on Jul 27th 2008
Present: Stuart Strothman, Tim Ragle, Lindley Speers, Jane Rawley, Lyssa Papazian, Laurel Ellis, and Tom Jamison.
President Stuart Strothman presented the minutes of the PHS Annual Meeting, held September 23, 2007, at the Community Center.
Motion to accept the minutes was made, seconded, and accepted.
Lindley presented the PHS Financial Summary, dated October 31, 2007. This report reflects the favorable results of the latest PHS Newsletter mailing. Membership dues have come in with positive feedback regarding the contents of the Newsletter.
Motion to accept the Treasurer’s report was made, seconded, and accepted.
The PHS has received a membership check from UVM and has billed it regarding Hearthstone books.
The Putney Stories Project
Stuart has been working with three teachers at the Putney Central School on the Stories Project. Teachers Kathy Ingram, Karen Saunders and Connie Bresnahan are interested in researching Bear Hill with their students. Laurel Ellis has already spent time with their classes researching the property, and is interested in continuing on Wednesdays.
Teacher Angela Walton may also become involved starting next September, after her grant comes through in May. Stuart said that at Guilford Central, one half of this $800.00 grant was used for the purchase of a digital recorder, and additionally the received an IBM Personal Computer, a printer/copier, and training. There must be a partnership between the school and PHS. Collectively, the two bodies decide what project would be appropriate. Putney Stories folks will go into the school and help during the school day, while the school will do something to benefit the PHS.
Ideal Putney interviewees include, Errol Wood, Mrs. Wood, and Don Campbell (aka Arlo Mudgett). Paul Levasseur, a leader of the Stories Project, has acquired $300 for a digital recorder, but an additional $100 is needed to make the purchase.
Motion to donate the needed $100.00 to the Stories Project was made, seconded, and accepted.
In light of the Putney Stories Project, having a booth at the Vermont Expo would also be a good idea for the PHS.
The Painted Chest as Revenue
Because the Painted Chest does not pertain to the PHS, tracing back only as recently as 50 years, we are exploring the prospects of selling it. Stuart opened a letter from Sotheby’s responding to our inquiry. They will include the chest in their bidding starting at $5,000. Estimates at Sotheby’s are preliminary, at best. Laurel thinks the chest has a higher value of $10,000 or $15,000. Tim mentioned Skinner’s in Boston, but feels that they, too, will start the bidding at $5,000. We could possibly send them a digital photo.
Motion to table making a decision to list our Painted Chest with Sotheby’s was made by Laurel, seconded by Lindley, and accepted by the Board.
Civil War Broadside
In perusing our collection, Stuart came across a Civil War Broadside, a large lithograph memorial of the 11th VT Infantry organized at Brattleboro, VT, March 1865. His question is, “Can we clean it?” Lyssa suggested putting it in an acid free box. Laurel asked if it has been catalogued, but Stuart has only entered maps into our Accessioning files. Is it an object or document? Should we look into the cost of cleaning and framing? Tim is concerned about framing it. Lyssa will call the librarian at the Vermont Historical Society. She wonders if it may be one of more keepsake items given out in the greater state of Vermont.
Ancient Roads and Right of Way
Laura Heller introduced Stuart to Marianne Schlefer who is investigating the ancient roads in Putney. Establishing where ancient roads once existed is helpful in establishing current right of way. Lyssa is attending to this as people are inquiring about it. She is finding out if these ancient roads have ever been given up by examining deeds and road classifications. The issue is, if the roads are not on the map, does current right of way exist.
The issue for us is, “Do we need to be involved in finding out where these roads are?” Well, given the ambiguous nature of the Water Street trail leading to our Thwing Mill, we would like the ancient trails to stay open. Laurel Ellis said that the piece of trail concerning us, which is located between the Paper Mill and Water Street, is still a trail. Just because the town signed Water Street off as a cul de sac for the Mill, does not mean that Water Street now has the status of road. The road is Mill Street. Lyssa has already looked into this. The connection between Water and Mill Streets is not on the map, but the Town Lawyer is working on it. We wonder if the Conservation Commission should be involved in this issue.
We will stay in touch with Laura Heller concerning our interests in this matter.
Storing and Displaying our Collection
Stuart stated that the big issue for us is of getting our collection out of the upstairs of the Town Hall. Stuart would like to use some Town Hall space for displaying a limited amount of items, but would also like to clear the majority of space for public events.
Lindley thinks we have enough room upstairs to clear out and reorganize the volume of our collection. We need a final resting place, but we could clean the room out with the exception of the two display cases and the plastic bins on stage. Lyssa knows of a group who “would like to help us do the shifting and moving.” If the front of the stage were to be boxed in, the stage apron and room could be used for an event. Money needs to be raised. Laurel agrees that we should plan for our permanent collection. We could retain a sampling of our collection, store the bulk of it, and rotate our exhibitions, like a book/history mobile.
One storage option available to us is putting a trailer on the land given to us by the Wilsons, on the right side of Mill Street. Tim thinks the jail could go there, too. We could use the trailer as a place to organize our collection. For example, Lyssa showed us a listing for a used $700.00 trailer in Castleton. We could buy such a trailer and use it for storage instead of using the barn, with the leaky roof and dirt floor, that the Town has offered us. A related option could be to put a waterproof compartment in the barn and use it or lease it. When we make this decision, Laurel suggests that we create pros and cons columns for trailer versus barn and that we measure our tubs beforehand. The question of the unattractiveness of a storage trailer was raised.
Meanwhile, we will keep moving forward with our workdays on the first Saturday of every month. Lyssa could gather volunteers for these days, and suggests that we come up with a time frame for accomplishing our goal. Tom said our goal should be May. Stuart believes we can organize our collection in a couple of work days. Tim suggested that we get a dumpster and form three piles for discarding, recycling, and keeping items. In addition, non Putney items of value could be sold for potential income.
We will have a work day the first Saturday in December. Our goal is to have the upstairs cleared out by the first Saturday in May.
Related to our Thwing Mill needs, Tim knows of an aluminum bridge at the Town Garage that we could use. It is small and short.
The Newfane Museum has written to us regarding the Round School House in Brookline and has information regarding a map on the wall.
Meeting was adjourned.
Respectfully submitted by Jane Rawley, Secretary
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