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
Lunch
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
Lunch
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
Dinner
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

Sorry

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!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cocktails, lectures, gardens, and birthdays

Okay, so due to internet difficulties and a full schedule, I am just now blogging. On Thursday, we had a seminar meeting which provoked a really great decision on historic preservation and what is worth saving. It took the entire seminar time, so we didn't get through discussing much of the readings, but I enjoyed the conversation anyway. Thursday afternoon was my last day guiding in Williams House. Thank goodness guiding is over! It isn't because I don't enjoy it, but having every other afternoon completely filled up when there is a research paper hanging over your head isn't fun. It is rather stressing, actually. But at least I have one less thing...

Thursday evening began the annual summer lecture series. This year's theme is music in New England, and the fellows get to rub elbows with the lecturer and Historic Deerfield notables at a cocktail party, fancy dinner at the Deerfield Inn, and attend the lecture. That was interesting. Maybe by the third week I'll be somewhat used to it, but it's strange to experience that kind of society when coming from a Midwestern farm. So this is what the other side's life is like? Interesting. The food was good, and I really enjoyed talking with the speaker, so overall the night was a success.

Friday we had a field trip to Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, NH. Oh my gosh, I want to work there! We had a tour with the curator of horticulture and landscapes. It was so beautiful! Strawbery Banke is a neighborhood in Portsmouth and the museum site is interpreted from the 17th century to mid-20th century. You see colonial kitchen gardens, Victorian gardens, 1940's victory gardens, as well as several museum houses. We had a delicious meal with the salad from the gardens, and a great talk with three of the employees. I really want to go back.

I have pictures, but I have to get going because it is Jenna's 21st birthday today, so we are taking her out to eat in Northampton, and we are leaving shortly. I will post pictures tomorrow because I know the internet will be available tomorrow. I'm sorry to rush through this post. But tomorrow, my friends, images from the past few field trips and Deerfield...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Stupid internet

Okay, I just wanted people to know I'm alive, but have to blog in depth about the past two days tomorrow because I am sitting in a Jeep outside the library to get an internet connection at the moment. I will be in the library tomorrow at some point with a chance to use the internet for real. Sorry!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Research, Jurassic Park, and field trips

Sorry about not blogging yesterday. Yesterday consisted of a short lecture on historic timepieces, which was really cool. The president of Historic Deerfield gave us the talk, and we got to see the gears of a grandfather clock/music box built in CT in 1790. It was really fun. I guided in the afternoon. I gave two tours, my first in the Williams House. The first went really well, but I think that was because the people were really interested. The second tour, on the other hand, was the best it could be considering that the group didn't seem into it at all. I also started reading one of my secondary sources about Victorian views on love and sexuality. This book is going to be really helpful in my research, and it reads really easily (HOORAY!). I still have a long way to go on this research, but I just have to push through until the end. We then watched Jurassic Park after everyone got back from the library. I have to say, I wasn't impressed. I liked the cast, but definitely wasn't into it. I know, I know, many of you are screaming at your computer screen right now, but I just don't care about dinosaurs. That certainly wasn't one of my phases as a child. The rest of the night was spent talking with Kate, Andrew, and Matt until 3:30 a.m. So much for my getting up early and working at the library this morning...

I ended up sleeping in until 9:30 this morning and relaxed before our field trip to Historic Harrisville, NH. The scenery of driving through parts of Vermont and New Hampshire was gorgeous! I really want to roadtrip up here with my photographer friends and we just have at it with cameras. Maybe someday... Historic Harrisville was a milltown that is not a museum. Instead, an organization wanted to preserve the exterior and structures of the mill buildings, but renovate to the point where offices or studios could use the space. I didn't get any pictures (which is so sad because the landscape was so pretty), but it was rainy and gross for most of the visit. Some of what we talked about was over my head because the women giving the tour was trained in architectural preservation, but it was still cool. This evening there was a potluck at the president's house, so we all socialized with various employees of Historic Deerfield. Now I am at the library with articles waiting to be read for homework for tomorrow and letters to be read. I will end now, but promise I will blog tomorrow!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Architectural Fragments and research

This morning was filled with a lecture about architectural fragments by the architectural conservator. The conservator also happens to be the grandson of the founders of Historic Deerfield. He is a very intelligent man, but due to the dullness of the subject, it was difficult to follow everything he was saying. It did help to go into the barn where all the fragments are stored, however, because it is easier to see what he was talking about when confronted with the pieces than with just pictures. I am sort of curious about the building techniques and construction materials of the Midwest now, but probably not enough to begin a study of it on my own.

