• Image of the reconstructed stockade at Fort Vancouver and Pearson Air Museum looking northeast from the Land Bridge.

    Fort Vancouver

    National Historic Site OR,WA

Victorian Handcraft Demonstrations

Bobbin Lace

NPS Volunteer demonstrating how to make bobbin lace in 2012. Join us and learn this delicate, lovely lace technique in 2014, date to be announced.


You are invited to step back in time and join NPS volunteers and staff at the McLoughlin House for a very special demonstration series featuring crafts that were popular in the early to middle years of Queen Victoria's reign.

Throughout history, women have used their skill with their hands to clothe their families and decorate their homes. However, the changes that came with the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s meant that many ladies of the middle class now had leisure time to fill. New materials, patterns and magazines for women became widely available, and needlework and other crafts became all the rage as never before!

Needlework and the arts became a standard part of education for girls - a proper education included sewing, knitting, and embroidery, and often watercolor painting and drawing as well as musical training. Poor girls were taught knitting, crochet and sewing at charity schools, so that they might earn a better living. Rich or poor, girls and women were expected to be busy and productive all the time, to demonstrate their virtue and industriousness. After all, it was said that "the devil finds work for idle hands."

Each month, our demonstrations feature a different type of art or craft - some that are currently popular, and some that have nearly been forgotten. Most of the demonstrations include hands-on opportunities for you to try something that is new to you! All of them will be entertaining, interesting, and educational, and all programs are free of charge.

Paper Filigree: Saturday, May 10, 12:00-4:00 p.m.

Dainty strips of paper are transformed into lovely designs and images. Join us and try this form of creative expression for yourself!

1859 Imitation Pearl Necklace: Saturday, June 14, 12:00-4:00 p.m.

Make a netted imitation pearl necklace, from an 1859 pattern.

Nature Prints: Saturday, July 12, 12:00-4:00 p.m.

Learn how to use Nature’s bounty to create unique and delicate images.

English Paper Piecing: Saturday, August 9, 12:00-4:00 p.m.

This quilting technique is great for making hexagons and other complex shapes. Let us show you how!

Period Sewing Tools: Saturday, September 13, 12:00 & 2:00 p.m.

A lecture and display of period sewing tools. Have a look at the lovely and useful items women in the Victorian Era actually used.

Scissor Sheaths: Saturday, October 11, 12:00-4:00 p.m.

Learn to make a hand-sewn holder for your scissors.

Paper Boxes: Saturday, November 12, 12:00-4:00 p.m.

Create an elegant little paper box to hold small treasures.


Dig deeper...

  • McLoughlin House Victorian Cultural Demonstrations occur on the second Saturday of the month from March through November, drop in between Noon and 4:00 pm for this free program.
  • To view other cultural demonstration activities, click here.
  • To return to the main McLoughlin House webpage, click here.

Did You Know?