Yes indeed, Stanley Chilson's films are a big hit at the new Franklin Historical Museum. The museum was my first stop for the 3rd Thursday events. I stayed there a while being thoroughly entertained by a group of women who were reminiscing and laughing as they viewed the films from the 1930's. I was too busy writing notes to take any pictures so you'll need to imagine the scene.
Multiple families are visiting the museum. They are exploring the display cases and talking amongst themselves. In the center aisle, chairs are set and almost filled by a group of about 12-15 women. Some who weren't sitting (actually exploring one or more of the exhibits) get called over to view a scene from the movies and stay to sit.
The movies are being shown on a screen dropped from the ceiling in front of the circular display with the bust of Ben on top.
The films being shown are black and white and according to the text dated in 1933 and 1935. There is no music or background to the film. However, the silence is ably filled in with the women's commentary as they roll.
The Pond/Crowley wedding of 1935 is shown. The bridal party is coming down the steps at St Mary's. At that time, there are no railings on the stairs. "Where's Judy? Is she there?" (Judith Pond Pfeffer?)
The next clip shows the intersection of Chestnut St and King St. The roads are more dirt than pavement. There are more trees around. The old house on the corner is the same one there today. It looked much more lived in then.
The next clip is of Main St and the old railroad bridge. "Look, there are no flowers!" (Kudos to the efforts of Eileen Mason and the Franklin Downtown Partnership for the flowers we get to enjoy today.)
There is a scene showing the Town Clerk walking across the street to get into an auto reported to be leaving work to go for dinner with a friend. The two men are dressed to the nines. "Look how sharply they are dressed. No jeans and t-shirts!"
The next scene shows construction on Chestnut St, the group tries to figure out if it is in the same spot as the construction going on today. The scene changes before they can figure it out.
The mother of one of the families exploring the cases asked the group: "Does anyone remember what they called the kids who wore these?" She was pointing to a manikin wearing a cowboy-themed uniform standing in the corner. "Yes, they were Rangerettes! They were good."
There were other scenes around Franklin, of the pool, and a football game between Franklin and North Attleboro. Additional sections of the Chilson film archive will be converted to an updated format for viewing.
As the group was leaving, they were making requests for more scenes particularly dated around the time period of the Class of 1957.
The museum is open Thursday evenings from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Saturdays from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM and then again on Sunday from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.
Stop down to the museum and explore the exhibits. Maybe you'll time your visit with another group providing commentary on the Chilson films!