Tag Archives: Material Culture

Iroquois Indian Museum Prepares Opening, Events


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The Iroquois Indian Museum opens for its 2012 season on May 1 with a new exhibit and special events planned throughout the year. From May 1 until the closing day on November 30, the Museum hosts the exhibition, “Birds and Beasts in Beads: 150 Years of Iroquois Beadwork.” The exhibit features more than 200 beaded objects, largely from the collection of retired archeologist and Museum trustee, Dolores Elliott. Continue reading

Medical Center to Scan Albany Institute Mummies


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In preparation for the 2013 exhibition The Mystery of the Albany Mummies, the Albany Institute of History & Art’s two mummies, each thousands of years old, will be brought to Albany Medical Center for CT scans and x-rays, using modern imaging techniques to learn the mummies’ genders, causes of death, and more. Leading experts in body imaging and Egyptology will direct the procedures and analyze results.

The Albany Institute of History & Art’s two mummies were acquired from Cairo, Egypt in 1909, were brought to the Albany Institute from Cairo in 1909 by Samuel W. Brown, a member of the museum’s Board of Trustees. The mummies and their coffins have been seen by generations of visitors.

Arthur Pielli, Radiology Manager at Albany Medical Center, and two radiologists, Phuong Nguyen Vinh, MD, and Michael Edward Schuster, MD will examine the mummies. The results will then be analyzed with the help of Egyptologist and medical doctor Dr. Robert Brier, a Senior Research Fellow at Long Island University known as “Mr. Mummy,” and Dr. Peter Lacovara, the exhibition’s guest curator and Senior Curator of Egypt, Nubia and Near East at the Carlos Museum at Emory University.

The mummies were last examined by x-rays and CT scans on November 12, 1988. This preliminary analysis helped to determine the mummies’ sex, approximate ages, and various insights into the mummification process. The x-rays and CT scans show a number of bundles inside both of the mummies. Based on the last scan, it was determined that the partially unwrapped mummy is Ankhefenmut, a priest in the temple of Mut at Karnak in Thebes during Dynasty XXI (c.1085-945 BC).

Ankhefenmut is reported to have died in 966 and was probably between 55 and 65 years old at the time of his death. The wrapped mummy is a woman. Her name is not known because the top of the coffin was badly deteriorated and left in Cairo by Samuel Brown in 1909. According to Brown she also came from the cache at Deir el-Bahri. X-rays reveal that she was probably between 35-45 years old when she died.

During Dynasty XXI, a change in the practice of mummification occurred. The internal organs were no longer placed in canopic jars, but were usually wrapped in linen packages. These packages were then placed in the empty body or placed between the legs. Canopic jars, however, continued to be a part of the funerary equipment, but were made smaller.

Perhaps the most interesting discovery was a well-crafted fake toe, possibly made of ceramic, carefully attached to the right foot of the wrapped mummy. It is presumed that the toe was fashioned for the woman during the mummification process because of the belief that one had to be physically intact to enter the afterlife. This discovery was highlighted on The Learning Channel’s program, The Ancient ER, in February 2003.

The initiative is a collaboration between the Albany Institute of History & Art, Albany Medical Center, University at Albany Foundation, and the University at Albany Center for Humanities, Arts, and TechnoSciences.

Photo: Partially unwrapped mummy of Ankhefenmut, a priest in the temple of Mut at Karnak in Thebes during Dynasty XXI (c.1085-945 BC). Courtesy Albany Institute of History and Art.

A Survey of Oral Histories in Local Repositories


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Historical societies, especially small ones, often fall off the radar when librarians compile collection information, even though most of our cultural heritage is collected and kept in these small repositories. Personal accounts in the form of recorded oral histories are one of the most valuable, and also the most vulnerable of these precious local documents.

Librarian and oral historian Nancy MacKay (San Jose State University, School of Library and Information Science), is currently conducting a survey on the state of oral histories in repositories. She is especially interested in reaching historical societies and cultural centers. The results of the survey will be made available as widely as possible.

If your organization contains oral histories, please contribute information about your organization online.
The survey should take 15-20 minutes. More information about the survey can be found on the survey information page. The Survey deadline is March 30. For more information contact Nancy MacKay or Emily Vigor at curatingoralhistories@gmail.com.

