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Heritage Artisans Week

January 28th was a big day for me.

It was my 1-year #Workiversary (work-anniversary for those readers not interested in all the hashtags and portmanteau going on these days, but I technically am a millennial so sometimes I need to act like one. Forgive me).

I have been the Community Engagement Manager for Historic New Harmony (HNH) for a solid year now and that means that, while people and places in town became familiar to me within a few weeks and months, our yearly projects and programs are just now coming back around. I’m falling into the routine of the semesters at USI- knowing where to go on campus to get things done, how to get students’ attention at certain times of the day, days of the week, and which weeks to avoid all together like midterms and around spring break. I’m also falling into a routine in New Harmony as well. I quickly learned that New Harmony Business Associates meetings are on the first Wednesday of every month and I gradually learned which lunch and dinner specials fell on which days at each of the local restaurants. But, now that I’ve passed the one-year mark with HNH, I’m getting into the groove of our project and programming schedule as well. The progression of the calendar has come full circle!

2012-Heritage-Artisans-portraitThe first major event that I had a hand in last year was Heritage Artisans Days in April of 2014. I was so excited for this experience to come. I started pitching in 2 months before the event, but it was clear that there had been assignments, deadlines, and various other to-do lists since October! And boy, does this well-oiled-machine-of-a-system pay off.

I was blown away the very first morning of the event last April. I had been prepared for 15 demonstrators, many volunteers from town and campus, and close to 3,000 school children descending on New Harmony over the three days of the event, but it’s another thing to see it. When it all came together, the demonstrators arriving and setting up the day before, the preparations at the Atheneum Visitors Center and the excitement mounting as so many kids piled off of the buses- my anticipation paid off. The three days were a ton of fun and it was neat to be on the other side of school fieldtrips- helping with the planning and orchestrating. It was also incredible to see so many students enjoying the town’s history in such an exciting and engaging way.

My assignments for this year increased since I wasn’t quite so green anymore and was able to take on my fair share from the start. One assignment that I really enjoyed was helping to research new demonstrators in addition to our traditional beekeepers, soap maker, tin smith, oxen-driver, and the like. Since this was our 30th annual event, we wanted something unique this year to celebrate. I had a blast researching and contacting various demonstrators for more information on their crafts and availability.

The new addition we settled on, however, takes the cake! New in 2015, Historic New Harmony is pleased to present The Duelist! Michael Ramsey will be demonstrating the art of 19th century tailoring the mornings at the Double Log Cabin. Every afternoon at 1pm he will provide a brief historicalThe Duelist! lecture on dueling at Maclure Square and will then demonstrate a duel with his good friend and our returning 19th Century Doctor, Albert Roberts (click here to see a YouTube video of The Doctor at Heritage Artisans Days 2012).

This exciting new addition will be free and open to the public and all spectators are encouraged to gather before 1pm to ensure a view of the action.

All questions about Heritage Artisans Days can be directed to Historic New Harmony’s Visitors Services Coordinator, MeLissa Williams: MJWilliams2@usi.edu. Questions about the Duelist can be directed to HNH’s Community Engagement Manager, Catherine Cotrupi at CCotrupi@usi.edu. Both can also be reached at 812-682-4488.

More information about Heritage Artisans Days can be found here.
Enjoy our #VisionOfUtopia!

The Harmonist Sundial: A Timeless Wonder

New Harmony is home to many cool historical artifacts, from large buildings to small personal possessions. One such artifact is the Harmonist sundial: a device of simple construction, the sundial uses the shadow cast by its gnomon, or style, to tell time.

In 1821, the original settlers of New Harmony, the Harmonists, installed the sundial on the mansion belonging to the leader, Father Rapp. When the mansion caught fire in 1844, the sundial was saved and later fixed to the south wall of Community House Number 2. There, it could accurately tell time except during daylight savings time.

Today a replica of the Harmonist sundial continues to adorn the south side of Community House located at 410 North Main Street. The original is displayed inside the same building with several pieces of authentic Harmonist furniture, some of the few remaining examples of Harmonist craftsmanship presently in New Harmony.

To see the original sundial, take a tour with one of Historic New Harmony’s fabulous tour guides—they’ll be happy to point it out to you. Tours begin each day at 10 o’clock at Historic New Harmony’s visitor’s center the Atheneum. Don’t forget to check out www.visitnewharmony.com for other events and activities in New Harmony!

Fling Yourself Into Spring!

I am SO looking forward to New Harmony’s Spring Fling, happening on the weekend of the Vernal Equinox (March 21 and 22) in the historic Ribeyre Gym.

There will be hand made crafts and homemade goodies, high-quality antiques and other collectibles, a veritable potpourri of locally made & repurposed arts and craft items. When you combine all of this with the galleries, shops, and restaurants offered in the unique, utopian village of New Harmony, you’ve got a winning weekend trip.

The main things attracting me to the event will be the sinfully rich and incredibly varied types of locally-made fudge offered by 3 Chicks Fudgery (Red Velvet fudge? Oh, yeah.), and the repurposed pallet crafts, which give a really classy spin to the entire notion of “reuse.” These are just my faves; you may find other things more interesting. I hear fresh kettle corn and pork rinds will be available. And there’s no shortage of wonderful, jaw-dropping crafts to see: handcrafted gourds, handmade goat milk soap and bees wax lotions, handmade purses, baby afghans, origami owl lockets (I can’t wait to see what those look like!), and much more.

This will be a great weekend to shake off cabin fever. Check out www.visitnewharmony.com to get information on accommodations, food, and all the amazing things New Harmony offers.

Next Up: Celtic-Inspired Music and Multimedia Show at Under the Beams

One of the many things that keeps me returning to New Harmony from north Vanderburgh County (can I coin the term NorVanCo?) is the fantastic Under the Beams concert series, now in its fifteenth season. Every year this series brings remarkable musical talent to our little corner of Indiana, and this year my sweetie Steve bought us season tickets as a Christmas gift — maybe just to save himself the trouble of asking me before every concert if I want to go. I tend to be more of a homebody on winter evenings, but these concerts, without fail, are so very worth getting out for.

And I’m really loving the Murphy Auditorium as a concert venue. Perhaps that’s partially because it’s where I first saw Pokey LaFarge, last February, who immediately became my favorite musician in all the world, but it really is a wonderful place to hear live music. The sound, the seats, the whole experience are pretty much perfect.

Often I go to Under the Beams concerts “cold” — without having heard the music of the group, or even reading about them. But I’ve been listening to Solas a bit this week, mostly watching YouTube. And I’ve discovered that they are way more than a Celtic band. Their ethnic heritage is their foundation, of course, and essential to their sound; but to that foundation they add a folky, Appalachian, bluegrassy dimension, which is really appealing to me these days. (I started life as a Beatles fan, then big band swing, and finally, with the help of “O Brother, Where Art Thou” and Alison Krauss, got to bluegrass.)

Just as appealing as their sound are their thoughtful lyrics and their social/cultural sensibilities. Their current tour is a multimedia show that brings to life their Shamrock City album, an exploration of the immigrant experience a century ago in Butte, Montana. So it sounds like this concert will be an immersive experience, in addition to being simply lovely music.

Buy your tickets at http://www.underthebeams.org/event/solas/ and, if you want to add a few other stops to your time in New Harmony, plan your visit at www.visitnewharmony.com.