Tag Archives: Material Culture

At Boscobel: Spring Lecture Series on Federal Style


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Babscobel House Now“Boscobel is all about style, beauty and design,” claims Boscobel Executive Director, Steven Miller. “The elegance of its architecture, its immaculate collection of Federal period furnishings and its breathtaking gardens all come together to create the perfect venue for a series of lectures focused on Federal interior and exterior décor.”

Following tradition since 2002, the Friends of Boscobel will host a series of three lectures on Federal style. Continue reading

Fort Ticonderoga Awarded for Interpretive Programs


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Stuart on horse 2Fort Ticonderoga recently received an Innovation in Interpretation Award from the Museum Association of New York (MANY) which recognized Fort Ticonderoga as a leader in historic interpretation. The award was presented at MANY’s annual meeting in Albany, NY at the end of March.

“Fort Ticonderoga Interpretative Department, developed in 2011, has in remarkably short time become a national leader in historical interpretation, setting and implementing unparalleled interpretive standards,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “The program outcomes under the leadership of Director of Interpretation Stuart Lilie have seen nothing less than amazing results in attendance, school field trip participation, and increased Scout attendance. Through the creation and implementation of a unique interpretive approach, Fort Ticonderoga has defied the professional trends and has embarked on a major transformation.” Continue reading

Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe


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High Heel Shoe ExhibitOne of the most provocative and iconic objects of desire will be explored in the exhibition Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe, on view at the Brooklyn Museum September 10, 2014, through February 15, 2015.

Through more than 160 artfully-crafted historical and contemporary high heels from the seventeenth century through the present, the exhibition examines the mystique and transformative power of the elevated shoe and its varied connections to fantasy, power, and identity. Continue reading

19th Century Saratoga Springs Rooms Refurbished at Brooklyn Museum


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Milligan House Parlor. Courtesy of the Brooklyn MuseumThe Parlor and Library of the Colonel Robert J. Milligan House of Saratoga Springs, New York, have been conserved and refurbished for the first time since the two rooms were installed in the Brooklyn Museum in 1953 as a part of a group of late nineteenth-century American period rooms.

In addition to repainting the rooms and laying bold tartan carpeting on the Library’s previously bare wood floors, the Museum has restored and installed the Parlor’s original chandelier and decorated the rooms with a select group of recently acquired objects and several furnishings original to the rooms but not previously on view in Brooklyn. The two rooms have been on public view throughout their facelift, which was completed on March 28, 2014. Continue reading

New Exhibit: Wilderstein And The White House


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WildersteinWilderstein house museum in Rhinebeck, New York, has announced that its 2014 exhibition will explore the connections between the Wilderstein estate and American Presidents over two centuries. The exhibit will feature costumes, textiles, decorative arts, photographs, books, and more – all from the Wilderstein collections.  Many of these objects will be on public display for the first time.

The exhibit opens with their regular tour season on May 1 and will run through the end of October, Thursday to Sunday, from noon until 4 pm.  A preview party will be held on Saturday, April 26 from 4 to 6 pm. Tickets are $25. Please RSVP to 845.876.4818 or wilderstein@wilderstein.org. Continue reading

Historic Punch Recipes Featured At Albany Institute


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Albany Punch BowlOn Wednesday, February 26 from 6PM-8PM, the Albany Institute of History & Art will host Potent Potables, which will highlight historic punch recipes and showcase punch bowls from the museum’s collection. The event, which is hosted by the Albany Institute’s Special Events Committee, costs $25 per person to attend and participants must be 21 and over (ID required). Featured punches include Champagne Punch, Cherry Bounce, Lime Rub Shrub, Pumpelly Punch, and Regents Punch.

Punch, an Eastern drink, is from the Hindi word panch, meaning “five,” for its five basic ingredients of rum, water, sugar, juice, and spice. Punch was introduced to the West in the late seventeenth century. By the eighteenth century it had become the drink of choice in England and the American colonies where punch making was considered a social accomplishment. Continue reading

Cayuga Museum Seeks Objects From Auburn’s Theater History


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largeThe Cayuga Museum is working on a new exhibit to open next month. From Gilded Stage to Silver Screen, A History of Auburn’s Theaters will tell the stories of the operas, playhouses, community theaters, parlor shows and movie palaces that once graced the city.

