Friday, August 28, 2009

Big Field Trip update

Hello all!

I know it has been several weeks since I last updated you all. I have been home for over two weeks and working hard to finish up my personal projects and farm work. My flight home went well, though I was delayed in Detroit for over an hour. They had to wait for another crew to come in to pilot our flight, and then we had to wait for the guy to push us onto the runway, so my 12:10 flight didn't happen until 1:20. I did make it home safe and sound, though. The purpose of this update is to record what I wrote in my travel journal about the week long field trip we had the last week. I will not be going into details because I am using the dial-up internet at home. Once I get back to Knox and high(er)-speed internet I can post pictures.

Here it is:

Saturday, August 1
Got up
Ate breakfast
Helped tutor's wife clean out food from fridges and cupboards
Departed Deerfield at 10:30
Went to New Haven, CT to Yale University
Saw Yale's campus, rare book library
Ate lunch
Went to American and British art galleries
Left New Haven at 4:30 for Washington, D.C.
Ate at Cracker Barrel in New Jersey at 7:30
Checked into hotel at D.C. at 11:30
Watched TV and slept!

Sunday, August 2
Got up
Ate breakfast in hotel lobby Starbucks
Walked to mall; saw Washington Monument in the pouring rain
Went to Ford's Theatre; very impressive exhibits and presentation; saw Petersen House (the house where Lincoln died)
Lunch in the Post Office building
Holocaust Museum
Museum of Natural History
Ate Ethiopian dinner
Relaxed at the hotel

Monday, August 3
Got up early
Ate breakfast
Went to National Museum of American History - met former fellow, LONG tour and talk
Ate lunch at National Museum for the American Indian
Explored American Indian museum
Left D.C. to go to Alexandria
Minor problems with hotel reservations
Ate topas for supper
Relaxed in hotel

Tuesday, August 4
Got up
Ate breakfast at Holiday Inn
Went to Mount Vernon; toured mansion, grounds, and learning center/museum
Ate lunch at Mount Vernon restaurant; tried Virginia ham
Went back through museum; watched all media including interactive video
Went to George Washington's gristmill and distillery
Drove to Williamsburg
Checked into Governor's Inn
Ate dinner at pizza place
Hung out at hotel

Wednesday, August 5
Got up
Ate breakfast at hotel
Went to Historic site; saw Governor's mansion and gardens; Wythe House
Tour with furniture curator
Walked around village; saw shops-went to tradesman shops; watched movie at visitor's center; bought books
Dinner at Food for Thought
Amazing ice cream at Sno-to-go
Wrote groups thank yous
Hung out

Thursday, August 6
Woke up
Breakfast at hotel
Visited conservation labs-objects/metal, furniture, musical instruments, painting
Jamestown-historic village; epic orientation video; watched turtles in swamp!
Drove 7 hours to go to Delaware
Ate at T.G.I. Fridays
Checked into hotel at 11 pm

Friday, August 7
Got up
Ate breakfast
Drove to Winterthur
Met with Richie and Rosemary after tram tour of gardens
Went to archives and saw manuscript collection
Lunch with staff
Toured period rooms; 2 1/2 hour tour, impressive rooms
Free time - went to Enchanted Woods fairy garden and gift shop
Went to dinner at Lois and Jason's (former fellows)
Drove to Morristown, NJ
Checked into hotel at 11:30 pm

Saturday, August 8
Got up
Went out to breakfast
Historic Speedwell-home of American telegraph
Lunch with Steve Miller at his home-former fellow
Morris Museum; automated musical instruments in permanent collection were SO COOL!
Met Ellen, curator of instrument exhibit and former fellow
Went to Ford Mansion-Washington's headquarters in New Jersey
Went swimming at hotel
Wrote thank yous
Hung out

Sunday, August 9
Got up
Went to breakfast
Set out for New York City
Went to MET-American Decorative Arts wing, medieval and Renaissance wings
Lunch at MET
Went to Tenement Museum-SO AWESOME!
Got out of city
Headed back to Deerfield
Ate at Greek-owned diner
Got back
Said good-byes
Packed and went to sleep

I know this isn't interesting to read, but I thought you should know what I did. There will be stories for those of you at Knox. I will also be printing pictures at some point for the scrapbook that will eventually get done. I have a whole box of publications and things that I want to include in said scrapbook. I'll have to get to it soon! Enjoy!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The paper is done!

That's it, I have officially submitted my paper via email, be it for good or ill. It is the night before our public presentations, and we just came back from our practice session with the president's wife. She wanted to make sure we spoke loudly and clearly before tomorrow morning. I am so ready for tomorrow. We have presentations at 10:00 a.m. AND the donor of the family papers is coming! I'm so excited to meet her. I had a great phone conversation with her last night when I invited her to the event, so it will be nice to put a face to the voice. Speaking of last night, we fellows did so phone calling for the development office. Unfortunately, I didn't get a hold of anyone besides the donor of the Colton family papers, but I did leave a few messages.

