Meeting Registration Opens March 1, 2023

2023 EAIA Annual Meeting Shenandoah Valley !

May 17-20, 2023           Staunton, Virginia

      Mid-May in Virginia is a beautiful time of year, not yet summer but not spring, just a glorious green, warm and inviting time. Average temperatures vary between 65 and 75 in the day time and 55 to 65 overnight so spring and summer clothes along with a light jacket will assure your comfort.

The meeting dates are May 17-20, 2023, and our hotel venue is the historic Hotel 24 South (formally the Stonewall Jackson) in downtown Staunton, Virginia. The hotel meeting rate is $139.00 per night plus state and local taxes. This rate is good 1 day before and after the meeting. It is advisable to make reservations early as we expect our room block to fill up fast-the reservation line is 866-880-0024 or you can go directly to reservations online. It is great hotel that was recently refurbished and updated to fit the needs of its guests. Located in the center of the city, the hotel is surrounded by great restaurants, pubs, shopping, museums and historic sites. We have included free time and meals on your own so that you can explore the city, its historic sites, restaurants and all that it offers.

The theme of the meeting is From Forest to Farm, Tools that Tamed the Frontier. We will be learning a good deal about that theme as we explore Jefferson’s mountain top Monticello and the Virginia Museum of Frontier Culture. We look forward to member displays that illustrate the theme. Those displays will be on exhibit on Saturday, so please be sure to reserve a table for your presentation (you will see that box to checkoff on the registration brochure.)

Staunton’s name is pronounced without the “u” so when you hear its name said it sounds like “Stanton.”  The reason for this pronunciation is lost to history, but suffice it to say citizens of Staunton always pronounce it “Stanton,” so that’s what we’ll do too!

Our meeting registration begins on Wednesday, May 17th at noon in the hotel lobby. This year’s tailgate sale is to be held from Noon to 5 PM on the top floor of the parking garage adjacent to the hotel.  It is open and offers good views of the city; in case of rain we will use the floor below which is covered. The garage does have a height restriction so no high cube vans will be accommodated; we hope that this will not impact too many participants; there is a small elevator available to bring things up and we may be able to supply a table.

 Hotel 24 South, Staunton, VA

    Wednesday afternoon and evening is “on your own,” and we hope you will use the time to begin your exploration of the area and the vibrant downtown.  Just a short walk from the hotel are many attractions of interest including : Jumbo Fire Museum, home of the oldest motorized fire engine in Virginia and the only remaining 1911 Robinson fire engine; Sunspots Glass Blowing Studio with daily demonstrations until 4 pm; Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum; the American Shakespeare Center & Blackfriars theatre; the Camera Heritage Museum; Trinity Episcopal Church and its famous Tiffany windows; African American Heritage Center at the Staunton Visitors Center. These are just some of the attractions in town. Venturing out from Staunton there are numerous places of interest including: in Lexington, the Virginia Military Institute hosts the historic Stonewall Jackson House and the VMI Museum which houses the Henry Stewart Firearms Collection; Natural Bridge State Park; The Virginia Museum of the Civil War at the New Market Battlefield park, and that is just a taste of available places to visit.  For a listing of all of the attractions in the area please consult the Virginia Shenandoah Valley Tourism Guide. We will have more updates soon, so stay tuned!

On Thursday, after enjoying a buffet breakfast in the hotel we will travel on our own by car (carpooling advised-it is a 50-60 minute trip) to President Thomas Jefferson’s mountain top home near Charlottesville. We must arrive by 9:15 as the tours are carefully timed. Here we will split into two groups, one will visit the home, gardens, wings and Mulberry Row while the other will remain at the Visitor Center where they will have presentations on the restoration, furnishings, and other topics by the Monticello staff. At noon we will enjoy a box lunch and then switch groups for the afternoon tours and presentations. Dinner is on your own followed by the Ice Cream Social and Whatsits session in the lobby and ballroom of the hotel.

 Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Nickel Photo courtesy Monticello

   On Friday, after a buffet breakfast in the hotel, we will again travel on our own (just a few minutes away) by car to the Museum of Frontier Culture. From 9 AM to 2 PM we will have tours of the museum, artisan demonstrations by museum staff and members of the Contemporary Long Rifle Association. We’ll enjoy a box lunch in the pavilion and free time after 2 to further explore the museum or other area attractions. Dinner on your own, but for those who would like to catch up and talk tools, trades and crafts, there will be an opportunity to meet in the ball room just off the hotel lobby. There will be no live auction this year.