NYS Museum Research in Archaeology Lectures


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Research findings on a 200-300-year-old skull found in a wall in Coeymans – the subject of recent news accounts – will be one of the topics discussed during a series of lectures on “Research in Archaeology” at the New York State Museum. The lectures will be held Wednesday through March 28 at 12:10 p.m. in the Huxley Theater. Lecture topics and dates are:

● March 14 – “Learning from Pottery.” Broken pieces of pottery, or sherds, are one of the most common artifacts recovered from archaeological sites younger than 3,000 years old. Dr. John P. Hart, director of the State Museum’s Research & Collections division, will
discuss recently completed research on sherds that provides information on how Native Americans interacted across what is now New York state.

● March 21 – “The Skull in the Wall: The Case of the Coeymans Lady.” The discovery of a human skull during repairs to the stone foundation at the historic Coeymans House in southern Albany County raised many questions about the person’s identity and manner of death.
Lisa Anderson, curator of bioarchaeology, will take a closer look at the skeletal evidence and historical context of the case.

● March 28 – “Cache and Carry: New Insights on Ice Age Technology of New York Paleoindians.” New York’s first people colonized the state at the end of the Ice Age. Ranging widely across New York and beyond, many have wondered how these hunter gatherers
created a portable stone technology compatible with their mobile way of life. Dr. Jonathan Lothrop, curator of archaeology, describes new insights from the study of a Paleoindian stone tool cache discovered in the upper Susquehanna Valley.

Founded in 1836, the State Museum is a program of the New York State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Located on Madison Avenue in Albany, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New
Year’s Day. Admission is free. Further information can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the museum website at www.nysm.nysed.gov.

Photo: Coeymans House from LOC Historic American Building Survey Digital Collection.

Brooklyn Museum Opening Cross-Collection Installation


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An innovative installation approach, featuring some of the most important objects in the Brooklyn Museum collection, has been developed to create new ways of looking at art and exploring the Museum by making connections between cultures as well as objects. Scheduled to open on April 19, 2012, Connecting Cultures: A World in Brooklyn, on long-term view in the newly renovated Great Hall, near the main entrance, provides for the first time a dynamic introduction to the Museum’s extensive collections, which range from ancient Egyptian masterpieces to contemporary art, representing almost every culture around the world, both past and present.

“This remarkable cross-collection presentation, built around some of the most exceptional works in the Museum, better enables the visitor to explore the collection galleries by providing a model of how to make connections between cultures and how to better understand the ways that different peoples have addressed many of the same issues throughout time,” states Museum Director Arnold L. Lehman. “For the very first time, our visitors have the opportunity to sample the breadth and depth of our holdings as they enter the Museum.”

“Over the course of the twentieth century, the Museum collected on a grand scale, making works of art that had previously been reserved primarily for the elite available to the public. As works of art became available to the many rather than the few, their meanings often changed. Deconstructing those meanings on a basic level provides an understanding of the Brooklyn Museum’s collections as a resource for study,” comments Chief Curator Kevin L. Stayton, who has coordinated the presentation, working with the Museum’s curators.

The installation is organized around three main sections: “Connecting Places,” “Connecting People,” and ‘Connecting Things.” In viewing the juxtaposition and combination of works from different cultures around the world, the visitor will be asked to consider the importance of the idea of place to the definition of culture and the self; the ways in which people represent themselves in the works of art that help define them; and the role of objects, or things, in supporting identity, both personal and cultural.

The “Connecting Places” section presents artworks that reflect the human fascination with the physical world around us and how it relates to spirituality. The landscapes in which people live and the elements of nature that surround them deeply affect the way people see the world and how they try to understand the universe. This section includes a four-legged bowl (circa 250-600 C.E.), made in what is now Guatemala, that reveals a Mayan concept of the cosmos; an eighteenth-century cosmic diagram, made in Gujarat or Rajasthan, that presents a unique worldview; the monumental 1765 painting Our Lady of Chocharcas Under the Baldachin showing the celebration of a pilgrimage in which Lake Titicaca is almost as significant as the statue of the Virgin herself; a festival hat, probably made around Potosi in the eighteenth century, depicting a triangular mountain that might be the Cerro de Potosi, the source of the silver that enriched the area; Louis Rémy Mignon’s monumental painting Niagara (1866), which became a powerful symbol of natural resources that made their potential seem almost limitless; the renowned Century Vase made by the Union Porcelain Works of Brooklyn for display at the Centennial Exposition, in 1876, displaying native animals and scenes of progress unique to the American experience; and a contemporary work, Soundsuit by Nick Cave, that explores man’s involvement with nature.

