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!