I have spent the rest of the afternoon in the library reading through more of the letters. I still have a long way to go, but I have a good start on the second file and have completed the first file. Tonight will be spent in the library, with the goal of completing this second file. I think I will also ask my tutor for suggestions on how I should approach the subject. There are so many things that I could talk about from these letters, that I'm not sure where to begin. I'm curious if the formalities and commonalities of each letter are representative of most courtship letters in antebellum America or if it is specific to this couple. I may try to look for more information on courtship rituals - were there any manuals describing the right way to court someone? What role did the women have in these situations? I still don't know for sure, but I think my tutor should be able to help.

I know this is short, but I'm sure it will be a pleasant change for most of you reading this; especially since I have heard from several people that my blog posts are so long that it is difficult to keep up with. Therefore, enjoy this short post! (I may post a mostly picture post tonight of "The Street" and Hancock Shaker Village since people have also been asking for those pictures...)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of July - independence for more than just America

Okay, so I know it has been a few days since I blogged, but that is because I was on an adventure. I decided to go to Boston Friday and Saturday BY MYSELF! I bought the bus tickets, booked a room in a hostel, and did the Freedom Trail! I know, I know, I didn't tell you all before I went, but I didn't want people to worry or try to talk me out it of. I needed to do this. I wanted to see if I could handle a city by myself. And guess what, I CAN! In fact, Boston wasn't as impressive as I thought it would be. I mean, it was so small (for a city). The cityscape was much shorter than Chicago's. I mean, if you divided the number of tall buildings in Chicago by 5, you maybe have the number of tall buildings in Boston. No doubt that it because it older, so the buildings are smaller, but still. I have to say, my living in Chicago for a term has added more confidence than I could have realized before this trip. I have no problems using public transportation, am usually comfortable in groups of people, and just took everything in stride. Okay, so I'll try to recount my weekend play-by-play.

I woke up at 7:30 on Friday to walk the mile and a half (or so) to the bus station and catch the 8:40 bus. All of you know that I'm not a superstitious person, but it was great because I found a penny on the floor face up on the floor by my seat on the bus. I took this as a good omen :). After four hours of traveling, the bus pulled into South Station. After grabbing a tiny, cheap lunch, I finally found the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority) subways, and took the orange line to the downtown area. I wandered around by Faneuil Hall and Government Center. There was a bunch of shopping that I did not participate in, but I looked briefly at some of the stores. Then I wandered around across the street and by the docks for several hours. Finally I found the plaza where a Celtic concert was going on for Harborfest. Although I intended to listen to the whole concert, I only heard that last three songs because I couldn't find it before that. It was still fun, though.

By the late afternoon, I decided to head to my hostel because it was a half hour MBTA bus trip. I found the hostel with little difficulty, but I have to say I wasn't impressed. After grabbing a sub for supper, I hung out in the hostel all night. It was a lot of fun to talk with the other travelers. I met an Irishman, a guy from Liverpool, a Londoner, a Glasweign (a girl from Glasgow, Scotland), another guy from the UK (I didn't hear from where), an Israeli, and one Mexican. There was also a group of Russians, but they didn't really talk to anyone. It was SO MUCH FUN to sit and talk with them. I also tried New Zealand red wine (compliments of the Irishman), but didn't like it. I "offended" the Irishman because I didn't drink with everyone else, but water was the best choice especially since I was dehydrated from walking around all day. I had some really great conversations about traveling, differences between UK schools and US schools, the ridiculousness of the American drinking age, and random stuff. I didn't stay up with the rest of the people because I was exhausted, so I went to bed at 10:30. The beds in the hostel were very uncomfortable, the pillow was flat, but I fell asleep for a while. One of the girls in my room snored, so I didn't sleep sounded once the early morning came, but I dealt with it.

I got up at 7:30, checked out of the hostel, and started for downtown Boston. Unfortunately, I was on the bus for over an hour, had to wait for another one, and so didn't make it to Bunker Hill Monument until 10:30. I climbed the 294 steps to the top and took pictures. Oh my gosh, I am so out of shape! (I'll post pictures at the end of the blog, I want to get everything down first.) After Bunker Hill, I went to the USS Constitution and watched it cast off for its anual 4th of July trek around the Harbor. I didn't hear them shoot off the 24 guns, but it was cool to watch the ship cast off. I then continued down the Freedom Trail, had to backtrack a few times because I lost the trail. I walked by the Old North Church, Paul Revere's house, the Old South Meeting House, Old City Hall, Copps Burying Ground, Old King's Chapel and burying ground, site of the Boston Massacre, and Fanueil Hall again. Basically I went on the whole Trail except the last three stops. I lost the trail and I wanted to stay by Government Center because I needed to use the orange line to connect to the red line to get to South Station again. Instead of wandering around after the Freedom Trail, I sat and listened to another concert from Harborfest. I really liked them. It's hard to describe their style, because the guys played accostic guitars and a bass, but the vocal style sounded kind of folksy. Whatever genre it was, it was a good concert. I didn't hear the whole thing because I wanted to get to the Station in plenty of time to eat and catch the bus. After a three hour bus trip, I was back in Deerfield, feeling exhausted but accomplished.