The “Connecting People” section investigates the ways in which human beings have represented themselves in artworks, in various cultures through time. A number of the works address the journey from life to death, such as a stunning and rare Huastec stone statue that features a standing human figure on one side and a skeleton on the other. Other works include a kachina doll, in the Brooklyn Museum collection since 1904, that reflects the ways in which the human form can represent the spiritual and universal; and Gaston Lachaise’s monumental Standing Woman, a modern work that dignifies the human form and raises it to a level that reflects the humanist tradition.

The “Connecting Things” section includes works that carry particular significance to those who make and use them. Among the objects is a group of more than 100 pitchers to illustrate the many permutations of a single form; kero cups used in ritualistic ceremonies that were important to the Andean concept of reciprocity; a coffin in the form of a Nike sneaker, by Ghanaian artist Paa Joe, that reflects the importance of consumer society and global trade in the modern world; and an African staff, a symbol of authority that is the model for an African-American emancipation cane.

The installation was designed by Matthew Yokobosky, Chief Designer at the Brooklyn Museum, working together with Chief Curator Kevin Stayton, Director Arnold Lehman, and all of the Museum’s curators.

Image: Louis Rémy Mignot (American, 1831-1870)’s “Niagara, 1866″, A Gift of Arthur S. Fairchild. Courtesy the Brooklyn Museum.

Rabbit Goody: A Rare American Ingrain Carpet


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Ingrain or Scotch carpeting was a main stay of early 19th century carpeting for households both common and wealthy. Woven as a two layer double cloth with geometric or curvilinear designs, ingrain carpeting became popular through the last half of the 18th century and blossomed in the 19th century.

One of only four known American produced ingrain carpets is in the collection of The Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities (SPLIA). It also has the most supporting information about its manufacture at Jones Mill, located in Cold Spring Harbor, NY. Advertisements from Jones Mill appear in the newspapers during the 1830′s and document the production of figured ingrain carpeting among other fabrics.

Ingrain carpeting woven by American fancy weavers in the first half of the 19th century is distinct from the imported Scotch and Kidderminster carpets. The American versions use locally produced softer grades of wool and have a slightly different structure, more akin to the structure of woven coverlets of the same period.

It has been extremely difficult to document the American carpets because with the use of soft wools, the carpets were less durable and ended up being worn out, cut up and used for smaller rugs, and simply disappeared.

We’ve been working at Thistle Hill Weavers to reproduce the Jones Mill example both in its original color, and in a blue and white version which will be installed in SPLIA’s restored Sherwood Jayne House.

Master Weaver Rabbit Goody write about historic textiles. Her weaving studio, Thistle Hill Weavers, in Cherry Valley, NY, is a small mill modeled after the trade shops of the 19th century.

Call For Papers: Textile History Forum


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The Textile History Forum, to be held June 8th-10th, 2012 at Hyde Hall in Springfield, NY, seeks papers and presentations on all aspects of textile history from the Pre-Columbian period through the twenty-first century, including textile technology, costume, quilts, weaving, dyeing, spinning, technological innovations, and textile availability. Current and unpublished research is especially encouraged.

Those interested in presenting a paper at the Forum should submit a one-page proposal by March 31st, 2012. Proposals chosen for presentation will be announced by May 1, 2012. Final papers are due by May 31st. Authors will retain copyright and are free to publish their work in other venues. Final papers should be no more than 16 pages long, including citations, bibliography, and illustrations. Continue reading

Fort Ti Material Culture Seminar This Weekend


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Fort Ticonderoga will host its Second Annual “Material Matters: It’s in the Details” Seminar the weekend of January 28 & 29, 2012. This weekend event focuses on the material culture of the 18th century and is intended for collectors, re-enactors, and people with a general 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.

A panel of material culture experts from the United States and Canada come to Fort Ticonderoga for the weekend to share their knowledge of 18th-century material culture in a series of presentations. Designed for those who want a deeper understanding of the everyday objects that help tell the story of life and the contests for control of North America during the 18th century, the weekend’s informal approach enables attendees to interact with presenters and provides an opportunity to examine 18th-century objects up close.

Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator of Collections Chris Fox will discuss the archeological remains of clothing and sewing-related artifacts in the Fort’s collection found during the Fort’s restoration in the early 20th century.

Joel Anderson, Artificer Program Supervisor at Fort Ticonderoga, will discuss the challenges of supplying the Northern Department of the Continental Army during the year 1776.

