Victorian Handcraft Demonstrations

You are invited to step back in time and join NPS volunteers and staff at the McLoughlin House for a very special demonstration series each year, 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 in the spring and summer, 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.

For more information, please visit our Calendar or contact staff on Fridays and Saturdays at the McLoughlin House at 503-656-5151.


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.

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