In honor of the Independence Day tomorrow, I want to talk about a pressing question I had as a child pertaining to one of our most popular patriotic songs "Yankee Doodle". We all know the first verse. Yankee Doodle went to town A-riding on a pony, Stuck a feather in his cap And called it … Continue reading Why Did Yankee Doodle Call a Feather “Macaroni”?
When Mr. Gilchrist [the hairdresser] opened my aunt’s head, …its effluvias [bad odor] affected my sense of smelling disagreeably, which stench however, did not surprise me when I observed the great variety of materials employed in raising the dirty fabric. False locks to supply the great deficiency of native hair, pomatum with profusion, greasy wool … Continue reading From Servants to Sovereigns, Lousy Hair Days (Part I)
In honor of the Independence Day, I want to talk about a pressing question I had as a child pertaining to one of our most popular patriotic songs "Yankee Doodle". We all know the first verse. Yankee Doodle went to town A-riding on a pony, Stuck a feather in his cap And called it macaroni. … Continue reading Why Did Yankee Doodle Call a Feather “Macaroni”?
After unearthing over 200 wig hair curlers from Washington’s Boyhood Home, we were in a position to do something that - to our knowledge - has never been done before: crossmend all those curler fragments. As a result, we can now predict the minimum number of curlers the Washington family’s harried hairdressers needed. If you … Continue reading How Many Curlers did a Harried Hairdresser Need? Let’s Do the Math!
“There is no man who hates the power of the crown more, or who has a worse opinion of the Person to whom it belongs than I.” - Charles James Fox, letter to Edmund Burke, 24 January 1779. Quoted in L. G. Mitchell, Charles James Fox (1997:41). “It is intolerable that it should be in the … Continue reading The Fox: A Bygone Symbol of Liberty
We have been working tirelessly to improve the accuracy of the costumes that actors and staff wear when performing for or interacting with the public at Historic Kenmore and George Washington’s Ferry Farm. This is no easy task, but it improves the visitor experience and helps them better understand the Washington and the Lewis families … Continue reading Dressing the Past: Costuming Challenges at Ferry Farm & Kenmore
It is impossible for museums to exhibit the thousands of objects in their collections. Historic Kenmore is no exception. While each of our objects is certainly unique and interesting, not every piece fits within our current interpretation of the life and times of the Lewis family. One reason museums might not display items is they … Continue reading Ten Rarely-Displayed Objects from Kenmore’s Collection
The majority of what crosses my desk everyday as I catalog artifacts are items that would be difficult, if not impossible, to ascribe to any one person who lived on the land we call Ferry Farm. Architectural debris (brick, mortar, plaster, nails), food remains (oyster shell, animal and fish bones, eggshells (!)), broken household objects … Continue reading Paste Gems: It’s the Real Thing (Almost!)
We’re pretty interested in 18th century hairstyles, wigs, and wig-styling here at George Washington’s Ferry Farm and Historic Kenmore. As evidence, check out our most viewed blog post. It's about wig styling. Our interest stems from the hundreds of wig curlers archaeologists have excavated during digs at Ferry Farm. While those wig curlers were used to style … Continue reading Le Pouf: Sensational Hairstyle of the 18th Century
This week, we delve into our collections to investigate some fascinating fashions from across the centuries. London Fashion Week took place late last month while today marks the final day of Paris Fashion Week. Just as they do in the 21st century, those two cities represented cultures that helped determine the height of fashion in … Continue reading Petticoats and Pink Lightning