Let's see...otherwise, me time has been spent doing last minute writing, editing, and preparing for the presentation. But I am done! I'm going to go back to my room, watch a movie, and eat a candy bar. Hooray!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Time for an update

Okay, I know it has been another week since a substantial blog post, but since I have a draft of my paper done and am waiting for the tutor to finish editing it, I will update you on the last week. The weekend of July 18-19 was spent in the library finishing up all the research I needed to do before I could start writing. I finished all four folders of letters, and am so glad that I did! I really feel like I know this couple, and think I have enough evidence to write a good paper. I managed to get up early both days in the weekend and made it through most of my sources and the letters, which was great.

Monday morning (July 20) we had a presentation/workshop on powder horns. The President of Historic Deerfield has curatorial experience in various museums (including Colonial Williamsburg), and also knows a lot about military supplies. Deerfield has a large collection of powder horns; one of the largest public collections in the country, I believe. It was really interesting to see the designs on French and Indian War and Revolutionary War powder horns. You would be surprised what sorts of things you can find out about people from the carvings on the horns. The rest of the day was spent researching in the library.

Tuesday morning (July 21) we had the final discussion about our object papers before our presentation to the guides at 4:30. Because the weather was stormy and miserable only three guides ended up coming to the presentations. I think that helped the people in the group who are more nervous public speakers, but we still could practice talking about our objects despite the small audience. Also, the guides who were there were very interested and asked questions, which always helps.

Wednesday (July 22) was a full day. We went to Salem to the Peabody-Essex Museum (sorry, no witches). PEM is an art museum that also has a full-sized house brought over brick by brick from China. IT WAS SO COOL! Unfortunately (though not surprisingly), no pictures were allowed on the interior, but I will try to buy a postcard of it online (I didn't see it in the gift shop, though it was apparently there). After spending all day looking at fine and decorative arts, we went over to Manchester-by-the-Sea to visit the family home of Deerfield's "institutional memory." This gentleman is very involved with Deerfield; we see him a lot at the cocktails, lectures, and around town. He has also been very helpful for several people's papers because he witnessed several of the events people are writing about. He was the first curator of Historic Deerfield and a personal friend to the founders. Well, he invited us to his family home, which was right on the ocean. They have a private beach and own an island, both of which the fellows were able to go on. I SWAN IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN! There are pictures that I will try to post. It was so fun, cold, but fun for sure. Afterwards, we looked at pictures of the house's history and the books that particular garden had been published in. We were all exhausted as we set out for Deerfield at 11 p.m. but it was a good day.

Thursday morning (July 23) we had a presentation about the "Tea, Coffee, and Chocolate" exhibit that is in the Flynt Center with one of the curators. It is very interesting to hear about the evolution of use for these drinks and the cultural significance of each. We had a tour of the burying ground Thursday afternoon and time to research until cocktails and a lecture that night. The lecture was the final in the series about "Musical Instruments in Early America." The lecturer was actually from South Dakota, so it was interesting to hear how he made his way out to Boston. The lecture was fun, and afterwards we socialized at the President of Deerfield's house. At least we had an earlier night than Wednesday. It was a good day, though.

Friday (July 24), we had another field trip. We went to Connecticut to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum. This museum is owed and operated by the Pequot Tribe (a nationally recognized tribe), and is near the tribe's casino. The building was MASSIVE! It was really cool to see the Pequot Village. You know the wax figures and settings you find in natural history museums? Well, this museum had an entire village set up like that which came with an audio tour. The tour was very effective. There was also a movie the museum had made about the Pequot War in the mid-1600s with the English. It was very moving. It was a good museum to go to, and we had a great discussion with one of the employees over lunch. I also tried a buffalo burger, which was delicious.

Saturday and Sunday (July 25-26) was filled with writing. I was up at 7:00 a.m. both days to try and pound out a draft of my paper. I managed to get a 17 page draft done Sunday evening. There isn't much to report about writing...

Monday, yesterday (July 27), we had a field trip to Old Sturbridge Village. This is a living history village that is interpreted to 1838. Many of the buildings were moved to this location in order to preserve them. It was really fun. I like to atmosphere at living history museums. I think I'm going to look to see what jobs are available! :) I will post pictures shortly.

