Loom Project Update

reprinted from the May, 2007 edition of the Courier newsletter

Members of the Loom Interpretation Project met in April to report on progress and to establish new goals for a permanent exhibit of the Scalamandré looms located in the History Center.

Several subcommittees reported their findings:

John Lawler updated the group on Building and Grounds, and invites ALL to participate in the Thursday night group (6 p.m.) or in day-time work during the summer on Tuesday mornings. Volunteers are needed even if they’re not mechanically inclined. There are jobs for all—even work that can be done sitting down. Much progress has been made in the loom room.

John Carter informed the group about the Exhibit Committee’s meeting. He emphasized that although the loom exhibit will be a permanent exhibit, the Society should set up revolving, related exhibits in the loom room and elsewhere in the building, which will encourage visitors to return. The committee agreed that the looms should not be moved into the loom room until that room has been fully prepared. In the meantime, the committee will study the floor plan of the loom room and take precise measurements of all the machinery and other items slated to be moved there.

Regarding research, Brenda Paullo reported on the finding of 1838, a Cheney Brothers newsletter published in the 1920s and 1930s. (The year 1838 is the date of the Cheney Brothers’ first mill, which was built on Hop Brook.) Several volunteers will help inventory numerous items that can be used in the loom exhibit. The Society also was awarded a grant for cataloguing and accession work.

Carole Walden reported the completion of a project to scan, organize, and annotate a collection of Cheney Brothers fashion images and stereoscopic photos of mill operations. John Spaulding was instrumental in this task, and Carole, Mary Dunne, and Dave Smith also worked on this project. The images can be used for other educational and artistic purposes besides the loom exhibit.

Susan Barlow reported on a meeting she had had with Paula Viscogliosi, Chair of Friends of the Looms, about fundraising opportunities. They discussed designing a brochure, creating incentives for donors (such as permanent plaques with donors’ names), and “anchoring” a grand opening/fundraising event in May each year, beginning in May 2008. Paula Viscogliosi also offered help with the web site, through her design business in New York.

On other matters, Tanyss Ludescher led a discussion about arranging for a carpooling trip to the Millyard Museum in Manchester, NH, on June 16. Those interested should contact Tanyss as soon as possible.

To coincide with the Town’s Heritage Day, June 9, the Society will invite the public to view the looms; this treat will be in addition to the Cheney Hall exhibit, and the openings at the Homestead, Keeney Schoolhouse, History Center, and Old Manchester Museum. Marshall Lamenzo, Michael Nimirowski, John Carter, and Joe Lawler will stand by at the Forest Street entrance.

As you can see, this is a Herculean undertaking that requires the services of many volunteers. To lend your time, talents, and support, contact the Society at 860-647-9983.