The Plumbing Museum: Watertown’s ties to waterclosets – News – Watertown TAB

The plumbing museum has been in Watertown for a decade.

It is a system of pipes and tanks that are often only thought of when they are not working.

Plumbing is a critical part of modern life that can be taken for granted, but there’s one place in Watertown where it’s not only recognized but also celebrated. The plumbing museum has been part of Watertown for a decade.

“The collection is really rare,” said Sasha Parfenova, the museum’s program coordinator. “It is the only sanitary museum in the world. Nowhere else is there anything like it. “

New beginning

The Plumbing Museum was founded in 1979 as the American Sanitary and Plumbing Museum in a Worcester warehouse by the Manoog family.

Patriarch Charles Manoog had collected various plumbing jobs since the 1950s, but it was his son Russell who founded the museum. By 2009 the family was ready to leave the museum but didn’t want the collection to be split up.

“The family was retiring and didn’t know what to do with the collection,” said Parfenova. “Museums that wanted them didn’t want the entire collection [but] The Manoogs wanted to keep everything together. “

John Cannistraro Jr., President of JC Cannistraro – a company specializing in plumbing, HVAC and fire safety – brought the collection to Watertown at its current location at 80 Rosedale Road. The building from the 1880s was once an ice house and was previously rented out as office space. JC Cannistraro employs 200 people in Watertown and 800 across the company.

Today the sanitary museum has around 1,000 visitors a year, including students from the technical college who are interested in the sanitary industry.

Artists in Residence

For the past several years, the space has sponsored an artist-in-residency program called Manoog Artists, which was supported by a $ 2,500 grant from the Watertown Community Foundation. The grant allows artists accepted into the program to use JC Cannistraro’s prefabrication rooms, receive a grant, and exhibit their work.

“Artists are given a studio in one of the Canestaro manufacturing stores, as well as a grant and an exhibition opportunity, which is the most important part since the artwork is displayed here and the local community can come to these openings and tour the museum,” Parfenova said. “Art and technology are very closely related these days, so what we do is very relevant.”

So far, five artists have used the program, and two more have been admitted to this year’s spring residency. Two more places are available for the autumn residence program. Artists can range from sculptors, photographers, to designers and painters.

This summer there will be a PlayFest at the Plumbing Museum, a short comedy piece based on old editions of the Plumbers Trade Journal. Plumbing tools from the museum can also be used as props.

The museum was also used as rental space for private events. So far, four weddings have taken place in the room.

Water closet history

In the 16th century, Sir John Harrington of England invented the toilet, later known as “John” after him.

“Everyone made fun of him [Harrington]”Said Linda Veiking, event coordinator of the sanitary museum.” He didn’t want to stick his head out the door anymore.

Despite Harrington’s breakthrough, it was a Scot who patented the toilet. Alexander Cumming patented the technology in the 18th century, but it was Thomas Crapper who improved the technology and created the flush toilet.

“He [Crapper] I’ve kept improving so he played a big part and they say that’s why they call it the crapper, ”Veiking said.

Plumbing is still a luxury for some people around the world. Last year, the Sanitation Museum had the opportunity to provide open pit covers to areas in Haiti to support sanitation efforts there.

“Hygiene is so very important,” said Veiking. “There are 1.6 billion people in the world without sanitation and 1 million babies die every year because there is no sanitation.”

The focus for 2018 is on spreading the museum and space for the locals.

“Our collection is pretty permanent,” said Parfenova. “We could certainly try to get more articles in the future. At this point we are only focusing on our public relations. “

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