A Painful Past We Must Not Forget

It isn’t possible to truly understand Stratford Hall’s history without examining the lives of the enslaved Africans and African Americans who labored on Lee family lands and who mastered crafts necessary to make plantation operations flow smoothly. As on other colonial tidewater plantations, it was chiefly their toil that produced the cured tobacco that was the foundation of the region’s …

Stratford Hall 2009 Summer Interns

  Hello everyone! Greetings from Kat, Kate and Abby, three of Stratford Hall’s summer 2009 interns, here to talk about our experiences thus far. The first six weeks of our internships have flown by. * * * Kat: As Sarah’s Collection Management Intern, I have kept very busy making steady progress on the comprehensive inventory of the decorative arts collection. …

Preservation Field Lab at the Spring House

  For a week at the end of June, Belmont Technical College’s Building Preservation/Restoration program brought eight students here to Stratford Hall to preserve one of our spring houses. This project was chosen as the first collaboration between Stratford Hall and Belmont Technical College to ensure that this spring house will continue to stand and function for years to come. …

2009 Field School Findings

  The 2009 Field School students departed on June 19 after 5 weeks of excavating in the field west of the Oval. Most of the test units are now backfilled, leaving just a few open for future study. The weather this summer was fairly cooperative since the intermittent rains kept the ground soft for digging. We enjoyed having the students …

Barn Swallows

  This blog entry is from our Collections Manager, Sarah Holland. I’ve posted it for her this week. The sounds of baby birds chirping in their nests are usually welcome in the spring and summer months. Unfortunately, when birds decide to use a historic structure for the base of their nests, the sounds are not so pleasant. Bird nests—and their …

Archaeological Field School at Work

  The 2009 Field School in Historical Archaeology is currently exploring the field near the Oval excavations in hopes of locating additional structures associated with the farm site there. Thirteen students from the University of Mary Washington’s Department of Historic Preservation are participating in a five-week summer school class to learn basic archaeological skills under the direction of Dr. Doug …

Interpreter Attire

  Stratford Hall is currently undergoing some changes related to the Lee Heritage Interpretive Plan, which you have probably already learned from recent posts on this blog. One of those new changes, voted on by our Board of Directors in April, involves interpreter attire. Currently, the interpreters wear 18th-century indentured servant attire, but as of July 1, 2009, this will be …

A Real Rat’s Nest

The term “rat’s nest” makes you think about a real mess – be it a hairstyle or a messy room. But in our world, the term can be a welcome one, especially when the rat in question had such good taste in what she collected. Like other historic houses, Stratford’s Great House has hosted a variety of residents through its …

The Gardens at Stratford Hall

  This summer will mark the 80th anniversary of the partnership formed in 1929 between the Robert E. Lee Memorial Association and The Garden Club of Virginia to restore the gardens at Stratford Hall. The Education Department is celebrating that continuing association with various activities, including a retreat set for July 26-29, 2009 called “Arranging from the Garden.” Another way …

This Place Matters…

…and that is why all these people in the picture are involved at Stratford Hall–this is more than just a job. This picture was taken to kick off Stratford Hall’s celebration of Preservation Month, which begins today. Many of our staff members are included in this photo, including the Executive Director, members of the Board of Directors, senior staff, interpreters, …

Earth Day and the Environment

Happy Earth Day! I thought we could use this opportunity to talk a bit about environmental education at Stratford Hall. Many people know us as a historic site, but we’re always expanding our program offerings to include even more than history. With these changes, we’ll address more of Virginia’s Standards of Learning for school programs–not just history, but science and …