Preparing the Great House for Winter

This past week we have been working on readying the Great House for not only our Christmas program (1774:  A Stratford Christmastide), but also setting up new room scenarios for the winter in general.  You’ve already heard about how I like to change the house displays for the seasons (like summertime scenarios), so the winter is no exception.  Here’s a …

Slave Quarters Exhibits On The Way

  At the beginning of July we officially closed our slave quarters to the public. These two buildings are reconstructions on the site of the late-18th century stone quarters that housed “home farm” slaves (domestic workers and other skilled laborers). You’ve heard already about the preservation work currently in progress, and the planning for educational hands-on and classroom space that …

Setting up house

It is wedding season and I’ve been looking at a lot of wedding registries lately for a few friends who are getting married.  Most couples today register for “fancy” goods like china and expensive wine glasses, but also for “practical” goods like a dish drainer or trash can.  It got me thinking…when Thomas and Hannah Lee set up house at …

Dressing J. Paxton the joiner: using primary documents

  The collections team is working feverishly to get ready for the installation of the Southwest outbuilding next week.  One of my tasks in all of this is to create a furnishing plan that draws on what we know about Stratford and its residents.  In the servants’ chamber, we have chosen to highlight the domestic life of the skilled craftsmen who worked …

A week in the work shop with the M-WTCA

  Last week we had the pleasure of hosting a group of members of the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association (M-WTCA).  This knowledgeable group had agreed to help us with the furnishing and installation of our work shop and were very eager to get the job done.  Using research collected regarding the skilled craftsmen who worked at Stratford in the 18th …

Progress in the workshop thanks to the M-WTCA

With the official reopening of the Southwest outbuilding slated for April 2010, we are coming down the home stretch with furnishing research.  The workshop area of the building (the first room you walk into) is in good shape thanks to the support of the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association (M-WTCA). These avid tool collectors and scholars have been helping to identify …

Southwest Furnishing Research

The Southwest outbuilding is currently closed to the public during this restoration and reinterpretation phase. Right now I am researching the history of the use of this building – we aren’t quite sure what the Lees and other residents of Stratford used the building for in the 18th and 19th centuries. An 1801 insurance document indicates it may have been …