Following Eleanor Ferrell: A Runaway Indentured Servant

New: see the full article online here. If it doesn’t come up, go to the home page and search again. Abraham Emmit labeled her “an ill natured, scolding, cursing, swearing, thieving servant Woman. I’ve been following Eleanor Ferrell began during my … Continue reading

Hike up your woolen undies: A Treatise on the Propagation of Sheep

Baa. Cool it, already. John Wily wrote the motivational pamphlet A Treatise on the Propagation of Sheep, the Manufacture of Wool, and the Cultivation and Manufacture of Flax, with Directions for making several Utensils for the Business in Williamsburg, VA, … Continue reading

Museum Monday: Why Museums Don’t Have Pictures of Everything on Their Websites

I hear the occasional grumble. Why is that photo of that object so bad? Why isn’t there an online database? Why are only selected objects online? Why can’t museums get their acts together? I worked on a grant project for … Continue reading

Iro Iro: My Brief Moment as a Japanese Classical Dancer

Kimono? White makeup? Shamisen music? In New York City? I spent a few years as part of a semi-professional kabuki dance troupe here, as a student. Many westerners might think white makeup when “kabuki” is mentioned, but they might be … Continue reading

Digging Up My Ancestors – Smithsonian Edition

Click here for Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. And then, my family members went on vacation. Like many families, they visited the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. But unlike your average Washington, D.C. tourist, the Coles … Continue reading

The Act of Research – London Metropolitan Archives Edition

The National Archives, the DAR Library in Washington, the Maryland State Archives, the Pennsylvania Historical Society, the London Metropolitan Archives, Library of Congress, and so forth. I love the click of the microfilm drawer, the smell of old paper, the … Continue reading

Other Families’ Photo Albums – What Am I Doing in There?

As living history interpreters, our role is to talk to the public about the past. We fill in the gaps in most schools’ history curriculums. Whereas they learned places, dates, and military maneuvers, I’m interested in filling in the details … Continue reading

Transit Tuesday – The Shore Line Trolley Museum

Did you know that you used to be able to use local streetcar services to trolley-hop between New York and Boston? That one story should make it clear to you how much public investment we have lost to private enterprise … Continue reading

Argand Lamp – A moment of pause for Barbara Carson

Barbara Carson was one of my professors in The George Washington University’s M.A. program in Museum Studies. I took her American Decorative Arts and Time and Light in the Decorative Arts courses, and was sorry I didn’t get to take … Continue reading