Okay, so what have I learned from this experience? I now know for sure that I can manage myself in a city and that being a tourist is exhausting! I walked at least three miles, my shoes started breaking (they are getting pitched), didn't grab sunscreen, so am really burnt, and while I slept my leg muscles cramped up. At least I slept in until 12:20 this afternoon. Today is an easy day to recover from my trip. I'm glad that I did this, though. I know that I can handle myself in most situations now. That's a good feeling to have. I also now have a Boston t-shirt to prove that I went there! Okay, so here are some pictures...

The Freedom Trail is an actual marked path running throughout Boston. It is made of red bricks two bricks wide and has these medallions dispersed randomly. It's easy to follow for the most part. There were a few times when I lost it because it went through really busy places, so following a crowd didn't even help, but normally following a large group of people is a good strategy.

This is the Bunker Hill Monument. Now remember that the Battle of Bunker Hill actually took place on Breeds' Hill, but history has forgotten that detail. This was the first site I saw because it is the northernmost section of the Trail. This isn't in Boston, but in the neighborhood of Charlestown. I climbed all 294 steps to the top. They were accurate in their counting, because I counted them as well. Here are some views from the top...



If you notice, there aren't that many tall buildings. It is still similar to standing in the Sears' Tower, but it was still cool to be in the Bunker Hill Monument.

I then went to the USS Constitution. This ship was the first ship in the United States navy. It was commissioned during George Washington's presidency, but I don't think it was completed until John Adams. Every 4th of July it sails to the Harbor and shoots off 24 guns across the water. I only saw it cast off, but it was really neat to see the navy go through that whole procedure. It was here that I realized that I was going to get sunburnt very, very badly but couldn't do anything about. I also bought a Boston t-shirt at the USS Constitution museum shop.

These are images from the Old North Church. You know, where Paul Revere saw one or two lanterns in the steeple before his famous ride? The guide at the pulpit is actually correcting the story, but there were so many people that I didn't hear everything. I wanted to go into Paul Revere's house, but that cost money, so I didn't. I only did the free sites...It's bad enough that thanks to food costs I only have $4 to my name, but my adventure was worth it.

I think that is it, if any of you want more details just ask! It's so exciting. "I'm a big girl now!"

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Seminar and Library Research

This morning we met with the staff photographer to discuss her responsibilities at Historic Deerfield. Did you know that there are pictures of Historic Deerfield objects in Felicity, the American Girl book? There are all sorts of publications that have used images from Deerfield, which is exciting to see. Afterwards, we talked about our field trip yesterday and some of the readings we completed earlier in the week. I won't bore you with more details.

Since it is a three-day weekend, two people went home today, two are having friends over, and the other two are hanging out. It will be nice to have no obligations for three days, though. I'm excited. Since our tutor won't be here this weekend either, I spent the afternoon researching instead of shadowing the guide at Williams. I got through the first folder of courtship letters, have two more to go, and I have to figure out an approach. I checked out some papers from past fellows about courtship, so I'll read those this weekend to get a sense of things I could do. Tonight I am totally just going to relax. It will be great. Watch a few movies, go to bed early; I know it doesn't take much to make me happy, but that works for me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hancock Shaker Village and Mass MOCA

Hooray field trips! I really appreciate that we get to go to all of these places and meet lots of museum professionals on top of the fellowship program provided everything else that it does. The Shaker Village was really interesting. Today was the first day of their audio tour, so the educational coordinator really wanted our feedback. Honestly, I'll have say that I prefer going through historical sites on my own. It was weird to have to listen to the tour constantly. I eventually stopped using it. I wish we would have had more time there, but it started raining in the afternoon, so we couldn't do any of the outdoor paths. I found the farm animals, though. It was great; I pet a lamb, dodged free-range chickens, and had a calf suck on my hand - just like home. We also got to see a real-live working water turbine. That was so cool! We also talked with the education coordinator and the collections manager. They gave us a tour of the collections, their library/archives, and additional information about the museum. I love meeting all of these people and networking. My world just keeps expanding, which is encouraging for when I will be applying for jobs after next year.