Today we had a discussion with the several members of Deerfield's staff about what a museum is. We got to hear about how Deerfield is structured, the code of ethics, and collection policies. We also had a lunch so we could ask questions about museum careers and grad schools. It is always interesting but terrifying to hear people talk about their career path because you realize you have to think about these things. There are a lot things I need to think through this year in order to find a job and consider grad schools for museum studies. Tonight I will work on my paper as soon as the tutor finishes reading my draft and giving me suggestions. I'm not panicked because I have something to work with, and it's not for a grade. I will get it done, and have a decent product before we leave for our big trip on Saturday. I will try to write another long blog on Friday before we leave to let you know what we have done Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I'll update at somepoint!

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I know I have not blogged in a while, but between object paper presentations, lots of field trips, the last cocktail party/lecture, and the paper being due by Friday, I have been busy. This weekend is all writing. I have about five rough pages right now, hopefully I'll be at ten by the end of today, write ten tomorrow, then I can spend Monday and Tuesday editing. I just wanted you to know I am alive. I will try to blog after our paper presentations and closing ceremonies Friday before I head out on the big trip. I will also write about the last week when I go home. I just wanted you to know I am alive. Sorry about not being more diligent about blogging the last week!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A long, long week

Hey everyone! Okay, so I know I haven't blogged in a while, but that is because this week has been crazy busy. I wills tart with Tuesday. All day on Tuesday we had a workshop for writing labels about the object we used for our object papers. The plans as of right now are that pictures of our objects with the labels we wrote will be used for an online exhibit on the Historic Deerfield webist in which the fellows will be accredited. The new exhibit going up in the Flynt Center (which is where the Chocolate, Coffee, and Tea exhibit is right now) will be on new acquisitions, which was what each of us did our papers on. So, after that long day of workshopping, we went to the library to research and then pakced for our overnight in Newport, RI.

In case you are not aware, Newport, RI, was hwere the summer "cottags" (a.k.a. huge mansions) of prominent famlies like the Vanderbilts stayed. It was unbelievable! We left Deerfield early Wednesday morning and after two and a half hours in a van, we attended a lecture about the "Gilded Age of Architecture in Newport." The lecture was in Rosecliffe, one of the aforementioned mansions. I have pictures of all the mansions we went to, but i have to upload the pictures, so this weekend I will post them at somepoint. After the lecture, we went to a really nice restaurant at which I tried "Irish bangers and potatoes." It was imported Irish sausage and mashed potatoes. Oh my goodness, it was SO GOOD! This was the first meal that really, really wowed me (as it ought to have considering it was about $14). But after lunch, we went to The Breakers. This was the summer cottage of the Cornelius Vanderbilt family. These are the Vanderbilts that everyone thinks of when you hear the surname. This mansion was AMAZING! Photographs were not allowed inside, of course, but I bought postcards with interior images, so you can see them when I get back. There were over thirty rooms (I don't know the exact number), and the furninshing were unbelievable. I could not image living there.

I did, however, get a little taste of what it would be like to live in Newport. An alumnus of the fellowship lives in Newport and invited us for cocktails, dinner, and he hosted us overnight in his mansion! It was a fourteen-bedroom mansion with extensive gardens. There will be a lot of pictures of the grounds, don't worry. We were introduced to several Historic Deerfield trustees and other friends of the alumnus at cocktails, which was really neat. Talk about building connections in the field! There was even a gentleman I met whose mother was born in Kewanee! It's a small world after all...We ate a dinner of swordfish and greens, played in the billiard room after dinner, and had the run of the of house (as it were). Granted we were exhausted from the long day, but soon of us did go out onto the trampoline at midnight. It was fun and harmless silliness. Needless to say, we collapsed from exhaustion afterwards. The next morning we got up early for breakfast and the start of another day touring more mansions.

The second day we got to see a Gothic Revival cottage that a Southern plantation owner owned during the antebellum period. I really liked that house, though the rooms on the first floor were dark (naturally playing into the Gothic theme). We also had an architectural tour of the Isaac Bell house. Isaac BEll was part of the Colonial Revival and Arts and Crafts Movement. Think of William Morris with wallpaper design and you have Isaac Bell with architecture. That was a fun tour. We had to eat and run, though, because we were due back in Deerfield for another cocktail party.

As the second week in the summer lecture seires, we got back to Deerfield and had about half an hour to get ready for another cocktail party, dinner with the guest speaker, and then the lecture. This week's lecture was on "Pianos before Steinway." It was really interesting, and the speaker was a lot of fun to talk to. He invited us for drinks after the lecture, so we hung out in the Deerfield Inn Tavern area and chatted for an hour and a half. We all were exhausted, though, so Friday was slow moving for everyone.