Museum staff are seeking the public’s help in gathering photographs, costumes, playbills, and anything else that can help tell these stories. If you have any of these objects, or you were involved in local theater and would like to share your story, please call Kirsten or Eileen at the Museum, 315 253-8051. All loaned objects are logged in, covered by the Museum’s insurance, and returned at the end of the exhibit. Continue reading

Lecture: Early Mohawk and Hudson Valley Life


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313556_10150319313123348_471487521_nBeginning February 25th, Marilyn Sassi will present four lectures in a series entitled Early Mohawk and Hudson Valley Life: How Clothes, Arts and Architecture Changed, 1750-1814 on the evolving material culture of the Mohawk and Hudson Valley area.

Each week will focus on a different area of history and the changes seen during that period. Sassi is a teacher and historian specializing in material culture, architecture and area history. Continue reading

Hoarding History:
New Exhibit Explores Why Museums Collect


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Why Museums CollectThe Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) will debut a new exhibit, Hoarding History: Why the Museum Collects, on Friday, February 28th as part of Troy Night Out, from 5pm to 8pm.

RCHS collects and preserves letters, furniture, paintings, account books and much more. The collection exists not necessarily for the object’s sake, but for the stories that can be told through those objects. With the opening of Rensselaer County Historical Society’s new exhibit, Hoarding History: Why the Museum Collects, visitors will have the opportunity to view over 100 recent acquisitions and learn about the process RCHS goes through to bring new aspects of Rensselaer County’s history to the public’s attention while preserving the artifacts that tell these stories for future generations. Continue reading

Archaeology: Why Dig at a Cemetery?


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1(3)Every archaeological excavation breaks new ground. Even sites like Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England – one of the most extensively studied archaeological sites in the world – continually yield fresh discoveries. The 20th-century excavators of Stonehenge, William Hawley and Richard Atkinson, recognized the value of earth that had not been disturbed by archaeologists. As a result, they purposefully excavated only half of the stone circle and the surrounding earthworks. The other half they left untouched, and it is mostly untouched to this day, for the sake of preserving the privilege of “breaking new ground” for future archaeologists.

It is worth noting that archaeologists do not always break new ground in the literal sense. Even sites that have been completely excavated or destroyed can yield new information through new interpretations or new scientific testing of the evidence. However, as Hawley and Atkinson knew, the experience of excavating untouched ground is incredibly powerful. Even with extensive documentation, it can never be replicated. That is why archaeologists must be careful, focused, and above all, conservative in their approach to a site. Continue reading

Historic Cherry Hill to Conserve Rare Receipt books


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MVR receipt bookHistoric Cherry Hill has been awarded funding from the Pine Tree Foundation of New York for the conservation, rehousing, and select digitization of the museum’s collection of Van Rensselaer family receipt books and related clippings.

In all, there are 13 receipt books and numerous clippings and recipe fragments (in both manuscript and printed form) dating from the mid-eighteenth century through the early 20th century. The receipt books belonged to members of the Cherry Hill household.  Continue reading

Ticonderoga’s “Fort Fever” Series Set To Begin


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Peter HartFort Ticonderoga’s “Fort Fever” series begins on Sunday, January 12, at 2 pm with “Amazing Things! Highlights from Fort Ticonderoga’s Collections.” Participants will spend an afternoon with Curator of Collections Chris Fox examining some of the rare and important manuscripts, books, and objects in the Fort’s extensive collections.

Highlights include the chance to get a close look at the autographs of many of the famous people who are connected with the Fort’s history, objects associated with important people from the French & Indian War and American Revolution, and rare weapons from America’s colonial period. Continue reading

Westchester County: Religion, Gravestones and Archaeology


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1(2)Gravestones represent some of the most valuable evidence available to archaeologists currently working on the St. George’s/St. Mark’s Church site in Mount Kisco, New York. Once occupied by two Episcopal churches – St. George’s (1761–1819) and St. Mark’s (1850–1916) – the site is also the final resting place of over 400 people, all buried between the 1760s and 1940. The area where the churches once stood was excavated this fall. The artifacts and information they uncovered is now undergoing analysis, and the excavation is planned to resume in the spring.