Matthew Keagle, a scholar of 18th-century Atlantic material culture, will talk about grenadier caps used by various 18th-century armies and their cultural significance.

David Ledoyen, a heritage presentation coordinator from Montreal, will explore 18th-century surgeons’ instruments and the evolution of surgeons as a profession in New France.

Stuart Lilie, Director of Interpretation at Fort Ticonderoga, will discuss equestrian saddlery and horse furniture. Lilie is a saddler specializing in 18th- and early 19th-century saddlery.

Sarah Woodyard, an apprentice in millinery at Colonial Williamsburg, will talk about 18th-century undergarments.

Registration for “Material Matters” is now open. A brochure with the complete schedule and a registration form is available on Fort Ticonderoga’s website by selecting “Explore and Learn” and choosing “Life Long Learning” on the drop-down menu. A printed copy is also available upon request by contacting Rich Strum, Director of Education, at 518-585-6370. The cost for the weekend is $120 ($100 for members of the Friends of Fort Ticonderoga).

Photo: Speaker Henry Cooke (left) and Curator of Collections Chris Fox (right) examine an original 18th-century coat during a “Material Matters” session last winter.

State Museum Aquires Unique Stoneware


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After hiding away in private collections – and a California coat closet – for nearly 200 years, a unique piece of early American decorative art is returning home to New York, where it will be housed at the New York State Museum thanks to collector Adam Weitsman. Weitsman, President of Upstate Shredding, also donated a monumental jug, two water coolers considered important by the museum and a gallon jug decorated with the image of a ship.

“The addition of these recent pieces of decorated stoneware surely put the New York State Museum on the map as having the premier collection of American stoneware. Not only are the decorations unique and outstanding as works of American folk art, but the documentation and history of these recent acquisitions enable us to learn so much more about the stoneware industry and those artists who left us such remarkable works of art,” said John Scherer, Historian Emeritus of the New York State Museum.

Weitsman has made a number of donations to the museum in the past, and a Herington incised jug will be an important – and valuable – addition to the collection.

A double-handled, profusely decorated stoneware jug is among the latest items Weitsman has donated. Inscribed “BENJAMIN HERINGTON,” it was bought at auction for what was, at the time, a record-breaking $138,000. The jug, considered by some a masterpiece, was made as a memorial to a 22-year-old potter who drowned in the Norwich, Connecticut harbor in 1823.

The double-handled jug joins two other pottery donations from Weitsman, including a 21 1/2 inch tall jug made in Poughkeepsie in the mid- to late-1800s, and a one-gallon stoneware jug decorated with the image of a ship, made in New York State between 1835-1846. The new acquisitions also include two water coolers made by Jonah Boynton of Albany purchased from New York City dealer Leigh Keno.

Stoneware was an integral part of the history of New York State and the expansion of the country in early days of exploration and settlement. In a time before refrigeration, stoneware was used to store and transport foodstuffs and drinking water. Clay deposits ideal for making stoneware were found around New York State, notably in what is now New Jersey, lower Manhattan and eastern Long Island. New York State became a large stoneware producer and artisans in New York developed durable vessels decorated with rich designs using incision techniques and distinctive rich blue coloring.

Weitsman began collecting American stoneware at age 11 and made his first donation of more than 120 pieces to the museum in 1996. In a 2009 article for Antiques and Fine Art Magazine, ‘Art for the People: Decorated Stoneware from the Weitsman Collection,’ Scherer wrote, “Since his initial donation Weitsman has continued to add at an aggressive pace to the museum’s holdings, making it the premier collection of American decorated stoneware in the country.”

The Weitsman Stoneware Collection is available can be viewed by the general public at the New York State Museum in Albany, New York.

Hyde Hall: A New Director and Textile Treasures


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For those of you who are not familiar with Hyde Hall, I had the greatest treat a few weeks ago: the new Executive Director, Dr. Jonathan Maney, and I perused the textile and trim collections that have survived at this Regency mansion.

Hyde Hall, a National Landmark and a New York State Historic Site, located in Springfield, NY, was built by George Clarke between 1817 and 1834.

Its importance to material culture historians is based on the extraordinary survival of furniture, textiles, textile ornaments, and receipts for the period of its building. Everything is fully documented.

Rarely do we have the opportunity to put so many pieces together to understand both the style and color way for window treatments in a high style Regency mansion circa 1830.

