Bill and Vicky came to Orwell in 1972. As city dwellers most of their lives their dream was to give up the city life for "Good country living". Little did they know the impact they would have in so many lives and hearts over the next 30 years.
The Home Textile Tool Museum was a dream that emerged after many years of collecting the finest antique tools and artifacts connected with spinning, weaving, woodworking and other 18th & 19th century technologies. Bill and Vicky finally decided they needed to share these artifacts with others. Along with the antiques came vast knowledge. Bills burning desire to investigate, research and analyze every facet of each artifact had grown into a business of restoring antique spinning wheels. Bill ultimately restored over 1000 wheels (of which 686 are documented) in the last 30 years. The resulting knowledge combined with the artifacts was soon to be recognized.
With the help of a friend, Dr. Michael Holcomb, the museum was transformed from a dream into reality. In 1998 the Home Textile Tool Museum was created. Most of Bill and Vickeys collection was given to the museum. The HTTM became an incorporated non-profit organization.
Unfortunately Bill passed away September 10th 2001 and Vicky passed away shortly afterwards in 2002, But the beauty of all of this is that through the help of so many great friends, neighbors and associates, the museum has survived. There are so many others that shared the dream with Bill and Vicky. For all of you - it now lives on!
Bill Ralph 1920 - 2001
Victoria Ralph 1918 - 2002
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Text by Bob Ralph