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Senator Justin Morrill

Tree Walk with Dave Paganelli

10 AM – 12 PM

Please join David Paganelli, Orange County Forester, for an informal tree walk around the grounds of the Homestead. We will walk the grounds and discuss the various unusual plantings, and also the native trees at the forest edge.  All are welcome. Cost $5, to register please call: 802-765-4288

Gallery in the Garden


The Morrill Homestead’s annual Gallery in the Garden art show and online auction is a highlight of the Upper Valley art season. The 2023 edition features works created in an array of styles by fine artists from the Strafford community, the Upper Valley, and beyond. Eighteen artists present their unique perspectives on the theme “Art as Voice” in ways that are moving, playful, profound, and inspiring.

Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

5 p.m. – Reception for the art show opening in the Carriage Barn. Sherry SaintGermaine and Mary Louise Pierson are the featured artists and inspiration for the “Art as Voice” exhibit.

“Minis for Morrill” paintings on view in the Education Center —magnificent 4″x4″ mini paintings by artists of regional and national reputation to be auctioned online.

“Art as Voice” also includes works by Gerry Bergstein, Todd Binzen, Gail Boyajian, Jennifer Brown, Matt Brown, Kelly Coffin, Dierdre Dennis, Kate Emlen, Oona Gardner, Jean Gerber, Jo Levasseur, Jeanne McMahan, Michael Moore, Andy Newman, William Ransom, Celia Reisman, and Enrico Riley.

Nature Play with Little Ones

10:30 AM – 12 PM

Hooray for summer outdoor play! Four Winds Nature Institute will bring seasonally-appropriate loose parts, science tools, a mud kitchen, and more to help nurture a sense of wonder, place, and well-being.

FREE EVENT! Please preregister: 802-765-4288

Walking Tour of Morrill's Strafford Village

11 AM

Historical tours of Strafford’s village, which remains much the same as in Morrill’s time. Tours include Morrill’s birthplace, his father’s blacksmith shop, two libraries, the Strafford Town House, and the mausoleum where Morrill is buried.

$5.00; Children under 15 free, to register please call: 802-765-4288

Tapestry Felting Class

10 AM – 4 PM

This needle felting class with Neysa Russo of The Felting Studio will focus on creating a small tapestry with ‘Vermont Wildlife’ as the theme. Choose from an abundance of designs or create your own from scratch.  For Adults and teens - Beginners Welcome!

$60 includes materials for a 13″ x 13″ tapestry, to register please call: 802-765-4288

Morrill Homestead Open House and Puppet Show

2 PM – 4 PM 


Bring the family and be our guests for an Ice Cream Social, Guided Tours of Justin Morrill’s Gothic Revival Home, Victorian Gardens, Interpretive Exhibits, and a Puppet Show. In “Bully! For The Three Big Pigs” a cast of hand-crafted marionettes romp through an artist’s studio, an opera stage, and the problem-solving mind of a builder, providing a feast for the eyes, ears, and imagination. 

Wake Up the Garden- Cultivating Morrill's Historic Landscape

Saturday, May 13, 1-4 p.m.  A Free event!
Morrill Homestead Gardens & Grounds

Work with the Homestead’s Master Gardeners to prepare the Victorian gardens for the 2023 season. This is the first of several projects designed to nurture the colorful annual beds in the pleasure ground and expand the kitchen garden—Morrill’s laboratory for experimenting with plant hardiness that contains a variety of roses, perennials, berry bushes, and herbs.

Come join us and become a part of Vermont’s history as we care for the historic landscape of this very influential American. You can earn all of your Master Gardener outreach hours with us.

What is provided:
Basic garden tools will be on hand. Snacks and beverages will be available throughout the morning.

All welcome! Event is free.  Please preregister:

Online: Register Free online

Phone: 802-649-2940


19th Century Apple & Cheese Harvest Festival

AWARD WINNER! “Top Ten Fall Events” —Vermont Chamber of Commerce

Come celebrate Johnny Appleseed’s birthday! Bring the whole family to a harvest festival at the Justin Morrill State Historic Site. Listen to live toe-tapping fiddle and accordion music with Gale & Gundlach. Meet farm animals—the kind that Justin Morrill would have had on his small 19th-century farm. Make your own cider in an antique press, taste heirloom apples, fine artisan Vermont Cheeses, and homemade apple pie. Play period games, and hike the lookout trail. Also includes gardens, exhibits, an icehouse, ice pond, and a historic home decorated with gingerbread designs. The event runs from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

$5 for adults, children under 15 free. No pre-registration is necessary.

For more information, email or call (802) 765-4288.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Morrill Homestead and Strafford Village Farm, and is underwritten by Norwich University.

“Morrill’s Landscape Design: Bringing An Historic Garden Back To Life” – Garden Talk with Margie Carpenter, Landscape Historian & Master Gardener

Justin Smith Morrill was a serious student of landscape design and an avid horticulturist.  His designs and plantings for the walkways and grounds around his home are in the best tradition of the mid-nineteenth century Romantic Landscape Movement in America. Morrill’s landscape plans draw from Victorian tastemaker and horticulturist Andrew Jackson Downing. His gardens were filled with new plants just being introduced to this country from Europe, Asia, and South America.  Come learn more about our famous Senator’s landscape design and horticultural interests.

Fee: $5. Please pre-register.

For more information and to register

Sponsored by the Friends of the Morrill Homestead, Janet Cavanagh Landscape Architect, and Eric Thorp Diversified.

“From Yosemite’s Half Dome to the Capitol Dome: The Intersecting Lives of Frederick Law Olmsted and Justin Morrill”

Rolf Diamant, co-author of Olmsted and Yosemite: Civil War, Abolition, and the National Park Idea (2022), will speak on the parallel paths of Olmsted and Morrill, their vision for America, and their interactions, both during and after the Civil War.  It is remarkable that Olmsted discussed the symbolic importance of completing the US Capitol building (during the Civil War) in his landmark 1865 Yosemite Report, and then would answer Morrill’s summons, eight years later, to design the capitol grounds.

Diamant will also examine passage of the Yosemite Act, signed by President Lincoln in 1864, in the context of Justin Morrill’s first college land grant bill. In 1859, Morrill’s bill was denounced in apocalyptic terms by pro-slavery Southern Democrats and ultimately vetoed by President James Buchanan. There is little doubt that had the Yosemite legislation (another land grant) been introduced alongside Morrill’s bill in the ante-bellum Congress, it would have been subjected to the same rhetorical assault and suffered a similar fate. 

$5 in-person or via Zoom. Registration required.

For more information and to register

Sponsored by the Friends of the Morrill Homestead, Janet Cavanagh Landscape Architect, and Eric Thorp Diversified.

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