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Quintessential New England

Quilt Trunk Show: In Celebration of Yankee Frugality or 'Give a Scrap Slap'

Thursday, September 28, 7:00pm - 8:00 pm

Beth Helfter's trunk show is a lively presentation of her quilt making journey. How wonderful to get to view and touch, in person, amazing quilts! Beth did a year-long stint as a member of the 2014 Quiltmaker Magazine 'Scrap Squad,' a select group of 6 quilters from across the continent tasked with redesigning one pattern from each issue entirely from scraps. Each assignment led her to not only scrap hoarding but also inspired her to create several of her own designs based on the originally assigned projects. Lots of thoughts on what makes a good scrap quilt and insights into how one idea morphs into so many more. You will never look at a quilt pattern the same way!

Register online.

Also, notice the montly art display during September featuring works from the Souhegan Valley Quilters Guild.


New England Pie: History Under a Crust with Culinary Historian Robert Cox

Thursday, October 5, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Pie has been a delectable centerpiece of Yankee tables since Europeans first landed on New England's shores in the seventeenth century. With a satisfying variety of savory and sweet, author Robert Cox takes a bite out of the history of pie and pie-making in the region. From the crackling topmost crust to the bottom layer, explore the origin and evolution of popular ingredients like the Revolutionary roots of the Boston Cream. One month at a time, celebrate the seasonal fixings that fill New Englanders' favorite dessert from apple and cherry to pumpkin and squash. With interviews from local bakers, classic recipes, and some modern twists on beloved standards, this mouthwatering history of New England pies offers something for every appetite. Thanks to the Friends of the Amherst Town Library, there will be a delicious spread of pies to taste to add to the fun and delight of the evening.

Robert Cox is head of Special Collections and University Archives at UMass Amherst, an archive that specializes in the history of social change and the histories of New England including the history of food in our region. As an historian, he has written on American religious movements, Quakers, and Native Americans, and New England foods.

Register online.


New Hampshire's One-Room Rural Schools: The Romance and the Reality

Thursday October 19, 2017, 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Hundreds of one-room schools dotted the landscape of New Hampshire a century ago and were the backbone of primary education for generations of children. Revered in literature and lore, they actually were beset with problems, some of which are little changed today. The greatest issue was financing the local school and the vast differences between taxing districts in ability to support education. Other concerns included teacher preparation and quality, curriculum, discipline, student achievement and community involvement in the educational process. Steve Taylor explores the lasting legacies of the one-room school and how they echo today.

Steve Taylor is an independent scholar, farmer, journalist, and longtime public official. With his sons, Taylor operates a dairy, maple syrup, and cheese making enterprise in Meriden Village. He has been a newspaper reporter and editor, and served for 25 years as New Hampshire's commissioner of agriculture. Taylor was the founding executive director of the New Hampshire Humanities Council and is a lifelong student of the state's rural culture.

Register online.


Paint Night for Adults with Currier Art Museum Instructor

Thursday October 26, 2017, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Enjoy an October evening of creativity and fun and bring home a colorful art work of your own! This program is a hands-on workshop where we will begin by exploring Jasper Francis Cropsey's 'An Indian Summer Morning in the White Mountains' currently on view at the Currier Museum of Art).  Born in 1823, Cropsey was a Hudson River School painter.  Painted in 1857, 'An Indian Summer Morning in the White Mountains,' depicts the White Mountains as a primeval paradise.  The rising sun illuminates a varied prospect: a snow-capped mountain, craggy peak, rolling hills ablaze with autumn hues, and a briskly running mountain stream emptying into a deep, still pool that reflects the shapes and colors of the surrounding landscape.  Inspired by Cropsey's painting, the Currier Museum of Art instructor will lead participants to create their own autumnal landscapes in vibrant tempera cake paints.  No art experience is required and all materials provided.

Register online.


New England's General Stores: Exploring an American Classic with Ted Reinstein

Thursday November 2, 2017, 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Ted Reinstein, reporter for 'Chronicle,' WCVB-TV/Boston's award winning--and America's longest-running, locally-produced--nightly news magazine since 1997, expounds on the general store in New England. The general store, as old as America itself, harkens back to a simpler time and a more innocent and rural nation. The general store conjures a country-like place where kids come in to buy penny candy, and adults to buy everything from swaths of fabric, to fresh vegetables, to four-penny nails. It was a place to pick up mail, the newspaper, and perhaps tarry a bit on a cold, winter's morning to chat over a cup of coffee and a warm wood stove. Long before 'Cheers,' the general store was the vital and inviting heart of a community, where everyone not only knew your name, but how you took that coffee, how many kids you had, and how's your dad doing, anyway? And, in tough times, it was a place that often treated customers like family, extending credit when no one else would. The general store was real-life Norman Rockwell--deeply woven into America's cultural identity, an integral part of the nation's self-portrait from its earliest days. Fact is, the general store is still very much here, and very much in business. What's more, like the diner, it has seen a resurgence. In some places, it is even being reimagined for a new era.

In addition to his 'Chronicle' work, Ted is a regular contributor for the station's political roundtable show and writes a weekly opinion column. He is the author of New England Notebook, Wicked Pissed; New England's Most Famous Feuds, and, now, just released in September, New England's General Stores: Exploring an American Classic.

Register Online.