Friday, April 6, 2007
Carlisle School donates antiques to Historical Society
The Carlisle School donated a glass case of stuffed birds, an antique bench and a large bass drum to the Historical Society on Wednesday, March 28. The story behind these artifacts starts with leaks in the attic of the Spalding Building, explained Building and Grounds Supervisor David Flannery. Moving items away from the wet areas led to finding the bench, which originally came from the Center District Red Brick School (built in 1848, now the middle school art room). Flannery found a patent date of 1881 on one leg, and believes the old bench predates a circa 1900 desk and chair from the Highland Building, already in the possession of the Historical Society.
The huge bass drum, with its wooden frame, brought back memories for Flannery. "It was neat to see the drum," he said. Could it be the same drum pictured on page 77 in the Historical Society's book, Images of America — Carlisle? In any case, it is a handsome, if large and heavy, example of an early marching drum.
A collection of stuffed birds, created many years ago by former Gleason Librarian Mary A. Green, will find a new home with the Carlisle Historical Society. According the Mosquito, June 29, 1977, Green started the collection "when children of Carlisle began to bring her the bodies of dead birds." Soon, other Carlisle residents brought her birds from as far away as Angola. The collection resided at the Gleason Library until the 1970s, when there was discussion about where the collection might be most usefully displayed. Roger Fenn, former headmaster of the Fenn School, was consulted because of his interest in ornithology. He spoke with James Van Amburg, who was the Carlisle School's Superintent-Principal, and as a result the collection was moved to the Carlisle School in 1977. Fenn then visited the school and gave science talks to students, using the birds as examples for his remarks on protective coloration.
Years later, during renovations at the school, the birds were moved into storage. The value of the bird collection is not known. Historical Society member Janet Hentschel said the group does not have the funds for evaluating or restoring the birds at this time.
© 2007 The