Buy Local: Photographs from the
Stepping into the Past
Bennington was changing rapidly at the turn of the 19th century and local photographers captured the people and landscape using negatives on thin plates of glass. The Bennington Museum has acquired nearly 2,000 glass plate negatives from this era that were held in the Weichert-Isselhardt Collection and is pleased to have a selection of them dealing with local commerce and manufacturing on view beginning February 4.
Most of the negatives in this collection were taken by Madison Watson (active in Bennington 1888-1899) and Wills T. White (active in Bennington 1899-1940). When White retired he left the glass plate negatives in the attic above his former studio located in downtown Bennington. The building also housed the Bennington Banner and in 1958 the negatives were found by Robert Weichert, photographer for the Banner. Weichert started collecting historic photographs and later hired Tordis Isselhardt to help organize the collection. Upon Weichert’s death in 1983, Isselhardt became custodian of this treasure trove of history. All of these images are available on the Museum’s website, but a selection will be on the walls in the Regional Artists’ Gallery of the Museum through the year. The first phase of this installation is titled Buy Local: Photographs from the Weichert-Isselhardt Collection. This exhibition pays particular attention to the shops and commerce of Bennington.