The Main Hall

Tools, Trades and Tasks: All Work and No Play?

This new exhibition features handcrafted tools and equipment once indispensable to farmers, craftsmen, and rural families. Artfully arranged on walls and pedestals, objects such as the humble dung fork, spinning wheel, and ditch plow are shown for their intrinsic beauty.  Whether lovingly or grudgingly used, these carefully crafted and patched tools and equipment speak volumes about their early role in everyday life in rural New England.

Mack the Ox moveAlong with the popular Mack the Giant Ox banner, the exhibition includes Frances and Mary Allen’s photographs of people at work and play; equipment used in agriculture, food and cloth production; woodworking, coopering, and shoemaking trades; early vehicles from Montague and Greenfield; enormous barrels carved from a sycamore trunk; washing and broom-making machines; animals’ yokes and pokes; hand-wrought cow and sheep bells; and curiosities such as The Lost Hoe Found.

Tools, Trades and Tasks is installed in Memorial Hall’s Main Hall. This gallery was renovated over the winter and now boasts nine new exhibition cases, improved lighting and viewing.

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