Timepiece by Daniel Munroe (1775-1859)
Timepiece by Daniel Munroe (1775-1859) (Photographs by David Bohl)

William Munroe lived a long, productive life, spending much of his time crafting heirloom furniture and clock cases in his Concord workshop.

The Concord Museum explores Munroe's life and career through the objects he made in The Best Workman in the Shop, a special exhibition on view now through March 23, 2014.

The grandson of Patriot activists, Munroe was born in 1778 and arrived in Concord in 1800, with a set of tools and patterns for making clock cases and $3.40 in cash. Forty years later, he proudly recorded in his well-kept ledger that he had more than $20,000 in assets -- quite an achievement for a craftsman at that time.

Munroe Pencils with Label
Munroe Pencils with Label

Munroe crafted fine cases for the clocks that his brother Daniel Munroe designed. He also made sideboards, chests of drawers and fire screens for family members and neighbors. Boston retailers had him under contract when he briefly abandoned cabinetmaking to manufacture the first wooden-cased graphite lead pencils made in the U.S.

Several lectures and workshops will be held in conjunction with the exhibit.

The museum is located at 53 Cambridge Turnpike, Concord. Call 978-369-9763 or visit concordmuseum.org for information and hours.

Art picks


  • STUNNING STILL LIFES: Still Life Lives!, a group exhibition celebrating the vitality of still life art and its themes of beauty, bounty, darkness, fragility and fleeting moments, is featured at the Fitchburg Art Museum, Sept. 22-Jan. 12, 2014. Included are paintings from the permanent collection by such artists as Marc Chagall and Georgia O'Keeffe, plus works by many contemporary New England artists. A reception takes place Sunday, Sept. 22, 1-3 p.m.
    From Still Life Lives! at the Fitchburg Art Museum
    From Still Life Lives! at the Fitchburg Art Museum
    Other events include Meet the Artists on Sunday, Nov. 3, 1-2 p.m. and Eat a Still Life, a demonstration on turning holiday buffet tables into mouth-watering works of art with fruits, veggies, herbs and flowers on Saturday, Nov. 23, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Visit fitchburgartmuseum.org.
  • CHELMSFORD SCENE: Artist Jill Pottle is the featured speaker at the upcoming Chelmsford Art Society meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. at Chelmsford Center for the Arts, 1A North Road. Pottle will demonstrate acrylic painting techniques on paper. A teacher for over 20 years, she currently teaches at the Worcester Art Museum, Danforth Museum and Fruitlands Museum. Free and open to all...
    From New Work by Ilene Richard at Centro’s in Lowell
    From New Work by Ilene Richard at Centro's in Lowell
    Works by artist Jim "Skipper" Murray are featured through the end of September at the Chelmsford Library, Boston Road. Murray, a member of the Chelmsford Art Society, has an interesting background, ranging from working as a longshoreman on the Boston waterfront to playing Santa Claus to portraying the Skipper in a remake of Gilligan's Island. The library is also hosting a Meet the Artist event with Daniel Holmes on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. Holmes is displaying his "whirligig" type sculptures made of recycled materials in the lobby display case at the library. He will talk about his art and what inspires him. Visit chelmsfordlibrary.org/programs for information... CCA Gallery at Chelmsford Center for the Arts features In Your Face: A Look at Portraits through Sept. 29. The gallery is open Thursdays, 2:30-6:30 p.m., Sundays, 2-4 p.m. and by appointment. Free.
  • COLORFUL WORKS: Vyu Magazine presents New Work by Ilene Richard, an exhibition featuring her vivid illustrations and paintings. It is on view Sept. 22-Oct. 28 at Centro Restaurant and Bar, 24 Market St., Lowell. Meet the artist at a reception on Sunday, Sept. 22, 1-3 p.m.

Nancye Tuttle's email address is nancyedt@verizon.net.