Woodstock Vermont Film Series Announces Summer Schedule -and Curator Jay Craven

The Billings Farm & Museum is pleased to announce plans for its first-ever Woodstock Vermont Summer Film Series and the appointment of award-winning filmmaker Jay Craven as its Film Series curator and director.

The Summer Film Series will start May 18th and 19th with special screenings of legendary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman’s acclaimed new documentary, EX LIBRIS – The New York Public Library.

EX LIBRIS does more than go behind the scenes of one of the world’s greatest knowledge institutions. It shows its role as a center of community and an exemplar of morality, accessibility, democracy and calm – even as it welcomes diverse people and ideas. The film won top honors at the 2017 Venice International Film Festival and was named to the official shortlist for the 2018 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Due to the length of this film, showtime is 6:00 p.m. All other films will screen on Saturday nights at 5:00 and 7:00 p.m.

On Saturday, June 30th, the series will screen Peter and the Farm by second-time director Tony Stone. The film provides an intimately detailed portrait of southern Vermont dairyman and organic farmer Peter Dunning, a rugged individualist, hard-drinking loner and former artist who has burned bridges with his wives and children and whose only company, even on harsh winter nights, are the sheep, cows, and pigs he tends on his farm. Dunning is one of the most complicated, sympathetic documentary subjects to come along in some time. Imbued with an aching tenderness, Stone’s documentary is both haunting and heartbreaking, a mosaic of its singular subject’s transitory memories and reflections—however funny, tragic, or angry they may be. The film won a Special Jury Prize at the Philadelphia Film Festival and was selected as a New York Times Critic’s Pick.

Alexandra Dean’s documentary, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story will screen on Saturday, July 28th. The film tells the story of this iconic Hollywood star who secretly devised groundbreaking WWII technologies that contributed to the later development of cell phones, WIFI, and Bluetooth technology. This riveting film weaves interviews and clips with never-before-heard audiotapes of Hedy speaking on the record about her incredible life. And it follows the actress/inventor’s retreat, during her later years, when she became a recluse, impoverished and almost forgotten. The film was selected as a New York Times “Best Films of the Year – Critic’s Pick” and was named New York Film Critics’ “Best Documentary Feature” for 2017.

On Saturday, August 11th the series will screen Menashe. The film follows a kind but hapless grocery store clerk trying to keep custody of his son Rieven after his wife, Lea, passes away. But they live in a tradition-bound culture that requires a mother to be present in every home, so Rieven is supposed to be adopted by the boy’s strict, married uncle. Menashe’s Rabbi grants him one week to spend with Rieven prior to Lea’s memorial. Their time together creates an emotional moment of father/son bonding and offers Menashe a final chance to prove to his skeptical community that he can be a capable parent. Shot in secret entirely within Brooklyn’s Hasidic community depicted in the film, “Menashe” is a warm, life-affirming look at the universal bonds between father and son that also sheds unusual light on a notoriously private community. Jacob Weinstein’s film won top honors from the National Board of Review and was nominated for the prestigious Gotham Award, the independent film world’s highest honor. It also played as an Official selection at the Sundance Film Festival.

On Saturday, September 22nd, the Summer Film Series will conclude with a screening of Doug Nichol’s entertaining documentary, California Typewriter, a loving and sometimes humorous portrait of artists, writers, and collectors who remain steadfastly loyal to the typewriter as a tool and muse. Among the typewriter devotees profiled: actor Tom Hanks, musician John Mayer, historian David McCullough, and playwright Sam Shepard. The picture also movingly documents the struggles of California Typewriter, one of the last repair shops in America dedicated to keeping the aging machines clicking. In the process, the film delivers a thought-provoking meditation on the changing dynamic between humans and machines. California Typewriter was an Official Selection at the prestigious and carefully curated Telluride Film Festival.

Each film is screened in the museum theater with high definition digital projection and Dolby® surround-sound. Complimentary refreshments are included. Tickets prices: $11 adults (16 & up); $6 children (under 16). BF&M members receive discounted prices.  Purchase tickets online or 802-457-2355.

