Come play in the Town’s Attic! The Attic is a hands-on exhibit room for families with activities designed to appeal to preschool and elementary school children. Try your hand at writing with a quill pen or making a rag doll. Look at 3-D pictures with a stereo viewer or explore a set of mini-exhibits on local history topics like the Civil War or the Mariarden Dance Theatre. Picture books (all with a history theme) are available for some quiet activity. New activities are added throughout the year, so there is always something new to try.
Preschool story times are offered periodically throughout the year in the Town’s Attic. Story time features the reading of a history-themed picture book and a related game or craft. Visit our events listings to find the next preschool story time.
The Robbe Family Kitchen is a period room exploring the family kitchen in a typical 1785 Peterborough home. The kitchen displays cookware, tableware, lighting and accessories that would have been found in William Robbe’s home on Old Dublin Road. The table is set with pewter dinnerware and serving pieces. The fireplace is arranged with ironware that made it possible for Eleanor Robbe to keep her family well fed. A dresser displays the containers, tools and gadgets necessary for keeping house on an 18th century farm. Learn about the central role the hearth played in 18th century family life and explore the yearly rhythm of life on an early New Hampshire farm.
William and Eleanor Robbe were like many of their contemporaries, being the children of Scotch-Irish immigrants who came to New England in the early 18th century. William’s father was one of the first settlers in Peterborough. The Robbes settled on Old Dublin Road building a home and farm on land next to the farm built by William’s brother Alexander. William Robbe was said to have special powers- visit the Robbe Family Kitchen to learn more!