Fun at Winterthur, Week 3!

It’s hard to believe it’s already week 3! Over my weekend off, I visited Hagley and Nemours to check out the other DuPont estates (for free!) and spent the day in Annapolis visiting a good friend on Sunday. Nemours was really cool because it at first seems similar to Winterthur in its opulence and grandeur (although not all of Winterthur is opulent), but the closer you look, the more different they are. It really serves to illustrate how different Winterthur is, even though it appears to be just another huge mansion with beautiful rooms. Nemours is interpreted as AI DuPont’s home, so it is all decorated to his specific taste (or his second wife’s at least) and has a certain continuity; Winterthur on the other hand was designed as a museum, as I said before, and has none of the same continuity because it’s interpreted and laid out very differently. It made me think of how different museums operate and how they use their collections and layout to appeal to guests.

Just for fun, here are some pictures from Nemours because it’s gorgeous!

nemours_blog  nemoursdrawingroom_blog  nemoursentrancehall_blog

This week was a little different because I had Tuesday off, but I still got to work on a bunch of different things nonetheless. On Monday, I got to help out with handling and inventorying textiles to assess in person whether any of them needed to be deaccessioned or moved. I’ve spent the past few weeks just doing research for objects already on the potential deaccession list, so it was interesting to take part in another step along the way. We made some exciting discoveries of textiles that had once been in the Port Royal parlor, and I got to add those notes to the record. I didn’t do anything terribly exciting on my day off, but I had a busy weekend, so it was nice to get some rest. On Wednesday, we had a curators’ meeting in the morning, and I got to hear about everything that happened at Antiques Roadshow filming while I was gone. Apparently, most everything went off without too many problems, which was great. Thankfully, it didn’t rain, so the complicated rain plan never went fully into effect. It turns out that Winterthur will be featured on three separate episodes in the next season, and the order of appearance during the season will be based on how cool and valuable the stuff they found here is compared to the stuff at other places. I spent Wednesday afternoon researching more deaccessioning items with specific questions in mind (what room was this used in? hy was this specific pattern purchased?). On Thursday, I helped out the curatorial fellow with some cataloguing. We just acquired two rare books that were written by a quaker sailor travelling to the Caribbean. The sailor took notes on his education, sailing practices, his general voyage, mathematical concepts, and several other things. That in itself was interesting, but the sailor (who wrote “Job Jones His Book” in various different fonts and colors and sizes on essentially every other page) included small and large watercolor drawings and sketches. In some cases, he turned the S on “sailing” into a colorful bird, or the T in “traverse” into a large turkey. On the back of one journal, he drew a huge horse and labelled it “Job Jones The Horse 1766” (simple, but effective!). Our job was to describe the book for catalogue and inventory purposes since they were new to the collection. This was harder than it sounds, since we had to be detailed but also avoid paraphrasing every single page in the two volumes. It took a while, but it was really interesting! I had lunch with some of the Winterthur research fellows and learned about their study and education paths. There were some really interesting projects, so I want to hear more from them. Not many people up here work on Southern Studies, which is what I am most interested in, so it was nice to get to talk to researchers who focus on what I enjoy. In the afternoon, I worked on deaccessioning some more and then I helped research some chairs for an inquiry that Winterthur received about the styles of reproduction chairs that you might include in a lower-class dining room in the mid 19th century in Maryland. On Friday, I spent the morning uploading digital furniture files into our online catalog and researching more textiles. I also continued to research styles of chairs and tables for the project I had begun working on on Thursday. In the afternoon, I used the database and catalog to track down groups of 17th and 18th century tables for study. It wasn’t the most thrilling thing that I did all week, but I felt like I got a lot done! On a lighter note, I hosted the Instagram story for my sorority on Friday, so it was fun to think about what about my job and about the house I could show off. I wandered around the house finding interesting things for the story for a little bit in the afternoon, and I found a few unexpected William and Mary related things!

williamandmaryplate_blog   williamandmaryprint_blog

This concludes Week 3; I’ll be back next week with more fun at Winterthur!