This past Friday, November 13, visitors enjoyed “Night in Washington’s Day,” a special evening event at Historic Kenmore that explored the history of nighttime in the 18th century. Night was an active time 200 years ago. People cleaned, cooked, plowed, prayed, and visited neighbors at night. Darkness inspired scientists to make incredible discoveries that led to centuries of exploration and different cultures composed epic narratives inspired by the stars. You can read information similar to that presented during “Night in Washington’s Day” here and here.
The Kenmore grounds lit by lanterns and luminaries.
Lanterns light the steps into the mansion.
A display of 18th century lighting technology.
Curator Meghan Budinger talks about how lighting technology was used 200 years ago.
Meghan demonstrates how colonial Americans carried their candles as they moved around a dark house.
The dining room was lit to approximate nighttime conditions.
Eventually, the modern electric lighting was extinguished, leaving only the replica candles and fireplace to light the room.
In a theater skit, two enslaved women owned by Fielding Lewis are up in the middle of the night. Hetty, a washerwoman and house servant, and Rachel, a cook, do extra laundry to earn money and fund an attempt to runaway.
Zac Cunningham, Manager of Educational Programs, told stories about the constellations. Here Zac recounts how Hercules flung two bears into the night sky and created the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.
Glenn Holliday of the Rappahannock Astronomy Club presents a history of astronomy.