Friday morning we had a presentation on Asher Benjamin, who was an important wood carver and house designer in early America. There is a house of Asher Benjamin's design in nearby Greenfield, so this talk was relevant. Deerfield's Director of Marketing was the one who have the talk because he holds a MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) in architectural history, and knows a llt about the subject. We also had lunch with the Director of Marketing and the Assistant Publicist from the marketing department. This was just one more opportunity to learn about another aspect of museum operation. The afternoon was spent in the library researching. This weekend will be busy, busy with research because the deadline is quickly approaching. AH!!!!

*As a result of this fast approaching deadline, I will not be blogging very often because I need to kick my butt and be productive*

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Heads up

Okay, so since I need to be hyper productive for the rest of the time I'm here before the big field trip, I will not be blogging very frequently. The rest of this week is also filled with trips and lectures, so I will try to fill you all in this weekend between studying. Sorry to disappoint!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Catch up with photos

Okay, so I have the proper time to post a picture-filled post. New from last night: the birthday was lots of fun. We ate at the Northampton Brewery, then the 21 year olds went to a few bars while the two DDs hung out in CVS and Urban Outfitters. It would have been a great night except for the rain. Fortunately, most of us brought rain gear, so it wasn't as miserable as it could have been. I also made a cheesecake for the birthday girl, which we tucked into after we got back to Deerfield. It was one of those mixes I bought at the craft show. I can't wait to make the other two when I get back to IL. I probably will have to wait until I get to Knox since cream cheese isn't a good choice for the family, but it will be delicious whenever I decide to make it. This afternoon we get to have a craft activity with the educators who work in the history workshop (the family area of Historic Deerfield). I'm excited about it, but hope it doesn't last all afternoon so I can research. I HAVE TO BUCKLE DOWN WITH THE RESEARCH! These three weeks are going to go by so quickly that I don't know what to do with myself. I don't want to write a poor quality paper, but if I don't get even research done, that is what is going to happen. No more movies; that is what I'm going to have to do. But enough with worries and sadness.

Okay, so I will let you see images from the Hancock Shaker Village. Remember, this was the outdoor museum with the farm animals that I was really excited about. I enjoyed this museum a lot, but we didn't have enough time to go through to all the buildings. Most of the pictures are landscapes, but I'll try to find buiding pics too.

These landscapes are to put you in the geographic context of the village. It was a very beautiful location, and it being outcast that day actually added to the romanticism of it all.

A stone round barn. It looks just as impressive as the round barn at Johnson's Sauk Trail. Of course, it being of stone adds an extra wow factor. The Shakers were known from their efficiency. They were "progressive" in the sense that they built and worked in the most efficient way and adopted technology that would help with that (like electricity and water power). This barn shows the architecture aspect of this because a round barn can be kept cooler for the animals thanks to the wind factor going around the interior of the building.
This is one of the barns that is connected to the round barn. This has some of the livestock in it, but there was also a barn complex that held most of the animals.
This is the laundry and machine shop. This is the building that holds the working water turbine I was talking about. Naturally work such as laundry and sawing/carpentry would be done in a building with a turbine to run the machines.

Moving on to the Strawbery Banke field trip. I really loved looking at the gardens at this place. Again, we didn't have a full afternoon to explore, so I didn't see even half of the site, but it was still cool. My favorite part was the fairy garden in the Victorian garden. I want to design a fairy garden for my garden. I'll show you.

Here is one of the views of the Victorian house and the gazebo. There is also a fountain behind this view, but I would love to live in a house like this with such an impressive garden.

There is also a children's treehouse on the side of the house. The museum used primary sources to find a description to this reproduction. Wouldn't it be sweet to hang out in a place like this? Imaginations running wild!
These two images are the fairy garden. Notice the little furniture and tea set. There are wind chimes around the garden, and everything is made from nature. Including the fairy house seen below:I really want to build this for my garden. As I'm sure none of you are surprised by this statement.

One of the buildings at Strawbery Banke also had a Masonic Lodge in the upper floors, so I was able to take pictures of that as well. Here are a few highlights.
Here is the charter for the New Hampshire Masonic Lodge. The reason why the Masons run one of the buildings is because the inn keeper at Strawbery Banke was a Mason and the organization still uses the upper floors of the house.
I thought this was cool. A carved Masonic symbol in cement sitting in the fireplace of a second floor room.
In that same this needlepoint was hanging above the fireplace. One of the Mason's wife made this and someone found it in mint condition in an attic. The frame is original as well, but the craftsmanship is most impressive.
In another room on the second floor hangs this hair art. This a a family tree of one of the Mason families. People would use human hair for an art media. Weird, right? But very pretty.

Okay, so the final two pictures are the exteriors of the houses I guided in.
Here is Wells-Thorn, the house with each room set up in a different time period. This was the first house I guided in. And it looks like I don't have a picture of Williams House. Sorry about that.

I hope you all enjoy these pictures. If there is anything you want to see more of or hear more about let me know! Until later!