Friday, April 15, 2022

Happy World Art Day!

Forget that today is tax day. Instead celebrate World Art Day!

World Art Day was established ten years ago after a proposal was put forward at the 17th General Assembly of the International Association of Art (IAA) to declare April 15 as World Art Day.

According to the IAA, World Art Day celebrations help reinforce the links between artistic creations and society, encourage greater awareness of the diversity of artistic expressions and highlight the contribution of artists to sustainable development.

Art nurtures creativity, innovation and cultural diversity for all peoples across the globe and plays an important role in sharing knowledge and encouraging curiosity and dialogue. These are qualities that art has always had, and will always have if we continue to support environments where artists and artistic freedom are promoted and protected. In this way, furthering the development of art also furthers our means to achieve a free and peaceful world.

It is also an occasion to shine a light on arts education in schools, as culture can pave the way for inclusive and equitable education.

There is much to learn, share and celebrate on World Art Day, and UNESCO encourages everyone to join in through various activities such as debates, conferences, workshops, cultural events and presentations or exhibitions.

April 15 was chosen for World Art Day as it is also the birthday of Leonardo da Vinci, a symbol of world peace, freedom of expression, tolerance, brotherhood and multiculturalism. 

DaVinci's Mona Lisa was used to promote the Conway Public Library's display and silent auction of local art.  

The curious, but judgmental, chicken above is one of the paintings available through the silent auction which is being held to raise funds for our Teen Leadership Council. The auction is being held at the library until April 30 at 1pm so put your bid in early and often. 
FMI and to see all the 27 works of art in the auction see the link here
The paintings are on display in the circulation area stacks. 

 Can you find the chicken painting in the photo above?

You can also see some important examples of earlier local art of the White Mountains on display at the Conway Public Library. An internet search for the keywords "mwvhistory art" here yields images of some of the artworks we have explored in previous blogs here. 

Last night, Inez McDermott presented an excellent introduction to White Mountain art and artists as part of a lecture series hosted by the New Hampshire Historical Society in celebration of a temporary exhibit there. The lectures are being recorded for future research. 

FMI see this link here

Inez started her presentation with this painting by Winslow Homer entitled Artists Sketching in the White Mountains

I argue that the view is from North Conway's Sunset Hill, now the site of the Red Jacket Resort. FMI see our previous blog here

Inez also explained the important role that Benjamin Champney had in developing White Mountain Art. The Conway Public Library's Henney History Room offers a number of free outreach programs on White Mountain Art, some of which include examining some of the seventy plus items related to Champney in the collection of the Conway Historical Society including an artist's folding stool like the one seen in the painting above, Champney's brushes, sketchbooks, chromolithographs, vasculum, trade sign, painted firescreen, rocking chair and even his baby bonnet.


Saturday, April 9, 2022

Happy Antique Day!

Today is National Cherish an Antique Day! In the photo above, my son is posing with my grandfather's coal miner's helmet. It is now a treasured family heirloom. My grandfather was about ten years old when he started working in the mines. 

The thrill of antiques cuts across the generations. For a while now, the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room has been doing an outreach program at the Mount Washington Valley Adult Day Center using historical artifacts from the collection of the Conway Historical Society. 

Our program is just one of many that the Center provides with the help of local resources including health, fitness, dance and craft programs. 

We present a new program a couple times a month. In our "hands-on" program we use these artifacts to stimulate exploration and discussion about the larger cultural stories that these items tell.  

We have covered themes such as women's work, farming tools, and keeping warm for the winter. 

We offer similar programs for free to local schools and community groups. One school asked for a program on the history of local crafts and trades. 

One of the collections we included in that program were these wooden shoe heel blocks showing the stages involved in making historic shoes. The heel factory building these were made in still exists on Conway's Main Street just a short walk from the library. 

Recently we did a program of "mystery items." As soon as I pulled the item below out of a box one of the participants immediately recognized it and told us all how she remembered standing over one of these with her mother adjusting the hems on dress she made. 

This was a new discovery for me and after closer examination we did find the word "hem" stamped on it. 

We also found who made it and the patent number. FMI see the link here.

We soon looked it up on Google patents and learned even more. 
Another participant told us about this glass item and said it was for cutting the dough for tea biscuits that were boiled in water. 

Does anyone know more about this item? I have not been able to find another documentation on it yet. 

In previous blogs we have looked at antiques used as lawn decoration. 

FMI see this link here

Another interesting antique that serves as the Conway Public Library's official mascot was featured in our previous blog here

If you have cherished antiques of your own and want to learn more about saving or preserving them, searching or researching them and sharing them through family stories, scrap books or your own family history website let us know and we can suggest the best ways and more importantly the methods not to use. Did you know there are "good plastics" and "bad plastics" to keep your priceless heirlooms in? Especially bad are those so-called "magnetic" photo albums that were popular a number of years ago. 

So be careful! Be educated! And enjoy!

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Happy National Read a Road Map Day!

Today is National Read a Road Map Day. It encourages people to go on an adventure the old fashioned way, with a paper map! We took the advice and drove up through Crawford Notch this afternoon. 

A keyword search in the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room online catalog for the word "map" yields 475 results. Try it through this link here

The collection includes tourist maps from guidebooks, geological maps, soil type maps and even a  handwritten map by John Cannell on the back of photo on how to find the site of the Wizard Birch.

A search for the word "map" in our main library catalog here yields 21,118 items including maps, books on maps, and even novels with the word map in the title.

In this blog today, we will look at just a handful of maps intended to whet your appetite. Of course we would be happy to show you around our map collection and we do offer a free outreach program on historic maps and map making for local schools and community groups, 

Let's start with the 1853 Bond map. We have two copies here of the book that it came from here. (click on images to enlarge them).  The library has a number of copies of  Benjamin Willey's book, Incidents in White Mountain History. For preservation reasons one of the maps was removed from the book and cataloged and stored separately listed in our catalog here

Here is a detail of the map... 

... and details showing how it served as a road map following the route we took today. 

According to a description by Adam Apt on the White Mountain History website here, the map was issued in boards covered with cloths of different colors. In some copies, Benjamin Champney illustrations were printed on the reverse of the map; in others, these are printed on a separate sheet. 

Now let's look at Boardman's White Mountain Guide, 1858. As you can see this map features the mountain topography more prominently. FMI see this link here


Now let's look at the Eastman/Cavis map. 

This copy is from the White Mountain History website here

... with details here. 

One of our copies at the Henney History Room shows the problem (inherent vice) of maps that have been "tipped" into books. 

Again for better preservation the map has been cataloged separately here

Now let's go way back in time. Did You Know that the Turin Papyrus is thought to be the oldest recorded road map in the world? Historians believe that it was created around 1160 BC.

FMI see this link here

It is in fact also a treasure map. Inscriptions describe the "Mountain of the Gold”, the “Mountain of the Silver.” It is also the earliest known geological map because it showed the local distribution of different rock types, the diverse wadi gravels, and contained information on quarrying and mining.

Now for our final and most recent map. The map below was only created last month by cartographer Larry Garland and shows the planned trail into the Redstone Quarry as well as key landscape features and topography. 

Larry collected the GPS data points with his high quality "backpack" style equipment on March 27, 2022. 

For more information on this project or any local history topic contact us at the Conway Public Library.