The Sturbridge Historical Society meeting will be held on Thursday May 24th at the Publick House Historical Inn on Sturbridge Common. The guest speaker will be Dennis Picard; retired director of the Storrowtown Village Museum in West Springfield, Ma on the history of Ice Harvesting and the natural ice industry in New England.
The commercial harvesting of ice from New England ponds and lakes for export began in the first decade of the 19th century. By the end of that century ice harvesting was the 9th largest industry in the United States employing tens of thousands of workers in New England alone and producing hundreds of thousands of tons of block ice annually.
Dennis Picard has been demonstrating the ice harvesting trade for more than twenty years at museums and environmental education centers. He will display some of his antique tools of that trade including several invented in Massachusetts. He will share the interesting tale of this once massive enterprise that is now fading from our collective memory. Dennis also invites and guides would-be ice harvesters to try their hand at working with some of his antique implements, including a “pond saw” and the breaker bar. Dennis Picard has been a museum professional in the living history field for forty years. He began his career at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Ma, in 1978, where he eventually spent twelve years filling various positions including lead interpreter, researching and designing many public programs which are still offered by that institution today. He also served on the staff of Hancock Shaker Village as a historic trade craftsman and site interpreter. Dennis is the recipient of various grants that allowed him to serve as project coordinator for research and implementation of programs and events at several historic sites and museums. He has held the position of Assistant Director and Director at several sites including Fort Number Four in Charlestown, NH, the Sheffield Historical Society in the Massachusetts Berkshires and has recently retired after 27 years at Storrowtown Village Museum in West Springfield,MA. This academic year he will be teaching “Museum Studies& Historic Site Interpretation” at Westfield State University.
Historical Society meetings are free of charge with dessert and meeting room provided by Michael Glick, Publick House Innkeeper. Our sincere thanks go out to Mr. Glick.
Society annual dues are $10.00 which help to support the cost of speakers. Meetings are held September through May on the fourth Thursday of the month except November and December. November meeting is held on the first Thursday in December.
All meetings start at 7:00 pm. Public is welcome.