After the Shaker Village, we went to Mass MOCA. That is, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Okay, so you all know my opinion of art museums...so I was less than enthused while wandering aimlessly around the exhibits. The coolest thing was that this museum is in an industrial complex. They gutted out the 19th century industrial building to create exhibition space. Sorry that I an not more enthusiastic about this particular event. I am now going to relax the rest of the night before our last work-day tomorrow. I can't wait for a three-day weekend! I'll get pictures up from the Shaker Village at somepoint...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Collections Management and Williams House

This morning we didn't have anything to do until 11:00, so I was able to finish up the homework from last night this morning and stop by the library. I will definitely be researching a lot this evening. At 11:00, we met with the collections manager, and he explained his responsibilities at Historic Deerfield. It was very interesting, and it was nice to hear the difference between curator and collections manager/registrar. Most of us didn't really know what each position entailed exactly, so having it explained was nice. The afternoon was spent shadowing the guide in Williams House. Williams House is the most accurately renovated house on "The Street." The owner built the house in the 1730s, but her great-nephew expanded the house in 1816. It has 14 rooms! It is a really neat house, and anyone interested in wallpaper would love the interior. Each room has reproduction wallpaper (well, except for one, because we don't know what wallpaper would have been in there), but it interesting to see the colors and designs on mid-19th century wallpaper. I will guiding in this house through next week, I believe. There were three tours this afternoon, so while I didn't give a complete tour, I did the upstairs rooms of the last tour. This whole guiding thing isn't as bad as I though it be. I mean, I figured I would get nervous exactly, but I now know how much the guides really have to go through to learn a complete house. Studying all the objects as well as everything else; so while I'm not as informed as they are, I can still manage to give a tour, which is a good feeling.

Let's see, I don't think there is any other news. I will be researching tonight. A field trip tomorrow to the Hancock Shaker Village will be fun, I'm sure. I'll post pictures tomorrow!

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Day Off...Incredible!

Today was amazing! We had a very light load this morning. One of the educators took us on a Native American history walking tour. It was really nice this morning, despite the overcast. At least it didn't rain. We walked around and saw the ridge and Sugarloaf Mountain (which we will be going to at some point and I will take pictures). Afterwards, we met with a woman from the PVMA Memorial Hall museum and she talked to us about the Native American and Deerfield Raid of 1704 exhibits. Our morning actitivites ended by 11:30, which is much earlier than normal. There was also a group from York, Maine, who we hosted for lunch. They have a summer fellowship program as well, but three of their four fellows were grad-students, and their summer focuses more on guiding than anything else.

Well, the lunch didn't end until 2:30, so Josh gave us the rest of the day off, instead of shadowing the guides for a new house. Therefore, we decided to go to a swimming hole in the Deerfield River. We tried to find one, but it wasn't what we were expecting, so we found another. It was SO MUCH FUN! The water was so cold, but after a while you get used to it. I actually enjoyed myself and swam around a little bit. I also felt the current, which was cool, so long as I stayed close to shore. Tonight for supper we went to Amherst, home of U-Mass and Amherst College. Another college town and fun things to do. We ate at Amherst Brewery, a pub and restaurant. The food was pretty good. Then we walked around, stopped in a few shops, and went to Target. It actually felt like summer today - the weather, the friends, and the activities. Today was a great day! I have some reading to do for tomorrow, so I will write later!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Continuation with this weekend

So, as I said earlier, Saturday was beautiful. Unfortunately, blogspot hates me at the moment, so I can't post any pictures, but I will later. Saturday, two of the girls and I went to the Salvation Army in Greenfield to check it out. I found a dressy red and black skirt for $4. so I figured I could buy and did. That night we all ate out in Northampton. It is a very yuppie town. One of the all womens' college, Smith, is there, so it was a bustling college town. It was nice to be in a crowd (I know, it sounds strange coming from me, but it's true). We ate Morroccan food. I have discovered that I like lamb, but I still don't like spices or chickpeas. It was okay; I'm not raving about it like some of the others were, but to each their own. After eating we went and walked around. There are some really great gift stores. Everything was SO HIPPIE. We also found a great used book store, and all but one of us bought something. I really want to take my sister people-watching to Northampton because I think she would get a kick out of how the other side lives. Very fascinating, indeed. We finally came back to Deerfield and hung out at Wright House (where the girls live). We played Apples to Apples. I totally kicked butt! I don't think I have ever had that good of a night with that game. Clearly I know my fellow fellows very well.

Today I helped Matt fix pancakes for brunch. They were delicious. It was also great to have a filling meal before guiding. I ended up giving two tours; both of them had kids in them. That makes for a very interesting experience. The guide today didn't watch me. I was totally on my own, and honestly, much more comfortable. My first tour went really well. One of the ladies has a master's degree in history and was a lawyer and really liked it. She wanted to know who she needed to tell about how great of a tour I gave. That obviously made me very happy. The last tour of the day was a family with three kids, so the youngest kids directed my tour. Everything they asked about was what I told them and that was about it. It was a good experience, though. I probably should do research for my final paper, but I think I may just go back to the house and relax tonight. I can kick my butt on weeknights to get everything done. I'm not worried. I am also the only person who doesn't have plans for the 4th of July, so I can research then (maybe, I'll have to see if the tutor is going to be around at all....) Otherwise, I don't have any news. I'll be more regular with my blogging this week, I promise.