More important to those of us who work in rural areas, Hyde Hall is not located in an urban environment. Rather, it is far afield from the population centers that we normally associate with high style culture. Hyde Hall is perched high on a bluff overlooking the northern tip of Otsego Lake, about 60 miles west of Albany, New York.

We know that the draper/upholsterer came from Albany as did much of the furniture, and we know the exact volume of fabrics, trim, and ornaments that were ordered. We have surviving fragments of the original red damask, tassels, trim, and ornaments for the grand dining room and the drawing room. These great rooms are elaborate, handsome, and very well preserved.

Hyde Hall offers us the opportunity to study, educate, and reproduce the window treatments with more documentation than nearly any other historic site could ever hope to find.

Rabbit Goody is a textile historian and owner/weaver at Thistle Hill Weavers. She is also the director of the Textile History Forum.

Fort Ticonderoga Acquires 1759 Powder Horn


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Fort Ticonderoga’s collection is strengthened by a recent donation of an engraved powder horn made in 1759. The horn is inscribed “JOSEPH STAB HIS POWDER HORNE 1759.” Joseph Stab’s identity thus far remains silent. A search of available records for the military campaigns of 1759 has not yet revealed who he was.

Stab’s powder horn is nicely engraved with a variety of scenes and images. Directly above his name is a hunting scene depicting a horseman and three hounds chasing a deer. Another part of the horn is engraved with what appears to be Indians in trees shooting at game. A variety of birds, trees and deer are depicted over much of the remainder of the horn along with depictions of sailing ships one of which is identified as “Sloop Oswego.” The British Navy sloop Oswego was constructed on Lake Ontario in 1755 and captured (burned) by the French on August 14, 1756 at the end of the siege of Fort Oswego. Was the sloop depicted on Stab’s horn as a memory of service in a previous military campaign? Further research may reveal the answer.

Powder horns were regularly issued to American provincial and British regular soldiers in the French & Indian War for carrying bulk gunpowder. Unlike what is commonly seen in the movies, soldiers generally did not load their muskets directly from a horn. The horn was a container in which to carry bulk gunpowder to later be used in making paper cartridges. Many soldiers had their horns engraved perhaps as a way of commemorating their military service. Although there is little direct information that survives regarding the process of engraving a powder horn, it appears from scant evidence that most horns were engraved by a only a handful of men, perhaps individuals with known artistic or engraving skills, serving as fellow soldiers in the army. Some powder horns have poetic phrases reflecting upon specific events and military campaigns; others are inscribed with only the owner’s name and date. Many powder horns have maps or floral or naturalistic scenes engraved on their surfaces. Each horn, however it is decorated is a unique record of a person’s military experience.

Fort Ticonderoga’s collection of 18th-century military objects is celebrated as one of the best of its type in the world. The collection of engraved powder horns numbers about seventy-five pieces spanning the French & Indian War and American Revolution. According to Chris Fox, Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator of Collections, “Each powder horn is unique and has a story to tell.”

Dozens of engraved powder horns are exhibited in the museum each season and many will be featured in the museum’s newest exhibit Bullets & Blades: The Weapons of America’s Colonial Wars and Revolution opening May 2012.

Fort Ticonderoga Offers 2nd Material Culture Seminar


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Fort Ticonderoga will host its Second Annual “Material Matters: It’s in the Details” seminar the weekend of January 28 & 29, 2012. This weekend program focuses on the material culture of the 18th century and is intended for collectors, re-enactors, and people with a general 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.

A panel of material culture experts from the United States and Canada come to Fort Ticonderoga for the weekend to share their knowledge of 18th-century material culture in a series of presentations. Designed for those who want a deeper understanding of the everyday objects that help tell the story of life and the contests for control of North America during the 18th century, the weekend’s informal approach enables attendees to interact with presenters and provides an opportunity to examine 18th-century objects up close.

o Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator of Collections Chris Fox will discuss the archeological remains of clothing and sewing-related artifacts in the Fort’s collection found during the Fort’s restoration in the early 20th century.

o Matthew Keagle, a scholar of 18th-century Atlantic material culture, will talk about grenadier caps used by various 18th-century armies and their cultural significance.

o David Ledoyen, a heritage presentation coordinator from Montreal, will explore 18th-century surgeons’ instruments and the evolution of surgeons as a profession in New France.

o Stuart Lilie, Director of Interpretation at Fort Ticonderoga, will discuss equestrian saddlery and horse furniture. Lilie is a saddler specializing in 18th- and early 19th-century saddlery.

o Sarah Woodyard, an apprentice in millinery at Colonial Williamsburg, will talks about 18th-century undergarments.

