Sponsor a Rhode Island Red Egg

Did you know that the South County Museum has two different varieties of Rhode Island Red chickens, single comb and rose comb? You don’t need to be a farmer to notice the difference in the comb, the row of red spikes on a chicken’s head.

Single combs, as the name suggests, consist of a single straight row of spikes. Rose combs are flat and close to the bird’s head. South County Museum’s heritage flock includes both varieties of Rhode Island’s state bird. You can support the care of the flock by becoming an egg sponsor. Your $50 donation includes a chance to name an egg, we will tag it, and send you a personalized message when it hatches!

Your donation includes: naming your egg, a message when your egg starts to hatch, free family membership, free admission on April 3rd’s Spring Family Fun Day, and a cuddly stuffed animal chick!

Sponsor your egg today online here.


50/50 raffle

Happy St Patrick’s day folks! Feeling the luck of the Irish? If so, try your luck at our 50/50 raffle! For every 5 dollars donated, 1 ticket will be put in the bowl, and names will be chosen at the end of the month. 50 percent of the proceeds will go to the winner, and the other 50 percent will go to organizing our Spring family event at the museum on April 3rd(free admission for members, and a $15 admission for non-members). We take pride in creating these quarterly events for our members, and our goal is to be able to keep creating events and smiles! Please consider taking a shot at our 50/50 raffle, you may just be the lucky leprechaun! Purchase your raffle tickets today online, our gift shop, or by calling the office (401) 783-5400.

 


SCM Celebrates New England Museum Week 2021!

March 8th marked the beginning of New England Museum Week 2021! According to the American Alliance of Museums, about 26% of museums are located in rural areas. This week, the South County Museum celebrates its rich rural history.
Throughout the 18th and early 19th century, agriculture was an essential part of South County. It was not only the primary source of economic activity but also a way of life. The southern coast of Rhode Island in particular offered the most ideal climate for agriculture in all of New England.
Aren’t we lucky to live among so much natural beauty and history? YOU can celebrate New England Museum Week by supporting the South County Museum! You can:
– Become a member
– Make a donation
– Plan a visit
– Like and share a post from social media
– Shop in our Museum Store


An Egg-citing Spring Family Event

How do you like your eggs? This month, join in to help the South County Museum make a special kind of egg you won’t find on any menu. In preparation for SCM’s Spring Family Event on April 3rd, we’re making confetti eggs — yes, they are as fun as they sound! Follow the tutorial below from arts and crafts master and fellow SCM supporter Sarah Abbruzzese to learn how to prepare your eggs!

These awesome eggs have a unique and global history. The concept of filling egg shells with a special gift first appeared in Asia and was eventually brought to Italy and Spain by the explorer Marco Polo. The eggs were often given as gifts and were filled with perfumed powder. They arrived in Mexico in the mid-1800’s thanks to the Emperor Maximilian’s wife. In Mexico, the powder was replaced with confetti and the confetti egg was born! Today, confetti eggs— or cascarones as they are known in Spanish— are part of Mexican Carnival celebrations, when communities commemorate the season before Lent with parades, rich food, and colorful costumes. 

The funnest part about confetti eggs is surprising a friend with a shower of confetti on their head— which, according to tradition, may even bring them good luck!

So, as you eat your way through your next dozen eggs, set aside the shells each time. When you finish the carton, bring them along to the museum, where we will fill the eggs with tons of colorful confetti! With your help, come Family Day we’ll have a huge supply for the kids to find in an egg-stra special edition of SCM’s Egg Hunt!

Help the children have a blast at our Spring Family Event and get cracking!

 


How about them apples?

We are specially talking about the Rhode Island Greening. Have you heard about them? Have you used them in a favorite recipe? We are dying to know more about this type of apple and looking for your help. Since the 17th century, this apple variety has been the go to pie apple because it keeps its shape and the flavor is enhanced by cooking which brings out the full “richest and sweetest of flavor”. 
We have over 10 apple trees at the South County Museum, including many RI Greenings. Why? Because we are preserving the rich agriculture history we all know and love because of our South County roots. The apples are not “pretty” grocery store perfection because we do not spray them but picked from the branch there is nothing fresher. Visitors are welcome to pick today 10-4. The best part about our apple orchard? Our staff loves heading to the “cafeteria” we forget our lunch!!
Source: Orange Pippin  https://www.orangepippin.com/varieties/apples/rhode-island-greening

Dry weather rained on our parade

The region’s long dry spell makes for less than ideal planting conditions; therefore, the upcoming work days this Thursday, Friday and Saturday will be postponed until the grounds are more agreeable for the new natives plants that will put the finishing touches on the Friends of Canonchet Trails’ landscaping project at the South County Museum.
Basically, the dry weather rained on our parade….for now.

NEW DATES:
October 5, 6, & 7th
9:00 AM – Noon

We do hope you consider digging in with us then! Send us an email at southcountymuseum@gmail.com if you would like to volunteer.

This project won’t be possible without the generous support from the South County Garden Club, Grandscapes, and Narragansett Rubbish.

Garden Rejuvenation Project in full swing

A hardy group of volunteers from the Friends of Canonchet (FOC) load up the tool trailer most Saturday winter mornings to work clearing invasive plants, like knotweed, privet, bittersweet, porcelain berry, Japanese barberry, and burning bush along a 1.3 mile Nature Trail that connects the Narragansett Elementary School and the auxiliary Narragansett Beach parking lot. The crew has removed many invasives from the Nature Trail over the past four winters.

