News & Views
Photo of Sandwich Village by Joe Janis
In this year of Covid, SBG is not undertaking many of our previous initiatives, such as a marketing brochure. Instead, we want to promote our members and the Sandwich business community in new ways. Meet Our Members will be a recurring feature in which we learn more about the Sandwich folk engaged in local businesses and nonprofit organizations. These will be stories about our friends and neighbors, as well as their businesses.
What is your name and the name of your business/organization?
Martha Nichols, Gallery Manager of The Sandwich Home Industries; aka League of NH Craftsmen Center Sandwich Gallery
How did you get to Sandwich, NH?
I have lived in Sandwich for 37 years! Before moving here in the early 1980s, I came to Sandwich as a child because my grandparents loved visiting the lakes and mountains of NH when they were young adults. They brought their family and rented a cottage on the lake and my parents continued that tradition every summer of my childhood. When my aunt and uncle bought an old farm in Sandwich in the 50s, I became a regular visitor to Sandwich.
What got you started in this job?
The manager job sort of fell into my lap when a friend told me about it. I had taken early retirement from teaching high school and was looking for a new adventure.
Tell us about the Sandwich Home Industries.
The Sandwich Home Industries is a non-profit organization supporting local artists and the local economy by providing a welcoming gallery and educational programs for area residents and visitors to Center Sandwich. The gallery sells a wide selection of fine hand-crafted items, and offers classes in arts and crafts. Our gallery stocks traditional and contemporary fine crafts made by juried members of the League of NH Craftsmen. Our Education Program is the cornerstone of our mission – we create a varied curriculum for both adults and children.
How did the Sandwich Home Industries get started?
The Sandwich Home Industries (SHI) has a rich history of supporting the craft economy of Sandwich. The Industries began in 1926 when Mrs. J. Randolph Coolidge and a committee of local Sandwich women organized an exhibition of locally made rugs and brought an expert from Boston to give a talk on the practical aspects of making and marketing rugs. From this experience the committee decided to form a cooperative venture. The Sandwich Home Industries opened in the summer of 1926 selling locally made handicrafts to support the local economy.
It was such a success that, a few years later, Mrs. Coolidge went to the Governor of NH to request a state-wide arts and crafts organization. In 1931, NH Governor John Winant supported their idea, establishing and funding the NH Commission of Arts and Crafts. As a result, the League of NH Craftsmen was formed in 1932 with Mary Coolidge as their President.
The League of NH Craftsmen has become one of the oldest and most recognized craft organizations in the country with seven galleries located throughout the state. For over 88 years, the nonprofit League has promoted fine craft, supported craftspeople, and educated and enriched New Hampshire’s communities.
What is the most fun/satisfying aspect of your job?
The manager job allows me to use skills I acquired in my career as a teacher. I find it most satisfying to collaborate with creative people, so setting up the gallery each season is quite fun. I am interested in Feng Shui and enjoy arranging the gallery so that it not only looks beautiful, but has the positive feel and flow of energy throughout. It is most satisfying to observe customers’ reactions when they visit the gallery. I also enjoy learning more about the many aspects of marketing and social media, which has been new to me!
What is the hardest?
The hardest part is schlepping inventory from League Headquarters! Many artists deliver their work to us (we take most work on consignment), but we will also pick up merchandise in Concord.
What has happened to your business in this last Covid year?
The beginning of the pandemic was nervewracking. We (the Board of Directors and myself) had no idea if it would be safe to open or if people would want to come out to shop. Ordinarily, we open mid-May, but we were in lockdown, so we waited to see what the State would decide. When we were able, we decided to open on a limited basis last year, which meant 3 days/week. We laid off staff and reduced my hours. We applied for the government grants and were able to stay afloat, thankfully.
I was surprised at the number of people who came by to shop last summer. They were happy and thankful that we were open. Of course, we practiced safety measures recommended by the State, and the season progressed smoothly. This season, we are planning on opening mid-May with our usual 7-day schedule. We are also planning our 2021 education program.
How do you see the future for this business?
The brick and mortar retail business is challenging these days since one can buy almost anything on the internet. SHI has even started selling some inventory through the League Galleries Webstore. However, I believe that seeing fine craft in person at our historic gallery and being able to touch it and pick it up as well as imagine it in your own space is critical.
Our town, in the summer particularly, is a tourist destination. People enjoy stopping by and finding that special NH-made gift or item for their home. It is best to experience art with the senses and one can’t get that while online shopping.
What else can you tell us about yourself and your business?
We have amazing talent and dedication on our Board of SHI Directors and are working on strategic planning for the future. We maintain the historic character of the building while making necessary repairs and updating displays. Collaboration with local businesses is also important to us. Last summer we held an Artists on the Porch series where we invited local crafters to sell their work. We are always looking for new ways to engage our community and would love to hear more ideas from Sandwich folks.
I am looking forward to Spring and starting our annual opening process. This year marks our 95th season and we are working to keep SHI going strong through its 100th Anniversary and beyond.
