Heritage’s Carousel to be Honored at Special Event This Week

SANDWICH – The Carousel at Heritage Museums and Gardens will be receiving some special recognition as it begins its 12th decade in service.

The 1908 Looff carousel will be honored by The National Carousel Association in a ceremony tomorrow.

As part of the event, NCA leadership will present a plaque to Heritage to honor the Museum’s commitment to preserving, restoring, maintaining and operating this classical carousel.

“This is such a wonderful honor,” said Heather Mead, Interim Executive Director.

“This carousel means so very much to us, our visitors and the community at large. Be they young or older, the carousel has always contributed to lifelong memories for those that visit Heritage and, truly, the honor has been ours to not only care for but preserve this wonderful iconic American treasure.”

At one time over 3,000 wooden carousels were created by master craftsmen and artisans from Europe. Today, roughly 170 of these carousels remain intact and continue to operate.

“The National Carousel Association congratulates Heritage Museum & Gardens for its excellent job in maintaining and supporting this historic carousel in its ongoing operation,” said Jim Shulman. “It is a work of art for which Heritage Museum & Gardens and the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts can have tremendous pride.”

The first firm in America to manufacture carousels in any significant quantity was established by Gustav Dentzel, about 1865.  Eventually many other companies began to manufacture carousels in America, including the maker of the Heritage carousel, Charles I.D. Looff.

Recent research has turned up information about the early history of the Heritage carousel.  It was purchased from the Looff factory in Riverside, RI for an amusement park in Meridian, Mississippi.

The carousel was eventually sold in 1968, through the Bourne Auction Company to museum founder Josiah K. Lilly III. 

Lilly saw the potential of this carousel, and purchased it to serve as the signature piece in the American art museum he was constructing, where it has remained ever since. 

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