It is no small feat to keep a beautiful House Museum and National Historic Landmark in tip-top condition, but the members of the John Greenleaf Whittier Home in Amesbury are working hard to do just that. President, Christina Bryant reports that this year’s projects include the scraping and painting of all three porches, fence repair along Picard St. and the insulation of the attic in hopes of reducing heating bills this coming winter. Many windows have also been repaired and sealed towards this goal.
Maintenance of an historical property must adhere to stringent guidelines and due diligence must be done to ensure that these guidelines are being followed. Though the attic insulation is being funded in part by a matching partnership grant from Essex National Heritage, the expense is high. As a non-profit, the Whittier Home can only meet these costs by hosting events, giving tours, and relying on the donations of loyal supporters of the Home.
The Museum is open for tours every Saturday from 11:00 to 4:00. Trained docents will guide visitors through all the rooms and outbuildings of the Home which have been kept in original condition. The Home hosts student groups from the surrounding areas and offer tours by appointment for special groups. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for MTA members with ID card, veterans and children accompanied by adults are free.
Saturday, July 21st from 2:00 to 4:00PM is the Summer Tea in the Victorian Garden. This a lovely way to spend an afternoon, in the beautifully maintained garden where Whittier once sat among his fruit trees and grape arbor. The grape arbor is still there and bears luscious concord grapes in the autumn. During the Tea guests will be treated to a savory and sweet buffet, with old-fashioned tea sandwiches and mouthwatering sweet treats. Whittier Home members will serve hot and iced tea to guests in china teapots and teacups, at tables with cloths, flowers and china plates. Classical guitarist, John Tavano will provide soothing background music to augment the ambience of this treasured event. The buffet is elegantly presented by Amesbury’s grand dame of hospitality and humor, Rosemary Werner. This will be Rosey’s swan song at the Whittier Home as she and her husband will be moving south to enjoy a gentle retirement in the fall. She will be greatly missed! Don’t miss this grand summer tradition! The cost is $20 per person. Reservations can be made by calling the Whittier Home at 978-388-1337.
On Sunday, August 12th from 3:00 to 5:00PM poets, and those who love poetry are invited to the 20th Annual Tapestry of Voices Poetry Celebration held in the garden at the Whittier Home. Tapestry of Voices was co-founded by Lainie Senechal, Amesbury’s first Poet Laureate, poet, painter and environmentalist, and Harris Gardner, much-published poet and recipient of the Ibbetson Street Life Time Achievement Award in 2015. Together they have partnered with the Whittier Home to present such literary luminaries as Rhina P. Espaillat, Alfred Nicol and many others reading the poetry of Whittier as well as their own works. This year’s readings will celebrate not only the 20th anniversary of the event, but also Amesbury’s 350th birthday. This event is free and open to the public with light refreshments provided after the reading.
The Whittier Home and Museum is a welcoming and exciting place to visit! We hope to see many of you there this summer. Visit the website at www.whittierhome.org or call 978-388-1337 for notice of upcoming events.