Gift will help Willard House and Clock Museum expand


Gift will help Willard House and Clock Museum expand
The Willard House and Clock Museum will be able to expand its collection, thanks to a grant from museum trustee Charles Grichar. (Photo/Courtesy Willard House & Clock Museum)

GRAFTON – Willard House and Clock Museum, 11 Willard St., will receive a gift, valued in excess of $15 million, to grow into a world-class museum.

The offering was made possible by museum trustee Charles N. Grichar of Houston.

The plan is to build a space to accommodate 90 additional clocks with proper storage, a small auditorium, horological library, conservation workshops and classrooms.

The museum must raise $3 million for its endowment to make the gift a reality.

Willard has already benefited by significant contributions from its trustees, added funding from major Worcester-based foundations, and contributions from benefactors and other sources. Two foundations have offered matching funds to quickly grow the endowment.

“Willard holds a special place among the country’s museums,” said Executive Director and Curator Robert C. Cheney. “Apart from already owning and curating the world’s largest collection of Willard clocks, we wish to make the museum a nationally recognized destination for a larger and more diverse audience.”

He said, “Willard House and Clock Museum successfully passed its 50-year mark, and its mission has never wavered to preserve, display and connect through education and research, the contributions of the Willard family of clockmakers and support the wonder and science of horology.”

The museum will be holding a special public event on its grounds, on Saturday, April 27, from noon to 4 p.m. The purpose of the event is to introduce Grichar and the trustees to the community; explain the vision for the new collection and building; gather feedback on the plan; and to raise funds for the museum endowment.

The Willard House and Clock Museum exhibits more than 90 Willard clocks in the birthplace and original workshop of the Willard clockmakers, along with family portraits, furnishings and other family heirlooms.

The work of all three generations of Willard clockmakers, focusing on the famed brothers, Simon and Aaron Williard, is displayed. The museum tour includes the original Willard House built in 1718, the original 1766 clock-making workshop, and three modern galleries.

Visit the website at, and follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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

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