The Billings Farm and Museum is also pleased to announce the appointment of award-winning filmmaker Jay Craven as its Woodstock Film Series director and curator. Craven has programmed the new summer series and is already planning screenings and events into the next year. He brings with him a wealth of experience as a respected filmmaker, teacher, and producer of hundreds of Vermont film and performing arts events.

Craven is the recipient of Vermont’s celebrated Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. He has made nine feature films, five documentaries, and a New England Emmy-winning comedy series, “Windy Acres,” for public television. He teaches screenwriting and directing at Sarah Lawrence College, after having led the Marlboro College film program for twenty years. Craven directs Kingdom County Productions, with Bess O’Brien, and established St. Johnsbury’s Catamount Arts organization in 1975, initially as a travelling film series. His own films have played at festivals and special screenings including Sundance, Lincoln Center, The Smithsonian, Harvard Film Archives, The Cinémathèque Française, The Constitutional Court of Johannesburg, and the Cinemateca Nacional de Venezuela.

May Story Time Programs

It’s a great time to enroll your kids (or grandkids) in Billings Farm & Museum’s Programs for Preschoolers, taking place Wednesday mornings in May, from 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. Each Preschool Program will feature a story, visit to the farm, hands-on activity, and snack. The cost is $3.00 per person for Billings Farm & Museum members and $5.00 per person for non-members (includes admission to the Farm & Museum).

Scroll down for our enrollment form and details on each program:

John and Tom.  Wed., May 2.  When John has an accident while cutting logs in the woods, Tom, the Morgan horse uses his strengths to rescue him. Learn about this friendship between a boy and his horse. We’ll visit our own Draft Horses and Working Steers, create a horse project to take home and share a tasty treat with friends.

The Great Pig Escape.  Wed., May 9.  Farmers Bert & Ethel have a long drive to market, and when they arrive, the pigs they planned on selling have mysteriously disappeared. Where have these crafty pigs gone to?  We will visit our pigs, make a pompom craft and enjoy a snack together.

Big Chickens Fly the Coop.  Wed., May 16.  Four big chickens, who are afraid of everything, want to fly the coop and see the world. Where will this adventure take them? Visit our new chicks, make a chicken for your collection and share a snack with your friends.

The Sheep Over.  Wed., May 23.  Sweet Pea the sheep has been sick. To celebrate her recovery, she has a sleepover in the greenhouse with her farm friends. Come hear about the farm friends celebration. We’ll visit our sheep and lambs, create a sheep like Sweet Pea and enjoy a delicious celebration snack!

Miss Maple’s SeedsWed., May 30.  Miss Maple adopts lost seeds that haven’t yet found a place to sprout. She nurtures them and helps them learn about being a seed. We will visit our gardens, plant some seeds and share a veggie treat.

 

To register for Programs for Preschoolers, please call 802/457-2355, week days, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or use the form below. Each program has limited enrollment, and advance registration is required.

 

 

 

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2018 Summer Camp Offerings

Billings Farm & Museum is hosting two week-long summer camps in 2018. Each camp, designed for ages 8 – 12, is offered twice during the summer breakThe sessions are Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Living History Camp
July 9 – 13 and August 6 – 10, 2018

Step back in time to 1890s Vermont! Based on the personal journals of children who grew up in the state’s villages and on hill farms, Billings Farm & Museum’s Living History Camp is a fun way for kids to experience life on a 19th-century farm.

Throughout the week, campers will use historic techniques to help around the farm. They’ll feed and groom animals, saw wood, and make apple pie and jam on the kitchen woodstove. They’ll also go fishing, listen to stories, make ice cream, play games, create craft projects, meet characters from the past, and more. At the end of the week, campers host their families at the farm for a special presentation and celebration of what they learned.

 

New! Junior Farmer Camp 
June 25 – 29 and July 23 – 27

Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a farmer? Billings Farm & Museum’s newest summer day camp, Junior Farmer Camp, is designed to help kids discover for themselves by stepping into a farmer’s shoes for a week.

Junior Farmer Camp is as hands-on as it gets. Campers will have the opportunity to be up close and personal with the farm’s cows, horses, pigs, chickens, and sheep while learning the work that goes into the food that they eat. In addition to daily chores and activities, each day we will explore a different farming topic like dairy, gardening, tractors, and draft animals. On Friday, campers will prepare an animal of their choice for a show and presentation to their families. Join us for a week of fun-filled farm festivities!

