Collecting tools and household wares associated with 19th century hop farming has been a hobby of Al Bullard and Dot Willsey for decades.
Bullard and Willsey will share and demonstrate items of their collections as part of the 25th Annual Madison County Hop Fest in Oneida on Saturday, September 18th.
Albert C. Bullard earned his B.S. in History from Lebanon Valley College, and his M.S. in Folklife Studies and Museum Management from the Cooperstown Graduate program at the State University of New York at Oneonta where his interest in hops and hop growing began. Since then, he has collected the stories, tools, and artifacts of New York’s hop heritage. He has curated and contributed items and consultations to various museum exhibits including The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown. His book The Hop Farmer’s Year: The Seasons, Tools, and Methods of Hop Growers in New York State’s Golden Age of Hops was published in 2015. From 1968 to 2001, Bullard taught high school at Cooperstown Central School and was crowned Madison County Hop King in 2002.
Dorothy Willsey learned of the importance of Madison County’s 19th C. hop industry from the research and publishing accomplished by Barbara Giambastiani Bartlett, former director of the Madison County Historical Society (MCHS), and from Michael Tomlan PhD, who followed his MCHS consultant work with Tinged with Gold: Hop Culture in the United States, a history of the hop industry.
As President of the Madison County Historical Society, Willsey initiated the first annual Hop Fest in 1996. Travels with husband Norm Dann in the Northeast USA and Kent, UK, have provided collections of white ironstone, Limoges, transferware, flow blue china, post cards, advertising samples, paintings, pictures, house implements, linens, bottles, medicines, tools, souvenirs, etc. Willsey and Dann were crowned King and Queen of the 1996 Hop Fest.
This Hop Collections session will begin at 2 pm and will be held at the Oneida Public Library, located at 459 Main Street, Oneida. For more information visit the Madison County Hop Fest website.
Photo of hop sampling kit courtesy Albert Bullard.