FOC members are now tackling more than 25 burning-bush (Euonymus Alatus) and Japanese Barberry (Berberis Thunbergii) on the grounds around the South County Museum thanks to a donation from the South County Garden Club. Both plant species are highly invasive in Southern Rhode Island. “We have been fortunate enough to have a strong relationship with the Friends of Canonchet. The time and talent their volunteers donate have been priceless,” explained Jim Crothers, Executive Director of the museum.

The month of September the invasive shrubs and plants will be removed by volunteers from the Friends of Canonchet, URI Master Gardeners, and South County Museum volunteers. New colorful, pollinator-friendly native plants and flower plantings will replace the invasives and rejuvenate the Circle and Half Moon gardens. Blueberry shrubs will be one of the main attractions that will serve as a functional border known for attracting birds. Finally, plant signs will be added to complete the project which will serve as an educational exhibit for the museum’s many visitors as well as a beautiful backdrop for couples using the grounds for their wedding.

Volunteers interested in getting their hands dirty are encouraged to join in to help. Thomas Hoagland, a ten-year University of Rhode Island Master Gardener and Vice President of the Friends of Canonchet will presented an overview of the project via Zoom.

For more information to be a volunteer on one day October 5-7, 2020 from 9:00 AM – Noon, email southcountymuseum@gmail.com .

 


What to get Lucky?

You might just get LUCKY! What would you do if you won this handmade quilt “Spring’s Revival” for $1.00? Mary Loftes outdid herself this year this year’s donation that is bursting with color.

Not feeling really lucky, for $5.00 you get six! This quilt will bring new life to any bedroom and draw countless compliments from house guests.  All proceeds support the South County Museum, where we offer free admission during COVID to give everyone a chance to step into the past for a brief break from the modern world.

Purchase your raffle tickets today online, in our gift shop, or by calling the office (401) 783-5400. Who knows – it might just be your lucky day…..


From the Director’s Desk

Although not in our typical format,  the purpose of this modified newsletter is to bring you up to date on what we have been doing here at SCM during these most unusual times.

We closed our doors on March 14 and started working from home.  Since there was no telling if or when we could reopen in May, we decided to focus on designing programs that could be utilized by school-age children and parents for on-line learning.   I think we were successful in that area.  Heather Kisiliwicz, our new Assistant Director,  created a “History at Home” link on our website and facilitated ZOOM lectures by authors Christian McBurney and Robert Grandchamp who discussed their latest publications.  Both of these generous folks were slated to present lectures this summer, but…. They were most gracious with their time to help us.  In addition, photojournalist and documentary filmmaker Mark Starr filmed and edited a 30-minute introductory program on blacksmithing here at SCM.

It goes without saying school field trips were canceled; Family Day and the Taste of Summer Fundraiser went by the board.  Blacksmithing Camps for Kids and Adult Workshops were COVID casualties. We did hatch over 200 RI Red chicks thanks to Wayne Durfee and Don Nelson, but the public 4th of July Chick Hatch was not possible.  The Folk Art Quilt show was put on hold.  And needless to say, we lost four months of admission revenues.

BUT….WE DID OPEN!  (mid-July, only on Friday and Saturday) with buildings reconfigured to allow viewing from the doorways.  We are not opening the Metz Exhibit Hall because we cannot maintain the Department of Health’s cleaning guidelines for that space.

So, that’s where we are in the COVID Fall of 2020.   We will be open Fridays and Saturdays until the end of September.  Admission is free as our gift to the community for its support, but we appreciate a donation.

In closing, I would like to thank all of you who continued your memberships.    This year especially membership is an investment in history here in South County. I would also like to thank Lynn Wagner, our treasurer, for facilitating a PPP loan, the Champlin Foundation for a substantial COVID-Relief Grant,  and Rhode Island Council for Humanities for some COVID Relief monies.  We’re hanging on!

So stop by SCM during September. No bad news, no politics, just peace and quiet with history as your guide.  Stay safe.

 


Creating the Future Today in History Education

A museum educator’s primary job is to build connections between life today and the past. It is the most rewarding aspect of my job. History comes to life for countless school students who visit the museum each year. My mission: help them connect their backyard, their neighbor’s last name, or the building they pass every day to America’s most historic moments. The current pandemic has emphasized how priceless in-person learning experiences really are.

Thanks to financial support from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, I have redirected my efforts while the campus is quiet. Christina Young returned to work remotely as a summer intern. Her insight as a recent graduate from the University of Rhode Island’s history program has been invaluable. Together, we have developed a plan for new online exhibits, collections, videos, and lesson plans to support the museum’s guiding principles to:

  • ignite curiosity by exploring the lives of people and the tools they used on the farm, at sea, in the mills and the villages of South County
  • offer accessible educational experiences and engaging exhibits and programs
  • encourage historical thinking that helps build connections between the past and life today

The first collection on the blacksmith trade will be available on our website starting the third week of September. We hope you will come to check it out because curious learners of all ages are sure to take away something new. Explore the life of Solomon Fayerweather, a third-generation blacksmith from the village of Kingston. Experience modern-day blacksmith Jim Crothers practice the craft in a taped demonstration. Come back often for new subjects! In November, new material on “Communication in History” will be available to inspire middle and high school students to search for a topic to participate in the 2021 National History Day competition this spring.

A new Education Committee has formed to guide the museum’s efforts to support history education for students in kindergarten to college. Committee members include Daryl Anderson, SCM Board President; Diane Nobles, Secretary, SCM board and Narragansett School Board Committee member; Erica Luke, Director, South County History Center; Sharon Webster, RILINK Professional Development/Technology Support Specialist, and retired Narragansett High School teacher; Christina Young, and myself.

We may be a small, local history museum by our role and responsibility in the community is monumental. The South County Museum links a student’s backyard to the world because all history starts locally.

 

The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities seeds, supports, and strengthens public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement by and for all Rhode Islanders.