Thursday, March 29, 2018

Maple Magic Delivered to your Doorstep...

... of your classroom or club house or neighborhood community center. Our newly developed maple sugaring program is offered free to the public. Your library and archives are far more than a collection of papers. Your library uses its collection and collaborates with other organizations to reach out into the community.

This inside part of the program can also be tied to a field trip to one of the area sugar operations, such as this one we recently coordinated with a local elementary school and the Believe in Books 100 acre wood sugar house.

This outreach program is based on a number of books and archival resources at the Conway Public Library and augmented with objects from the Conway Historical Society.

Jeremy Belknap gives a great description of early American settler style maple sugaring in his History of New Hampshire published in 1812.

North Conway once had an "Old Maple Sugar House" tourist attraction. If you look closely at the picture you can see a variety of buckets and bags hung on maple tree trunks indicating they were for educational and demonstration reasons, not for actual tapping.

Today that building has been enlarged and now operates as Cresh's Italian Country Kitchen restaurant. While the view of the Conway ledges has been obscured the distinctive clerestory style steam chimney can still be seen.

The scope of Conway Public Library’s Henney History Room includes western Oxford County Maine, including Fryeburg, where the famous artist Eastman Johnson created an incredible set of paintings documenting local “sugaring off” practices.

Our area's settlers learned maple sugaring techniques from the Native Americans. We celebrate the connection between Conway's Abenaki camp with the Odanak village in Quebec, Canada where there is a wonderful museum of Abenaki history and life.

Arranged by the seasons, the displays detail the many unique methods used to process maple sugar.

Our program provides "hands-on" exploration of historic tools used to help go into the woods to identify maple trees...

... cut into and tap the trees...

... explore change over time, from stone axes, to screw tip augers ...

... to more efficient brace and bits...

... compare the pros and cons of wooden buckets,

metal buckets ...

... and plastic buckets

... even a human yoke to help with carrying buckets.

To learn more about the programs we offer please contact us at the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room.

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