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Woman who kept the Huntington's 18th century clocks ticking for 25 years says goodbye

by Michelle Lanz | Take Two®

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Jacqueline Dugas winds up an 18th century French clock at the Huntington Gallery in San Marino, Calif. Michelle Lanz/KPCC

How many clocks do you think you wind each week? The answer is probably zero, unless you've got a bunch of 18th century clocks hanging around your house. 

For Jacqueline Dugas, registrar at the Huntington Library, that number can sometimes reach as high as 25. As the official clock winder of the Library, she has been responsible for keeping all 25 of the organization's precious timekeepers running. 

This week marks the end of her run, as she's finally retiring after 25 years of winding clocks (among other things of course).

"I inherited that honor and I've enjoyed it all this time," Dugas told KPCC. "I loved the objects and I was ready to try my hand at it so to speak, and we've become very, very good friends over the 25 years."

Though Dugas is bittersweet about leaving the post she's held for a quarter century, she knows she can always come back and see them at the Huntington. 

"It's somewhat sad and I will have to say goodbye to them and wish them the very best and come back and visit as an admirer, rather than a caregiver," said Dugas. 

One particularly special clock in the Huntington's collection is a 19th century French piece believed to be connected to Marie Antoinette. 

"It is one of the most beautiful and impressive pieces in our collection because it features a portrait of the Archbishop of Saxony, who was a brother of Marie Antoinette," said Dugas. "It's just a very beautiful object and it is one of the most accurately running clocks in our collection. One that Versailles would be very proud of, but we're lucky because we have it here at the Huntington."

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