Woodlawn invites you to Save the Date for an exciting new design forum, Woodlawn 2.0 – Redesigned For 21st Century Living on Friday, September 25th from 3 to 7 p.m. The Design Forum will feature the ideas and concepts of three Maine architectural firms for the modern day redesign of the Black House.
The Black House interior has been undisturbed since 1928. It is filled with possessions and treasures purchased and collected over 100 years by three generations of one family. It is a 19th century masterpiece residing in a 21st century world. According to Woodlawn’s executive director, Joshua Torrance, “ Over the years, people have inquired if the Black House was for sale and it caused me to wonder just what a modern day version of the house would look like?” When Torrance approached three local architects with the idea, they were very receptive and eager to participate.
Presenting at the design forum will be Ellsworth firms, Sealander Architects and Design Group Collaborative, and Elliott + Elliott Architecture from Blue Hill. Each will present their transformative ideas for the Black House, redesigning the space for contemporary living with all the upgrades needed to meet the demands of today’s sophisticated home buyer. Architect Christopher Glass of Camden will be the keynote speaker, presenting on the history of design in Maine. There will be time for participants to ask questions during the forum and engage in conversation with the architects at a wine and cheese reception in the Black House after the formal presentation.
Maine Home+Design has partnered with Woodlawn as Media Sponsor for the Forum and will cover the event. According to Rebecca Falzano, Managing Editor of MHD, “This Design Forum represents an opportunity to celebrate and elevate architecture in Maine, which aligns with the mission of Maine Home+Design." The design forum will be held on Friday, September 25 from 3 to 7 p.m. The cost is $20 for Woodlawn members/$25 for non-members and includes the forum and a wine and cheese reception with the architects. As space is limited, pre-registration is required by calling Woodlawn at 667-8671 or e-mail
The Nation’s Longest Running Summer Antiques Show
Celebrating its 10th year at Woodlawn, the Ellsworth Antiques Show, presented by Boston Private Wealth will be held Thursday, August 13th through Saturday, August 15th. An Opening Night Cocktail Party and Dinner, catered by Chippers Restaurant and underwritten by Skinner, Inc will be held on Wednesday, August 12th .
The Ellsworth Antiques Show at Woodlawn is more than just a summer antiques show. It is an exciting summer experience. Staged under a gigantic tent on Woodlawn’s grounds, guests will feel as if they have been transported to a quaint little village of shops, each filled with museum quality antique selections. The Show offerings are as diverse as the twenty-eight dealers from across Maine and numerous other states. For a complete list of dealers visit woodlawnmuseum.org. Several of the dealers are experts in their respective fields and are always eager to share their knowledge. Guests will be pleased to find beautiful artifacts of American and European history, in a wide price range, attractive to many. The Show hours are Thursday and Friday, August 13th and 14th from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday, August 15th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to the Show including a Black House tour is $15. Show only tickets are $10. Chippers’ Black House Café will be open 11a.m. to 4 p.m. each day of the show featuring a number of Maine favorites including lobster rolls, salads and sandwiches. Beer and wine will be available. New this year is Happy Hour from 4-6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday with half price admission to the show. Throughout the three days of the show, guests can stroll through the Woodlawn gardens, tour the famous Black House, walk on the trails, or enjoy a game of croquet.
The Opening Night Cocktail Party and Dinner will be held on Wednesday, August 12th starting at 5 p.m. Guests at Opening Night are the first to preview the fabulous antiques and decorative fine art. Grammy Award winning pianist, Paul Sullivan will provide relaxing music as guests leisurely enjoy a warm August evening, a tasty variety of wonderful hors d’oeuvres, fine wines and antiques. A cash bar will also be available. Tickets to the Cocktail Party are $50 per person, or $90 per couple and are available online at woodlawnmuseum.org, by calling (207) 667-8671. Limited tickets will be available at the door. Following the cocktail party, guests can stay and join show dealers for a scrumptious Surf and Turf dinner starting at 7:30 p.m. Dinner is paired with red and white wine. The dinner concludes with summery selections from Ellsworth businesses, Cakes Downeast and Morton’s Moo Ice Cream. The combined Cocktail Party and Dinner tickets are $135 per person or $250 per couple. A table for six can be reserved for $650. Tickets can also be purchased online at woodlawnmuseum.org. Business sponsorships are available by calling Phyllis Young at 667-867.
