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Arts & Artists

New Hampshire Traditional Arts & Folklife Listing

Ron Raiselis
Cooperage (Wooden Barrel Making)

Ron Raiselis is one of the few active coopers (wooden barrel maker) in the United States. The word “cooper” is most likely derived from the Latin word for vat "cupa." In New England, coopers arrived with the first English settlers in the 1620s and their work was essential to commerce and daily life. Ron’s great Grandfather, Benedict Raiselis, immigrated to the United States from Lithuania and took up the cooper’s trade in Meriden, Connecticut. Benedict made many of his own tools which Ron still occasionally uses today. Ron began started his journey as a cooper at Sturbridge Village in the 1970s and trained with cooper Lenny Julian. Ron has gone on to become a master cooper himself and is an expert at making barrels for dry goods and barrels that can hold liquid, called tight kegs or wet cooperage. Ron has served as the resident cooper at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, N.H. since 1985, where he maintains a traditional cooperage shop. He demonstrates for school children and other visitors to the museum. He has been demonstrating the trade of cooperage at many living history museums in New Hampshire, Maine, and beyond for over 20 years.

Preferred activities and age groups: Demonstrations and lectures at schools, fairs, festivals, museums, and other community settings for all ages. Interested in working with school aged children - middle school through high school.

Availability: Primarily Seacoast and Central New Hampshire year round


Contact Information:
PO Box 4054
Portsmouth, NH 03802-
Phone: 603/502-6350
Alt. Phone: 603/502-6350


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