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
What is a jaw harp, and what does it tell us? This little instrument likely looks familiar, but you may not know that much about it. That certainly proved the case for me when I decided to research the four we have in our collection. To start, a jaw harp is an extremely simple instrument … Continue reading Music from the Past: Jaw Harps and their Players
The concept of buying items to remember certain events or travels is commonplace today. Who goes abroad without bringing back a trinket naming the location? Is it possible to go antiquing without seeing an item that commemorates the wedding of Charles and Diana? Even the smallest item has the ability to tell a story through … Continue reading Catherine of Braganza: How the copy of a 17th-century plate tells the story of design, consumer consumption, and the Washington Family
As archaeologists, we focus on studying the past by examining the items previous humans have left behind. Anything that has been made or changed by someone in the past is therefore considered to be an artifact. When you think of stone artifacts, the first thing that usually comes to mind are arrowheads. Arrowheads and spearheads … Continue reading When is a rock also an artifact?
Ask someone to list traditional summertime activities, and they will probably mention picnics, family reunions, beach vacations, mountain getaways, and baseball games. Their list is likely to include going to the fair as well. The fair as a summer pastime is a long tradition and, like many American traditions, can be traced back to the … Continue reading Summertime Fun: Colonial June Fair
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
As spring approaches in the Middle Atlantic and Northeastern states, we welcome the chance to spend more time outdoors in the fresh air instead of cooped up in our houses – getting sick. Ailments such as colds and flu are contractible anytime, but we usually associate them with the wintertime as that’s when they seem … Continue reading Winter Ailments (and how to endure them in the eighteenth century)
The sending of a letter in Colonial America was more challenging than today. The concept of post offices and regularly scheduled mail arrivals and departures evolved slowly in the colonies. Colonial mail faced many obstacles. Geography, political opposition, and a general lack of interest hindered a national system that serviced all the colonies. How to … Continue reading You’ve Got Mail: Development of the Colonial Postal Service in Virginia
We are excited to be celebrating George Washington's 290th birthday (although it's the day before his actual birth date) on President's Day! On February 22, 1732, George was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia. Some interesting facts are associated with his birth-date and the subsequent birthday celebrations he would have as an adult. For instance, did … Continue reading Happy Birthday, George!
The staff at the George Washington Foundation posited the idea of what it would be like to go on a date with a Founding Figure. We use the term “Founding Figure,” because a couple of dates are with the ladies of the American Revolutionary period and not just the “fathers.” Although, fun fact, the term … Continue reading My Date with a Founding Figure