3 days without blogging...la gasp!

I know this is delayed, but yesterday was one of the first beautiful days! No rain, bright sunshine, it was beautiful! After sleeping in from Friday's hanging out, I went around town and took pictures and on a nature walk. However, I should probably tell you about Plimouth Plantation first.

Okay, so on Thursday the six fellows, our tutor, and his daughter piled into an eight passenger van for two and a half hours to get to Plymouth, MA. We came to the museum, watched a very impressive orientation video (the history channel helped produce it, so the cinematography was excellent), and went to the sites. Plimouth Plantation is a bi-cultural museum, so they try to tell the story of the Wampanoag tribe as well as the Pilgrims. However, the approach is very different. With the Wampanoag Village, real Wampanoag interpreters are dressed in period clothing, but answer questions in first-person. There is NO ACTING. Before entering the village signs announce to visitors "Do not act on common stereotypes," but it has got to be difficult for both sides to interact and engage knowing that there is this understanding even if it is wrong. The Pilgrim settlement, on the other hand, is filled with actors. It is living history; the pilgrim actors only answer as a Pilgrim would. I did not take pictures of any people at Plimouth, because I felt awkward doing so. Actors are there to inform, not just for photo-ops. As for the Wampanoag, I wanted to be respectful of the fact that this is their culture. I took a lot of pictures of landscape and structures, though. Here are a few...

Imagine this image turned...This is a frame of a living structure in the Wampanoag Village.

Hanging meat outside a structure where women were cooking. There is also a fence to separate the village from the woods. I didn't get the entire house in the shot because I wanted to respect the three women cooking. It just doesn't feel right taking pictures of people trying to live like their ancestors, even if they are employed by a museum. It would be like going to Pennslyvania and taking pictures of the Amish living and working. That just isn't right...

There is a wooden path that visitors walk along to get from the Wampanoag village to the Pilgrim settlement. Here is one of the sights you see when you are making your way to the 1627 Pilgrim settlement. Apparently it is a salt marsh, since it isn't a river and we are close to the ocean...

Here is what you see of the settlement when you are on the top of the hill near the watchtower. In the distance is the Atlantic Ocean!

Another view of the houses and the ocean. I LOVE TAKING LANDSCAPE PICTURES! I don't know if it's because an amateur photographer can still have decent looking pictures with landscapes or what, but it was beautiful.

I have other pictures of the inside of the houses, but it is pretty standard objects. Ceramic mugs, limited furniture, drafty houses, etc. Of course, in Plimouth you can take pictures inside the houses because everything is reproduced. There is a workshop on the site that makes everything the village uses. It was different to be in reproduced houses, especially since spending so much time in Deerfield. Historic Deerfield has such a history of preservation and material culture that is was nice to touch things in a museum. Of course, I didn't touch much because I have been trained not to, but it was nice.

After visiting the site, we had lunch with some of the museum staff and interns. They were great. We got the email of two of them. They were very enthusiatic and completely willing to help us, since "we are the next generation [of historians and museum professionals]." They shared how they have restructured the museum to be bi-cultural, some of the roadbumps, difficulties they are still encountering, they vision for the future, etc. It was very informative. It also helped that they provided lunch.

Afterwards, we went downtown to see an exact replica of Mayflower. The Mayflower II was really cool. AND I GOT TO SEE AND TOUCH THE OCEAN! It was very exciting. Here are some images of me and the ship.

Here is the crow's nest of Mayflower II.

A boat...I don't know what the proper name would be, but it's the boat that the ship passengers would have used to get ashore and so on.

One of the berths below-decks. Could you imagine having to sleep here on a rocking ship?

And finally, the moment we are waiting for - me touching the ocean!
I DID IT! I TOUCHED THE ATLANTIC OCEAN!

That was a good day. A long day, especially since we all had papers to finish for Friday. But we all turned our papers in before deadline, and relaxed Friday night. We just hung out and played games. Good times. It's great because our group has such a nice social dynamic. We get along great, and they are all fun people to be around. There has been casual talk of getting together for St. Patrick's Day in Chicago - I really hope it happens, because at the moment I can't imagine not seeing the other five fellows everyday.

Oh, also on Friday I gave my first tour. I co-toured with the guide who was there. It went fine. I was more nervous than I was expecting, but it went well considering how terrible the weather was.