A portion of the Opening Night ticket purchases are tax-deductible and good for admission to all three days of the show. “ It is also important to note that funds raised by the Antiques Show support Woodlawn’s educational programs including their transportation.” according to Joshua Torrance, Executive Director of Woodlawn. Originating at Ellsworth City Hall in 1937, the show moved to Woodlawn in 2006 and has since grossed over $180,000 including funding for its school programs. Torrance further noted that the show annually brings more than 1,000 visitors to the area, and has a significant impact for regional businesses.
This summer, Woodlawn steps back in time and recreates the tea time tradition started by the Black family's last caretaker, Mrs. Irma Eliason. A newly designed Tea Time Tour will be offered on Wednesday afternoons in July and August at 3:00 p.m.
Tea Time Tour goers will enjoy a personalized, staff led tour, a tasty selection of fresh baked cookies and of course, a cup of tea on the lawn weather permitting and in the Sleigh Barn on rainy days. Joshua Torrance, Woodlawn’s executive director shared the concept behind the new format, “ The tradition of serving tea at Woodlawn started with Mrs. Eliason. She loved to bake and share stories of her beloved Black House and members of the Black family. She would give a lively tour of the house and then serve her guests tea and cookies on the lawn adjacent to the formal garden.” One of her specialties was the “Black House Cookie”. This historic recipe among others will be used by Flexit Cafe and Bakery in downtown Ellsworth for one of the cookie selections each week.
Tea Time Tours start on July 8th and will be held weekly on Wednesdays with the exception of August 12th when the grounds are being readied for the Ellsworth Antiques Show at Woodlawn which runs August 13th through the 15th. The cost is $12 for Woodlawn members and $15 for non-members. Space is limited. Reservations, while not required, are appreciated with a call to 667-8671.
Spring Field Days at Woodlawn in collaboration with The Seal Cove Auto Museum, The Jackson Laboratory, MDI Biological Laboratory, and RainWise Inc. June 2 & 3 (June 4 rain date), 8:45 am – 1:55 pm
INNOVATION IN SCIENCE
Biological Innovation: Harnessing Nature’s Worst for Cures – Dr. Muneer Hasham, Ph.D., Associate Research Scientist, The Jackson Laboratory
Dr. Hasham will give a Powerpoint presentation discussing how human beings harnessed fire and how penicillin was discovered from fungus. He will then show some of his previous work of using viruses for gene therapy of diseases up to his latest work of B-cell development to find a cure for cancer.
MDI Biological Laboratory - Biomedical Innovation - Chuck Fidler, Director of Education
The MDI Biological Laboratory is a biomedical research institution with a mission to improve human health and well-being through basic research, education, and development ventures that transform discoveries into cures. Students will learn about some of the lab’s latest research.
INNOVATION IN TRANSPORTATION
Innovation and the Process of Invention – The Seal Cove Auto Museum
The Seal Cove Auto Museum will provide rides in an antique vehicle (1922 Depot Hack) and will include a program about the process of inventing and refining the mechanics of the earliest autos. A look at alternative energy use in early cars including steam and electric will inform students about the use of alternative energy in cars today.
Women and Innovation – Raney Bench, Executive Director, Seal Cove Auto Museum
Ms. Bench will talk about the work of women in the early development of the auto industry, and how the auto helped advance the cause of women’s right and suffrage.
INNOVATION IN WEATHER INSTRUMENTS
Innovation in Meteological Instruments - Carsten Steenberg, CEO, Rainwise, Inc.
Rainwise Inc. has led the way in technological development for meteorological equipment – from the original tipping bucket rain gauge and 1st digital weather station to the new frontier of wind and solar monitoring instruments, for many years. All of their products are proudly made in the USA.
INNOVATION IN THE HOME
Designing a 21st Century Black House - Anne Russenberger-Keefe, Director of Education and Program Development, Woodlawn
Looking at some of the rooms, students will be asked to identify what are some of the elements that would have been innovative in the 1800s. Using a floor plan, they will pretend to be hired by a 21st century Mr. Black and illustrate changes they would make to the room to make it more energy efficient and better adapted to today’s needs.
Woodlawn has received a $3,750 grant from the Hancock County Fund of the Maine Community Foundation to increase its organizational capacity to better understand its audiences.
According to Woodlawn’s executive director Joshua Torrance, “This grant will help fund Woodlawn’s participation in Visitors Count, a national visitor survey and analysis program offered by the American Association of State and Local History (AASLH). We will survey Black House tour visitors to help us better understand how they are connecting with Woodlawn and assess their overall experience. This data will help us improve the quality of our Black House tours, refine our communication efforts and more wisely allocate our limited marketing dollars to increase our tour attendance.”
