Tag Archives: Material Culture

‘Common Heritage’ Grant Program Announced


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attic of historynehThe National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has announced a new grant program, called “Common Heritage,” that hopes to bring to light historical records and artifacts currently hidden in family attics and basements across the country and make them digitally available to the wider public.

NEH invites historical societies, libraries, archives, museums, colleges and other local institutions to apply for the Common Heritage grant program. Grants will support day-long events, organized by community cultural institutions, in which members of the public will be invited to share materials important to their family or community histories, such as photographs, artifacts, family letters, and works of art. Continue reading

18th-Century Fashion & Material Culture


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ben_franklins_worldThe clothing a person wears tells you a lot about them: Whether they are rich or poor, what kind of work they do, what colors they like, and what they value.

We know that John Hancock was a wealthy merchant and prominent politician, but did you know that his suit reveals even more about his life and personality than the documents and portraits he left behind?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Museum professional and textiles expert Kimberly Alexander joins us to explore the world of 18th-century fashion and material culture and what objects like John Hancock’s suit communicate about the past. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/024

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Indian Basketry of the Northeastern Woodlands


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image001(14)With hundreds of vivid and detailed color photographs and an easy narrative style enlivened by historical vignettes, Sarah Peabody Turnbaugh and William A. Turnbaugh bring overdue appreciation to a centuries-old Native American basketmaking tradition in the Northeast in Indian Basketry of the Northeastern Woodlands (Schiffer Publishing, 2014).

The authors explore the full range of vintage Indian woodsplint and sweetgrass basketry in the Northeastern U.S. and Canada, from practical “work” baskets made for domestic use to whimsical “fancy” wares that appealed to Victorian tourists. Continue reading

Schuyler Mansion Lecture Series Begins Saturday


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Schuyler Mansion  2014This Saturday, March 28, 2015, Schuyler Mansion will host “Fabric For Furniture: Historic Choices,” presented by Elizabeth Lahikainen as first of the site’s 2015 spring lecture series focusing on 18th-century interior decoration, Schuyler Splendor: The Making of an 18th Century Home of Good Taste. 

Elizabeth Lahikainen, an internationally recognized textile conservator specializing in historic upholstery, will discuss 18th century design trends, fabrics appropriate for different chair styles, and what is available in today’s market. Utilizing fabrics of unusual weave and motifs, she will demonstrate combinations using chairs from Schuyler Mansion’s collection. Continue reading

Artifacts Returned To Susan B. Anthony Museum


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Restored5Mar15A cross-stitch sampler created by Susan B. Anthony over a three-year period beginning in 1831 has been returned to the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House. The artifact has been in the care of conservator Sarah Stevens of Zephyr Preservation Studios.

“Susan B. Anthony had this sampler prominently displayed in her office when she was in her eighties, so we know that it was important to her,” Deborah L. Hughes, President & CEO of the Anthony Museum, said. “It is precious today because it connects us personally to young Susan and her family. This was her handiwork, long before she was the Great Reformer.” Continue reading

Boscobel House and Gardens Appoints Curator


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Jennifer CarlquistBoscobel House & Gardens in Garrison, NY has announced the addition of Jennifer Carlquist as its new Curator (effective February 4, 2015). Carlquist is expected to oversee the museum’s collection of New York furniture and decorative arts from the Federal period and organize annual exhibitions.

Carlquist is an art historian specializing in American interiors and 17th- to 21st-century decorative arts and designs made, collected and/or retailed in America. Her 15-year career as a museum professional includes curatorial and fundraising positions at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Weisman Art Museum, and Glensheen Historic Estate and a fellowship at Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library. Continue reading

Dutch-Style Kasten Cupboards Sought


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762.01 Radcliff KasHistoric Huguenot Street is seeking documentation of examples from museums, historic sites, and private collections of 18th-and early 19th-century Dutch-style cupboards known as grote kasten (singular kast).

The documentation and study of these kasten is expected to ultimately be part of an exhibit, symposium, and fully-illustrated compendium planned for 2016. Continue reading

NYS Museum Opens Shaker Photography Exhibit


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Round Stone Barn, wagon entry levelThe New York State Museum has opened a new exhibition featuring Shaker photographs. A Promising Venture: Shaker Photographs from the WPA features the photography of Noel Vicentini and documents Shaker sites, architecture, craft and people.

On display in Photography Gallery through December 31, 2015, the exhibition is organized by Hancock Shaker Village and features more than 100 photographs. This exhibition complements the State Museum’s 7,000 square-foot exhibition, The Shakers: America’s Quiet Revolutionaries, which explores the history and culture of the Shakers. Continue reading

New Netherland to Empire State: NY Furniture


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New York State ChairSettled by the Dutch and claimed by the English, as writer Russell Shorto has observed, New York was “a Babel of peoples—Norwegians, Germans, Italians, Jews, Africans . . . Walloons, Bohemians, Munsees, Montauks, Mohawks, and many others”. In the landscapes they shaped, buildings and furniture they made, New Yorkers created a place “unlike any other, either in the North American colonies or anywhere else.”