Saturday was the opposite. A gorgeous day! Here are pictures of the landscape around Deerfield that I took. There are mountains (or hills, if you are from near the Rockies...), the Deerfield River, and lots and lots of trees. These images don't need captions...






Okay, so I have to go help cook supper, but I will write a blog when I come back with pictures of the buildings, and telling of our goings-on on Saturday and Sunday...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Exhaustion from paper-writing

This is going to be a really lame blog-post, but I just wanted to let you all know that I will be talking about my experience at Plimouth Plantation at some point this weekend, but right now I need to relax and take time for myself. Tonight will involve movie watching - lots and lots of movie watching. I also need to upload my pictures and figure out how to organize it, so the Plimouth blog will have to wait until tomorrow. Sorry! But at least my paper is done and turned in. I'm going to make pizza for the group, and then chill. It will be a great night! Look out for a more detailed post later...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Writing, writing, writing

This morning, we had a lecture about Josiah Wedgewood. He was a very famous potter in Staffordshire, England, in the seventeenth century. Historic Deerfield has a few of his pieces, so the curator of ceramics talked to us about him. It was interesting for what it was, but there are other things I would have preferred hearing about. But afterwards, we went to the history workshop. This is the place that is actually kid-friendly. There is a craft room and a playroom. After a brief tour of those rooms and the garden, the musuem educator gave us a lecture on museum education theory. I have to say that this sounds like a very interesting profession. I think I would really enjoy working with kids in a museum setting. I asked whether or not I needed an education degree to become a museum educator, and while she said it helps, it isn't necessary. After our talk, I was thinking about places to apply to for work after next year, and as a result of this enlightening job description, I think I'm going to apply at a children's museum as well as anything else I can find. I don't know if museum education is where I want to go, but it sounds like fun, and I think I'd be decent at it.

This afternoon I worked on my paper. I now have a rough draft, which our co-tutor is currently reading. I have a feeling I am going to need more analysis, but at least I have something to work with. We'll see what she says...I'm afraid I don't have anything else exciting going on. I'll tell you all about Plymouth after our field trip tomorrow (pictures will be included). Hopefully it doesn't rain...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Frary House and guiding

This morning after our seminar meeting, we had an almost two hour long tour of the Frary House! It was so long! The guide was the vice president of museum affairs, and she's really fun, but she does like to talk. Frary House is different from every other house on The Street because it has a history from the Colonial Revival period (1880-1910s ish) rather than an authentic colonial interpretation. A native woman from western Mass named C. Alice Baker went to school in Deerfield, moved to Chicago, became an educator, established some schools, and then came back to Deerfield and became interested in the Arts and Craft Movement and Deerfield's history. She bought Frary House in order to preserve it. Of course, her preservation was like anything else from that time, a focus on aesthetics and not necessarily accuracy. It's really important to Deerfield history, though, and one of the guys (Andrew) is actually writing his paper on C. Alice Baker and her involvement in the Colonial Revival. It's interesting to talk about the genderization of history. Women were really important to the development of historical house museums, but then the study became professionalized so men took over...

This afternoon I shadowed the guide at Wells-Thorn. Marcia was really fun. I told to her a lot at the craft fair, so hanging out this afternoon was fun. She actually reminds me a lot of my Grandma Menken. She's friendly, talkative, and somewhat loud. Of course, she also taught middle school history and then became a high school guidance counselor. We gave one tour today to a family from Springfield, MA. I was totally really to co-tour with Marcia the rest of the afternoon, but no one else came. Maybe on Friday. We had a cookout tonight, but now I need to work on my paper. Hopefully I can write a little bit tonight and work all afternoon tomorrow. Since we are alternating afternoon to guide, I have tomorrow off. It will be exciting. I really want to get to the paper done tomorrow because we have a field trip Thursday and it's due Friday after I guide. Wish my luck!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Starting the object paper

I currently have five pages double-spaced of my object paper due on Friday. Granted, that is all just description, so I actually have to research and analyze for the rest of the paper, but at least I've started. It feels good. This morning we talked about the weekend activities and guiding, then we finished our Ashley House study and went into the Sheldon House. It was a lot faster than the others have been. Hopefully we can get through the rest of the houses that quickly. I would really like to get to the rest of the houses soon. This afternoon, I got to study my second sampler and work on my paper. These are the two samplers that I am studying:




For supper, we went to Greenfield and ate at a Greek restaurant. It was pretty good. It actually was just a larger gyro than I would have gotten at Knox. The fries were really good. There isn't much going on at the moment. Tomorrow afternoon I get to shadow at the Wells-Thorn House and I think I'm going to ask to give a tour after listening to the first few. I think I'm ready for that house. It must be my ability to quote movies, because I'm pretty sure I am able to give the tour of the two rooms open at the craft show because I heard the guides give it so much. We'll see what happens...Since there isn't anything else to say, I'm going to post some pictures from the exhibits open at the Flynt Center. I should be able to caption most of them pretty well.


