Make your Own Candle and Build a House

February 16, 2015       10 AM to 4 PM


Tired of dark days and looking for something fun to do with your children or grandchildren during February vacation?  On Monday, February 16th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (snow date: February 17, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.),  join us at the Windsor Historical Society’s Hands-On-History Learning Center and make your very own hand-dipped paraffin candle to take home.  Different colors for dipping make each candle unique.  The Hands-On-History Learning Center, where children can try on reproduction colonial clothing, try out a child-sized rope bed, or “milk” Flavia the cow, can be enjoyed at the same time. Also on view in the Learning Center is Building Bridges, an exhibition of artworks created by Windsor High School students inspired by Windsor’s historic architecture.  When you’re finished candle-dipping and are looking for another fun family activity, craft your own model of a house or freeform artwork. Using the examples provided by the Windsor High School Pre-AP Art Students in their exhibition, families can use toothpicks and marshmallows to create their own three-dimensional art. Cost for this program is $10 per family; or $5 per adult, $4 for seniors, $3 for children, and $2 for members.  A parent or guardian must accompany their children.

Candles are largely decorative today but have been used as a light source for thousands of years.  The ancient Egyptians and Romans used candles.  In the middle ages, tallow (fat from cows and sheep) was saved and used for candles which were smoky and smelly.  Chandlers or candle –makers would go from household to household, trading for tallow to make their candles.  Beeswax was also used in the middle ages to make a candle which burned brightly and with a sweet scent, but it was rare and expensive.  In the late 18th century, clean-burning whale oil candles began to replace the old-fashioned and smoky tallow candles and in the 1850’s, paraffin, a by-product of petroleum, became the candle-making material of choice.   Very soon, the kerosene lamp and the light bulb (invented in 1879) would begin to put candles out of business.   By making a candle the old fashioned way, you’ll be participating in a time-honored tradition.


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