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News New England and Beyond

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"Thank you" from Mrs. D'Itria's class
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"I found out what was used to make the toothbrushes that wealthy people had."
"I like the room that his wife used to talked to her friends."
"My big sister Wendy went to Harrison Gray Otis's house three years ago. She still has that plaster she made on the trip."
"The portrait of Mrs. Otis is very lovely and beautiful—don't you think?"
"I learned tons of things."
"It was the coolest field trip ever in the whole world."


These comments appear on a thank-you card made by children in Ms. D'Itria's fifth grade class at the Harvard-Kent School in Charlestown, Massachusetts, who visited Historic New England's Otis House Museum for a school program funded by the Lowell Institute. The students played roles to learn about life two hundred years ago, explored Beacon Hill, made plaster ornaments, and evidently thoroughly enjoyed themselves. They are among the more than fifteen thousand grade school students who visit Historic New England properties for school and after-school programs each year.

How does your garden grow?
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Historic New England has created a new Garden and Landscape membership category. In addition to regular membership benefits, Garden and Landscape members will receive a biannual newsletter with garden information; invitations to an annual garden-focused event for members and their guests; and special discounts, including 15% savings on items purchased at the Lyman Estate Green-houses in Waltham, Massachusetts, and 10% savings on items from the Logee's Greenhouse in Danielson, Connecticut. Annual dues for the Garden and Landscape membership are $75. This membership will enrich your knowledge while contributing to the support and maintenance of beloved gardens across the region. Gift memberships are available. Join online at or call 617-227-3956, ext. 273.

Cogswell's cupola
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The 1875 barn at Historic New England's Cogswell's Grant in Essex, Massachusetts, is an imposing structure crowned by a cupola with a cow weathervane. For more than three years, staff on Historic New England's Property Care team have been carrying out extensive repairs to the barn—repairing the frame and roof, painting, reshingling, and restoring the cupola. The work included commissioning a reproduction of the original weathervane that had been stolen in the 1980s. Last fall, the project finally concluded after a crane carefully lifted the restored cupola into place.

The late nineteenth century saw an increased use of architectural enhancements on barns across New England. Rows of small windows were installed in doors to add light; later, farmers added cupolas, weathervanes, and lightning rods. Cupolas, usually louvered to keep out birds, rodents, and rain, not only are decorative but also provide ventilation.

News New England and Beyond