The program costs $300 for members and $340 for non-members. Spots fill fast so call 802-457-2355, e-mail reservations@billingsfarm.org, or use the form below to book today.

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Where the Rivers Flow North & Howard Frank Mosher Tribute Tour

Vermont filmmaker Jay Craven is hitting the road this fall for an extended series of film screenings and personal reflections to pay tribute to his 30-year collaborator, Northeast Kingdom writer, Howard Frank Mosher. Craven will screen his film Where the Rivers Flow North and present reflections on his work with Mosher at the Billings Farm & Museum on Sunday, November 12 at 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. Admission is by contribution to the Hurricane Maria Relief Fund. 

“After a successful summer tour, we’re extending our tribute events into the fall,” said Craven. “Howard Mosher died pretty unexpectedly in late January. And many Vermonters already miss him for his laugh-out-loud humor and fertile imagination of our place.  Writers miss him, too, because no one was more generous with his time and support.”

Craven will open the evening with prepared and off-the-cuff reflections that explore his long collaboration with Mosher. He will then present a 25th Anniversary screening of his first Mosher feature film, Where the Rivers Flow North, starring Academy Award® nominee Rip Torn, Native American actress Tantoo Cardinal (Dances with Wolves, Legends of the Fall), and Michael J. Fox.

“Howard was much more than a source for our film stories and characters,” said Craven. “He was also a constant ally, a ready source of laughs, and a steadying influence in times of strain. This was especially crucial during our struggles with headstrong actor Rip Torn on the filming of “Rivers.” I will tell a few tales that have not been publically shared before—because they capture a rarely seen side of Howard and his work.”

Set in 1927 in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, “Where the Rivers Flow North” tells the story of an old logger, Noel Lord, and his Native American mate, Bangor, who face the extinction of their way of life when the local power company plans to build a giant hydro dam that will flood them off their land. Lord and Bangor face emotional and physical challenges as they struggle with the power company, Vermont’s unforgiving terrain, and their own thorny relationship.

Where the Rivers Flow North played more than 30 festival dates including Sundance, Seattle, Avignon, Vienna, and Vancouver. The picture was also one of three U.S. finalists for Cannes International Film Festival’s Critics Week.

Admission to the screening of Where the Rivers Flow North and the Howard Frank Mosher Tribute Tour is by contribution to the Hurricane Maria Relief Fund. Reservations are strongly suggested:  802-457-2355 or www.billingsfarm.org.

The Mosher Tribute tour is produced by Hotel Vermont and Kingdom County Productions with sponsorship support from Vermont Public Radio.

2017 People’s Choice Quilt Awards Announced

Billings Farm & Museum, gateway to Vermont’s rural heritage, announces the results of the 2017 “People’s Choice” awards for the 31st Annual Quilt Exhibition, held July 29–September 17, 2017.

Over 15,000 visitors viewed the exhibition and nearly 1,000 ballots were cast for favorite quilts. The results: Full size quilts:  First place: Logs in Black & White – Sandra S. Palmer, Hartland; Second Place: Milk Hill, 12 August, 2001 – Joanne Shapp, North Pomfret; Third Place: Eye of the Storm in 3-D – Mary Croft, East Barnard. Small/Medium size quilts: First: Ella’s Garden– Carie Good, Woodstock; Second: Coming and Going – Lynne Croswell, Ludlow; Third: (Election Year) Star Spangled Banner – Sonya Stover, Woodstock.

At the exhibition opening, the Jurors’Choice Awards were presented to: Mary Guntz of Hartford for Indian Summer’s Flying Geese, by juror Colleen O’Neil; Star Spangled Banner, made by Sonya Stover of Woodstock, selected by juror Nola Forbes; Joanne Shapp of North Pomfret, selected by juror Kathie Beltz for Milk Hill, 12 August, 2001. The Billings Farm & Museum Staff Choice was awarded to Mary Croft of East Barnard, for her quilt Eye of the Storm.

