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From Rags to Riches at The Crane Museum of Papermaking

July 8th, 2019 by Corey A. Edwards

Crane Museum of PapermakingThe Crane Museum of Papermaking may sound like a real yawner until you learn that Crane & Co not only make the paper for our country’s currency, they’re the only ones to do so since 1879!

As you likely know, United States currency is printed on a kind of fabric, not paper made from wood. It is made of recovered rags, known as rag paper: a combination of cloth and linen cloth. The resulting material is stronger, tougher, and feels better than wood-based paper.

You may have also noticed the red and blue fibers in the background of your U.S. bills. The very nature of rag paper makes it easier to add these and other kinds of security elements. Crane & Co are the only ones to have made this special paper for the United States for 140 years and counting.

Visiting The Crane Museum

The Crane Museum is located in Dalton, MA, on the bank of the Housatonic River, just a half mile down the road from our Berkshires inn. The museum is housed in what was the rag room of Crane & Co.’s Old Stone Mill.

Crane & Co. built the mill specifically for paper production in the early 1840’s. The rag room is the last remaining structure of the Old Stone Mill and is on The National Register of Historic Places. The building features classic rough-hewn oak beams, Colonial chandeliers, many-paned windows, and wide oak floorboards. The space was converted into the Crane Museum of Papermaking in 1930.

Exhibits at the museum trace the long history of Crane papermaking all the way back to its roots in 1770. Crane’s first mill was The Liberty Mill in Milton, MA. The Liberty Mill played a role in the American revolution, serving famed revolutionaries like Paul Revere, Henry Knox, John Hancock, and many others.

One of the most popular exhibits at the museum is the incredibly intricate scale model of the the original, Crane mill Vat House. This beautiful work of art, handmade by Dard Hunter, perfectly illustrates the original, rag-papermaking process.

The Crane Museum of Papermaking

32 Pioneer St, Dalton, MA 01226
Open June 3rd to October 26th, 2019
Mondays through Fridays 1pm to 5pm. Saturdays 10am to 2pm
Visit cranemuseum.org for more information. You can also visit the Crane Museum on Facebook.

Berkshires Lodging

Applegate Inn makes the perfect home base for any Berkshires getaway. Our convenient location in Lee, MA puts the best of the Berkshires institutions within easy reach. Soak up your luxurious guest room, candlelight breakfasts, beautiful gardens, our heated swimming pool, and more. Book your stay today at Applegate Inn.

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