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*

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a lot of fun and interesting experiences. Although, for me, I'm not sure the opportunity to spend the night in a mansion would be worth having to endure a cocktail party. But, that's just for me. Sounds like you've attended almost as many cocktail parties as lectures :).

    The last couple day have been very fun for me, as well. Friday, my dad and I picked up Zac and Sarah in Colorado Springs (about 60 miles south of Denver). They are going to stay at our house until they go back to Chicago on Tuesday. Last night, we went out for Chinese food and then saw the new Harry Potter movie. Today, I fortunately only had to work for a couple hours, so we hung out, played some video games with Conor, played some ping pong with Conor, watched some Avatar, and hung out with both the adults and kids at a small BBQ we hosted for a couple families we know through Conor's school and Special Olympics. Unfortunately, I have to work all day tomorrow and Tues. (unless I can find someone to cover for me), but I guess Zac and Sarah have some business to attend to (going to the post office, etc.) so it should work out.

    Good luck kicking paper butt! You can do it!
    - Erin