Friday, October 29, 2010

Museum Daily #19, 20, and 21

So, I'm quite behind on Museum Dailies this week. It was a very busy work week, then my dog ate my internet cable (again!) last night. Therefore, you will get three Dailies from this week, all in one post. Plus, I took some great photos in a 17th and 18th century graveyard for work today, so I'm planning to share those in a longer post. Huzzah!

This photo was from Monday. I spent much of the day running around buying supplies for the museum's Halloween party, so I had pumpkins on the brain. This is the kitchen table in the museum, replete with jack o' lantern tablecloth, decorative gourds, and postcards for an upcoming exhibit which feature an amazingly detailed Indian corn drawing.

This is from Tuesday. I attended a workshop at the Addison Museum at Phillips Academy in Andover. They just reopened in September after a 2-year renovation, which added storage, teaching, and administrative space to their 80-year old building. The wall drawing pictured is being done by a modern artist in their museum learning center. It's done by a sharpie pen attached to a simple machine that reads a code the artist created. Very neat!

This photo, taken on Thursday, is of the backseat of my car. I tend to collect the detritus of my jobs in my car's trunk or backseat - reproduction artifacts brought to schools, mail for the museum, etc. In this photo, all three of my jobs have deposited rubble in my backseat. On the left, a folder of archaeology worksheets for my after-school kids at one museum. In the middle and right, copies of the fall newsletter for another museum. At the bottom, a newspaper from one town being brought to another town's museum to cover tables for pumpkin painting at the kids' Halloween party. Whew!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Museum Daily #18

This is the dining room of one of the houses I manage. Isn't it stunning? A Board member and I met a few women who are involved in the local wedding industry at the house today. We're considering opening the house up to wedding photo shoots and intimate (read: small) ceremonies. And the pros loved this room the best, too!

This great shot of the room was taken by Philip Case Cohen of The Daily Portsmouth. Click on it to make it larger if you want to see some of the lovely details.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Museum Daily #17

Today's shot has no real significance - I just really like it. The green glass bottle used to hold "Emerald Oil," which I assume was some sort of patent medicine. We use it in our archaeology program sometimes, but since I brought it last week for the kids to see, I decided to bury things they haven't seen yet.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Museum Daily #16

I took a group of middle schoolers to the burial ground today and the sight of them roaming around the old stones was priceless. At first, they were nervous and made jokes about zombies (it IS close to Halloween, after all), but then they really got into it. They found children & married couples & family plots and came running to tell me about them. Unfortunately, I didn't think to get out the camera, so I have no image of them besides that in my own mind. The late afternoon sun angling through the trees, the chestnuts and crunchy leaves underfoot, the delicate slate gravestones . . . Strange as it sounds, it was really lovely.

However, the shot above is of the river we walked by on our way to the burial ground and it's a lovely thing on its own. Hope it's a decent substitute!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Museum Daily #15

Pumpkins! A fun image today, of the 89 or so (it was a rough count) little pumpkins we have stockpiled for the museum's Halloween party next week. I love how one of the staff members piled them in the nooks & crannies of the oak tree's roots. :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Museum Daily #14

Pictured here is the newell post in the front hallway of one of the houses I manage. I'm currently editing our newsletter, and one of our Board members, who is a fine woodworker, wrote an interesting article about the post. Below is an excerpt detailing the post's construction method:

The post is constructed of at least two parts, the inside spiral turning and the cage of four vertical ribs that surrounds it. First, the cage section had to have a hole bored through it. This blank would be slid over a plain temporary spindle that would fit tightly in the hole. This spindle would be mounted on the lathe as a temporary center, and the turnings above and below the cage would be done. A fat column would be turned that corresponded to the outside curve of the cage verticals, and these would be carved by hand with the spindle in place for most of the process in order to avoid breaking the cage.
The interior spiral would then be turned in a separate operation using a specially adapted lathe for the double spiral. The temporary spindle would then be removed and replaced by the finished spiral one, which would be glued in place. The foliate carved cap covers the hole in the post at the top.

Photo and excerpt by Allan Breed.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Museum Daily #13

It doesn't look like much, I know. It looks like a wide, shallow hole in the ground, which is basically what it is. However, it's also so much more.

This is the mock archaeology pit where I will be leading my middle schoolers through a dig. At the moment, it's dug down to its lowest depths. On Tuesday, I will seed it with period-appropriate artifacts (reproduction, of course) and rebury it in layers. Then, over the next six weeks, the kids will excavate it (and hopefully learn something about archaeology in the process)!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Museum Daily #12

Today's photo is of a lovely folk art painting, being used to advertise and promote the recreation of a 17th century timber-framed house in town. The painting was done by a folk artist and I think is an excellent way to help visitors visualize the house, in its location, in the 1600s.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Museum Daily #11

Kind of a random assortment of items, but this is what I brought to one of the middle schools in town today. It was the "pitch" day for a local after-school program and I'll be doing an archaeology section with the eleven kids who chose my option. I picked out some interesting items I thought they'd like, such as the iron cannonball and the green glass bottle. I also included a fork, to remind them that archaeology is often about sorting through people's trash.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Museum Daily #10

How would you like to come home to that view every day? Pictured above is the lovely front hallway of one of the historic houses I manage. This shot doesn't even do it justice, but can you imagine arriving home each day to this hallway? It would make divinity of the banal, I think.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Museum Daily #9

Today's museum daily is a shot of the local newspaper in one of the towns where I work. And that woman on the far left? Is me! I don't think I've had my picture in the paper since senior year of high school . . . It's kind of neat.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Museum Daily #8

This is called "exhibits on the fly!" During the middle school music & history program, I've been bringing some photographs, maps, and artifacts to help illustrate the shoemaking industry in the town in which we're working.

I've set these items up in various places and on various surfaces for the students to view and handle. I think this is my most basic set-up, though. The large-scale photographs are propped against seats and held up by wooden shoe lasts. Not great for permanence, but gets the job done!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Museum Daily #7

One of the museums where I work recently acquired a 17th century wooden chest made by a local craftsman. It will join a chest made by the craftsman's father, already on display at the museum. Naturally, the museum and those interested in furniture-making and woodworking are fairly excited about all of this.

But for those of you who don't know much about 17th century craftsmanship, I thought I post this detail view of a similar chest in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The level of quality and detail is just stunning, isn't it?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Museum Daily #6

In the spirit of a behind the scenes tour, please enjoy this slanting sunlight view of the attic window at one of the houses I manage. The downstairs floors are filled with stunning Georgian lines and ornate woodwork, but somehow this simple image appeals to me today.