Martha Nichols, Gallery Manager
League of NH Craftsmen Center Sandwich Fine Craft Gallery
PO Box 164, 32 Main Street
Center Sandwich, NH 03227
Open mid-May to mid-October
Shop our gallery online!!
When the Covid-19 pandemic ends, will we be able to put the children back in public school, give every child a standardized test, and continue school just as it was? Martha Carlson doesn’t think so. Founder and headmaster of a small progressive school in rural New Hampshire, Carlson thinks this might be the time for a national pause and some deep thinking about how school might need to be different.
Post-Pandemic School: When I do, I understand offers ideas and anecdotes from the private experimental school that Carlson and her husband founded in 1988. They operated Sandwich Community School for almost 20 years, exploring new avenues of learning that Carlson thinks may be pertinent for public schools in a post-pandemic world. Her book also examines several educational philosophers and how their abstract theories may assist our thinking about a new school paradigm. This book is for teachers and parents who know school will never be the same. Post-Pandemic School is available on Amazon.com in paperback and ebook formats.
Martha Carlson is a teacher, writer, and conservationist. She holds a PhD from the University of New Hampshire where she studied climate change and its impact on sugar maples and the New England forest. She and her husband taught environmental science to children at Camp Kehonka, Somerset School and Five Days of Sandwich. They founded their private high school to provide students with opportunities for place-based learning, independent studies and practice in democratic process.
Martha Carlson Editorial Consulting is a member of the Sandwich Business Group.
By Diane Cook Johnson
There is no mistaking that fall is coming. The sky is blue and the sun hits the earth at angle that makes the world look in exceptional focus. There is also a special sound that the crickets make that reminds me of my youth and going back to school. I can just about taste the Wonder bread with homemade butter and juicy tomato slices; it was a soggy yet delicious lunch made only in September.
My mother's other special lunchbox sandwich was Spam and jam; it really was quite tasty especially when it was made with the foam left after the homemade jam was poured into jars. Coming home from school on the bus in September, my mother was often standing at the corner of the porch chopping tomatoes, peppers, and onions to make one of her many batches of "chili" . I grew up on a farm in Massachusetts and I have very special memories of that time and place. Thankfully, my brother keeps Cook's Valley Farm going.
Photo above: Winter 1966, L-R Diane Cook (age 9) Uncle Ted Koza, sister (Grace) and brother Warren Cook on a walk in a meadow behind Cook's Valley Farm in Wrentham, MA. Uncle Ted was a middle school science teacher near Little Falls, New Jersey. Every excursion with him included a camera and a bag of apples.
Ted would come up at least once a month to see his parents, my mother and us. He always had us on the look-out for science and things to bring back to his classes. In August and September, he would give us a $1.00 for each Monarch Butterfly caterpillar we caught for him during his visit. He offered us more each month until a caterpillar was worth $100 in January. We looked; but we never found any $100 caterpillars.
I know the children of Sandwich will have fond memories of their time growing up here. This morning at the Sandwich Beach, I met a man who grew up in Sandwich and after graduating from Inter-Lakes he lived in cities for many years. He was coming home to this area for a simpler life and he was fondly telling stories of his youth, family, friends, and Sandwich. This afternoon, on the town green, I saw a young boy go over to another boy of similar age (about 7, I imagine) and introduce himself. As the first boy approached the second, they both made sure their masks were on properly, looked at their moms and then quietly played with sticks and pebbles.
This fall school and childhood look quite a bit different than ever. Rest assured; good, unique, and interesting memories are being made despite the pandemic, politics, and tensions. May you look for and find the good.
Dear Friends and Neighbors:
Greetings from our new normal! Back in May we announced this season’s summer exhibit would be virtual and remote. Since then, we have been very hard at work on the exhibit, and the time has come to reveal!
We are excited to announce our 2020 Summer Exhibit ~ Our Women of Sandwich ~ is now live! Whether you visit us virtually or are able to go on our self-guided walking tour, we hope you enjoy it! While the walking tour will remain the same throughout the summer and fall, our virtual exhibit will be updated weekly, and we encourage you to add to it! Please read on to find out more.
Our 2020 Summer Exhibit, Our Women of Sandwich, consists of twenty posters displayed prominently around town on various buildings. Each poster features a woman’s picture, name, dates, and a couple of things for which they were known. Additionally, each poster features a QR (Quick Response) code that can be scanned from a smartphone (you can download a QR reader from the Google or Apple store online), which will take you to our website to read more about the featured woman! While this is a very different style of exhibit for us, we believe it will prove to be a fabulous celebration of some truly inspiring Sandwich women while also helping us all to stay safe and maintain social distance. In fact, it may also help get in some steps while “visiting” the outsides of buildings around town!
How will you know where to find these amazing women? We have created a map which is available on our website as well as a limited quantity available outside the Elisha Marston House. Of course, you may also just “stumble” upon them as you move about town in the course of your weekly activities! And, again, all of the women are featured on our website, which you may view from the comfort of home!
