The latest project of the museum’s conservator, Andy Zawacki, is the reproduction of an 1830s Pleasure Wagon (shown to the right). A pleasure wagon was a popular, single horse drawn carriage that was typically a secondary vehicle for people who could afford them. The wagon could carry one or two people and only a small load so they were used for riding in town or to go short distances in good weather. If the owner had a larger load, like a pick up at the steamboat landing, the seats could easily be removed.
To create an authentic wagon, Zawacki travelled to Old Sturbridge Village outside of Boston, where they had one in their collection, with its original paint. He was able to photograph and sketch the model to use for reproduction. Because metal springs did not come into common usage until after the 1850s, the construction uses a cantilever system for shock absorption. Zawacki hand-crafted the carriage in the museum’s woodworking shop, blacksmith Lin Rhea hand-forged the metal parts, volunteer Martha Miller helped put steel tires on the wooden wheels (below, left) and pinstriping was painted freehand by assistant curator Cary Voss (below, right) among others.
The wagon will debut to the public at the museum’s annual Christmas Frolic on December 4.