AN EXCITING AMBROTYPE DISCOVERY What's an ambrotype, you say? It was an early method of photography, invented by James Ambrose Cutting in 1854, using a wet-plate collodian (nitrocellulose in a mixture of alcohol and ether) process. It fell out of use in the 1860s. in early 2018 we learned from Brian Cullity (antique dealer and son of Curator Rosanna Cullity) that Skinner's Auction House in Boston was offering an ambrotype which was labelled "E. Sandwich School". We quickly recognized the building as the Cedarville District School where our local Nye families attended. With Brian's help in bidding and financial help from Dan Nye of San Francisco, we were able to purchase this rare piece, which we will place on display with the Cedarville School exhibit at our Homestead & Museum. Thanks for help and guidance also go also to Dan's brother John (NJ), who is also on our Board of Trustees.
The Cedarville School was built in 1846 about a quarter mile from the Homestead - many Nye children attended, and we believe appear in this circa 1858 view, if only they could be identified. The school closed in 1878. Samuel H. Nye and others who had attended the school purchased it for use as a meeting hall, and hosted Cedarville School Association reunions for some years. In 1896 Frank and Rosa Nye Armstrong bought and moved the building and converted it into a farmhouse, where their granddaughter, Curator Rosanna Cullity lives today. You can see why we were so excited about this find!
Archaeologist and restoration carpenter David Wheelock poses with the early 19th century "Portland Cutter" sleigh he is restoring for the Nye Family Association. The sleigh was rescued in 1997 from a collapsing shed at a nearby farm, and was in pieces. The restoration is nearly complete and the sleigh will probably be on display in the ‘Mill‘ during Autumn Gathering.