Upcoming Events


Four Centuries of Furniture In and Around Boston

Library table, probably Boston, MA, ca. 1860; walnut; L. Knife & Son Corporate Collection; courtesy, Massachusetts Historical Society; photo: Laura Wulf.

The Decorative Arts Trust
Fall Symposium

October 17 – 20, 2013
Concord, MA
Host Hotel: Concord’s Colonial Inn

Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture is a collaborative venture of eleven institutions presenting an unprecedented celebration for 2013 of the Bay State’s remarkable furniture-making legacy. From the early products of Pilgrims and
Puritans to the studio furniture of today, Trust members will visit the exhibits organized to show new research, rarely seen objects and to bring us up-to-date with furniture research in Massachusetts. www.fourcenturies.org

Join us!



The Symposium Schedule

Thursday, October 17, 2013
Colonial Inn’s Heritage Room

6:00 p.m. Reception and Registration
6:30 p.m.

Randy Schrimsher, President, Decorative Arts Trust

The John A. H. Sweeney Lecture
Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture
Brock Jobe, Professor of American Decorative Arts, Winterthur

 7:30 p.m.


Boston, Massachusetts
ca. 1863;
mahogany with rosewood graining;
collection of Mr. and Mrs. Francis L. Coolidge.


Friday, October 18, 2013
Hotel Ballroom

The Cabinetmaker & the Carver:
Boston Furniture from Private Collections

As part of the Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture collaborative project, the Massachusetts Historical Society presents an exhibition covering several centuries of a rich and varied furniture-making tradition with an emphasis on a selection of important objects from private collections that are rarely seen by the public.

8:30 a.m.

Depart on motor coach from Colonial Inn and travel to Boston

9:30 a.m. Arrive MA Historical Society. Lectures in reading room.
10:00 a.m.

Welcome from Dennis Fiori, President

The Cabinetmaker & the Carver
Gerald W. R. Ward, Senior Consulting Curator and the Katharine Lane Weems Senior Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture Emeritus, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Visit exhibit: The Cabinetmaker & the Carver: Boston Furniture from Private Collections

11:30 a.m. Depart Massachusetts Historical Society
12:00 p.m. Arrive Somerset Club for lunch
1:30 p.m.

Beacon Hill collection visits to include the 19th century Nichols House and the Colonial Society of Massachusetts plus private collections

3:30 p.m.

Depart Beacon Hill by motor coach and continue to the Boston Museum of Fine Art

4:00 p.m.

Meet Curator of American Decorative Arts, Nonie Gadsden for introduction to Massachusetts Furniture in the Boston Museum and the new Wing of the Americas. And, see Sargent’s Watercolors exhibit.

For those not going on to the Fundraiser, you might enjoy supper at one of the museum restaurants before heading back to Concord.

6:00 p.m. Fundraiser participants depart Museum. (See Fundraiser details.)
7:00 p.m. Depart Museum of Fine Arts and return to Concord
8:00 p.m.

Arrive at Colonial Inn, Concord

Nathan Lombard, Sutton, MA, 1805;
cherry, mixed wood inlay;
courtesy Old Sturbridge Village.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Delightfully Designed: Massachusetts Decorated Furniture

The Collectors’ Forum at Old Sturbridge Village

9:00 a.m.

Depart by motor coach from Colonial Inn and travel to Old Sturbridge Village

OSV, founded in 1946, is the oldest and largest living history museum in the country and consists of more than 59 original buildings, each carefully researched, restored, and brought to the museum site from towns throughout New England. These provide a context for the 60,000 collection objects on display. The portrayal of the Village, 1790-1840, is grounded in award-winning historical research that includes archaeology, scientific analysis of 19th-century objects and buildings, and painstaking study of letters, diaries, account books, and other documents.

10:00 a.m.

Morning welcome by Jim Donahue, President of Old Sturbridge Village, and
Jane Nylander, preeminent decorative arts scholar and OSV Trustee

10:30 a.m.

The Furniture, Family, and Framework of Nathan Lombard
Brock Jobe, Professor of American Decorative Arts, Winterthur Museum
Christie Jackson, Curator of Decorative Arts, Old Sturbridge Village 
Clark Pearce, independent scholar and advisor to museums and collectors in American Arts

12:00 noon

Lunch hosted by Norm Abram, noted TV personality, woodworker, and OSV Trustee, speaking informally about the rich traditions of rural cabinetmaking in New England

1:30 p.m.

Explore the Village, continue to attend the Collectors’ Forum sessions on Working with Lombard’s Furniture, and/or participate in other special programming, and see the Four Centuries exhibit, Delightfully Designed – The Furniture and Life of Nathan Lombard.

4:30 p.m.

Board motor coach for return trip to Concord stopping at the Old Manse for drinks and tours

Built in 1770 for patriot minister William Emerson, The Old Manse, a National Historic Landmark, became the center of Concord’s political, literary, and social revolutions over the course of the next century. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne both called the Manse home for a time – and each found inspiration here. Emerson would draft his famous essay “Nature” from an upstairs room, and Hawthorne would write a tribute to the homestead called Mosses from an Old Manse. Hawthorne and his wife, Sophia, started their married life here, and you can still see the poems they wrote to each other, etched on the Manse’s window panes.