This unique legacy is reflected in New York furniture. The 2015 Winterthur Furniture Forum, March 4 to 7, 2015 at the Winterthur Museum & Country Estate in Winterthur, Delaware, celebrates furniture from the Empire State with lectures, workshops, and tours exploring new discoveries, shedding light on lesser-known cabinetmakers, and highlighting regional and cultural diversity. Continue reading

Baseball Exhibits Opening At Albany Institute


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image034Opening day comes early to the Capital Region as the Albany Institute of History & Art presents Triple Play! Baseball at the Albany Institute, three exhibitions celebrating the history of baseball.

The exhibits include nationally and regionally significant materials, such as photographs, signed bats and balls, stadium seats, trophies, pennants, jerseys, and more. In addition, there is a roster of related events with guest speakers, family activity days, creative contests, and free admission opportunities. Continue reading

Unseen Hand: An 1869 Fort Hunter Diary


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003 - SXSHS In 1988, a small leather-bound diary was bequeathed to Schoharie Crossing State Historic site by Clarke Blair, who received it from Gertrude Ruck – a descendent of Michael Brown. Brown was one of the brothers that owned and operated the Brown Cash Store located at Lock 30 in Fort Hunter, NY from the mid-19th to early 20th century.

The diarist is unknown – nonetheless, it is obviously a personal journal of a Fort Hunter resident, and references to notable local families, places and events of 1869 fill its yellowed pages. Continue reading

Lecture: Dating Photos By Fashion


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Lake Placid Library 145The Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society has announced the first program of its 2015 “Odds and Ends” Winter Lecture Series on Wednesday, January 28 at Howard Johnson’s Restaurant in Lake Placid, NY.  The program is Dating Photos by Fashion” presented by Margaret Bartley, Trustee of the Essex County Historical Society.

“Dating Photos by Fashion” is a slide/lecture program designed to teach anyone who is interested in learning how to date old photos by the style of dress and fashion.  It will cover the period 1840 to 1920 and uses old photos to show how styles changed over a period of 80 years.  Dating old photos is a great help to anyone interested in history, genealogy or simply has old family photos that are unidentified or undated. Continue reading

Early United States Trade with China


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ben_franklins_worldA mercantile partnership led by Robert Morris sent the Empress of China, a 360-ton ship to Canton, China one month and eight days after the Congress of the United States ratified the Treaty of Paris, 1783.

Why did these merchants look so far east to secure a profitable trade? And why did they attempt such a venture not long after the United States secured its independence from Great Britain?

In this episode of the “Ben Franklin’s World” podcast, Dane Morrison, Professor of History at Salem State University and author of True Yankees: The South Seas and the Discovery of American Identity, helps us discover the answers to these questions and more as he leads us on an exploration of the early American trade with China. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/012

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Gifts of the Past At DuBois Fort Visitor Center


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HHS Teddy BearThe Historic Huguenot Street Curatorial Department has developed a new exhibit in honor of the winter holiday season. On display now in the DuBois Fort Visitor Center, “Gifts of the Past” features a selection of historic children’s toys from the Historic Huguenot Street Permanent Collection.

Holiday gift giving has been a tradition for several centuries. Around the world, Christmas traditions are influenced by the legend of a gift giver rewarding children for their good behavior with toys and treats. Items on display include the first model Teddy Bear, a set of alphabet blocks, handmade wooden dominoes, and a bisque handmade doll. Continue reading

Sam Roberts On ‘The History of New York in 101 Objects’


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History of New York in 101 ObjectsAs a reporter, I spend a lot of time reaching out to people who’d rather not talk to me. It’s not necessarily that they have something to hide. It’s more that their best default strategy is insipidity, to say nothing that jeopardizes their jobs or, especially, their boss’s.

That’s yet another reason I’m grateful for the opportunity to write about history. Historians, archivists, curators and librarians, as a group, are not only generous with their time, but also magnanimous about sharing their accrued wisdom, their collections and to steer me to resources I never imagined even existed. Continue reading

Artifact Identification Day In Clinton County Saturday


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Clinton County Historical SocietyTo celebrate International Archaeology Day, the SUNY-Plattsburgh Anthropology Department and Clinton County Historical Association (CCHA) invite community members to bring their artifacts and collections to the Museum to participate in their Annual Artifact Identification Day.

Archaeologists Chris Wolff and Andy Black from SUNY-Plattsburgh will be on the grounds of the CCHA to identify and provide more information about your artifacts from 11 am to 2 pm on Saturday, October 18th. They will also be displaying some of their findings from local excavations for visitors to view.  Guests are also encouraged to take advantage of the Museum’s free admission for this event and free family activities.  No appraisals will be given at this event. Continue reading