 

Logs in Black & White by Sandra Palmer, Hartland, VT
Milk Hill, 12 August, 2001 by Joanne Shapp, North Pomfret, VT
Eye of the Storm in 3-D by Mary Croft, East Barnard, VT
Ella’s Garden by Carie Good, Woodstock, VT
Coming and Going by Lynne Croswell, Ludlow, VT
(Election Year) Star Spangled Banner by Sonya Stover, Woodstock, VT

Programs for Preschoolers begin September 6th.

Programs for Preschoolers will be offered Wednesday mornings in September, from 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.  Each program will feature a story, visit to the farm, hands-on activity, and snack.  The cost is $3.00 per person for Billings Farm & Museum members, and $5.00 per person for non-members (includes admission to the Farm & Museum). To register: 802/457-2355 or reservations@billingsfarm.org.

September 6: Mrs. Fickle’s Pickles

Discover how much Mrs. Fickle likes her pickles in this delightful rhyming,  repeating book that takes us through the growing season. We’ll visit the heirloom garden, hand craft a recipe to take home, and, of course, for snack we will enjoy…cucumbers and pickles!

September 13: Reuben and the Quilt

When Reuben’s best friend’s grandfather gets sick, Reuben and his family make a quilt for his benefit auction. We’ll visit the museum’s annual quilt exhibition to admire the beautiful creations on display, then create a quilt pattern, followed by a delicious snack.

September 20: Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn

Do you know the signs of fall? This colorful book will help us identify them before we walk across the street to the National Park to see if we can find signs of fall here in Woodstock. We’ll make a puppet and enjoy  a fall snack with friends.

September 27:  Too Many Pumpkins

Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins! How many recipes can be made from pumpkins? We’ll find out after we read Too Many Pumpkins! See many types of pumpkins, on display, make a pumpkin stencil to take home, and enjoy a delicious pumpkin bread snack.

31st Annual Quilt Exhibition Awards Announced

Congratulations Juror’s Choice- and Staff Choice Award-winners, announced at the 31st Annual Quilt Exhibition opening reception on July 28th. The exhibit is open daily through September 17 and features 47 exquisite quilts made by quilters living in Windsor County, Vermont.

The Quilt Exhibition is a juried show and each of the exhibition’s three jurors selected a quilt they thought most deserving of recognition. Mary Guntz of Hartford, VT, was recognized for her quilt, Indian Summer’s Flying Geese, by juror Colleen O’Neill; Star Spangled Banner, made by Sonya Stover of Woodstock, VT, was selected by juror Nola Forbes; Joanne Shapp of North Pomfret, VT, was selected by juror Christine Fries-Ureel for her quilt Milk Hill, 12 August, 2001. The Billings Farm & Museum Staff Choice was awarded to Mary Croft of East Barnard, VT, for her quilt Eye of the Storm in 3-D.

The Quilt Exhibition features a colorful display of quilts, daily activities, and programs. Admission includes the operating dairy farm, orientation and farm life exhibits, the restored and furnished 1890 Farm House, plus daily programs and activities.

Indian Summer’s Flying Geese, by Mary Guntz

Star Spangled Banner, by Sonya Stover

Milk Hill, 12 August, 2001 by Joanne Shapp

Eye of the Storm in 3-D by Mary Croft

Changes at the Billings Farm Horse Barn: An Update from our Farm Staff

As a working farm with a proud agricultural heritage going back to 1871 when Frederick Billings and George Aitken first brought Jersey cows to Woodstock, Billings Farm & Museum is dedicated to improving the way we work the land and care for our livestock. From fine-tuning what we feed our animals to maintaining our position as one of the best Jersey herds in the country, we believe that it’s vital to constantly evaluate our practices to find those that best suit our mission as both a working farm and award-winning history museum.

As with any farm, sometimes the decisions we have to make are not easy. Recently, our farm staff have begun the careful process of reevaluating the needs of our horse barn, and have decided that several changes will be made to better provide and care for our animals.

Lynne and Sue, our team of black Percheron mares, have been a beautiful and popular part of the Farm for much of the past decade. Unfortunately, it has become increasingly apparent that they are no longer thriving here. Hard workers who are happiest when pulling a wagon or sleigh, they are also shy and prefer a quiet and calm environment. Because of this, they will be leaving us and moving to a nearby farm where they will be worked much more without the stresses of a busy barn.

