‘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
There truly is a National Day for absolutely everything and even a National Underwear Day! That’s right! Undergarments have their own appreciation day and, to be precise, it was August 5. At first glance, National Underwear Day may seem rather silly but actually we probably don’t give enough thought to the importance of underwear. Before … Continue reading Drawers, Knickers, or Pants: Why Do We Call Them That?
Editor’s Note: Looking back in time, people’s personal hygiene, fashion choices, medical treatments, and more sometimes look, at the very least, bizarre, if not outright disgusting. When confronted with these weird or gross practices, our first reaction can be to dismiss our ancestors as primitive, ignorant, or just silly. Before such judgments, however, we should try … Continue reading Summer Stinks!: The Odoriferous 18th Century
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!
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
Editor’s Note: Looking back in time, people’s personal hygiene, fashion choices, medical treatments, and more sometimes look, at the very least, bizarre, if not outright disgusting. When confronted with these weird or gross practices, our first reaction can be to dismiss our ancestors as primitive, ignorant, or just silly. Before such judgments, however, we should … Continue reading Perukes, Pomade, and Powder: Hair Care in the 1700s