J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Four Hundred Years of Furnishings

Eleven different historical institutions are collaborating to explore the traditions and business of furniture-making in Massachusetts. The initiative is called “Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture.”

There was a symposium at Winterthur this spring, but the action really heats up with events in September at the Museum of Fine Arts, the Fuller Crafts Museum, the Concord Museum, and elsewhere. There will be many more such talks and exhibits through December 2014. And for home-decorating ideas, check out the website’s highlights page.

This image is the Rev. Cotton Mather’s childhood highchair, which Nan Wolverton discussed in the latest Common-place. “Wear along the rear posts and on the ball turnings of the tiered finials are telltale signs of the chair’s use as a walker,” she writes. The footrest and rod across the front that kept babies from falling out are missing, but the rest of the chair is a proud possession of the American Antiquarian Society.

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