Colonial settlers rapidly used up whatever supplies of soap they may have brought with them to the New World. However, all the materials they needed to make their own supply were available – wood ashes and animal fat, which were natural byproducts of farm or homesteading life. Soap making was a difficult, arduous and sometimes dangerous task , requiring hours of boiling and working with caustic lye. It could take place in the fall, after butchering or in the spring to use up winter ashes and waste cooking grease. The result was a soft, slippery soap that could be ladled out of a barrel to use for laundering, cleaning, and bathing. Salt could be added to harden the soap into blocks, but it was generally too valuable for such a use. At this workshop, children can try their hand at making soap and learn about life in Colonial Connecticut from Museum Educator Lola Chen. Kids can help make their own snack – fruit/chocolate fondue.
Wilton Historical Society Members $10 per child, maximum $25 per family; Non-members $15 per child, maximum $35 per family. Please register: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-762-7257.
Did you know?
“There were many superstitions which the colonists believed caused success or failure.
For making good soap, the tide and the phases of the moon among other things were taken in
account. A Pennsylvania Dutch recipe carefully warned that a sassafrasas stick was the only kind of implement suitable for stirring the soap and the stirring must be done always in the same direction.” Marietta Ellis, proprietor of The Soap Factory, and an expert in traditional 19th century methods of soap making.