Grafton program celebrates Willard House and Clock Museum’s 50th


Grafton program celebrates Willard House and Clock Museum’s 50th
The Willard House & Clock Museum is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

GRAFTON – In celebration of the Willard House & Clock Museum’s 50th anniversary, Executive Director Robert C. Cheney will present “Willard House and Clock Museum: 50-Years of Collecting Excellence: An Illustrated Lecture.” 

“From the Aaron Willard Jr. clock in the steeple across from the library to the wonderful Benjamin Willard eight-day clock featured in the library reading room, Grafton residents will see and learn how this important family was woven into the fabric of the community,” said Cheney. “It is important 18th-century history coming to life in our town.” 

Cheney’s introduction to the Willard homestead began in 1959 when he was six and accompanied his father to the property. 

The late Bradford W. Cheney was on his mission to save the original 18th-century Willard clock shop from natural destruction – perhaps by moving it to Old Sturbridge Village. 

Despite his efforts for several years, Bradford was unable to arrange funding for the project through the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors and several other sources. 

He finally had an opportunity to introduce the subject to Roger and Imogene Robinson, who by a rare coincidence, had just bought their first Simon Willard clock to furnish their own early Grafton home. Thus began the lifelong passion of the Robinsons to purchase this important property, restore it and  collect and furnish the oldest house in Grafton with a very important pedigree.

Now, the nonprofit museum holds the world’s largest collection of Willard clocks and family furnishings. It holds clocks by all of the original makers – Benjamin, Simon, Ephraim and Aaron – during both their time in Grafton as well as their later work in Roxbury and Boston.

The presentation will discuss a selection of these priceless clocks, family holdings and the field of clock making in the 18th century. 

“The remarkable lifelong passion of Dr. and Mrs. Roger Robinson to preserve this proud national heritage site will be the lesson for us all to cherish the lessons of the past,” said Cheney 

The event will take place Nov. 14 from 7 to 8 p.m. in Community Room A/B at the Grafton Public Library. A reception will follow the event, and attendees will get to meet subject matter experts as well as the museum and library trustees. 

Register with the library at 508-839-4649, or via

The event is free and open to the public. 

For more information about the program, please contact Beverly Snow, program coordinator, at 508-839-3500.