Celebrating our 105th season!

Woodman Speaker Series: General John Stark

The Woodman Museum is excited to announce its March Woodman Speaker Series event, which will explore the extraordinary life of New Hampshire native General John Stark and his integral connection to American independence. The talk will take place on March 27 at 7pm at the museum’s Woodman House (182 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820). A follow-up event will be held the following day on March 28 at 10am. The event is free to members and $5 for non-members.
John Stark (August 28, 1728 – May 8, 1822) was a New Hampshire native, born in Londonderry, who served as an officer in the British Army during the French and Indian war and a major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. He became widely known as the “Hero of Bennington” for his exemplary service at the Battle of Bennington in 1777. Few men contributed as much to the American victory in the Revolutionary War but have been as little recognized as a New Hampshire farmer and lumberman John Stark. But although his life is not well known, a few words he wrote live on as the New Hampshire state motto: “Live Free or Die.” He served as a captain of rangers with Robert Rogers in the French and Indian War, and as a colonel and general in the Revolution at Bunker Hill, Trenton, Princeton, Westchester, Springfield, Saratoga, Ticonderoga and West Point. But his greatest achievement was at Hoosick, N.Y., in what became known as the Battle of Bennington. The Battle of Saratoga and the surrender of Burgoyne on 17 October 1777 was the turning point of the American Revolution, but the Battle of Bennington on 16 August set the stage. At Bennington John Stark commanded a force of militia and Green Mountain Boys, everyday men from Vermont and New Hampshire facing professional European soldiers. In a daring and complicated attack, Stark routed an entrenched enemy and almost entirely destroyed it. It was the beginning of the end of the British invasion from Canada until then a juggernaut that could not be stopped. Stark was the quintessential citizen soldier proud, resourceful, independent. He was unschooled and rough around the edges, a New Hampshire frontiersman.
Woodman Museum Chairman and docent Paul Timmerman, a resident of Dover, will discuss the life and times of John Stark and his vital contributions to the war effort during the American Revolution. Timmerman, who has recently volunteered to serve as chairman, is also an avid historian and Civil War reenactor with the 1st NH Light Artillery group. He has also spearheaded a recent endeavor to restore the Woodman Museum’s rare ‘Napoleon’ Civil War cannon, one of few in in existence in a near-complete state.
To learn more about the Adopt-an-Artifact campaign for the Napoleon cannon, please visit https://woodmanmuseum.org/adopt-woodman-artifact/.

Woodman House

Built in 1818 as the residence of Charles and Annie Woodman, The Woodman House today is a unique example of an authentic 20th-century museum. It now houses the Natural History and Veteran Memorial sections and contains extensive and well-preserved collections of local area interest.

The War Memorial Museum The top floor of the Woodman House houses an extensive collection of Civil War artifacts and memorabilia, as well as other collections from wars in which local citizens participated.

Among the many items of interest, one of the ten known “Napoleon” Civil War cannons, complete with its original caisson. Batteries of these guns stopped Pickett’s famous charge at Gettysburg.

Birds & Butterflies The Museum’s first curator, Melville J. Smith, created a series of wonderful dioramas to showcase the Museum’s excellent collection of birds. Shore and land birds in their natural settings and several specimens of Arctic Owls are displayed. An additional room is devoted to dioramas of tropical birds.

Several wall-mounted displays show off a beautiful assortment of jewel-toned moths, butterflies, and insects from nearby locales and the tropics.

Rocks and More Rocks An excellent mineral collection which includes nearly 1300 outstanding specimens. There are hundreds of fossils, collections of area rocks, and displays of dynamic geology.

Native American Artifacts A large display of Native American artifacts includes pieces from the Madbury Culture that lived in this area three to six thousand years ago, as well as the famous Red Paint Culture of nearby Maine. Interesting Incan items from South America are also on display.

Mammals & Marine Life  The museum’s first-floor gallery houses a large display of mammals and marine life with emphasis on the wildlife of New England. Included in the exhibit is a mounted specimen of the last cougar killed in New Hampshire — in nearby Lee in 1853, as well as a 10-foot polar bear killed by a Dover man near the Siberian coast in 1969. If sharks fascinate you, don’t miss the museum’s Marine Room where you can see a blue shark caught off the coast of Ogunquit Maine, or visually feast on a 27-pound lobster, a large green turtle, or a man-killing bivalve clam found off the Australian coast.

Snakes & Turtles A collection of snakes and turtles and a cabinet filled with botanical oddities are also housed in this section.

Childhood Gallery If you’re a doll lover, former or current Boy or Girl Scout, or if you simply want to show your children how kids used to entertain themselves, please visit our childhood room.

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