Dig These Dishes! We Recreate an 18th Century Table Setting Using Only Artifacts.

On a typical day at George Washington’s Boyhood Home at Ferry Farm, visitors experiencing the house tour are ushered into the main hall upon which a dining table is set out before them with 18th-century reproductions of plates, glassware, wine bottles, and serving dishes. This setting creates an interactive experience for our visitors, transporting them … Continue reading Dig These Dishes! We Recreate an 18th Century Table Setting Using Only Artifacts.

Playing Around: 20th Century Die-Cast Toys Excavated at Ferry Farm

A lot of people don’t realize how many 20th century artifacts we excavate at George Washington’s Ferry Farm.  Up until the 1990s, families lived and farmed on the property, leaving tens of thousands of artifacts behind.  Some of our favorite modern artifacts are the toys we recover, whether marbles, plastic army and cowboy figurines, doll … Continue reading Playing Around: 20th Century Die-Cast Toys Excavated at Ferry Farm

Bad Medicines: Mercury and Self-Medication in the Civil War

During the Civil War, George Washington’s Ferry Farm was the site of Union Army encampments that included some defensive works like a trench dug into the crest of the ridge overlooking the river.  In that trench and throughout Ferry Farm’s landscape, Union soldiers lost and threw away a wide array of military gear and personal … Continue reading Bad Medicines: Mercury and Self-Medication in the Civil War

“I Look Not On Things Beneath Me”: Our Snobbiest Artifact, a Wax Seal Stamp That Needs To Dial Back that Sass

‘Haughty’ is not a word used often to describe artifacts.  That is, of course, unless the artifact in question is a glass wax seal stamp with a kind of snooty message on it.  Of diminutive size (smaller than a dime) with a pretty little flower in the center it proclaims in reversed letters “I Look … Continue reading “I Look Not On Things Beneath Me”: Our Snobbiest Artifact, a Wax Seal Stamp That Needs To Dial Back that Sass

Mickey Owen Was Found in the Plaster!: A Look at Some Curious Inclusions Found in Plaster from Historic Kenmore

Historic Kenmore is known for the unique decorative plasterwork seen on many of its ceilings. However, some of its most unusual pieces of plaster were discovered during repair work being done in 1989. These were pieces of plaster that contained large clumps of animal hair and newspaper. An inspection of this plaster, considering an architectural … Continue reading Mickey Owen Was Found in the Plaster!: A Look at Some Curious Inclusions Found in Plaster from Historic Kenmore

Thievery, Espionage, and Fancy Dishes: Why Porcelain Was a Big Deal for the Washington Family

Porcelain is the king of all ceramics.  As resilient as it is beautiful, porcelain has long fascinated many people.  During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD), the Chinese began exporting porcelain to Europeans, who coveted the precious dishes to the point that porcelain became more valuable than gold.  Europeans obsessed over how it was produced and … Continue reading Thievery, Espionage, and Fancy Dishes: Why Porcelain Was a Big Deal for the Washington Family