Coming Up at Durand-Hedden House and Garden, January-March

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The following is from The Township of Maplewood


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Durand-Hedden, Maplewood’s historic house museum, whose age spans from the late 18th century through the mid-20th, offers a wide array of monthly programs that explore our area’s local and natural history. This year’s calendar begins with Open Hearth Cooking: A Taste for History on January 22nd, Disaster! Stories of Destruction and Death in 19th Century New Jersey on February 12th, and Meet Harriet Tubman, a First-person historical interpretation by Dr. Daisy Century on March 5th. 

Events take place from 1 to 4 p.m. on selected Sundays. Check or call 973-763-7712 for exact times and locations. The House, along with an expansive herb garden maintained by the Maplewood Garden Club and the Country Store are located in Grasmere Park at 523 Ridgewood Road.

Sunday, January 22 1-4pm Open Hearth Cooking: A Taste for History

In an annual tradition spanning 35 years, visitors have looked forward to gathering around Durand-Hedden’s 18th century hearth and experiencing how Maplewood residents of long ago cooked, ate, and kept warm during the long winter months. This January, Durand-Hedden is pleased to welcome a new cook to its kitchen.

Susan Luczu is a New Jersey food historian who has a passion for open hearth cooking that she has practiced at historic sites such as Monmouth County Historical Society’s Covenhoven House as well as the cooking fireplace of her own circa 1705 home in the historic Old Bridge community of East Brunswick. On the menu this year will be vegetable beef soup, apple-cornbread fritters, bubble and squeak, beer batter bread and hearth roasted beets cooked over the fire. Children can try their hands at old-fashioned cooking chores like kneading dough, churning butter, and watch a spinster make yarn at her wheel.

Durand-Hedden’s mid-winter open-hearth cooking demonstration has become an annual tradition to honor late longtime trustee, Irene Kosinski. Irene, a gifted educator and lover of living history, oversaw the restoration of Durand-Hedden’s beehive oven in 1981 and went on to establish our perpetually popular open-hearth cooking program.

Sunday, February 12, at 2pm Powerpoint Talk: Disaster! Stories of Destruction and Death in 19th Century New Jersey

By every measure, superstorm Hurricane Sandy in 2012 was a disaster of epic proportions.The deadliest storm to strike the East Coast since Hurricane Diane in 1955, Sandy killed 37 people and caused more than $30 million in damages in 2012 in New Jersey alone. But earlier centuries had their own major catastrophes. Speaker Alan Siegel brings viewers face-to-face with many natural and human caused calamities between 1821 and 1906 ranging from train accidents to wild uncontrolled fires. He focuses on the bravest individuals in these stories, many forgotten acts of courage in the face of danger.

A lawyer practicing in Chatham, Alan Siegel has published numerous NJ history books, including Smile: A Picture History of Olympic Park, 1887-1965 and Beneath the Starry Flag: New Jersey’s Civil War Experience.

Sunday March 5, at 2pm, Meet Harriet Tubman, a First-person historical interpretation by Dr. Daisy Century

On Sunday, March 5 at 2:00 p.m. inspiring actress and educator, Dr. Daisy Century of the American Historical Theater, will vividly portray Harriet Tubman, the well-known escaped slave, American abolitionist, humanitarian, and armed Union scout and spy during the Civil War. Tubman was a remarkable woman who found freedom for herself and then made sure others were brought to freedom. She rescued more than seventy slaves using the Underground Railroad and declared, “I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.” Dr. Century as Harriet Tubman takes each-and-every audience member along for this ride.

Dr. Daisy Century considers Harriet Tubman her role model, someone who encouraged her to put others first and to lead by example. Like her inspiration, Daisy grew up on a farm, has a wonderful singing voice and is a determined woman of conviction. A naturally talented teacher and actor with a PhD in Science Education, she pairs scientific methods with creative imagination to make her historical portrayals thoroughly-researched and dramatically intense.

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