The Wilton Historical Society’s fall show called White Linen and Lace, Baby Clothing from 1800- 1950 that will be on display through October 4. Pure yet practical, white has been the traditional choice for baby clothing for hundreds of years. In this small exhibition, tiny garments made with love and lavished with fine needlework are on display. There are christening gowns and slips, night gowns, caps, bonnets, bibs, dresses and petite shoes created between 1800 and 1950. The delicate attire is shown with some of the furnishings of childhood – a cradle, blankets, highchair, silver mugs and utensils, baby bottles and rattles.
A circa 1870 sewing box reminds us of the countless hours women spent laboring over their precious snowy creations, working by the light of candles, oil lamps, or by rays of sunlight through a window. Exquisite clothing with nearly invisible stitches, tiny tucking, tatting, crochet, soutache, cutwork, drawn work and embroidery — their needle skills are remarkable.
Of particular interest are the family connections many of these heirlooms have with Wilton. Do these names sound familiar? Sturgis, Hurlbutt, Ambler, Belden, Davenport, Evans, Nash, Marvin, Parisot, Rounds – many are now memorialized as road names, while others still boast descendants living in town today.
Another exhibition, Changing Times: Hand Tools Before the Industrial Revolution, features Connecticut Tools of the Trades from the Walter R.T. Smith Collection. Mounted on the walls of the Burt Barn Gallery, the setting compliments the sculptural appearance of the old tools. They have an almost folk-art quality, with their worn wood and rather eccentric shapes. The machines that supplanted them in the Industrial Revolution would never have the soul of these antique implements.
Both exhibitions will continue through October 4, 2014. The Wilton Historical Society is located on 224 Danbury Road and is open Tuesday—Saturday, 10:00-4:00. There are house tours every day at 2:00, and by appointment. For more information http://www.wiltonhistorical.org
The Abbott Blacksmith Shop, also on the property, with a working blacksmith, is open most Saturdays, except in winter.