These are images from the textile gallery. There are four sections: silk, cotton, linen, and wool. Each section has a doll on the stand with fabric samples, so visitors can feel the fabric without being so tempted to feel the artifacts. The material on the walls behind each of the dolls are samples of the materials on display. It's really, really cool. I thought that was a great design choice.









These are more images from the textile gallery.
Here is a beautiful silk embroidery that I wish I could do...

This a child's corset...

Okay, so I think I have procrastinated from my homework long enough. Enjoy the pictures!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Craft Show

Today seems like a waste of a day, but it was enjoyable considering. I slept in until 10:30, ate, and then went to walk around the craft show while I waited for my shift at the Historic Deerfield information table. The show was nice, but not as impressive as I was expecting. I mean, I'm in New England, right; I figured there would be this extensive material crafts, but there was more jewelry, wooden arts, doll clothing, of course, and lots of food. I went around a collected business cards, which is good. Much of the jewelry was really pretty, but I don't want to buy it now. Fortunately, most of the jewelry exhibitors have websites, so I should be able to order something if I wanted. The only things I ended up buying were three dessert mixes. Okay, so there was this table with dip mixes and cheesecake mixes. There were samples! So GOOD! She also has a website and ships, so I will definitely have to buy more for my apartment next year. One of the girls and I went around and tried all the free samples. There was homemade ice cream, fudge, those dips, and cookies. We are cheap scavengers, but it works for us. I was going to take pictures of the town today, but because of the random sprinkles and overcast, I will have to postpone again. Someday you all will see what Deerfield looks like. But that day is not today. I am going to continue researching my samplers, especially since the paper is due on Friday. Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Wells-Thorn Guiding

After waking up at 10:30 in order to somewhat recover from our late night/early morning bedtime, I realized that I had laundry and other house-keeping responsibilities to do before shadowing the guides this afternoon. Today was our first day inside the house for the specific purpose of learning how to guide in it. We were split into three pairs and each pair shadowed the guide in the one of the houses. Andrew and I were in Wells-Thorn. Wells-Thorn is the house that has rooms set up to travel through time. So there is a 1725 kitchen, 1735 parlor, 1775 parlor, 1800 office/parlor, 1815 bedchamber, 1835 bedchamber, and 1850 attic. The guides were so awesome! It was a lot of fun to listen to them give tours, but today was different than it normally would be. Because there is a craft show in Deerfield this weekend (and yes, I'm very excited about walking through it, though I doubt I will buy anything), only the 1825 kitchen and 1835 parlor were open because it's too difficult to give tours of the house when there is so much foot traffic. One of the guides did take us through the entire house, so that was good. I remembered a lot from when we went through as a group, which was good. Now I just have research the samplers and start writing the object paper. That's the plan for tonight, I think. I know it's Saturday, but I need to get this done to feel better and productive...

Friday night and being a "normal" college student

Yesterday was the end to a week that went by so quickly. It was really amazing how fast time flies here. I know we are kept busy, but it is still strange. Yesterday morning we had seminar to discuss our field trip to Old Greenfield Village, and it led to a very interesting discussion on what is a museum, what (if any) social responsibilities museums have, and how much entertainment needs to be there. It was a very productive seminar meeting. Afterwards, we watched a movie about the silver-smith in Colonial Williamsburg to preface our lecture/interaction with the silver collection. We have already had the tour of the silver vault, but not much of a detailed lecture about it. It is very cool to be able to touch something that Paul Revere actually made, as well as being around that much value. Most impressive. After a very quick lunch, we had a brainstorming session with the curators and some trustees about our final paper topic. It looks like everyone's topic will work. Okay, so I finally have something. Here it is. I am going to use the courtship correspondence of Edward Wells Colton and his first wife Susan Heard from 1859-1861. I'm going to let the letters guide my paper, so I have to read through most of them before I can actually say what I'll be writing about. I think it will be a great sketch of the everyday activies of people in the 19th century. I'm also really curious to see how many mentions of the war there are. But yeah, that's what I'm writing on. Hooray for having a topic!

The final activity of the afternoon was open hearth cooking. We got to make a meal in front of an open fire. So much fun! I will try to get pictures from a couple other people (since I didn't have my camera) and post them. It was really great, though. We cooked chicken, corn bread, biscuits, prepared salad, asparagus, and strawberries with cream. Unfortunately, the cream didn't whip since the humidity was so bad, but the meal was delicious nonetheless. It's amazing how comfortable I am doing all these things. People were constantly asking how to do this or that, and I just did it. Whatever works, I guess.

