Woodlawn’s to host 1827 Best Bed Symposium featuring Earle Shettleworth and Jane Nylander

Woodlawn is pleased to present a special one-day symposium, Celebrating an American Treasure: Woodlawn’s 1827 Best Bed: Context & Conservation, on September 26, 2014, from 8:15 am to 4 pm. This program celebrates the recently completed conservation of the 1827 best bed and its original dimity and silk bed curtains. These extraordinary textiles have been accessible to the public since Woodlawn first opened as a house museum in 1929. Their conservation ensures their continued preservation for decades to come.

Featured in the National Endowment for the Humanities’ magazine Curio and in The Magazine Antiques, Woodlawn’s best bed is nationally significant. It is one of the best documented historic bedsteads in America. It survives with its original bed curtains and in its original location. Purchased by John Black in Boston in 1827, the bed is complete with all its curtaining, festoons, fringe, and bedding (feather bed, mattress, bolsters and sackcloth) intact. Well documented by invoices, the bed is especially noteworthy for the drawing sent by the Boston upholsterer who provided instruction for the installation of the elegant bed curtains.

The conservation work, conducted over 1 ½ years by Deirdre Windsor, from Windsor Conservation, in Dover, Massachusetts and Jon Brandon, from East Point Conservation Studio in Brunswick, Maine, was generously supported by the Coby Foundation of New York and the Felicia Fund of Providence, Rhode Island.

The program will feature keynote illustrated talks by Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr., Director, Maine Historic Preservation Commission, and Jane C. Nylander, President Emerita, Historic New England, two of New England’s foremost scholars of early Maine culture.

Deirdre Windsor, Principal, Windsor Conservation, will discuss the conservation process used to clean and stabilize the twenty-one textile elements that comprised the bed curtaining. Natalie Larson, Historic Textile Reproductions, Williamsburg, Virginia and Laura F. Sprague, independent curator and project manager for the project, will share the bed’s history and remarkable documentation that sets this bedstead apart from any other in America. As part of the program, special subject tours of the best bed and Woodlawn’s museum collections offer participants a rare opportunity to learn about this unparalleled collection with program speakers and other scholars. Lunch will be provided. Registration is $60.00 person ($50 for Woodlawn members). Because space is limited, early registration is recommended. To register or for more program and schedule information, please contact Woodlawn at 207 667-8671 or www.woodlawnmuseum.org.