Mid-West Tool Collectors Association (M-WTCA). This knowledgeable group had agreed to help us with the furnishing and installation of our work shop and were very eager to get the job done. Using research collected regarding the skilled craftsmen who worked at Stratford in the 18th and early 19th centuries, a wish list of tools typical of an 18th-century work shop, and images of period work benches, the group was able to gather a donation of period tools appropriate for the shop as well as construct a reproduction work bench from native poplar.
the shop of the Dominy family of East Hampton, New York (now at Winterthur Museum), as well as period paintings and illustrations. With help from our own Phil Mark and Doris Sciara, the team constructed a 14-foot work bench with back boards to hold tools. Although they used modern saws and nailers for efficiency, they made sure to finish the wood with hand planes to take away any indication of modernity.
With the exhibit set to open to the public on April 22nd, we still have some way to go: Collections and Preservation staff still need to finalize tool donations, reinforce the bench top with reproduction rose-headed nails, and arrange the tools in the shop to mimic period images of working shops. A big thank you goes to the M-WTCA and their contributions to this exhibit. The progress made last week was invaluable to the display and what we hope to teach our visitors about skilled crafts at Stratford.