March 2, 2017----Hearthside House Museum announces its lineup of programs for this
season, starting on Sunday, March 12
th with a special appearance of ballet dancers from
“Sleeping Beauty.” In a partnership with Heritage Ballet, Hearthside will feature the
dancers set in different rooms around the house while visitors enjoy the classic story
through a self-guided tour. Many of the story’s favorite characters will be there:
Princess Aurora, the Prince, Lilac Fairy, Red, Green and Blue Fairies, Carabosse
(Maleficent), Red Riding Hood, Pied Piper, and Puss in Boots. As a special memento of
the visit, there will be an opportunity for a custom portrait with the Princess. Interpreters
dressed in period attire will also be on hand to provide history about Hearthside for those
who have never visited the museum.
The doors open 1:00-3:00 p.m. with a 4:00 p.m. closing. General admission is $10; $5
ages 10-17; 9 and under free as well as museum members. This is a chance to see and
talk with the dancers prior to their full ballet performance at the Stadium Theatre on
New this year will be the addition of fully-guided tours on select Thursday evenings, with
the first one being held on Thursday, March 30th
. The tour kicks off at 6:30 p.m. and
will conclude by 7:45 p.m. “This is a great opportunity for a group of friends to come
after work and discover some local history,” states Kathy Hartley, president of the
Friends of Hearthside, the volunteer organization running the museum
She adds, “Also featured this year is an expansion of the third floor hand weaving exhibit
which has come about with the recent donation of the entire Talbot family weaving
collection, which had been a gift to the American Textile History Museum located in
Lowell, Massachusetts from Frances Talbot upon her death in 1975. She was the last of
the Talbot weavers. The Textile museum closed last year and reached out to us in an
attempt to return the items where they originally came from.” The Talbots ran a hand
weaving business at Hearthside from 1904-1926. Among the items are looms, spinning
wheels, yarn winders, warping rack, and several examples of the original patterns woven
by the Talbots.
“With this collection comes an opportunity to capture the amazing history of fiber arts in
this very space where such notable pieces were made by the Talbots, while also teaching
the traditional crafts so that another generation may learn these fine skills. So, we will
begin offering classes in hand weaving, spinning, and embroidery later this spring,” adds
Hartley. An additional room on the third floor has been turned into a teaching room, with
several pieces of modern equipment, supplies and books provided by the American
Textile History Museum.
On April 8 & 9, Hearthside will host a wedding exhibit featuring dresses and customs
from weddings throughout the past hundred years, with dresses dating as far back to
1840s. Also in April will be a unique musical exhibit with a display of antique
phonographs along with their owners to explain how they operated. “A special element
of this exhibit will be performances on Hearthside’s antique piano featuring two young
concert pianists performing works by Beethoven and Brahms, states Hartley. “And the
best part is that these performances will be recorded on a cylinder and then played on the
antique Edison phonograph.” This program takes place April 30.
Other features this year includes two events for fans of the popular series Downton
Abbey. First is the Downton Abbey Tea on May 13 with a presentation on “Footwear
and Fribbles.” Then on June 11, a first in Rhode Island takes place when a “Downton
Abbey Fox Hunt,” complete with costumes, pageantry and trained horses and beagles,
(but no foxes) and an English-style luncheon is featured at Chase Farm Park.
For girls who treasure their American Girl Dolls, there are three events: An American
Girl Doll Tea on June 3 & 4, an American Girl Doll Garden Party on August 5, and an
American Girl Doll Christmas Party on Dec. 2 which is exclusive for museum members.
This summer’s major event will welcome back the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair Tribute
being held July 23, which celebrates Hearthside’s connection as the model for the RI
pavilion at that international exposition with a family fun day of exhibits and an outdoor
A celebration of Great Road’s history takes place with free tours at several historic sites
along one of America’s oldest roadways on September 23. A new event this fall will be
a Revolutionary War skirmish with the Rebels and Redcoats coming to Chase Farm Park
for a one-day event on October 21.
The somewhat morbid but popular “Gone But Not Forgotten: Victorian Mourning &
Funeral Customs” exhibit returns for a 3-week run starting October 28, and continues
Nov. 5, 11 and 12. Probably Hearthside’s most visited time is during the Christmas
season for an Old-Fashioned Christmas celebration which takes place on Dec. 3, 9, and
10 and the Home for the Holidays Candlelight Tours on Dec. 28 and 30.
Some very special evenings are planned as fundraisers which include an elaborate
Victorian Dinner Party on October 7 and an intimate evening with medium Roland
Comtois, “Validating the After Life” on September 28.
Hartley notes that “Tickets for our special events go on sale one month prior to the date,
except for members, who have the added benefit of early purchase.” Admission for tours
and exhibits may be paid at the door.