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April 10, 2024

Willard House & Clock Museum in Grafton gifted $15M to support expansion

Three red wooden house and barn structures behind a trimmed, grassy yard Image I Courtesy of Willard House & Clock Museum Willard House & Clock Museum house and barn

Willard House & Clock Museum has been granted more than $15 million by museum Trustee Charles Grichar to benefit an expansion of the collection and building projects. 

The North Grafton museum plans to use the gifted funds to build a space to hold 90 additional clocks with proper storage, a small auditorium, horological library, conservation workshops and classrooms, according to a press release from the museum on Tuesday.

The Willard House and Clock Museum opened to the public in 1971, exhibiting more than 90 Willard clocks in the birthplace and original workshop of three generations of Willard clockmakers. The nonprofit is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“Willard holds a special place among the country’s museums,” Executive Director and Curator Robert Cheney said in the release. “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.”

The museum must raise $3 million in order to qualify for the $15-million gift, according to the release. In addition to Grichar’s funding, two foundations have offered matching funds to expedite the endowment’s growth. 

The gift reflects a significant increase in the nonprofit’s finances. In 2022, the museum generated $364,069 in revenue, according to nonprofit data provider Guidestar. 

“Willard House & 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,” Cheney said.

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