Tom and Jerry, our Belgian geldings, will also be retiring in the next year for medical reasons. Jerry has recently been diagnosed with acute Lyme Disease, and our animal care team has advised us to limit his workload. Because of this, the team will be moving to a private residence in the near future, where they can rest and be cared for in a quieter environment.

Jim, our single grey Percheron, will be staying at the farm and will soon be joined by a younger team who will be responsible for wagon and sleigh rides in the future. Please stay tuned for updates, and feel free to let us know if you have any questions by contacting us at info@billingsfarm.org

Two Homes, One Estate: Combined Tour of Billings Farm & Museum and the National Park

Billings Farm & Museum and the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Site are partnering to offer “Farm House/Manor House,” a special tour that explores life, work, and leisure in their respective historic homes. The program will be offered one Saturday each month: July 22, August 19, September 16, and October 21, from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

In the late 1800s, what we know today as Billings Farm and the National Park, formed a single estate, a “model gentleman’s farm” operated by the Billings family – first by patriarch Frederick Billings, then his wife Julia and their daughters in the decades following his death in 1890. In 1889, Billings began construction on a modern farm house for their newly hired farm manager, George Aitken, his wife, and four daughters. The Billings and Aitken families began a professional and personal relationship that spanned two decades and brought great acclaim to the estate’s farm and forestry operations.

The guided tour will take visitors back in time – to the Farm House, restored to its 1890 appearance and the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Mansion, which features original furnishings and personal effects from 1869 through 1997.

“We’ll explore the unique aspects of these two homes: the state-of-the-art amenities that set apart the Billings farmhouse in its era and the superb local craftsmanship in the Billings Mansion,” said Stephanie Kyriazis, Chief of Interpretation at the National Park, “One of the wonderful aspects of this estate,” she continued, “is the surprising details of its history – from the close relationship between the families of a ‘captain of industry’ and a professional farmer, to the fact that both the Billings and especially the Aitken women transcended the expectations of their time.”

The program will be offered Saturday, July 22, August 19, September 16 and October 21 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and will begin at the Billings Farm & Museum.

Admission: $20 for adults, $16 for seniors (62 and over) provides admission to both homes and the Billings Farm & Museum. Reservations recommended. To reserve: 802-457-3368 ext. 222.

Programs for Pre-schoolers

It’s a great time to enroll your kids (or grandkids) in Billings Farm & Museum’s Programs for Preschoolers, taking place Wednesday mornings in July, from 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. Each Preschool Program will feature a story, visit to the farm, hands-on activity, and snack.  The cost is $3.00 per person for Billings Farm & Museum members and $5.00 per person for non-members (includes admission to the Farm & Museum).

Scroll down for our enrollment form and details on each program:

   Run With the Wind.  Wed., July 5. Little Foal is afraid to leave his mother because it’s a big scary world out there! But when his mother eventually returns to work he discovers a wonderful playmate—the wind! We’ll take a walk to visit our horses, play pin the tail on the pony, and enjoy a snack with friends.  

     Should I Share My Ice Cream?  Wed., July 12.  Gerald is excited about his “awesome, yummy, sweet, super, great, tasty, nice, cool ice cream” cone. Should he share it with his friend, Piggie? We’ll read along to see if Gerald shares, then head to the Ice Cream Parlor at the National Park before we enjoy an “awesome, yummy, sweet, super, great, tasty, nice, cool ice cream” of our own.

     Hurry.  Wed., July 19. The hay is down and a storm is on the horizon. Nora must help Grandma and Grandpa get the hay in quickly. Discover why hay is so important for the animals on the farm when we visit our horses and discover hay-making equipment in our Farm Life Exhibits. Make a peek-a-boo barn and enjoy a snack with friends.

     Rusty, Trust TractorWed., July 26. Mr. Hill of Hill’s Tractor Sales wagers twenty jelly doughnuts that Granpappy’s old tractor won’t make it through haying season. Will Granpappy buy a new red tractor with the fancy-dancy engine? Or will he keep his “old friend,” the rusty, trusty tractor? We’ll take a look at our farm equipment up close and enjoy a doughnut. Paint your own wooden tractor to take home.

To register for Programs for Preschoolers, please call 802/457-2355, week days, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or use the form below. Each program has limited enrollment, and advance registration is required.

 

 

 

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