Washington NH Historical Society
Programs and Activities for 2021

All meetings at 7pm, via Zoom, unless otherwise noted.
Additional programs will be listed here soon!

Jan 11
New Hampshire Humanties Council Speaker
7pm Zoom Meeting: Music in My Pockets: Family Fun in Folk Music, presented by Jeff Warner. Singing games, accessible "pocket instruments" like spoons and dancing puppets, tall tales, funny songs, old songs and songs kids teach each other in the playground - all "traditional" in that they have been passed down the generations by word of mouth will be performed and taught. It's a glimpse into how America amused itself before electricity. This program is recommended for adults and children ages 6 and above.

Jeff Warner connects 21st century audiences with the music and everyday lives of 19th century people. Warner accompanies his songs on concertina, banjo, guitar, and several pocket instruments, such as bones and spoons. He is a Folklorist and Community Scholar for the New Hampshire Council on the Arts and was a 2007 State Arts Council Fellow. He has toured nationally for the Smithsonian Institution and has recorded for Flying Fish, Rounder Records and other labels.

Feb 8
New Hampshire Humanties Council Speaker
7pm Zoom Meeting: Songs of Emigration: Storytelling Through Traditional Irish Music. Through traditional music Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki relays some of the adventures, misadventures, and emotions experienced by Irish emigrants. The focus is on songs about leaving Ireland, sometimes focusing on the reasons for leaving (a man who is driven from his land by English persecution), sometimes revealing what happened upon arrival (an immigrant drafted into the Union army during the Civil War), and sometimes exploring the universal feeling of homesickness of a stranger in a strange land (a factory worker in London missing his home in County Clare).

Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki is an award-winning fiddler who grew up playing dances and folk festivals around New England. He was first recognized as part of New Hampshire's culture at the age of 12, when he was the youngest member of the delegation representing the state at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. He has toured nationally with bands in various genres, performed across Ireland, and released multiple recordings of Celtic music that can be heard on radio stations around New England. He currently performs over 200 shows each year, mostly with his own band, the Jordan TW Trio. His lifelong passion for history helps bring to life the traditional music around which he built his career.

Mar 8
New Hampshire Humanties Council Speaker
7pm Zoom Meeting: Wit and Wisdom in 19th Century New England. Whatever did New Englanders do on long winter evenings before cable, satellite and the internet? In the decades before and after the Civil War, our rural ancestors used to create neighborhood events to improve their minds. Community members male and female would compose and read aloud homegrown, handwritten literary "newspapers" full of keen verbal wit. Sometimes serious, sometimes sentimental but mostly very funny, these "newspapers" were common in villages across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont and revealed the hopes, fears, humor and surprisingly daring behavior of our forebears. Jo Radner shares excerpts from her forthcoming book about hundreds of these "newspapers" and provides examples from villages in your region.

Jo Radner received her PhD from Harvard University. Before returning to her family home in western Maine as a freelance storyteller and oral historian, Radner spent 31 years as a professor at American University in Washington, DC. There she taught literature, folklore, women's studies, American studies, Celtic studies, and storytelling. She has published books and articles in all those fields, and is now writing a book titled Performing the Paper: Rural Self-Improvement in Northern New England, about a 19th-century village tradition of creating and performing handwritten literary newspapers. Radner is a past president of the American Folklore Society and the National Storytelling Network.

Apr 12
New Hampshire Humanties Council Speaker
7pm Zoom Meeting: The Connecticut: New England's Great River. The largest river in New England rises in a small beaver pond near the Canadian border and flows over 400 miles through four states, falling 2,670 feet to the sea through America's only watershed-based national fish and wildlife refuge. Adair Mulligan leads an armchair tour of this great river in New Hampshire and Vermont, exploring its history and natural beauty through the seasons and among the communities that have sprung up along its banks. Adair discusses how the river has influenced the lives of those who live there, and how they, in turn, have affected the river. Much more than a travelogue, this presentation explores the many issues involved in managing the health of this major river, and how citizens from all walks of life have created a vision for its future.

Adair Mulligan has a runaway curiosity about the natural and cultural history of northern New England. Author of The Gunstock Parish: A History of Gilford, New Hampshire, she has also contributed to Proud to Live Here in the Connecticut River Valley; Where the Great River Rises: An Atlas of the Upper Connecticut River; and Beyond the Notches: Stories of Place in New Hampshire's North Country. Executive Director of the Hanover Conservancy, she served for 20 years as Conservation Director of the Connecticut River Joint Commissions. Mulligan holds an MA degree from Smith College.