Photo courtesy Frontier Culture Museum

On Saturday May 20th , we will again travel to the Museum of Frontier Culture, where the day will begin with set up for the tool sale and member displays (theme From Forest to Farm, Tools that Tamed the Frontier) in the museum pavilion. The pavilion will be open to the public as well.  From 10-3 there will be presentations in the museum lecture hall. Former EAIA President Denise Richer will tell all about Shaker Seeds; Jeffrey S. Evans will make a presentation on Shenandoah Valley furniture; Dr. Carole Nash will talk about “Native American life in the Shenandoah Valley;” Byron Smith will talk about “Virginia Freight Wagons of the Newtown School;” and Dan Miller will talk about the manufacture and history of wooden canoes. Artisan members of the Contemporary Long Rifle Association will demonstrate historic trades and artisan crafts throughout the day. EAIA members will demonstrate the use of tools to museum visitors in the courtyard (let us know if you would like to participate!) Food vendors will be on the grounds to provide a selection of foods. From 2-3:30 pm the Taylor & Boody Organ Company will open the doors of their factory back in Staunton for informal tours. From 5:30 to 7 pm we will be back in the hotel lobby to enjoy a cash bar and exciting silent auction. Our annual banquet and business meeting begins at 7 pm, our dinner speaker is Don Williams, Retired Senior Furniture Conservator at the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Materials Research and Education.

Come and join us for this wonderful 2023 EAIA Annual Meeting! Register today and join us on Wednesday May 17th thru Saturday May 20th, for a wonderful EAIA experience!


2022 annual meeting in Maine
may 18-21, 2022

Meeting Brochure

Fresnel Lighthouse Lens at the Maine Maritime Museum In Bath, Maine (MMM photo)

Activities & Schedule

We are excited about our 2022 meeting as it has been two years since we were able to assemble together for an Annual Meeting!

For more than 500 years the area around Bath, Maine, has been a center of shipbuilding and other maritime activities. From our conference hotel in Freeport, we will experience all that coastal Maine has to offer. From its varied museums, shipyards, railways, lighthouses, scenic vistas, and tool-related attractions, there will be an experience to suit every interest!

There will be an exciting day exploring the the Maine Maritime Museum, a cruise around the harbor to observe shipyards and lighthouses, a tour of the museum’s Percy & Small Shipyard, which for 51 years has preserved the heritage of shipbuilding, and we will observe a demonstration in the shipyard’s blacksmith shop. We will have the opportunity to visit the nearby boat yard where the sailing ship Virginia is being reconstructed. Virginia, known as Maine’s First Ship is a replica of the first ship built in the Americas circa 1607 in what was then known as the Popham Colony.

Narrow gauge railroads were present in Maine beginning in the late 19th century to carry freight and passengers from the coast. Others served the vast areas of timber for which Maine is so famous. We will have an opportunity to ride the rails behind a narrow gauge (2 foot) steam locomotive at the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum in nearby Alna.

Other activities include historic house tours (Civil War buffs will enjoy a tour of the Joshua Chamberlain house) at the Pejebscot History Center in Brunswick; tours of the Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay; historic house tours of the three homes curated by the Lincoln County Historical Association in Wiscasset; the Maine Historical Society’s Wadsworth-Longfellow House, the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad, which runs around the harbor, and the Victoria Mansion Museum in Portland.

Visiting the coastal communities will also be an attraction, as there are many places to observe Maine’s rocky coast including nearby Bailey’s Island, where you can observe its unique Cribstone Bridge, and scenic lighthouses are found all along the coast, including Pemaquid Point and the famous Portland Head Light. We will have a live auction at the hotel presented by Casco Bay Auction Company of Freeport. It will feature tools, antiques and collectibles, surely something for everyone! There will be an ice cream social, tool trading, member displays, a day of featured presentations detailing the history of tools, trades, and crafts in coastal Maine, a presentation by Lie-Nielsen Tool Works, a silent auction, banquet and a special presentation about a sea captain’s wife by a local interpreter/historian. Whew, this will be a great meeting with somuch to do and see! The Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport is just around the corner from the incredible shopping opportunities found in Freeport, including the flagship store of L. L. Bean. It is only one block from the Freeport Amtrak Station and 26 miles from the Portland International Jetport. We hope you will plan to attend this wonderful in person meeting!

Here is the complete schedule

Thursday, May 19

 We will carpool to the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath and spend all day there. Upon arrival we will be divided into three groups and rotate through activities on the 20-acre campus: Cruise to see the shipyards and lighthouses, tour the Percy & Small shipyard where large wooden sailing vessels were built, see demonstrations at the Blacksmith shop and have time to explore the main museum building. We will have a catered lunch at the waterfront pavilion.      Thursday evening enjoy our ice cream social on the patio of our host hotel followed by the traditional Whatsit session.