Registration for “Material Matters” is now open. A brochure with the complete schedule and a registration form is available on Fort Ticonderoga’s website at www.fort-ticonderoga.org by selecting “Explore and Learn” and choosing “Life Long Learning” on the drop-down menu. A printed copy is also available upon request by contacting Rich Strum, Director of Education, at 518-585-6370. The cost for the weekend is $120 ($100 for members of the Friends of Fort Ticonderoga).

Photo: Speaker Henry Cooke (left) and Curator of Collections Chris Fox (right) examine an original 18th-century coat during a “Material Matters” session last winter.

Wanda Burch: 18th Century Bed Rugs


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The question was raised on “what are bed rugs?” in a recent living history association [ALHFAM] on-line thread. Bed rugs, often spelled “bed ruggs,” were common bed coverings that appear in both 18th and 19th century house inventories. Bed rugs were inventoried in Johnson Hall in Johnstown, NY, in a 1774 inventory of household goods by Daniel Claus. Johnson Hall was built in 1763; but the inventory was completed in 1774, a common recording for wills and cataloguing household goods. Continue reading

Museum of the City of NY Reopens Research Access


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The Museum of the City of New York has reopened access to it’s collections to onsite researchers. On November 1, the Museum resumes accepting appointments from outside researchers and began offering a dedicated space for research as part of their newly renovated collection storage facilities.

To learn how to submit an application for conducting onsite research, send a request to research@mcny.org. In your request indicate the collections of interest and describe your research need. Before contacting the Museum to inquire about a research appointment, visit the Museum’s Collections Portal (collections.mcny.org) which has over 100,000 digital images of photographs, negative, prints, drawings, postcards, and maps from the Museum’s collections.

The following onsite collections will be open to research appointments:

Manuscripts & Ephemera
Manuscript and ephemera holdings augment and complement other elements of the collections and are particularly strong in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century materials. The Manuscripts include papers related to notable New Yorkers, organizations, and events from the 17th century to the present. The ephemera collections include objects such as society dinner menus, trade cards, maps, Valentines, badges, Christmas cards, and material related to public ceremonies, special events, schools, sports, the shipping trade, transportation, statues and monuments, retail trade, and the police and fire departments.

Prints, Drawings, and Photographs
The Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Collection documents the built environment of the city and its changing cultural, political, and social landscape from its earliest days to the present. Photographic holdings include collections on Berenice Abbott, Jacob Riis, and the photographic archives of Gottscho-Scheleisner, LOOK Magazine, Byron Co., and the Wurts Brothers. Drawings range from18th-century pastel portraits and mural studies to political cartoons and architectural renderings. Specific collections include the archives of the Planning Board of the 1939 New York World’s Fair, the Harry T. Peters Collection of hand-colored Currier & Ives prints, and the Martin Wong Graffiti Collection.

Theater
The Theater Collection documents theatrical activity in New York City from the late 18th century to the present day. The heart of the Theater holdings is the John Golden Archive, which consists of approximately 40,000 folders, organized into files on productions, personalities, and performance spaces. The Theater Collection also holds collections on Burlesque, Circus, Minstrelsy, and Vaudeville. Files contain a wide range of material including photographs, contracts, correspondence, playbills, manuscripts, advertising materials, reviews, obituaries, clippings, sheet music, autographs, account records, prompt books, and ephemera.

The Museum also holds collections of Costumes and Textiles, Decorative Arts and Furniture, and Paintings and Sculpture; however, due to the special preparation necessary for handling these objects, access is extremely limited. For specific inquiries into these collections, email research@mcny.org

AIHA’s Annual Antiquarian Book, Ephemra Sale


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The 37th annual Antiquarian Book and Ephemera Fair will be held this Sunday, October 23, 2011 from 10 AM to 4 PM at the Washington Avenue Armory Sports and Convention Arena, 195 Washington Avenue, Albany. The fair is presented by the Albany Institute of History & Art and managed by Austin’s Antiquarian Books.

Individuals can bring their books, posters, ephemera, and collectibles and have them appraised at the fair. In addition to professional appraisals, the book fair will feature 60 dealers of rare, antiquarian, and out-of–print books, manuscripts, autographs, postcards, maps, posters, photographs, ephemera, and more. There will also be a silent auction of donated collectible items, many of local interest. All proceeds of the auction will benefit the research library of the Albany Institute of History & Art.