May 10
New Hampshire Humanties Council Speaker
7pm Zoom Meeting: New Hampshire on High: Historic and Unusual Weathervanes of the Granite State. This program offers a fun and engaging look at the historic and unusual weathervanes found on New Hampshire's churches, town halls, and other public buildings from earliest times down to the present. Highlighted by the visual presentation of a sampling of the vanes found throughout the state, Glenn Knoblock's program will trace the history of weathervanes, their practical use and interesting symbolism, as well as their varied types and methods of manufacture and evolution from practical weather instrument to architectural embellishment.

Glenn Knoblock is an independent scholar and author of fifteen books and over 100 articles. He is also the author and historian on projects relating to Northern New England bridges, New Hampshire cemeteries, and brewing history, and African-American military history. Knoblock has served as the main military contributor to Harvard and Oxford University's landmark African-American Biography Project.

Jun 14
New Hampshire Humanties Council Speaker
7pm Zoom Meeting: Family, Memories, Places, writing workshop. What family stories do you carry with you? What story do you tell over and over? What landscape do you cherish the most? One of the deepest human instincts is to tell our life stories, to figure out who we are and what it means to be human. This interactive workshop led by Maura MacNeil explores how the landscapes of our lives shape the stories that we tell. Participants explore the themes of family, memory, and place through sample narratives and a series of short writing exercises, gaining a deeper awareness of how their stories can preserve personal, generational, and communal history.

Maura MacNeil, writer and editor, is the author of the poetry collection A History of Water. Her writing has been published in numerous journals and anthologized in The Breath of Parted Lips: Voices from the Frost Place, Volume II and Shadow and Light: A Literary Anthology on Memory. Committed to community-based creative collaboration, MacNeil facilitates the Professional Writing Series hosted through the New England College Danforth Library. Professor of Writing at New England College, MacNeil has long taught students to tell their stories and look forward to working with public audiences.

Jul 12
New Hampshire Humanties Council Speaker
6:30 members meeting, presentation at 7pm Zoom Meeting: Fierce Females: Women in Art. Women have long been the subject of art, often depicted as nothing more than objects of desire. How do images of women change when women become the creators? This program examines the history of women in art in brief and then explores the lives, careers and works of several major women artists from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. Artemisia Gentileschi, Mary Cassatt, and Frida Kahlo are some of the artists discussed in this program.

Jane Oneail is an independent scholar and holds a master's in Art History from Boston University and a master's in Art in Education from Harvard University. Jane is a New Hampshire native and has worked at some of the state's most esteemed cultural institutions, including the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, where she served as Executive Director, and the Currier Museum of Art, where she held the role of Senior Educator. Jane has also taught at the college level for more than a decade, most recently at the NH Institute of Art.

Aug 9
New Hampshire Humanties Council Speaker
6:30 members meeting, presentation at 7pm Zoom Meeting: The History of Agriculture as Told by Barns. Barns can tell us a great deal about the history of agriculture in New Hampshire. In the colonial period, New Hampshire was a rural, agrarian state and small subsistence farms dotted the landscape. An important part of these farmsteads was the barn, which housed animals and stored crops. Early barns used traditional building methods and followed the English barn style, with a low pitched roof and doors under the eaves. As time went on, the farms expanded to accommodate changes in agriculture. This presentation will follow the progression of barn styles that evolved to handle the increased productivity required to meet the needs of a growing population and respond to changes in society caused by the railroad and the Industrial Revolution. John C. Porter, author of Preserving Old Barns: Preventing the Loss of a Valuable Resource, will demonstrate how these majestic barn structures represent Yankee ingenuity, hard work, and skilled craftsmanship, as well as providing a link to our past that adds to the state's scenic beauty.

John Porter was raised on a dairy farm in Lebanon, New Hampshire. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. Degree in Animal Science, and then went on to get a master's degree from Cornell University in Animal Nutrition and Farm Management. In 2005, he earned a master's degree in Education Administration from Bob Jones University. He served as a Dairy Specialist for the UNH Cooperative Extension from 1974 until his retirement in 2006. He still works part-time for UNH, specializing in structures and farmstead planning. In 2001, he co-authored the book Preserving Old Barns; in 2007, he was editor and contributing author of "The History and Economics of the New Hampshire Dairy Industry"; in 2011 was a contributing author of Crosscurrents of Change, an updated history of Concord, NH; and in 2019 he is publishing the new edition of Preserving Old Barns.