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Another side of Arlington’s Schwamb family

Theodore Schwamb. Handout

ALL IN THE FAMILY The Old Schwamb Mill, the oldest continuously operating woodworking mill site in the United States, offers a look at a different side of the Schwamb family with an exhibit titled “Pianos and the Professor: The Other Schwamb Mill,” running now through March 4.

The exhibit explores the life and work of Theodore Schwamb, the brother of the woodworking mill’s Charles Schwamb and founder of the Arlington piano case manufactory, and his son Peter Schwamb, a professor of Mechanism and Engineering at MIT. Founded in 1862, the Theodore Schwamb Mill manufactured piano casings and employed dozens of workers, eventually outpacing the frame factory started by Charles.


A focus of this winter’s exhibit is the story of Peter Schwamb’s supervision of the construction of a base and housing for the Mount Wilson Observatory telescope in California, the largest telescope in the world from 1917 to 1948. From 1910 to 1918, Peter served as the resident representative of the Observatory at the Fore River Shipyards in Quincy.

The exhibit on Theodore and Peter Schwamb will run through March 4, 2017. Suggested donation: $5. The Old Schwamb Mill is located at 17 Mill Lane., Arlington. For hours and more information, call 781-643-0554 or go to

20TH-CENTURY PORTRAIT The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum presents works by photographer Edward Steichen on exhibit now through March 26. Steichen (1879-1973) is known for his role in expanding the breadth of 20-century photography through his work as a photographer, gallery director, and museum curator. In addition to serving as a military photographer in both World Wars, he was a painter, horticulturalist, graphic designer, publisher, and film director. The exhibition includes portraits of celebrities and socialites, still-life photographs of plants and flowers, dynamic cityscapes, and commercial advertisements as well as Steichen’s portraits of fellow artists and writers who were his peers in the avant-garde cultural communities of New York and Europe. The deCordova Museum is located at 51 Sand Pond Rd., Lincoln. Admission is $14 adults; $12 seniors; $10 students; free for children 12 and under. For hours or more information, call 781.259.8355 or go to


ART ON THE ROAD A traveling exhibit from the Danforth Art Museum called “Figuration in American Art” has been installed at the North Hill retirement community in Needham, with 23 pieces on public display now through January 2018. The exhibit explores trends in figuration in American art from the 19th century to the present day and how these trends have contributed to the trajectory of American art. North Hill is located at 865 Central Ave., Needham. For more information, call 877-736-4371 or go to

RING OUT THE OLD The town of Needham continues its tradition of offering a full roster of events and entertainment to bring in the New Year, one of the only New Year’s Eve festivals of this kind in the Boston suburbs. A full-day schedule of events for all ages begins on Saturday, Dec. 31, at 10:30 a.m. and runs through the day and evening until the midnight countdown party. Venues in and around the town center feature such performances as Irish step dancing, story-telling, children’s singalongs, the Tanglewood Marionettes, square dancing, musicians, opera, chamber music, Magic Dick of the J. Geils Band, the Charles River Ballet Academy, gospel, jazz, blues, poetry and more. Buttons can be purchased at the venues for $5 and include all events except the 21-and-over countdown party. For a full schedule and more information, go to


On Saturday, Dec. 31, from 7 to 10 p.m., the Expresso Yourself Coffeehouse celebrates New Year’s Eve by combining its monthly spoken word story-telling and poetry night with a special evening of international folk dancing with The Larger Circle Band, led by Fritz Fleischmann, a virtuoso violinist and veteran of local folk bands. The family-friendly evening includes complimentary hors d’oeuvres and desserts, a cash bar, and an open mic session. The Expresso Yourself Coffeehouse is located in the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, 26 North Street, Medfield. Tickets are $10 in advance ($12 at door), $5 Children under 12. For more information and reservations, email or call (603) 918-0848.

RUN IN THE NEW Start the New Year on a brisk note with the Needham Running Club’s New Year’s Day 5k run on Sunday, Jan. 1, at 11 a.m. The race begins at the Needham YMCA Pool Building, 863 Great Plain Ave., Needham. Registration is $20 in advance; $25 on race day. To register or for more information, go to

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