Friday night, we decided to get out of Deerfield and see a movie in Greenfield. We ended up going to The Hangover. Oh my gosh, it was SO BAD! It's just one of those movies that it's stupid humor with the intention of being offensive. It was funny, even though I know I shouldn't have laughed at some of those things, but I did anyway. Think Wedding Crashers, and there you go. It was nice to have that kind of release, though. I am having fun, but our schedule is intense, nonetheless. There's a tavern/restaurant down the street from the theatre that we went to and hung out there for a while after the movie. One of the guys, Matt, had a friend from school meet us in Greenfield, so we hung out with him, and he came back to Deerfield with us.  It was a great night of good conversation and fun company.  Hooray for being a normal college student...staying up later, hanging out, and having fun!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dreary Day

When will this rain end?!? I just don't believe it. It was so miserable today. And what makes it worse is that the ten-day forecast is predicting nine more days of rain. We just can't get a break. As a result of it being such a dark and miserable day, most of us were less than thrilled about doing anything today. At least our seminar session was at the kitchen table of the Allen House (where we take all our meals and where the boys live). It was comfortable to be around a table and eating breakfast. We talked about/critiqued the exhibits we saw yesterday. The general consensus was that the America's Kitchens exhibit built by Historic New England was very disappointing. There was a lot of potential to have an interesting and interactive exhibit that people could connect with, and it failed. The rest of the morning was spent researching in the library. We have a brain-storming session with museum staff tomorrow, so we were all scrambling for ideas to present tomorrow. Okay, so I am using the Colton Family papers, but for my final I think I'm going to use correspondence. The family patriarch's son and his first wife exchanged courtship letters from 1859-1861, so they are really interesting to read. They provide great insight into the daily activities of Massachusetts and Connecticut for the time. I don't know what approach I will take yet, but I should be able to get some great ideas from the staff tomorrow.

This afternoon was SO MUCH FUN! We had a field trip to Old Greenfield Village. Greenfield is a village less than 10 miles away from Deerfield, so it was a really close drive. There is a gentleman there who collected anything and everything from Greenfield, built houses and building to house everything, and created an old-fashioned model town in his backyard! There was the general store, carpenter shop, pharmacy, toy store/ice cream parlor, blacksmith/tinsmith shop, dry-goods store, butcher shop, wheel wright shop, doctors' offices, printing shops, church, schoolhouse, etc. It was so awesome, despite the rain. It was amazing how many things he had. But it reminded me a lot of home. We have so much of those antiques in our sheds. I guess there is something good about Grandpa and Dad being pack-rats. The last building especially reminded me of home because it had that dirt/rusting iron smell, just like the work benches and sheds. I was so excited about this trip. I am now inspired by this guy. I could totally open up a museum like that on my own. I probably won't but it would be fun.

There isn't anything else exciting going on. I didn't get pictures of this field trip because of the rain. I cooked supper tonight, but it only involved making salad, toasting bread, and putting frozen lasagna in the oven. But it was good anyway. I am now going back to the house, get warm, and read about my samplers for the object paper. I HAVE TO BE PRODUCTIVE TONIGHT!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Traveling to New Hampshire

Today was our first field trip. We went with most of the Historic Deerfield museum guides to Manchester and Concord, New Hampshire. The fellows and Josh went to the mill-yard museum while the guides went to an art museum. It was so cool! The curator gave us a tour, and I took a lot of great pictures, and got a lot of good ideas for exhibit design. Because our focus was more on the design than the content, these captions are going to be kind of lame, but here they are anyway:


Here is a model of the mill-yards. There were miles of brick buildings that had canals going through them to run the looms.

This is where the water would come in. The canal is dammed and empty now, but there used to be water flowing through the entire mill. The gears above the opening, I believe, are authentic artifacts.
This is a wooden replica of the cast iron bridges that were throughout the mill for workers to cross the canals to get to their looms.
Here are some samples of cloth that the mills wove. There are several books displayed from different time periods with such samples.

I liked this display. It is representing some of the objects in a typical mill-worker's house.

Because of a time restraint, we had to speed walk several blocks to meet the guides and reach the bus. We then went to the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord. There was a traveling exhibit about America's Kitchens. This is the first venue of the exhibit built by Historic New England. I have to say, it wasn't particularly impressive. There were no pictures allowed in the gallery, so sorry. I did take some other pictures of the rest of the museum.








These are just some of the things at the museum. Due to more time restraints, I didn't read many labels, but I thought most of the shots were decent...

I think I'm going to buy a postcard from each museum we visit so I can fill up a scrapbook or something about this summer and all the trips. It will be very exciting.

Okay, so I really need to do research now, but I hope you enjoy the pictures. I will post more about Deerfield when I have time.