Message from the Museum: Late June Edition

Color photographic image at left of a small red and green apple growing on a leafy branch; black and white photograph on right, depicting mature apple trees and a set of stone steps in a yard
Our first apple in our new orchard! The Washington Strawberry apple tree first appeared in New York State in the late 1840s. The Enfield Shakers’ original orchard, depicted at the right, must have been a delight for scent and shade.

Dear Friends,

Yesterday our extraordinary Garden Coordinator, Diana Kimball-Anderson, called me to my office window. “We have our first apple!” she exclaimed. I grabbed my smartphone and ran out of the Great Stone Dwelling to snap a photograph.

The lawn south of the Great Stone Dwelling was once an apple orchard. Diana has researched the types of apples the Enfield Shakers planted. Board member and dedicated volunteer Paul Waehler has examined historic photographs to ascertain just where each tree was planted. We ordered the heirloom trees in early spring of this year. Then we waited. And waited. And waited.

Sometimes life just doesn’t go as we planned.

Since March all of us have had to adjust and readjust, and then do all that adjusting over again. Our promised trees never arrived, so we purchased three from another grower. Our little Washington Strawberry has a wee apple that likely won’t grow much more, but the tree bearing it will receive tender loving care to produce more. Our fall Harvest Festival will find alternative form, but the apple tree will grow to provide fruit for the cider press and, in the years to come, shade for our festival participants. Next spring, we will delight in the scent of apple blossoms through our open windows.

It’s a late spring for us at the Museum. We have adjusted. We are finally, delightedly, opening our doors in July. The Great Stone Dwelling and the Laundry have received some tender loving care. Our Fourth of July singalong will take place next year, but this year we’ll still have a pie sale, beginning at 11 am until all the pies are sold. (If you wish to donate a home-baked pie, please let me know!) We’re thanking our members for sticking with us with a week of tours and talks from July 9-12. We open to the public from Thursdays through Sundays beginning July 16. Everyone will need to pre-book tours and events through our website, the numbers limited to comply with public health guidelines. (I think we should change the spelling of “Mascoma” to “Maskoma” for the duration, but everyone here groaned when I suggested it.)

We are also adjusting by taking new opportunities. In our second year of participation in NH Gives, we received $8400 from 39 donors, with several more donors adding their generosity directly to the Museum. (THANK YOU!) On June 16 we learned we had been awarded a $78,610 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which will help keep staff members employed by completing and digitizing our artifact collection and develop smartphone tours. We’ve also begun the process of gathering together all the wisdom of our volunteers who have devoted their expertise and time to the garden, and sharing that knowledge with the world, through plantsmap.com.

Oh my! We’ll need to add a sign to our new Washington Strawberry apple tree, too.

Stay safe, friends. We hope you are well, and we hope to welcome you to the Museum when you are ready to visit.

With warm regards,

Shirley

Shirley Wajda, Ph.D.
Interim Executive Director