Events | July 29, 2015

Collectors’ Forum at Old Sturbridge Village

STURBRIDGE, Massachusetts—Collectors of all types—young and old to experienced and amateur—have undeniably shaped the identities of many American museums and historic sites since the 19th century. Many of these special places, such as Bayou Bend, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, The Biltmore, The Henry Ford Museum, and Old Sturbridge Village began as private collections of objects, assembled by individuals passionate about art, furniture, automobiles, clocks or whatever their area of interest was. 

Presented in conjunction with the ongoing exhibition Kindred Spirits: A.B. Wells, C. Malcolm Watkins and the Origins of Old Sturbridge Village, the 2015 Collectors' Forum at Old Sturbridge Village on Saturday, October 24 will examine collecting in America, from its roots in the early 19th century through the present day. Participants will benefit from enriching lectures and workshops uncovering the origins of collecting, as well as the influences, trends, prominent personalities, and some of the challenges collectors face in today's market.

Jane Nylander, President Emerita of Historic New England and Chair of Old Sturbridge Village's Collections Committee notes "This Forum offers both a unique opportunity to compare the activities and interests of some of New England's first and most influential collectors with those of active young collectors and dealers today, as well as a cautionary tale about fakes from one of the country's most respected curators. If you have any interest at all in antique collecting, you won't want to miss this fascinating event."

The day-long program takes place in the Fuller Conference Center at Old Sturbridge Village, and the $135 registration fee includes admission to all lectures, workshops, a lunch, and a one-year membership to the Village. For current OSV Members, the registration fee is $85.

For more information visit the Village's website at or call 508-347-0237.

Lectures and Speakers at the Collectors' Forum on October 24, 2015

Gatherers of Grandma's Attic Treasures: The Antiquarian and the Connoisseur

Jane Nylander, President Emerita, Historic New England

Jane Nylander's long career as a museum curator, director, and trustee has been paralleled by academic teaching and lectures on a wide variety of topics. She has published more than one hundred articles as well as several books on historic textiles and New England daily life, including Our Own Snug Fireside: Images of the New England Home, 1760-1860 and Windows on the Past. She served as Curator of Ceramics and Textiles at Old Sturbridge Village for sixteen years, where her research on  early nineteenth century interiors resulted in new furnishing plans for many of the Village houses, a major international conference on historic upholstery and drapery, and many popular lectures. The winner of many awards, her most recent project has been the exhibition "Behind Closed Doors: Asleep in New England" at the Concord Museum.

The Decorator-Collector Henry Davis Sleeper and Beauport

Philip Hayden, Architectural Historian

Philip A. Hayden is Senior Historian and Senior Architectural Historian at RGA, Inc., a  consulting firm specializing in preservation, archaeology, and regulatory compliance. He holds a BA from Connecticut College with a double major in Historic Preservation and American History and an MA from the University of Delaware Winterthur Program. Prior to his foray into cultural resources management, Philip worked for twenty years in the museum field at Historic New England; the Historical Society of Princeton; the New Jersey Historical Society; the New Jersey State House; and the Historic Annapolis Foundation. From the tender age of eight, he has been fascinated by the life and work of decorator Henry Davis Sleeper and has published and spoken extensively on the subject.

"A Little Bit of Everything": A.B. Wells, Malcom Watkins and the Origins of OSV

Tom Kelleher, Historian & Curator of Mechanical Arts, Old Sturbridge Village

Tom Kelleher has worked at Old Sturbridge Village for more than 30 years in a variety of positions, from a costumed interpreter to his current role as historian and curator of mechanical arts.  Tom received his Master's degree in History from the University of Connecticut, and is skilled in a variety of historical trades including blacksmithing, coopering, gravestone carving, and timber-framing. A regular contributor to the Old Sturbridge Village members' magazine, The Visitor, Tom has also published articles in scholarly and professional publications including Early American Life. In addition to lecturing at museums and historic sites across the country, Tom is president of the international Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM), and a long-time member of the Society for the Preservation of Old Mills, the Early American Industries Association, and the New England Museum Association.

Developing a Collection in Today's Marketplace

Craig Jewett and Hollis Brodrick

Americana is in Craig Jewett's blood. A direct descendant of Maximillian and Joseph Jewett, two brothers who landed in Rowley, Mass in 1635, he is also President of Jewett Construction-a second generation family-owned and -operated design-build construction company specializing in commercial and industrial projects throughout the northeast. Craig is a longtime supporter and collector of the region's history and related arts, most notably 18th and 19th century decorative accessories, and is passionate about preserving the art and architecture of the past for future generations. Craig is a Proprietor of the Portsmouth Athenæum and a member of New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility, the Daniel Webster Council Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors, and the U.S. Green Building Council. He lives in Portsmouth, NH with his wife, Alison and their collection of 18th and 19th century decorative arts.

Hollis Brodrick's interests in Early American History and collecting began as a young child. By the age of sixteen, he had amassed a library on antiques and history of over 135 volumes; a list of which he proudly presented to Old Sturbridge Village, where he landed his first job as an interpreter. Today his library boasts over 4,000 volumes, which he eagerly shares with collectors both new and seasoned. The greatest joys for Hollis are to help collectors develop a focus on areas of interest and to establish a collecting criteria. A New Hampshire native, Hollis currently resides in Portsmouth where he continues to lovingly restore his 18th century home at Strawbery Banke. A house finally big enough to display his entire library!   

Workshop: Fakes and Forgeries in American Furniture

Charles F. Hummel, Curator Emeritus, Winterthur

Charles F. Hummel is a visionary leader whose impact on the museum world is far reaching. He began his impressive career as an assistant curator at Winterthur in 1958 and held numerous curatorial roles throughout his time at the museum, rising to senior deputy director in 1989. In addition to his roles as curator and administrator, Hummel was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve on the National Museum Services Board of the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 1994. He is the author of three books and numerous articles and book reviews and has lectured for more than 57 years throughout the United States and Europe. While he officially retired in 1991, Hummel continues his leading research on the Dominy craftsmen with enthusiasm and precision.   

About Old Sturbridge Village

Old Sturbridge Village, the largest living history museum in the Northeast, depicts a rural New England town of the 1830s. Each year, more than 250,000 visitors interact with costumed historians, experience up-close demonstrations of early American trades, and meet heritage breed farm animals. Situated on 200 scenic acres, the Village is a collection of more than 40 historic buildings - including homes, meetinghouses, trade shops, working farms and three water-powered mills - restaurants, shops and the Old Sturbridge Inn and Reeder Family Lodges.

Located just off the Massachusetts Turnpike and Routes I-84 and 20 in Sturbridge, Mass., Old Sturbridge Village is open year-round, but days and hours vary seasonally. Daily admission is: $24 for adults, $22 for seniors, $10 for children ages 3-17, and children 2 and under are admitted free. Each admission includes free parking and a free second-day visit within 10 days. For details, visit