South County Museum’s Blacksmith Forge is a an exhibit and a working forge. It includes an extensive collection of blacksmithing tools as well as a bellows that came from the famous Fayerweather Blacksmith Shop in Kingston, Rhode Island. Executive Director Jim Crothers doubles as our resident blacksmith but several local blacksmiths work in the forge on a regular basis throughout the year and provide demonstration and answer questions for museum visitors. This year SCM is focused on improving our Blacksmith program through the addition of a second forge to our Blacksmith Shop, grading near the building to provide a level outdoor area for forging, adding exterior security lights to the grounds, and expanding its teaching schedule through the addition of outside teachers. To see all that will be offered this coming season, please see below:
- Blacksmith Camps for Kids – This year SCM will be hosting 3 Blacksmith Camps for young people: 2 in July and one in August. Each Camp will run Wednesday through Friday, 9 am – 12 pm, for kids ages 8-14. This year the 2 camps in July are designated Level 1 and the August Camp is designated Level 2. Level 1 Camps are for those who have no blacksmith experience at all. Participants that wish to attend the Level 2 Camp in August must have taken a previous Blacksmith Camp or lesson at South County Museum within the last 12 months. Cost is $225 for non-members, $202.50 for members. There is a limit of 6 children per camp. Registration forms will be available soon.
- Open Forge – every 4th Saturday, year-round, for individuals with an interest in blacksmithing. This was formerly called the NEB (New England Blacksmith) Southern Bunch Get-together, but it has expanded to offer forge facilities to those who have a variety of experiences and is listed in the NEB Newsletter. There are no age restrictions, but those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent. This is an informal gathering. No “formal” teaching is available. Thus, we recommend at least 1 lesson or prior experience before coming to work on a project. Open Forge is a great time to see what is going on. There is no fee for Open Forge, but we welcome donations to defray the cost of staff time and materials such as coal and steel.
- Open Forge for Adults – Wednesday evenings in August from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. Pre-registration is required and participants must be 18 years of age or older. Cost is $75/night for non-members, $67.50 for Members. There is a limit of 6 adults per night. To guarantee your space on a particular night, pre-payment is required. Credit cards can be taken over the phone or through our online donation system. If using the online payment system, indicate in the memo what the payment is for including dates. No experience is necessary, but many folks come to multiple nights to build their skills across the month. More details will be available soon.
- Private Lessons – 3 hour private lesson for two. Designed as an introduction to blacksmithing. No age restrictions. Private lessons are for 2 individuals, run for 3 hours, and are scheduled at a mutually beneficial time. The cost is $150 for non-members and $135 for Members. Lessons run 3 hours a session for 2 individuals.
- Senior Portfolio Mentoring – Students in their senior year at Narragansett High School must develop a project/portfolio whereby they develop a skill not covered in the high school curriculum. This is the 5th year SCM has offered blacksmithing as an option.
- Demonstrations – Blacksmiths are working in the forge during regular museum hours and at special events such as Family Day, Gansett Days, and the Folk Art Quilt Show. We also have taken portable forge setup for demos at Sterling, CT & Charlestown Historical Society.