As co-directors of the excavation, Laurie Kimsal and I have discovered just how essential gravestones are to our understanding of the site. To begin with, gravestones offer clues to the location and orientation of the 18th-century St. George’s Church. Secondly, the gravestones provide insights into the values and beliefs of the people who erected them, as well as the social, religious, and economic worlds of the 18th and 19th centuries. Continue reading

Fort Ticonderoga Material Culture Weekend Seminar


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Clothing MM 2011Fort Ticonderoga will present its Fourth Annual “Material Matters: It’s in the Details” Seminar the weekend of January 25 & 26, 2014. The weekend event focuses on the material culture of the 18th century and is intended for people with an interest in learning more about objects of the 18th century and what they can tell us about history.

“Material Matters” takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center at Fort Ticonderoga and is open by pre-registration only. Continue reading

Winterthur Research Fellowship Applicants Sought


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side-library-booksWinterthur, a public museum, library, and garden in Wilmington, Delaware, supporting the advanced study of American art, culture, and history, has announced its Research Fellowship Program for 2014–15.

Winterthur offers an extensive program of short- and long-term fellowships open to academic, independent, and museum scholars, including advanced graduate students, to support research in material culture, architecture, decorative arts, design, consumer culture, garden and landscape studies, Shaker studies, travel and tourism, the Atlantic World, childhood, literary culture, and many other areas of social and cultural history. Fellowships include 4–9 month NEH fellowships, 1–2 semester dissertation fellowships, and 1–2 month short-term fellowships. Continue reading

Archaeology in Westchester County:
An Excavation at St. George’s – St. Mark’s Church


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ExcavationIn the town of Mount Kisco in Westchester County, there is a small graveyard known as the St. George’s/St. Mark’s Cemetery, after the two successive Episcopal churches that once stood there. Established in the 1760s, the site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its role in the American Revolution. In the late 18th century, the small wooden St. George’s Church was one of the few man-made structures in a sparsely populated area that was transformed into a hostile wilderness with the onset of war.

Accordingly, the church was used by American, British, and French armies as a landmark in their journeys through Westchester County. General Washington’s troops retreated to the church to tend to the wounded and bury the slain after the Battle of White Plains in 1776; Colonel Tarleton brought his army to the church on the eve of the Burning of Bedford in 1779; and in the summer of 1781 the Comte de Rochambeau’s army camped near the church prior to the meeting with Washington that would ultimately bring their combined forces to victory at Yorktown. Continue reading

NYS Museum Exhibit Features Decorative, Fine Arts


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higbie-chest02The New York State Museum has opened a new exhibit featuring a selection of important New York State decorative and fine arts artifacts that were recently donated to the Museum by Peter Wunsch, President of the Wunsch Americana Foundation.

The exhibit, Building a Collection: E. Martin Wunsch and His Passion for Collecting New York State Decorative Arts, will be on display through March 5, 2014. The Museum’s Wunsch Collection consists of furniture, paintings, silver, ceramics and folk art crafted primarily between 1700 and 1900. The objects have labels indicating they were made by New York craftsmen or have a documented New York history. The Wunsch Collection illustrates changing stylistic trends in decorative arts and provides insight into how New Yorkers once lived. Continue reading

‘Chairs of the Turnpike Tavern Era’ Exhibit at Nellis Tavern


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NellisTavern2013The historic Nellis Tavern museum on State Highway 5 east of St. Johnsville in Montgomery County will present “A Handsome Assortment: Chairs of the Turnpike Tavern Era,” an exhibit scheduled for September 21-22, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The “turnpike era” in upstate New York corresponded roughly with the first half of the nineteenth century. The exhibit will feature examples of the types of seating pieces which would have been found in common use in establishments like Nellis Tavern during its heyday between 1800 and 1840, when it faced the Mohawk Turnpike (present State Highway 5). Today, objects like these are regarded as distinctive examples of early American artisanship. They are often examples of early American mass production, as well. Continue reading