Woodlawn, a 180 acre estate was given to the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations by George Nixon Black, Jr. upon his death in 1928. Opened as a public park in 1929, Woodlawn Trustees and staff work to preserve and protect Woodlawn resources. Its programs are mission directed, focusing on connecting people to the region’s cultural heritage and enriching the quality of life for participants. The Black House is open for tours May 1 – October 31. The grounds are open free of charge, year round, sunrise to sunset. For information on Woodlawn, visit woodlawnmuseum.org or call 667-8671.
With offices in Ellsworth and Portland, the Maine Community Foundation works with donors and other partners to improve the quality of life for all Maine people. To learn more about the foundation, visit www.mainecf.org
You do not have to be an artist to get in on the fun with a new community art experience being offered at Woodlawn this summer. On sunny days, Woodlawn visitors are invited to participate in Open Easel, a community art experience during their visit. Each day during regular museum hours and weather permitting, an easel and drawing materials will be set up somewhere on the grounds at Woodlawn. All visitors will be invited to add their drawing to the same canvas. The combination of adult and children’s drawings, with skill levels from amateur to accomplished will make an interesting collage each day. The daily artwork will be shared on the Woodlawn Facebook page.
According to Anne Russenberger-Keefe, Woodlawn’s director of education and programming, “Part of the fun will be locating the easel each day. Whether in the community garden, on the front porch, in the formal garden or aside the croquet court, the hope is that people will be inspired by Woodlawn’s beauty and share it.”
Executive director, Joshua Torrance sees Open Easel as having broad community appeal, “Everyone is invited to have fun with this project. The grounds are open free of charge so art lovers can stop by daily if so inspired. We also encourage people to drop by on their lunch break to enjoy a bit of summer during their work day while checking out and adding to the Open Easel.”
For information on Open Easel and other programs offered at Woodlawn, visit woodlawnmuseum.org, call 667-8671 or email
Woodlawn Museum, Seal Cove Auto Museum and MPBN are pleased to announce a joint promotion for their members in May.
To celebrate the season opening of Woodlawn and the Seal Cove Auto Museum, each museum will offer free tour admission for all Auto Museum, Woodlawn, and MPBN members for the month of May. “The promotion stemmed from meetings held this winter to discuss ways in which our organizations could partner, cross promote and increase member benefits”, Kate Phenix, Development and Communication Associate for MPBN.
In addition to the month-long member-to-member promotion, on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 10th, the Seal Cove Auto Museum and Woodlawn invite all mothers to enjoy a free tour at both museums. A special community event at Woodlawn is planned as a part of this celebration of Mother’s Day. The Auto Museum will bring its 1912 Crane automobile (weather permitting) to Woodlawn for rides, free of charge during the museum’s regular hours, 1-4pm. According to Seal Cove Auto Museum Executive Director Raney Bench, “The 1912 Crane is a real beauty. One of only forty produced, it was originally owned by the extremely wealthy Helen Hartley Jenkins, daughter to the owner of the Remington Arms Company. This is the first time we have brought one of the cars from our collection to Woodlawn, so visitors will have the opportunity for a very unique experience in Ellsworth on Mother’s Day.” Families are invited to bring a picnic and enjoy Woodlawn’s public park and walking trails.
Throughout the 2015 season, the Seal Cove Auto Museum and Woodlawn will continue to collaborate, offering visitors 20% off each museum’s admission when both are visited. According to Woodlawn’s executive director, Joshua Torrance, “Visitors will gain a deeper understanding of early 20th century living by visiting both museums as our collections reflect similar time periods” The Auto Museum focuses on the “Brass Era” of automobile development, 1895-1917; Woodlawn dates from the late 1700’s through 1928. The two collections reflect both everyday living and opulent lifestyles at the turn of the 20th century.
The Seal Cove Auto Museum, 1414 Tremont Road, Seal Cove is open daily, 10am to 5pm, May 1 through October 31. For details, visit www.sealcoveautomuseum.org. Woodlawn Museum, Gardens & Park, 19 Black House Drive, Ellsworth is open May and October Tues.-Sun. 1-4; June-Sept. Tues.-Sat. 10-5 & Sun. 1-4pm. For details, visit www.woodlawnmuseum.org.
There is nothing like a good conversation and a hot cup of coffee to take the chill off a winter’s day. Woodlawn Over Coffee proved to be just the elixir that people needed this Spring after one of the snowiest and coldest winters in recent history.
