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Special Collections sponsors new exhibit : The Two Pointers of Dead Creek — A Tradition of Trapping and Boat Building in Addison County

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

In collaboration with Vergennes boat builder Douglas Brooks, Special Collections is offering a new short-term exhibit The Two Pointers of Dead Creek : A Tradition of Trapping and Boat Building in Addison County.  Assistant Curator Danielle Rougeau is working with Douglas Brooks on mounting the exhibit on the Lower Level of the Davis Family Library. The exhibit officially opens on Wednesday, September 1, 2010, and will be on view through Friday, October 1.

During the 2009-2010 academic year, Brooks and three Middlebury College students, Renee Igo ’11, Christian Woodard ’11 and Ben Meader ’10.5, interviewed trappers and their descendants in an effort to document the culture of muskrat trapping in Addison County, with an emphasis on the “two pointers”, the double-ended boats that trappers built.

After a training program with the Vermont Folklife Center, the researchers began recording interviews and examining historic boats. Over twenty historic trapping boats were identified in the region.  Eventually several boats were carefully measured and one was chosen for replication. The students displayed an historic boat at the 2010 Middlebury College Student Research Symposium.

In the 2010 spring semester, Igo, Woodard, and Meader, guided by Brooks, built this trapping boat in studio space at Middlebury’s Old Stone Mill. The boat was launched on Commencement day, May 27, 2010.    

“Dear James” Exhibit

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

The exhibit entitled “Dear James,” currently on view in the Davis Family Library Atrium exhibit cases, was curated by Emmie Donadio, Asst. Curator of the Middlebury College  Art Museum, in collaboration with Special Collections, and mounted in the Library by Ms. Donadio and Special Collections Assistant Curator Danielle Rougeau.

The artist Ben Schonzeit wrote daily letters to his son, James Schonzeit, Middlebury Class of 2010, during James’s four years at Middlebury, and on each envelope he painted a portrait. The work came to the notice of Emmie Donadio who approached Special Collections to consider an exhibition of these unique and beautiful works for the entire Middlebury community to enjoy in the Davis Library Atrium, one of the highest traffic areas on campus. Mounted in mid-May, the exhibit was on display in time for Commencement week when James Schonzeit’s classmates and their families could  admire these extraordinary watercolor paintings. The exhibit, which continues to make a great impression on Library visitors, will be on display through the end of July with a possible extension through mid-August, after which the materials will be returned to the Schonzeit family.

Ben Schonzeit is the subject of a handsome monograph: Ben Schonzeit,  Paintings, by Charles A. Riley II [NY; Harry N. Abrams, 2002], and he maintains a website at www.benschonzeit.com.  None of the portraits is reproduced in the monograph, but the website may have examples of his portrait paintings.

[This post was contributed by Andrew M. Wentink, Curator, Special Collections & Archives.]

Exhibited 2010: LIS Arts & Crafts (June 9-28)

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

The 2nd Annual LIS Arts & Crafts Exhibit (“Exhibited 2010″) will be held in the Atrium of the Davis Family Library June 9th-June 28th. The Opening Reception will be held at 4PM Wednesday, June 9th. All are welcome to see and hear the artistic and musical talents of LIS staff.

Exhibited 2010 Poster