Magic Carpet

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Climb aboard the Montshire’s magic carpet and be whisked away to locales around the world.


Each Magic Carpet Luncheon features an extraordinary travelogue followed by a regionally inspired meal. Entirely run by volunteers, each luncheon benefits the Museum.

Magic Carpet luncheons run from October through March and benefit the Museum’s education programs. Each program begins at 11 a.m. in the Museum's Community Room; lunch is served at noon. Register early, many programs sold out last year.

For more information and to register for a single luncheon or the entire series, contact Martha Clark at 603-643-5691 or

Date Subject Speaker
October 5, 2015   Midway Tom Wilson
November 9, 2015 New Zealand Cappy Nunlist
December 14, 2015 Madagascar Richard Neugass
January 11, 2016 Coastal Norway - Two Trips,Two Perspectives Margaret Spicer and Ray Lougeay
February 8, 2016 Maiden Voyage Tania Aebi
March 14, 2016 Palestine Anne Chandler

Run By Volunteers

One of the longest running traditions at the Montshire, Magic Carpet continues to attract new friends and members to the Museum with that same spirit of discovery and adventure that characterizes everything at the Montshire. The Museum’s Magic Carpet has transported luncheon guests to distant lands. Each luncheon features an extraordinary travelogue followed by a regionally inspired meal. The program is run entirely by volunteers, who book the  speakers, research cuisines from around the world, coordinate reservations, and prepare and serve the meals.

If you’d like to volunteer or learn more, contact Michelle at or 802-649-2200 x229.

Magic Carpet History

The Montshire's Magic Carpet Luncheon program began in 1980 after a notice appeared in the Valley News asking for fundraising ideas for "a small museum located in a former bowling alley in Hanover." The idea of a monthly travelogue and luncheon came from Freda Stephens who had visited a similar program at the South Shore Natural Science Center in Norwell, Massachusetts.

As Freda tells it, the early days of the Magic Carpet program were humble: "Alice Jackson got $200 for start-up money; Julia Fifield arranged for the committee to borrow dishes and flatware from the Orford Boat Club; the Hanover Fire Department loaned their folding chairs on luncheon days; committee members brought in 14 card tables each time; Joan Waltermire designed a Magic Carpet logo for the group; and Ellie Prescott made matching tablecloths and napkins."

Mondays were chosen for the presentations, as that was the only day the Museum was closed and all available space could be utilized. Local residents with slides of foreign travels offered their time and talents as presenters. Committee members took turns coordinating each luncheon, working closely with the speaker to ensure that the menu was authentic to the country being featured.

It was a challenge to serve lunch without a kitchen or dining room. Food was prepared in members' kitchens and brought hot to long tables in the Museum's exhibition area where the plates were prepared and served by the Magic Carpet "waitresses."

When the program was finished, the committee whisked in tables from the hallway, and guests re-seated seated themselves. If it was a bit chaotic, nobody seemed to mind. After each luncheon, committee members washed the dirty dishes and linens at home and returned them clean, ready for the next luncheon.

The Magic Carpet program, like the Museum itself, has evolved over time. Although the cooking is still done at home, the "new" Montshire, which opened in 1989, provides a full-service kitchen and a large community room where guests no longer have to move their chairs to be served. Between 85 and 100 guests now enjoy each luncheon.