Grafton Public Library

Willard House and Clock Museum: 50-Years of Collecting Excellence Lecture with Robert C. Cheney

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A program in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Willard House and Clock Museum and the loan and installation of a Benjamin Willard 1795 eight-day clock in the Library’s Historic Reading Room will be held on Monday November 14, 2022 at 7:00pm in the Community Room with a reception to follow. The clock was made by Benjamin Willard (1743-1803) here in the historic Grafton workshop preserved at the museum. Robert C. Cheney, Executive Director of the Willard House and Clock Museum will present “Willard House and Clock Museum: 50-Years of Collecting Excellence: An Illustrated Lecture.”

The Willard House and Clock Museum is on the National Register of Historic Places and was the birthplace and home of four Willard clockmakers working from 1760-1800 here in Grafton. The museum is known as “The Center of Early American Clockmaking” and now features over 90 masterpiece Willard clocks and timepieces, family portraits, furniture, books and ephemera, including an important Thomas Jefferson document providing Simon Willard with a drawing and instructions for the installation of Willard’s clock at Jefferson College in 1826.

photo, Robert C. Cheney,, in front of a portrait of Simon Willard

Robert C. Cheney, Grafton, Massachusetts is a third-generation clockmaker, dealer and
nationally recognized authority on early clocks, watches and scientific instruments. He
has served as a consulting conservator and curator for over fifty museums including Old
Sturbridge Village, Worcester Art Museum, American Antiquarian Society, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Consulting has also brought him to the United States Capitol and Supreme Court, the US Department of State and the oval office of the White
House.

Cheney’s museum affiliations include numerous terms and officer positions on the boards of the American Clock and Watch Museum, Bristol, CT, the National Clock and Watch Museum, Columbia, PA and the Willard House and Clock Museum, Grafton, MA.
Cheney has lectured extensively on antique clocks in the United States, Canada and the U.K. and has appeared as an appraiser on the “Antiques Roadshow” for over a decade.

After a 35-year career of self-employment and a decade as founder and Director of the “Clocks, Watches and Scientific Instruments” department at Skinner Inc., he currently serves as Executive Director and Curator of the Willard House and Clock Museum in North Grafton, Massachusetts. Robert C. Cheney was recently (2018) honored as a Silver Star Fellow in the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors for his writing, lectures and leadership in the field of horology.

Registration will begin on Saturday, October 1, 2022 at 10:00 AM.

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