For vendor/appraisal information, contact Gary Austin of Austin’s Antiquarian Books by phone at (800) 556-3727. For more information, please visit www.albanybookfair.com. Admission to the book fair is $6.

Childhood Toys Highlight of New Albany Exhibit


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The Albany Institute of History & Art has opened a new exhibit, Kid Stuff: Great Toys from Our Childhood. This exhibition, based on the book by David Hoffman, was created by the Berkshire Museum and is on the last stop of its national tour.

From Slinky’s and Wooly Willy’s to Lionel Trains and Barbie Dolls, Kid Stuff takes visitors back to the age of tailfins and vinyl records with more than 40 toys from decades ago to see vintage toys with original packaging and promotional materials and have the opportunity to play and interact with contemporary versions. Additional displays such as photos of toy factory interiors, images of children at play, video presentations, and interpretive texts depict how toys work and their significance in American culture.

Enhancing the exhibition are ten interactive components that invite visitors to play with many of the classic toys they see on display. The hands-on stations include a LEGO construction site, Twister, a magnetic Mr. Potato Head (and friends) game, and more. The museum will host “Play for All” Saturdays throughout the run of the exhibition, which include additional interactive art stations as well as museum educators in the galleries to guide visitors through the hands-on components of the exhibition.

The exhibit will be on display through March 4, 2012.

Adirondack Museum’s Fabric and Fiber Arts Fest


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The Adirondack Museum will hosts its annual Fabric and Fiber Arts Festival on Saturday, September 17, 2011. Fabrics and regional artists are featured at this one day celebration of spinning, weaving, quilting, knitting, knotting and all fiber arts.

There will be textile appraisals by Rabbit Goody in the Visitor
Center from 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and a variety of yarn installations, or yarn bombings, displayed throughout the museum campus during the event. Yarnbombing is a type of street art typically found in urban areas.

Regional fiber guilds and artists will “yarn-bomb” more utilitarian parts of the museum in celebration of the fiber arts, and to showcase how traditional crafts like knitting and crocheting are being applied in new ways in the 21st century. This year’s
event includes a crocheted SUV cover by Jerilia Zempel.

In addition to the yarn-bombing displays, the museum will also feature the Third Annual Great Adirondack Quilt Show on September 17. The show is a special display of quilts inspired by or used in the Adirondacks, and will be open through October 9, 2011.

Demonstrations during the festival include: art quilting with the Adirondack Regional Textile Artists Alliance; bobbin lace-making with Judy Anderson; mixed-media textile arts and quilting with Louisa Woodworth; quilting with Northern Needles; rug hooking with the Country Ruggers; a variety of wool arts with Serendipity Spinners and felt making with Linda Van Alstyn. Linda will offer informal sessions of make your own felt flowers for a $5 fee.

Museum Curator Hallie Bond and guest Rabbit Goody will offer a presentation at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. entitled “Weaving Through History,” telling the history of the weaving tradition. Presentations will take place in the Auditorium. Visitors will be able to browse and buy from a small group of talented North Country fiber artists at the vendor fair. Enjoy fiddle and guitar music by talented musicians Doug Moody and John Kribs throughout the day.

Hands-on activities include recycled rugs – help braid strips of blue jeans into a floor rug and placemats for the museum’s Little Log Cabin, or make a coaster for home from recycled tee-shirts. This year’s Fiber Fest will include an afternoon knit-in hosted by Carol Wilson. This will be an opportunity for knitters to work on a project in the company of other knitting enthusiasts, and to exchange tips with other participants about how to tackle tricky techniques. Knitters are highly encouraged to bring finished projects to display, as well as works in progress.

Visit www.adirondackmuseum.org for a list of fiber related workshops that will take place on Sunday, September 18, 2011.

Americana Symposium at Fenimore Art Museum


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On September 30 and October 1, the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York will host an Americana Symposium, “Inspired Traditions.” This new event, which is expected to be an annual occurrence, will feature distinguished scholars who will present their research on a variety of topics represented by the Jane Katcher Collection of Americana – a privately held folk art collection – as well as the folk art collection of the Fenimore Art Museum.

Presenters include Robin Jaffee Frank, David A. Schorsch, Robert Shaw, and other folk art and Americana specialists including Jane Katcher, Dr. Paul S. D’Ambrosio (President and CEO of the New York State Historical Association / Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum), Eva Fognell (Curator of The Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art), Richard Miller, and Robert Wilkins.

