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Ipswich, MA – October 10, 2013 – In celebration of the 375th anniversary of the founding of Appleton Farms, The Trustees of Reservations today announced their first-ever portrait exhibition, Of Farm and Family: Generations of Appleton Family Portraits, being held in the historic Appleton Farms “Old House” Visitor Center. Featuring nearly 20 works by some of America’s leading artists of the 19th- and early-20th-century, the exhibit is free and open to visitors during Visitor Center hours, Saturdays and Sundays from 11AM to 3PM, now through the spring of 2014.
Appleton Farms is the oldest continuously operating farm in America and considered one of the most influential and progressive in America’s agricultural history. Set on 1,000 beautiful, preserved acres, the farm was the longtime home to nine generations of the Appletons, one of the country’s most important founding families. Generations of the family – from a brigadier general in the War of 1812 and a 19th-century entrepreneur, to a 20th-century Wall Street lawyer – lived and loved life at Appleton Farms.
The portrait exhibition was co-curated by Susan Hill Dolan, Cultural Resources Specialist for The Trustees, and Rebecca Gardner Campbell, chair of the Historic Resources Committee at Appleton Farms. Some of America’s leading artists featured in the exhibit include Lydia Field Emmet, Ellen Emmet Rand, and Eastman Johnson, who is considered to be the “the American Rembrandt” of his time and one of the founders of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Among the highlights in the collection are a rare pair of Eastman Johnson portraits as well as a portrait of General James Appleton attributed to Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School and American landscape art movement. In addition to the paintings, Appleton family photographs, decorative art objects and letters, now in The Trustees’ extensive collection, have been integrated into the show to help bring these family members and their rich legacy to life. Such objects span the generations, from the 1738 christening spoon of Samuel Appleton, to the 1945 American Red Cross uniform worn by the farm’s last family resident, Joan Egleston Appleton.
“The exhibition celebrates the men and women of the farm not only with their portraits, but also by sharing the human stories behind each of the sitters,” says Dolan. Adds Campbell, “We’ve had the idea for this exhibit for 15 years. It is so nice to see our vision for a portrait exhibition at Appleton Farms finally realized and on display in the newly renovated Old House as we celebrate the farm’s 375 anniversary.”
The Trustees of Reservations took over the ownership and care of Appleton Farms in 1998 at the bequest of Col. Francis Randall Appleton, Jr., and his wife, Joan, in order to preserve, protect, and carry on the rich agricultural legacy of the farm and family. “We are excited to present this important collection of family portraits and historic objects for the first time ever at Appleton Farms,” says Barbara Erickson, Trustees President and CEO. “With the help of our talented curators and Archives and Research Center, we hope to engage even more visitors in the rich history of Massachusetts with additional exhibitions like this at other Trustees properties in the future.”
Although many of these fine paintings are on permanent view in the Old House, others, along with most of the objects and papers, are housed at The Trustees’ Archives and Research Center, which preserves and catalogs thousands of historical documents, objects, and artifacts. These collections allow The Trustees to tell the stories of its 111 properties across the Commonwealth, as well as of the organization and its founding role in the land trust movement. Trustees’ friends, neighbors, members and visitors are invited to celebrate this rich history and family legacy at Appleton Farms now through spring of 2014. To learn more about Appleton Farms, please visit www.thetrustees.org/appleton.
The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) “hold in trust” and care for properties, or “reservations,” of scenic, cultural, and natural significance for the general public to enjoy. Founded by open space visionary Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees are the nation’s oldest, statewide land trust and one of Massachusetts’ largest conservation organizations. Supported by more than 100,000 members and donors and thousands of volunteers, The Trustees own and manage 111 spectacular reservations – including working farms with Community Supported Agriculture programs, historic homesteads and gardens, community parks, barrier beaches and mountain vistas – located on more than 26,000 acres throughout the Commonwealth. In addition, The Trustees work closely with permanent affiliates including Boston Natural Areas Network and the Hilltown Land Trust as well as hundreds of community partners to preserve and protect special places for current and future generations. Accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, The Trustees are an established leader in the conservation and preservation movement and model for other land trusts nationally and internationally. The organization offers hundreds of outreach programs, workshops, and events annually, designed to engage all ages in its’ mission. To find out more or to become a member or volunteer, please contact www.thetrustees.org.