The six week series started off with The History of Croquet, presented by Larry Stettner. The room was filed with a mix of current players and those considering the game. While many were familiar with the 9 wicket, backyard croquet, Larry explained that the 6 wicket game played at Woodlawn is a game of skill and strategy similar to chess and pool. Backyard croquet became popular in the late 1800’s in England where it took the social scene by storm as it was the first outdoor sporting activity that could be enjoyed by men and women playing together. We know that the recreational game of croquet was played at Woodlawn as there is croquet mallets and equipment in the collection. Woodlawn has Maine's only tournament sized croquet court. The public is invited to join Woodlawn croquet players in a simplified version of 6 wicket called Golf Croquet on Tuesday afternoons, May - October.
The next two talks in the series, The History of the Ellsworth Antiques Show at Woodlawn and The History of the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations were presented by Woodlawn exeutive director, Joshua Torrance. It was interesting groups at each of these talks. The antiques show talk was attended by a mix of those who have attended and volunteered at the show and those who had not and came to learn more. It made for a lively discussion. For the Trustees talk, several people from Friends of Acadia and a writer on a Acadia National Park. This mix made for wonderful dialogue and information sharing.
April Fools Day brought a light-hearted program, a real estate agent's tour of the Black House by Teri Sargent Smith. As a Trustee Emeritus and life-long resident of Ellsworth, Teri knows the house, property and history of Woodlawn very well. and shared that her grandfather had been a chauffeur for Nixon Black, the last family member to own the estate. Teri's tour was much different than the family history tours routinely given. She offered suggestions from a realtor's perspective on things that make Woodlawn desirable, or undesirable for the modern real estate market. Participants were engaged as prospective buyers and brought many questions forward.
There are two more talks in the series. On Wednesday, April 8th we will present, Think Programs! An overview of the 2015 program schedule and on Wednesday, April 15th we present Getting Ready for Guests! preparing the Black House to open on May 1st. The talks are held 10-11am.
Woodlawn’s executive director, Joshua Campbell Torrance, recently traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to participate in the planning of the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) 2015 annual meeting. This year’s event will be in Louisville, September 16-19, 2015.
Torrance serves on the Program Selection Committee for this year’s meeting themed, The Power of Possibility. The programs will address the challenges faced by those in the public history field and offer strategies to make inroads to the future. The event is expected to draw hundreds of state and local history professionals from across the country. There were more than one hundred proposals submitted for this year’s event. “Each proposal put forth an innovative approach, activity or practice that moved an organization forward by shifting obstacles into opportunities. The committee had several conference calls before the trip and everyone came prepared, so we were able to make the selections in a one, day long work session,” remarked Torrance.
AASLH is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee and has over 6,300 members. Torrance also serves on the Historic House Committee for AASLH.
The Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations, governing board of Woodlawn Museum, Gardens & Park held its annual meeting on January 15, 2015 at The Black House in Ellsworth.
Presentations on two new plans were given. Robert Brais, Vice President of ConsultEcon presented the recently completed business plan for Woodlawn and Phyllis Young, Marketing and Development Coordinator for Woodlawn presented on the new communication plan for the organization. The annual budget was also reviewed and approved.
Frederick Ehrlenbach was seated as Woodlawn’s newest Trustee. Commenting on the selection of Ehrlenbach, executive director, Joshua Campbell Torrance said, “Fred’s lifelong connection to Ellsworth and his leadership and steadfast manner on a number of boards and planning committees in the community were qualities that the Trustees were seeking.” Fred is an active member of the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors and co-chaired the Ellsworth’s Sestercentennial Committee in 2013.
Ruth Brenninkmeyer was honored with a plaque and gift for her nine years as a member of the board and voted a Trustee Emerita. According to Torrance, “We certainly have enjoyed working with Ruth over the years. She is a true ambassador for Woodlawn and has brought much to the board with her ideas and enthusiasm.” During her tenure as a Trustee, Ruth was in the founding group that established Woodlawn’s croquet court and a stalwart member on the Ellsworth Antique Show Preview Party Committee, which she will continue to serve on.
This year marked the 114th annual meeting of the Trustees. The Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations was formed in 1901 by concerned citizens in response to extensive lumbering and the increase in private land ownership in Hancock County. They were very successful in preserving thousands of acres on Mount Desert Island, and then donated their holdings to the Federal government 1916 which formed the core of Acadia National Park. In 1929 they accepted Woodlawn from the bequest of George Nixon Black, Jr. and have continued to maintain and govern it for public use ever since.