Upcoming Events:

  • Golf Croquet
    September 01, 2015

    The public is invited to play 6 wicket, golf croquet on Tuesday afternoons, May - October.  $10 per week for non croquet members. Equipment is...

  • Golf Croquet
    September 08, 2015

    The public is invited to play 6 wicket, golf croquet on Tuesday afternoons, May - October.  $10 per week for non croquet members. Equipment is...

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Press Room
Antiques Show Dealer Repairs Woodlawn Barometer

Woodlawn was in luck this year when John Forster, owner of Barometer Fair from Sarasota, Florida participated in the Ellsworth Antiques Show.  Forster specializes in barometer restoration and repair and was able to bring Woodlawn's signed Bapa(tiste) Ronchetti barometer back to working order. He completed the repairs during the Show and the barometer was promptly returned to the wall just outside John Black's office on the main floor of the Black House.

Ronchetti was an Italian barometer maker who moved to Manchester England in 1785. He was a prolific producer of high quality instruments from 1785 to 1810. In his work summary, Forster noted Woodlawn's barometer is a four dial, mahogany veneered pine instrument with parts dating to 1790 and some dated 1835. He also noted that it has an unusual hygrometer not often seen on early barometers.

Barometer Fair is the trade name for John Forster, who has been buying, selling and restoring antique barometers since 1979.  Forster also does appraisals and has a most interesting collection of corkscrews and globes. To learn more about his business and areas of expertise, visit barometerfair.com

2015 Ellsworth Antiques Show at Woodlawn - A Success!

This year’s Ellsworth Antiques Show at Woodlawn has been deemed a success.  While the final figures are not yet in, Woodlawn administration projects the proceeds to be in the range of $20,00 to $25,000. This is great news for area schools as proceeds from the Show help support Woodlawn’s educational programs through an established education fund that allows Maine students to participate in Woodlawn programs free of charge.  The Show offered some of the most unique shopping in the area, and while the gate attendance was slightly down from last year, those who came shopped, and most of the 28 dealers have reported in as having a good to great year.

This year’s Show offered a number of surprises.  Guests at the Opening Night Party were delighted to have Martha Stewart stop by unannounced. Paul Sullivan, Grammy Award winning pianist, chatted freely with party goers while playing many of their favorite tunes, much to their delight.  Opening Night Dinner guests enjoyed a surprise give-a-way with a winner at each table. Four guests won $250 gift certificates to be used at the Antiques Show while others won prizes and gift certificates from Woodlawn and area businesses.  On Friday, several antique cars on a road rally stopped in and were delighted to see the Seal Cove Auto Museum’s 1912 Model T Ford Torpedo Roadster amongst all the other antiques under the tent. 

Friends met friends at the Show to shop and enjoy a lunch at The Black House Café presented by Chippers Restaurant in Hancock. The open air Café overlooked the grounds of Woodlawn and diners enjoyed watching croquet being played on the estate’s groomed tournament sized court, a perfect spot to be on a sunny August afternoon..  Many of the Show visitors purchased the combination ticket to also tour the Black House, making it a full day of antiques, history and fun.  If you missed this year’s Show, plan to attend in 2016.  It will be happening in August, dates to be announced in early next year.

Woodlawn, A Look Within A New Publication on Woodlawn

A frequently asked question by visitors to Woodlawn is if there is a book that tells the story of this historic estate.   After several years in development, Woodlawn is pleased to announce that Woodlawn, A Look Within is now available in the museum gift shop and by mail order.

This colorful, informative book was produced and edited by Woodlawn's Executive Director, Joshua Torrance.  The book opens with a brief family history and an introduction to George Nixon Black, Jr. who was the last owner of the estate and the one who gave the property to the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations to be kept as a public park. It then takes the reader on a room to room tour through the Black House with descriptions and interesting historical facts on the many unique objects in the collection.

The text is enhanced with exquisite photographs taken by Walter Smalling, Jr. a professional photographer specializing in historic architecture. Smalling has a BA in fine arts, art history, and design and was the photographer for the National Park Service for nine years.  He began painting seriously about two years ago and splits his time between photography and painting, working from Washington, D.C. and Penobscot, Maine. Walter also serves as a Woodlawn Trustee.