The symposium will coincide with the opening of the Fenimore Art Museum’s fall exhibitions – Inspired Traditions: Selections from Jane Katcher Collection of Americana and Unfolding Stories: Culture and Tradition in American Quilts. Both exhibitions run through December 31, 2011.

A new book, “Expressions of Innocence and Eloquence, Selections from the Jane Katcher Collection of Americana, Vol. II” will also be released at that time.

The symposium schedule includes a welcome reception and attendee dinner on Friday, September 30. On Saturday, October 1, there will be morning and afternoon speaker sessions with a buffet lunch at noon. Attendees will also have time to explore the Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum. Fee: $75 ($65 New York State Historical Association members). For a complete schedule or to registeronline, visit FeninmoreArtMuseum.org/symposium or call (607) 547-1453.

Photo: Flying Fame weathervane, Possibly New York, circa 1880–1890. Copper, zinc, traces of original gold leaf, verdigris, 30 × 31 × 12 inches.

Museum Seeks Adirondack Quilts


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Do you have an exceptional bed quilt or pieced wall hanging that was made in, inspired by, or depicts the Adirondack region?

The Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake, New York is seeking quilts for “The Third Annual Great Adirondack Quilt Show” to be held from September 17 to October 9, 2011. The show open the day of the museum’s Fabric and Fiber Arts Festival and will complement the final season of the exhibit “Common Threads: 150 Years of Adirondack Quilts and Comforters.”

There will be two divisions in the show. Historic quilts (those made before 1970) can be of any theme or technique, but must have been made in the Adirondacks. Modern quilts (those made after 1970) should have a visible connection to the Adirondack region. A “People’s Choice” award will be presented to one quilt in each division.

An eligible quilt might depict an Adirondack scene in appliqué or be composed of pieced blocks chosen because the pattern is reminiscent of the region – “Pine Tree,” Wild Goose Chase,” or “North Star,” for example.

Although the show will not be juried, applicants must complete a registration form prior to September 1, 2011. A statement by the maker is required to complete the application process. For additional information or to receive an application, please contact Hallie Bond via email at hebond@adkmuseum.org , by telephone at (518) 352-7311, ext. 105, or through the postal service at P.O. Box 99, Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y., 12812.

Photo: “Late Summer” by Joanna Monroe was one of the entries in the 2010 Great Adirondack Quilt Show.

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John Jay Homestead’s Curator on American Silver


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Curator’s Fabulous Finds, a series of artifact talks at John Jay Homestead, will continue on Sunday, May 15 at 2:00 p.m., and will be repeated on Thursday, May 19 at 7:00 p.m. This spring’s lecture will examine and discuss British, Spanish, and American silver from the Homestead’s historic collection. The cost of admission will be $10.00 per person; members of the Friends of John Jay Homestead may attend at no charge.

Like all members of the upper class in the early 19th century, the Jays used fine silver on a day-to-day basis. Among the objects to be examined are John Jay’s elegant, Neoclassical Sheffield plate hot water urn and a very rare, early 18th-century sterling silver teapot made for his wife’s grandmother by the noted silversmith, Pieter Van Dyck.

Attendees will also view up close such unusual objects as an 18th-century silver table fork from Spain, a Bull’s Eye lamp (which burned whale oil), a silver and coral whistle and bells (a baby’s toy for play and for teething), and a mote spoon, used for removing stray tea leaves from one’s cup of tea. The differences between sterling silver, coin silver, and Sheffield plate will be discussed, as will the techniques of hand working silver in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Space at the talk is limited, and reservations are strongly suggested. To reserve seats, call John Jay Homestead at (914) 232-5651, extension 105.

John Jay was a President of the Continental Congress, the second U.S. Secretary for Foreign Affairs, the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the second Governor of New York State. He retired to Bedford in 1801 to live the life of a gentleman farmer. His home is now a beautiful sixty-two acre historic site that includes lovely walks, several gardens, farm buildings, and a richly-decorated main residence restored to the 1820s, the last decade of Jay’s life.

John Jay Homestead State Historic Site is located at 400 Route 22, Katonah, Westchester County, NY. John Jay Homestead is regularly open for guided tours Sunday through Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and at other times by appointment.

Photo: John Jay’s silver tea urn. Courtesy john Jay Homestead.