We are also celebrating other women of Sandwich virtually. We are featuring a few as part of our exhibit kick-off women right away on our website. We will be adding to this list of virtual vignettes as the summer progresses. In fact, we welcome you to add a woman (or two!) to our special virtual exhibit by sending us a personal story…. a paragraph or several. It need not be lengthy, but it is a wonderful way to acknowledge a Sandwich woman of significance to you. It would be helpful if you could provide at least one picture of her too! In this way our celebration of Sandwich Women will continue to grow all summer! We can also add your story(ies) to the women we are already highlighting. The more voices, the better! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, we will have a little something extra associated with our exhibit this summer. Coming out July 31 and running through August 21 there will be a scavenger hunt format for children (11 & under) and a bingo format for adults (12 & up). We hope this will encourage folks to visit our remote exhibit sites, our website, and celebrate the time of summer that includes Old Home Week! Stay tuned for more information on these and other virtual offerings that we may have this summer.
Although this “new normal” is uncharted territory, the staff and trustees of the Sandwich Historical Society are working hard to ensure that we continue to share Sandwich History. Our Excursion Bulletin will be published as usual! Our Museum Shop is open online and features wonderful gift items, clothing, publications, and postcards. Be well and we hope you enjoy Our Women of Sandwich!
Abby Hambrook, Director
Geoff Burrows, President
Web: sandwichhistorical.org Email: email@example.com
The Exhibit Team would like to extend special thanks to the following for their help with our exhibit:
Property & Business Owners: “Maple House” (David Patridge & Mallory Hathaway); Town Hall & the Old Fire Station (Sandwich Board of Selectmen & Fire Chief Ted Call); Parade & Fair Museum Buildings (Sandwich Fair Association President, Dan Peaslee & the Board of Directors); Baptist Meetinghouse & Methodist Meetinghouse (Trustees, Community Church of Sandwich); Samuel H. Wentworth Library (Director Nancy Fredrickson), Sandwich Home Industries (Manager Martha Nichols); Center Post Office (Trustees, Alfred Quimby Fund & the Postmaster); Tappan Chair Shop (Artisan Adam Nudd-Homeyer); and the Corner House Inn (Lexi Townsend)
Pictures (to date): Carl Hansen, Sue Greene, Abby Hambrook, Wendy Ritger, Deb Kerr, David Crory, Joan Cook, Trecia McEvoy, Susan Lirakis and Geoff Burrows.
Map: Bob Dustin and Jim Hambrook
By Janina Lamb
I am planning a new series on this blog called People of Sandwich. It will showcase stories of people in our community. I'm beginning this series with a person who died recently and whose impact on our community cannot be overstated. Alan Switzer, who for years ran the Sandwich Aquatic School, died on May 4 at the age of 90.
I wonder how many people in Sandwich learned to swim, during the summer, under Alan Switzer's steadfast and very effective tutelage. Many who are now adults learned to swim there, many of us sent our children to Switzer’s, and some of us watched our grandchildren learn to swim there.
From the SAS Facebook page:
Sandwich Aquatic School began when Alan Switzer began teaching local children to swim on the shores of Squam Lake in the summer of 1966. Since then the program has grown to instruct roughly 500 children every year and host several third generation families. Sandwich Aquatic School has a proven track record of teaching children how to swim the right way for over 50 years.
Some kids found Mr. Switzer’s style tougher than they liked, or were used to, but by golly, they learned to swim, often returning summer after summer.
Those of us who might be called permissive parents (overly-permissive?) were quite willing to have our children put through a no-nonsense, challenging set of swimming lessons that resulted in strong swimmers. Same time every day for two weeks, rain or shine, cold or warm.
We, the parents, sat around the pool inside the fence and watched as our children were taken in hand by Mr. Switzer’s firm, never ruffled, never slackening instruction. How pleased and proud we all were, children and parents alike, when our kids got their card of completion at the end of a session.
My granddaughters, Willa and Molly Canfield, learned to swim over several summers with Mr. Switzer, when he was already in his eighties. Willa Canfield says,
"Going to Switzer's was one of the formative experiences of my life. It made my friends and me into such strong swimmers. We can go down to Squam Lake and swim great distances together. Mr. Switzer was an amazing teacher. Even as a very old man, he was so vital and present."
We in Sandwich knew Alan Switzer primarily as the head teacher and owner of the Sandwich Aquatic School. Outside of the summers, Switzer had a long, illustrious career as a swimming coach at the University of Maine and Plymouth State University. The links below provide more information on his life and career beyond Sandwich.
How fortunate we were in this town of lakes and rivers to have such a master to help generations of Sandwich youth become confident, skilled swimmers.
Thank you, Mr. Switzer. You are a legend.
News & Views
News of what's happening in Sandwich and other items of interest. An archive of blog entries from May, 2015 to May, 2018, is available here.
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