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1. Child’s highchair

Pine, late 19th century. Original colour, handcrafted.

Gift of Mrs. Gaston Martin RF-1983-L4-29

2. Quilt chest

Pine, 19th century. Original colour. Trimmed with half-round moulding forming a decorative “U” in front. Plain straight legs.

Anonymous gift RF-1982-L4-28

3. Cradle

Wooden cradle with two rockers and a hood made of three boards joined with square-headed nails. The side panels feature a slightly curved design. Hooded cradles appeared in the late 18th century.

Anonymous gift RF-1974-L1-22A

4. Broom

Made from the trunk of a cedar tree. The lower part of the pole was shaved downwards into thin strips, which were then turned back to form the sweeping head. The handle was then pared to uniform thickness.

Gift of Lucie Vary RF-1981-L1-35

5. Wheat shovel

Wood, 19th century. Handcrafted from a single piece of wood. Carved with the initials “J. N.” Used to scoop up wheat.

Anonymous gift RC-1974-L60-22

6. Winnowing basket

Wood. Implement used to separate the chaff from the grain. Winnowers worked outdoors or near an open door to catch the breeze. Loading the basket with a few shovelfuls of grain, they would grasp the two handles and heave it upwards, using a knee for support. As the grain was tossed into the air, the breeze blew away the husks and bits of straw, while the heavier kernels fell back into the basket. After several tosses, the grain was clean. These movements were repeated for hours on end. Less care was taken with grain used as animal feed, of course, but wheat, barley and other cereals destined for the flourmill or to be used as seed were painstakingly winnowed to remove all foreign bodies. It was important not to damage the millstone or to sow the fields with undesirable plants.

Anonymous gift RF-1948-L1-3

7. Bread chest

Wood. Painted, probably with Prussian blue. This tall-legged chest has a flat, removable cover. Each side is cut from a single plank to ensure airtightness. Bread chests were used to knead dough and store freshly baked loaves and flour.

Anonymous gift RF-1980-L1-32

8. Pantry armoire

Pine, 19th century. Original colour. Used to store food in the Maison. This type of armoire was very common. The doors usually had holes to allow air to circulate inside. Purchase RF-1981-L4-36

9. Inn table

Wood and metal, around 1800. Three-legged round table with hand-forged nails. This type of table was generally found in inns.

Gift of Robert Picard RF-1981-L4-24

10. Cradle scythe

Wood and metal, latter half of the 19th century. Homemade. With an adjustable-height handle. Served to cut grain and catch it in swaths.

Anonymous gift RF-1974-L1-39

11. Bucket bench

Pine. Original colour. Benches of this sort were found in the common room of many 18th- and 19th- century homes. Homemade soap and toilet articles were stored on the upper shelf. The middle shelf held the hand-washing bowl and a bucket of clean water from the spring, well or river. Slop buckets for dirty water generally sat on the lowest shelf.

Gift of Yves Saint-Germain RF-1983-L3-21

12 & 13. Water buckets (2)

12 Wood, red.

Anonymous gift RG-2000-021

13 Wood.

Anonymous gift RF-1974-L3-36

14. Barn lantern

Sheet metal, around 1800. Handmade. Cylindrical body capped by a cone with a chimney and a handle at the top. The metal is pierced in a geometric pattern of dots and dashes. A small door with a handle can be opened to replace burnt-out candles. The lantern protects the candle from the wind and the openwork lets the light filter through. Lanterns were used in going from one building to another at night.

Anonymous gift RC-1974-L42-11

15. Settle bed

Pine, ca. 1850. This Irish-style settle bed comes from Upper Canada. The backboard is decorated with five framed sunken panels. The bench converts into a bed by tipping the seat forward to reveal a boxlike space for a straw mattress. 

Commonly called “beggar’s benches,” settle beds were prevalent in rural areas in the 19th century. They sat near the main door in the common room, always ready for an unexpected visitor. Country folk practiced hospitality to beggars, because they believed it brought God’s blessing on the house and its inhabitants. With space at a premium in traditional peasant homes, these benches could serve as a bed for a child or two.

Gift of Robert Picard RF-1982-L4-27