Tinker Cottage DVD debuts

Did anyone ever slide down the spiral staircase at Tinker Swiss Cottage? Why was the suspension bridge built? Why did Robert Tinker use a cane during his later years? Who thought the Cottage should become a museum? Just who were the Tinkers, anyway?

Everything you ever wanted to know about Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum can now be discovered by visitors of all ages on a new orientation DVD at the museum.

This DVD, Tinker with History, introduces the Tinker family and estate to museum visitors. Two chapters introducing Robert Tinker and the Cottage will be shown to all visitors before they begin their guided tour. Additional chapters, which can be viewed after the tour, tell of other Tinker family members, such as Mary Dorr Manny Tinker, her nieces Jessie and Marcia, and baby Teddy.

Still more chapters tell stories of the Tinker estate, such as the history of the recently rebuilt suspension bridge. The DVD is an opportunity for visitors to see historic photographs and other artifacts rarely on display.

A “virtual tour” on the DVD allows visitors who are unable to physically enter the historic Cottage to experience the same rooms and artifacts seen on a regular tour.

A museum staff member will guide visitors through the virtual tour. It will be available at the Tinker Barn & Visitor Center for visitors as well as for groups who book outreach programs from the Museum.

Tinker with History was made possible with funding from the Institute for Museum & Library Services, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Golden Apple Foundation of Rockford, United Technologies, the Armer Ahlstrand Trust, the Goddard Family Foundation, the Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum Auxiliary and private donors. During the 2003-2004 school year, fourth-grade students from Rockford’s Washington School and media students from Auburn High School worked with museum staff to create youth portions of the DVD.

Robert H. Tinker built his splendid Swiss Cottage overlooking Kent Creek after a trip to Europe in 1862. General admission tours are offered year-round Tuesday-Sunday at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Tours for groups of eight or more are available by reservation seven days a week. Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum is at 411 Kent St., Rockford. For more information, call Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum at (815) 964-2424.

From the March 22-28, 2006, issue

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