Friday, May 20

You can create your own itinerary to explore the various historic sites and other points of interest in the Mid-coast area. Many of the small museums and homes do not normally open until June, but we have made arrangements with some of them to be open for us and provide docent-guided tours. Space is limited at some sites, but there will be several scheduled times during the day for group visits. Make reservations and pay the fee when you register for the Annual Meeting.

The places without a noted limit are available all day, but in most cases you still need to sign up online for a time to go.

Maine’s First Ship, Bath – See the reconstruction of and museum about the 1608 Virginia, the first English ship built in North America. It is nearly finished and launch is expected in June, 2020. Limited to 40 at a time, $8 admission.

1754 Chapman-Hall House, Damariscotta and 1811 Lincoln County Museum and Old Jail, Wiscasset – The Chapman house built by Nathanial Chapman has been restored to show how domestic spaces evolved starting with the 1754 kitchen to the 1780 Yellow Room to the 1830 parlor. The 1811 Jail and Jailer’s House show the hardships of the prisoners and the jailer’s family. Limited to 10 per tour with tours scheduled all day, $15 admission to both.

Skolfield-Whittier House and Joshua Chamberlain Museum, Brunswick – The Skolfield-Whittier is an Italianate Victorian with its original contents. The Chamberlain house was home to Civil War hero Joshua Chamberlain, Maine governor and president of Bowdoin College. Limited to 12 per tour with tours scheduled all day, $18 admission to both.

Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum, Alna – Enjoy a narrow-gauge train ride to the top of the mountain in Alna and see work in progress restoring locomotives and rail cars. Many historic engines and rail cars are on display. Limited to 80, one trip in the afternoon, $10 admission.

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay – 300 acres of gardens, butterfly house, apiary, ponds and waterfront. Order tickets online https://www.mainegardens.org/

In Freeport:

Plenty of shopping including L.L. Bean’s flagship store

Maine’s Desert – order tickets online https://www.desertofmaine.com/

Freeport Historical Society in Harrington House

Farther afield:

 Portland highlights:

Maine Historical Society

Longfellow House, home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Museum at Portland Head Light in the lighthouse keeper’s quarters in Fort Williams Park

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum

Davistown Museum, Liberty – a history, tool and art museum with emphasis on New England’s maritime history, open by appt. 207-589-4900

Liberty Tool Co., Liberty – call for hours 207-288-5126.

Friday evening – Tool Auction presented by Casco Bay Auctions

Saturday, May 21

We will be at the hotel all day with tool trading, member displays, and a presentation by Lie Nielsen including a video of their factory and display of their tools to try out.

Several presentations by members including

Dan Miller will talk about the development of the canoe in small shops, the rise of large canoe factories (e.g. Old Town Canoe Company), through the 1950s when aluminum canoes became popular, and the continuation of the canoe building skills by current day artisan canoe builders.

Bob Roemer will provide an overview of rapidly disappearing tools, methods and materials used in building boats and ships in coastal Kenya (Lamu Island) and India (Bolgatty Island, Kerala). In many cases it represents stepping back in time for Americans as the tools and methods are remarkably similar to those used in American boat and shipbuilding in the era of primarily wooden ships. However, at least a couple are quite unique to the regions.

The session will include a display of models and tools associated with the presentation.

Lyle Merrifield, owner of Merrifield Farm and a major producer of maple syrup will demonstrate maple sugaring in Maine.

Bill Robertson will talk about his research for his soon to be published book on Antique Micrometers.

Preston Sweeney: Had an article in last November’s Chronicle about the Stanley Tools educational department. If this is something that would be of interest to you and the program let me know. He has some of the items to show.

Bob Vogel will give a presentation on the Pool family of Easton, makers of surveying and other measuring instruments and levels. Slides and samples will be shown.

Laurent Torno will show and discuss items from his 60-year collection of tools from the Missouri German Corridor “Medieval Survivors on The Missouri Frontier” including two 16thc woodcuts illustrating German craftsmen using tools identical to those shown.

Thank you for visiting. See you in Maine!

2021 Virtual Annual Meeting

2021 Meeting Activities

Moses Wilder Blacksmith Shop

2019 Annual Meeting
Lowell, MA

2019 Meeting Activities

2019 Meeting Brochure

2018 Annual Meeting
Lehigh Valley/Bethlehem, PA

An Exhibit at the National Museum of Industrial History

2018 Save The Dates

2018 Meeting Brochure

2017 Annual Meeting
Old Sturbridge Village, MA

2017 Announcement and Overview

2017 Meeting Activities

2016 Annual Meeting
Pleasant Hill, KY

2016 EAIA Annual Meeting Recap

2015 Annual Meeting
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

2015 EAIA Annual Meeting Recap

2014 Annual Meeting
Pittsburgh, PA

2014 Meeting Activities

2013 Annual Meeting
Cape Cod, MA

2013 Meeting Activities