To order a copy of the book, call (207) 667-8671 or email   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

2015 Big Lobster Croquet Tournament Scheduled for September 9-13

Woodlawn is pleased to announce the 2015 Big Lobster Invitational Croquet Tournament will be held Wednesday, September 9 through Sunday, September 13.  The tournament includes five days of spirited croquet play on the coast of Maine and is sponsored by the Woodlawn Croquet Program.  Spectators are welcome.

The 2015 Lobster Invitational Croquet Tournament aka "the Big Lobster" includes a unique blend of six and nine wicket competition in various Downeast Maine settings, amazing views of Acadia National Park and delicious Maine lobster.  The event opens with a reception and BBQ for the players on Tuesday evening.  The first two days of the tournament are the 9 wicket rounds and will be played in Southwest Harbor.  The 6 wicket rounds will be at Woodlawn starting on Friday morning and will continue thru Sunday when the six wicket championship games will be held ending around 2:00 p.m.  This year, in addition to Maine players there will be participants from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Florida, Missouri, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Canada and the Virgin Islands. All are competing for the bragging rights to be named a Big Lobster Champion.

The “Big Lobster” Croquet tournament was the brainchild of Larry Stettner, a founding member of Woodlawn Croquet and a resident of Southwest Harbor.  Larry is a real croquet enthusiast and started the MDI Croquet club when he retired to SW Harbor from teaching at Wayne State University in Detroit in the late 1990`s.   The MDI Croquet club sponsored the “Big Lobster” for many years before it came to the Woodlawn Croquet program.  The tournament started in the late 1990`s and has been scheduled every other year since then.  According to Perry Mattson, Woodlawn Croquet participant and tournament manager, “It is a very unique tournament in that it uses both 9 wicket doubles and six wicket singles play.  The nine wicket doubles uses a variation of the Claremont Hotel Classic Tournament rules and is similar to the backyard version of 9 wicket croquet played for years by many families. The six wicket singles uses the American rules.” The “Big Lobster” is a favorite of many players and attracts some top notch croquet players in the United States and Canada.

For information or questions, call tournament director Larry Stettner at (207) 266-2733 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or tournament manager, Perry Mattson at (207) 667-9335 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Enjoy Happy Hour at the Ellsworth Antiques Show at Woodlawn

Woodlawn invites you to relax and unwind after your busy day of work or play by joining them for Happy Hour at the Ellsworth Antiques Show on Thursday, August 13 and Friday, August 14 from 4 to 6 pm.  During Happy Hour, guests will receive ½ price Show admission and there will be a beverage service offering beer and wine for purchase.

The Ellsworth Antiques Show at Woodlawn is an exciting summer experience staged under a gigantic tent on Woodlawn’s grounds.  Happy Hour guests will enjoy strolling through the tent at their leisure, browsing in each of the booths and chatting with the twenty-eight dealers.  Woodlawn director, Joshua Torrance sums up the experience, “It’s an opportunity to socialize in a beautiful setting, learn a little history, see lots of interesting and unusual things, reminisce a bit and perhaps take home a real treasure, a great way to end a summer day.”

The Ellsworth Antiques Show at Woodlawn is presented by Boston Private Wealth and runs Thursday, August 13th through Saturday August 15th. Show hours are Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The regular Show admission is $10 or a combined Show and Black House tour ticket is $15. The Black House Café will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with lunch items, beer and wine.   For more information visit woodlawnmseum.org or call (207) 667-8671.

Save the Date - Woodlawn2.0 - Redesigned for 21st Century Living

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 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The Ellsworth Antiques Show – Celebrating 10 Years a Woodlawn

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.

Woodlawn Summer Teas to Take on Historical Format

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.

2015 Curriculum and Presenters for 7th and 8th Grade Field Days

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


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 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 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.


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 Receives Grant for National Visitors Count Program

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


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Woodlawn Museum, Gardens & Park
P.O. Box 1478  •  Rte. 172  •  Ellsworth, Maine 04605  •  (207) 667-8671