6:30 p.m. Return to Colonial Inn

The Dowse Library at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Sunday, October 20, 2013
Hotel Ballroom

9:00 a.m.

Depart Colonial Inn walking through the historic village of Concord ending at The Concord Museum with lectures in their “barn.”

9:30 a.m.

The Jonathan L. Fairbanks Lecture
Wondrous Wood: Massachusetts Made Furniture in the 20th-21st Century
Jonathan L. Fairbanks, Executive Director of the Fuller Crafts Museum

10:15 a.m.

Best Workman in the Shop, Cabinetmaker William Munroe of Concord, 1778-1861
David Wood, Curator, The Concord Museum

11:30 a.m. Visit Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture exhibit: The Best Workman in the Shop: William Munroe of Concord, and the exhibit Daniel Chester French: Sculpture from His Concord and Chesterwood Studios.
12:30 p.m. Board motor coach and return to Colonial Inn. Symposium ends

Portrait of Abigail Adams;
pastel on paper by Benjamin Blyth,
circa 1766;
courtesy Massachusetts Historical Society.

Decorative Arts Trust Fundraiser for the Education Fund

Friday, October 18, 6:30 p.m.

Mr. and Mrs. Edward C. Johnson, III, have kindly agreed to open their stunning Boston home for a reception and tour to members who wish to contribute to the Decorative Arts Trust Education Fund which provides year-long internships, study grants, symposium and institutional scholarships. This rare opportunity offers participants a close look at the Johnsons’ famed collection of American and Chinese furniture, paintings, porcelain, carpets, and decorative arts. Masterpieces abound, from a glorious 18th-century japanned high chest signed by its decorative painter to the very best Newport furniture.

It is a collector’s dream house, with objects of superb quality at every turn. We hope that you will join us for an unforgettable evening in support of the Trust’s ongoing efforts to help fund scholarships for young museum professionals. $400 per person, tax deductible.

Please register for this fundraiser on the symposium registration form. Attendance is limited. This will be a long-remembered beautiful evening and it will help the Trust achieve our goals of supporting graduate students and young professionals in the decorative arts field.

Thursday Optional Tour

Historic Deerfield
October 17, 2013
THURSDAY OPTIONAL TOUR IS SOLD OUT. You may request to be added to the wait list on the registration form.

Thursday, October 17, 2013  
8:00 a.m. Depart from Colonial Inn on motor coach for Deerfield, Massachusetts
10:00 a.m.

Arrive at Historic Deerfield’s Flynt Center of Early New England Life for coffee and to see Into the Woods: Crafting Early American Furniture

10:30 a.m.

Furniture Masterworks: Tradition and Innovation in Western Massachusetts
Joshua Lane, Curator of Furniture,
Historic Deerfield

11:10 a.m.

Break into small groups to visit the Four Centuries exhibit, Furniture Masterworks: Tradition and Innovation in Western Massachusetts, in the Wright House. And, three historic houses on the street: Ashley House, Sheldon House and concluding with refreshments at Williams House.

12:00 noon

Lunch at the Deerfield Inn

1:30 p.m.

Continue with tours of Historic Deerfield houses and collections

3:30 p.m. Depart for Concord
5:30 p.m.

Arrive Colonial Inn, Concord


Sunday Optional Tour

Collections of Crafts and Country Houses
October 20, 2013


Sunday, October 20, 2013  
12:30 p.m.

Board motor coach at Concord Museum with box lunch on the way

2:00 p.m.

Arrive Fuller Craft Museum where Jonathan Fairbanks, Director, will show us through their Four Centuries exhibit: Made in Massachusetts: Studio Furniture in the Bay State

3:00 p.m.

Depart Fuller Craft Museum and travel to Sharon, MA

4:00 p.m.

Arrive at the Trustees of Reservations’ (the oldest land trust in our nation) state-of-the-art Archives & Research Center where they are caring for history – archives, objects, and artifacts that tell the stories of their New England properties.

5:15 p.m.

Leave the Archives & Research Center (ARC) and continue to Canton, MA

5:45 p.m.

Arrive at the Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate for drinks

7:00 p.m. Depart
7:30 p.m. Return to Concord and the Colonial Inn

Williams House, Historic Deerfield.


Hotel & Travel Information

Please make your hotel reservations as soon as possible to assure availability.


Room Rates:




By Car:         

From I-95/Rte. 128: Take I-95/Rte. 128 to Exit 30B direction 2A West. Stay on 2A West, at the 2nd flashing yellow light stay right onto Lexington Road. Sign reads “Concord.”

Follow this to center of Concord. At the small rotary continue straight. The Inn will be directly in front of you. Free parking behind the Inn.

Airports:         Logan International Airport (BOS)

Train:  Amtrak to Boston