Bake Oven

Volunteer Training

The intent of the project was to build a masonry bake oven and cooking fireplace at the Leffert’s House, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. The Leffert’s House is an historic children’s museum. Education director Billy Holliday conceived, organized and directed the project. Our role was to work as the designated training masons. The task was that we would direct the work of the volunteers, but not touch the work. That was a challenge in itself as the instinct of a mason-builder is to get in and do the hands-on work. Over the course of several weekends we worked with a variety of adult-youth volunteer groups. Toward the end of the project the volunteers dropped off and then the challenge for us was that we had to finish off the masonry work to look as if volunteers had done the work. The structure was built so that traditional food preparation could be demonstrated in a hands-on manner with children visiting the museum. It had to be built outside in the yard as the Leffert’s House is an historic structure and could not risk having a fire. In order to conform with Prospect Park regulations as to built work the structure was classified as playground equipment.

Billie Holliday
Paper planning model of the installation.