Bea Jillette was standing upstairs at the Old Grange Hall in Goshen, monitoring the “higher end” items at the “Friends of the Grange Hall” fundraising flea market, when she glanced to the stage. Hanging on the back wall she noticed a colorfully painted, pastoral image depicting an unknown white house partially obscured by large trees. A painting artist herself, she wondered, “What on Earth is this thing?”
At home later that day, she mentioned the painted canvas she’d seen at the Grange Hall to her husband, Art. He told her that just the day before he’d heard a program about the Vermont Painted Theater Curtain Project on Vermont Public Radio and passed on to her the name of the woman involved in their restoration.
Over one hundred curtains had already been unearthed in Vermont and many of them had been repaired, using grants from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Vermont Community Foundation, The Windham Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to fund the conservation efforts. The White House Millennium Council designated the Vermont Curtain project an official project of the “Save America’s Treasures” program and the NEA called the curtains “a national treasure.”
Christine Hadsel, director of the project and partner in “Curtains Without Borders, Inc.,” was interested in Bea Jillette’s find but very busy with other projects. She said she’d be back in touch when things slowed down.
Jillette continued to be very curious about the curtain’s origins. The only clue was a small sign on the curtain that read “Rosewald Farm.” After making several inquiries around Goshen, a surviving member of the Sunapee Mt. Grange recalled that the curtain had come from Hillsborough.