Flip-flops and flower gardens

March has arrived and we spent time earlier this month removing the wintertime scenarios from the Great House.  If you came to see us for our Christmastide program or any time over the holiday season, you saw the main house set up for a holiday party and displaying scenes of everyday wintertime life.  Silhouette-cutting in the Dining Room Closet and fresh laundry arriving from the Wash House for the hired Schoolmaster [above].

We’ve blogged about setting up the Great House for its wintertime scenarios  before (and its summertime scenarios and even fall ones too).  But what about springtime?  It is difficult (and incredibly time-consuming) to continually think of new ideas for room displays in the Historic Area.  So much planning goes into the new room projects (like the Parlor project that is now in its restoration and furnishing research phase) and changing them seasonally can be a challenge.

But just like our own houses, the residents of Stratford used their domestic spaces differently and changed things around as the weather changed.  I’m currently writing this blog post in my own home office, with the window thrown open and birds chirping outside.  I have flip-flops on my feet yet am bundled into a hoodie sweatshirt.  The heat has been turned off and the air has a springtime morning chill that is quite delicious.  My personal plans this time of year revolve around organizing and deep cleaning the house, as well as making plans for the vegetable and flower gardens.  English peas are one of my favorites.

Seasonality is always in the back of my mind when I plan scenarios in the Great House and Kitchen.  What foods are in season?  Would they have been using the fireplaces for warmth?  Would windows have been open for fresh breezes?  What little changes are being made (bed coverings switching from heavy to light, for instance)?  All adding up to bring a sense of real life to these historic spaces.