Arts, Dining & Entertainment
May 20, 2015

Grace Coolidge opens the State Historic Site for the season

Saturday, May 23 — PLYMOUTH NOTCH — The President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site opens for the 2015 season on Saturday, May 23.

The highlight of the season is the new exhibit: First Lady Grace Coolidge: “A Glass of Fashion.”  Mrs. Coolidge helped establish the first lady’s role of fashion trendsetter and her look reflected the best of “Roaring Twenties” style. Couture’s answer to the caricatured flapper of the day, Grace Coolidge’s gowns, jewelry, and other elaborate accessories typical of this stylish era are now on temporary display.   

The Coolidge family donated all the objects in the exhibit to the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, which operates the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site. Because of the fragile nature of the textiles, many of the dresses have been hidden in storage for almost two decades. Some items have never been publicly exhibited. Charles Gibson Design of Hanover, N.H. designed the exhibit, which was funded through the generous support of the Alma Gibbs Donchian Foundation and Mimi Baird of Woodstock, Vt. 

Opening events for May 23 include the excitement of the Killington Stage Race, with hundreds of cyclists speeding through the historic village in the morning, and a 2 p.m. lecture by Sarah C. Stevens about the care and handling of historic costumes. Ms. Stevens, who received training at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City, is a textile conservator with Zephyr Preservation Studio, LLC., in Albany, N.Y. Following the presentation, please join us for an afternoon social, featuring the musical talents of Abigail Charbeneau at the “Grace Coolidge Piano.”

A National Historic Landmark, President Coolidge’s Plymouth Notch is considered one of the best-preserved presidential sites in the country. Twelve buildings are open for tour. The site has two museum shops, walking trails, a restaurant serving breakfast & lunch, and a sheltered picnic area.

A highpoint of any Plymouth Notch visit is the permanent exhibition, “More Than Two Words: The Life and Legacy of Calvin Coolidge.” In this highly interactive presentation, Calvin Coolidge is brought to life through objects, photographs, newsreels, political cartoons, and the masterful work of Jim Cooke, the re-enactor acclaimed for his insightful portrayal of the 30th U.S. president.

The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation has planned a busy season of special events at the Coolidge Site, including the July 4th President Coolidge Birthday Celebration, Plymouth Old Home Day, Grace Coolidge Musicales, Plymouth Folk & Blues Concerts, and Plymouth Notch Antique Apple Fest. Ongoing programs include Tuesday Tales of The Notch, Wednesday Afternoons with Farmer Fred, and Summer Thursdays at the Old Notch School.

The President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site is open May 23 – Oct. 18, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., daily. For further information, call 802-672-3773, or visit the state-owned historic sites online at historicsites.vermont.gov.

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