I can see clearly now…

Mirrors and looking glasses. Used in the 18th and 19th centuries not only for checking out your appearance, but also for reflecting limited light coming from windows, candles, or lamps. And showcasing your wealth. ‘Looking glass’ was the typical term for large sheets of mirrored glass framed and hung on a wall. The term ‘mirror’ was used for very specific …

It’s all in the ceiling…

Who knew a ceiling could cause so much trouble?  Earlier this week we began to install the new plaster cornice (also known as crown moulding) in the Parlor as part of the restoration.  As the plaster contractors proceeded with the installation, it became evident that the ceiling was going to pose a problem for us.  The first issue encountered was …

Summer Plans

What are your plans for the summer? A lot will be going on at Stratford over the next few months because this is the start to our busy season. In additional to all the vacationers and staycationers we see every summer, this year’s calendar of events is very full. Here are a few highlights! We kick off the summer with …

A Different View of Stratford

This question came up yesterday when a great photo of the Octagon showed up on the Virginia.org Facebook page. Certainly when you think of Stratford Hall, an image of the Great House comes to mind. No matter the season, the Great House always makes for a beautiful photo, as evidenced on our current Facebook page banner. Most of the photos …

Preservation and Restoration Excitement… No Really…

It’s exciting times in the Preservation Department here at Stratford Hall. But lets be serious, when isn’t it exciting? The big project I continue to work on is the Parlor restoration. The Parlor is being restored to its ca. 1795 Federal Period, also known as the “Light Horse Harry” Lee period. I described the overall project in a previous blog …

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 …

A project of a different kind

Stratford Hall is still cleaning up from the major weather/natural events of the last month. With the exception of a crooked painting and swinging chandeliers (and a few rattled nerves), Stratford Hall did not experience any real lasting impact from the earthquake on August 23rd, 2011. Hurricane Irene did leave a lasting mark. In the days leading up to the …

Greetings from AASLH!

  The 2011 AASLH (American Association for State and Local History) Annual Meeting is being held in Richmond, only an hour from Stratford Hall. This proximity made it possible for me (Abigail Newkirk, Director of Interpretation and Education) and Gretchen Goodell (Curator) to attend. This year the theme isCommemoration: The Promise of Remembrance and New Beginnings. Attending conferences is an …

Country houses…in England and Wales

  Throughout the month of July, I had the good fortune to be able to travel in England and northern Wales as part of the Attingham Summer School, a study program run by The Attingham Trust.*  My classmates included architectural historians, curators, conservators, and preservationists from around the world (Russia, Australia, Switzerland, India, etc.).  For three weeks we traversed the …