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Concord Museum Exhibits Work From North Bennet Street School Alumni

In a historic collaboration, the Concord Museum and the North End’s North Bennet Street School are celebrating the renowned school’s 125th anniversary with a juried exhibition of the work of fifty-nine distinguished alumni from ten states across the country. Included in the special exhibition are over sixty examples of furniture, jewelry, musical instruments and bookbindings, as well as illustrations of the work of the preservation carpentry, carpentry and locksmithing programs.

North Bennet Street School President, Miguel Gómez-Ibáñez, also an alumnus of the school, said of the collaboration, “We are very pleased to be partnering with the Concord Museum for this exhibition, which will be the opening event and the most public celebration of our 125th anniversary. Some of the objects on view draw their inspiration from craft techniques of the past; others bring a fresh look to classic pieces using today’s innovative technology.  “The Concord Museum has a deep respect for the work of the North Bennet Street School, their students and alumni,” said Désirée Caldwell, Executive Director of the Concord Museum. “This special exhibition creates an exciting visual dialogue between craft traditions of the past and present. Working with contemporary craftspeople brings a welcome new perspective to the historical pieces in our collection and others.”

A Dedication to Craft is on view at the Concord Museum through March 21, 2010 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. $10, $8 seniors and students, $5 ages 6-18. Concord Museum, Cambridge Turnpike at Lexington Road, Concord. 978-369-9763. More information at

North Bennet Street School was incorporated in 1885, a year earlier than the Concord Museum, as the North Bennet Street Industrial School. Pauline Agassiz Shaw, the school’s founder, was committed to teaching the skills needed for immigrants to obtain employment.  Today, the school trains students for careers in traditional trades that use hand skills in concert with evolving technology. The Concord Museum’s nationally renowned collection of 35,000 objects made or owned in Concord includes important examples of furniture, clocks, silver and other objects made by skilled craftsmen over three centuries. Only a handful of Americana collections are as old or as well documented.

The missions of the two institutions are remarkably similar.  The museum’s collection includes some of the finest historic examples of the traditional crafts taught at North Bennet Street School, and has been a resource for generations of students.  This exhibition demonstrates that the museum and the school are not only stewards of the past, but also part of a continuing tradition preserving the highest level of craftsmanship and skill.

North Bennet Street School offers full-time courses in Bookbinding, Cabinet and Furniture Making, Carpentry and Preservation Carpentry, Jewelry Making and Repair, Locksmithing, Piano Technology, and Violin Making and Repair.  In each program, highly skilled instructors teach students in small classes, sharing their knowledge and talent.  Students graduate with the proficiency of well qualified professionals in their chosen trade or craft.  In addition to full-time programs, North Bennet Street School offers intensive short-term workshops which are open to the public.  Professional and beginning craftspeople work side-by-side to strengthen their technical understanding and develop new skills in an environment that is challenging and supportive.  North Bennet Street School is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Career Schools and Colleges of Technology.

A Dedication to Craft is included free with Museum admission and is on view through March 21, 2010. Hands-on activities are incorporated into the galleries to enhance learning for adults and children and a full calendar of public programs will be offered throughout the run of the exhibition.