This past week the curatorial and archeology departments came together to fulfill a long-held dream to make oyster ice cream. Many people asked "why?" others said "gross," and many just shook their heads at our endeavor. But we are not easily put off by odd things in history. In fact, many of us seek them … Continue reading Oyster Ice Cream: The Enigma
School is out for summer…almost! Students are counting down the days until they are free from homework, but the learning does not have to stop!. The George Washington Foundation has been busy preparing fun-filled summer camps to encourage critical thinking through exploring the past. In our Camp George v. George, students will be asked, “Would … Continue reading Camp George v. George: A Summer Camp to Travel Back to Colonial Virginia
As a Historic Preservation major at the University of Mary Washington, I spend a lot of time studying objects from the past. Through my courses, I have learned that common, everyday objects are often able to reflect the values of the people that created and used them. I kept this in mind during my internship … Continue reading Put A Lid On it: Mason Jars and Home Canning in America
Couz. Betty Stratford by London 2nd [Nov] 1749 I have sent you by your brother Major Washington a Tea Chest; and in it Six Silver Spoons, and Strainer, and Tongs, of the Same. And in one Canister 1/2 L. [pound] of Green Tea, in The other a Pinch Bohee: and the Sugar box is full … Continue reading A Gift Across the Seas: Betty Washington’s Silver Tea Set from Her Uncle Joseph Ball
In this video, archaeologist Mara Kaktins shares bits of Mary Washington's dishes excavated at Ferry Farm and explains their significance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KCtCe-d-MQ Read more about Mary's dishes in this blog post.
Christmas in the 18th century was celebrated quite differently than it is today. Unlike today, one of the most important (and wildest) celebrations of the season took place on January 6th, or Epiphany. Also known as Twelfth Night, this holiday is more comparable to our present-day New Year’s celebrations in style and entertainment. Our stereotypical … Continue reading “Dined at the City Tavern”
Eggnog is a staple drink during the holiday season. Historians debate the exact ancestry of eggnog but most agree that it originated from early medieval “posset”, a hot, milky, ale-like drink. Eventually, expensive and rare ingredients like eggs, sherry, brandy and Madeira were added and the drink became the trademark of the upper class. During … Continue reading Making Eggnog
The story of Mary Ball Washington is one of overcoming a lifetime of adversity. Often overshadowed by her larger than life son George, Mary’s place in history fluctuated from saint to shrew with many historians ignoring the obstacles she faced and overcame. The archaeological record sheds light on some of the strategies Mary used to … Continue reading Appearance is Everything: Mary Washington and Her Specialized Ceramics of Gentility – Some Seriously Fancy Dishes!
One of the most exciting and important discoveries archaeologists have made at Ferry Farm is a pewter teaspoon baring the initials B.W. It belonged to Betty Washington. This spoon was part of a set that trained her to oversee the extremely important tea ceremony. Serving tea in the 18th century was more than an act … Continue reading When a Spoon is More Than a Spoon: The Initialed Teaspoon of Betty Washington
In this experimental archaeology video, we reveal how well four different 18th century techniques preserved fresh uncooked eggs before the advent of refrigeration. Watch the first part. https://youtu.be/936qa541VLw