Deerfield's Progressive Impulse

Mission Statements and Village Industries

How they do it in Deerfield

The Deerfield Arts and Crafts Society, founded in 1901, arose from a unique combination of trained artisans who moved to town and a larger group of local residents who were willing to learn new craft skills or to adapt remembered skills to new purposes. Eventually, Deerfield artisans would define the issues of artistic quality and sustainability in a variety of, at times, antithetical ways. At the outset however, the ever-expanding village industries found a common purpose in group shows and in promoting Deerfield as a place that, by dedicating itself to the household production of handmade domestic goods, was quite naturally living up to its own colonial heritage. The author of "The movement for Village Industries," was particularly excited about Arts and Crafts activities in Deerfield. "In the development at Deerfield," he explained, "we see an unconscious evolution of the old-time guild idea after the fashion that made the guild life and the guild work express themselves in some of the truest art that the world ever saw, and in their alliances stand for the shaping of the community life along the soundest artistic and civic lines. So, in the little Village Room of Deerfield we have the germ for a modern rehabilitation of the Guild Hall as a centre for the artistic endeavors and of the social and civic life of the community."1

  1. Sylvester Baxter, "The Movement for Village Industries, Handicraft Vol. I October 1902 No. VII, 160-161. Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Library.

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© Memorial Hall Museum, Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association

1901 Deerfield Arts and Crafts Exhibit

This year, as in 1899, the group exhibition occurred in the Village Room, a community-shared space in the center of Old Deerfield. Allen Sisters, platinum print, 1901.

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