Noble and Cooley offers up history

Frank Molander, of Suffield, Conn., a historian, re-enacts the role of a French officer during the French & Indian War as part of a Living History event sponsored by the Noble and Cooley Center for Historic Preservation. The event was free and open to the public. (Photo by chief photographer Frederick Gore)

GRANVILLE – If you haven’t been to the Noble and Cooley Center for Historic Preservation (NCCHP) recently, you’re missing out.
Located on water Street in Granville, it is the home to Noble and Cooley drums, touted as one of the world’s finest makers of drums.
In addition to an envied collection of local artifacts in its museum, there are numerous events taking place at the historic drum factory, most open to the public for free.
Liz Smith, clerk of the NCCHP, said the Living History presentations alone are worth the quick trip to picturesque Granville. Recent events included a presentation on Victorian times followed by a Victorian tea, and just this week, Frank Molander re-enacted the experiences of the Royal Roussillon Regiment during a presentation on the French and Indian War.
The Living History performances are all free and open to the public, noted Smith, who said that donations are accepted. Any money collected directly benefits the series, whose speakers receive an honorarium of up to $300.
Smith said the NCCHP board members are a source of speakers that keep the series fresh and interesting.
‘”Many of our board members sit on other boards and know of speakers, and some people recommend speakers to us,” said Smith.
The NCCHP is run almost completely with volunteers, which the group continually seeks, said Smith.
“We are always looking for volunteers,” she said. “We were lucky to receive a huge donation of Granville artifacts from a family but we need help to research them and do inventory. And, we have 15 outbuildings that we are trying to get cleaned out and use for exhibits.”
Smith said the NCCHP is always seeking new members, as well. Membership fees start at $35 and $55 for an individual and family membership, respectively. With membership comes free admission to the museum, as well as free admission to the few events the group charges to attend.
Visitors to NCCHP will find a myriad of items from Granville’s history, including, of course, from the Noble and Cooley drum shop.
“We now have items other museums want,” said Smith.
For many people, visiting NCCHP is an annual event as part of the Granville Harvest Fair, which takes place this year Oct. 6-8. Smith said this year, in addition to both indoor and outdoor vendors, the museum will offer a small engine display.
“I think that’s something men will really enjoy,” she said.
September is set to be a busy month at NCCHP because that is when the group’s major fundraiser – an electronic recycling drive – takes place.
“‘This is our third annual electrionic recycling event and we will collect people’s cast-off TVs, radios, computers – basically anything with a plug!” said Smith.
Items may be dropped off for a small fee at the shop between 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 12-3 p.m. on the first and third Sunday of the month. The proceeds of the fundraiser will aid the Living History series, as well as the needs of the museum and buildings.
“We have a leaky roof and we also want to install a wheelchair lift,” said Smith. “We had a drive a few years ago and thought we had enough for the lift, but Massachusetts has some strict rules and now we need another $10,000.”
New this September is a monthly movie at Noble and Cooley. The first of the series is Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. The free monthly movies will feature short historic films, including those on how things were made. Rope manufacturing, a visit to the Boston Navy Yard forge shop, and making bobbins, textiles and slates at Industrial Revolution sites in New England are all slated for the first event.
Smith sad the museum is open for tours from 12-3 p.m. the first and third Sunday of the month from May – October at a cost of $5 for adults and $3 for children, with NCCHP admission free.
For more information on NCCHP and its upcoming events, visit www.ncchp.org.

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