It’s Been a Long, Fun Summer

Well, my friends, our summer at Locust Grove has come to an end and we are looking forward to a busy and beautiful autumn! From Independence Day to the Historic Wedding to Hemp Festival to Cultural Pass to our daily tours, we enjoyed seeing each and every one of you who visited with us this summer! You can relive  the events of the summer in the blog archives, but here are some highlights.
Over five hundred children and their parents joined us for Cultural Pass on Sundays and Mondays to tour the house, check out the outbuildings, wander the grounds, and play games with us! A special thanks to Heather, Noah, and Jocelyn H., who volunteered their time and expertise to inform and entertain our guests every weekend this summer! Noah and Jocelyn portrayed Charles Croghan and Eloise Bullitt and engaged our guests in nineteenth-century games and conversation topics while Heather loaned her extensive games collection and monitored many a spirited rolling hoop race!
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The Hiner family heading to the house for Cultural Pass fun!

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Jocelyn (as Eloise Bullitt) explains the finer points of hoop rolling.

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Noah (as Charles Croghan) contemplates the benefits of a 19th-century education.

Heather demonstrates making cornhusk dolls!

Heather demonstrates making cornhusk dolls!

As summer has drawn to a close, we’ve also said goodbye to our three wonderful interns–Sarah, Bailey, and Melissa! Their projects have added a great deal to our collections and our interpretation, but don’t take my word for it! Here are their own words about their experiences.
Bailey works on inventory in the woodshop.

Bailey works on inventory in the woodshop.

“I’ve had some trial and error (and ultimate success) in terms of formulating an efficient system to reconcile information from the physical collection of artifacts with information in the museum’s database. In a different vein, while I’m still probably more afraid than most when it comes to insects and squirrels, I have had to confront and conquer these hindrances in order to successfully do my project here.
Some of my favorite moments at LG have been witnessing how visitors connect American history to their personal histories. For example, while in the Woodshop I would often hear statements along the lines of: “My grandparents had an old shop just like this! The smell alone brings back great memories from childhood.” Or, “Wow, that’s an impressive collection of planes! I used to use some similar to those.” In those moments, I was given tangible examples of the importance of my project (inventorying the collection). For me, it’s easy to get into a solitary routine where I, obviously, understand the importance of my project from a curatorial standpoint. But, being able to interact and hear personal tidbits from visitors really made the project dynamic and especially meaningful.” –Bailey M.
Melissa works on a sewing project as a demonstration during Cultural Pass.

Melissa works on a sewing project as a demonstration during Cultural Pass.

“I had such a fantastic time as an intern at Locust Grove this summer that it is hard for me to put it into words! Brian, the program coordinator, and I worked very closely in order to plan and facilitate events such as the Historical Picnic and Wedding, Hemp Festival, Party like it’s 1922, and many more. I’m just thrilled that I was able to be a part of the LG team and can’t wait for all of the awesome things to come (hint: they contain whiskey and food!) My time at LG has given me the confidence to run into my graduate program at the University of Cincinnati headfirst, and I cannot wait to see where the future will take me!“–Melissa A.
Sarah leads the house tour she developed about Dr. John Croghan.

Sarah leads the house tour she developed about Dr. John Croghan.

“I absolutely loved this internship. If I had another chance to do it again, I definitely would. The hardest part about this project was finding primary sources to match wonderful secondary leads. One of my favorite finds was finding the article, “Remarkable Phenomenon.” This article is about John and his salt lick business hitting oil near the Cumberland River.The easiest thing about this internship was the people I worked with. Everyone at Locust Grove is so nice and interesting. This aspect about my internship is probably what I’ll miss the most. I loved hearing stories from volunteers about their life.” –Sarah H.

Our summer staff person, Samantha H., also completed a wonderful archaeology exhibit for us in the Surveyor’s Office! It is on display now, so stop by to see some of the pieces that were found on the grounds!

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Our first field trip of the school year!

The return of fall means students join us for school tours and field trips. We’ve already welcomed several classes for our Pioneer tours and Craft Samplers, and we look forward to welcoming even more in the upcoming months! More information about school tours can be found here.As we prepare for field trips, autumn events, and visitors from near and far, we’ve also been taking the time to make some repairs to the house. Here’s Lorraine carefully mending the worn places on the woven carpet that covers our stair treads. Each spot takes about six hours to complete, so we are incredibly lucky to have her skill and patience at work in our house.

Thanks for all of your great work, Lorraine!

Thanks for all of your great work, Lorraine!

We’ve had such fun playing this summer, and we’re looking forward to the fun continuing into the fall! Program Manager Brian Cushing had this to say about our summer events:

“We cast a wide net variety wise in order to find out what, exactly, it is that people want to come to Locust Grove to do. Our three most popular categories, hands down, were special theater performances, interactive/hands-on historical experiences, and Bourbon. Luckily, these are three things that we have the most fun bringing to people! This will likely guide the formation of new special programming going forward so  we can create series of programs that we know our visitors will value. We have laid the groundwork for a new wave of partnerships between Locust Grove and Kentucky Shakespeare and we are taking stock in the range of period trade centered historical experiences we have the capacity to offer. We also have some great connections here at Locust Grove with the Bourbon community, Susan Reiglar having been its biggest champion here, and will try to give life to every sort of experience we can think of.

I also want to mention our First Person Interpreters and living history demonstrators. They were more out in force this Summer than ever before and consistently grabbed the attention of visitors and delivered history to them in the interactive, engaging, moldable way that the modern museum audience requires. They have formed into a remarkable team and deliver an incredibly professional product, even though the corps is 100% volunteer. They are also only ever committed to making it better. We are looking at a solid cornerstone for the future of the Locust Grove experience here.”

As always, you can find our full calendar of events here, but now, we want to hear from you! If you attended one of our summer events, whether it was a Thursday night lecture on beer or a Sunday afternoon at Cultural Pass or Antiques Market, please tell us about your experiences! What did you enjoy this summer? What would you like to see more of here at Locust Grove?  We also love seeing pictures and  hearing stories of your time with us, so find us on social media, send us an email at staff@locustgrove.org, or use the contact form below.  And if you have any ideas about what you’d like to see on this blog, I am always open to suggestions! History is about everyone!

Yours sincerely,

Hannah

“Oh, the summer time is coming”: Summer Programs at Locust Grove

Don’t you just love summer? The weather is wonderful, school is out, and there are lots of things around town to see and do! After a brief blog hiatus for Gardeners’ Fair, I’m here to tell you all about the wonderful summer programs we have scheduled for the summer months at Locust Grove! We’re so looking forward to welcoming our visitors and guests to the Croghan family seat.

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Cultural Pass, a program sponsored by Metro Louisville in partnership with Metro Parks and the Louisville Free Public Library, will be running at Locust Grove on Sundays and Mondays from May 31 to August 7! Kids with a cultural pass will receive a historic house experience and activities focused on growing up at Locust Grove. Every weekend will have a different activity, so stay posted to our website, Facebook, and Twitter for the latest exciting updates! Cultural Pass tours will be offered at the top of the hour and last for about 45 minutes. For more information on the entire program and to find the complete list of participating institutions, check out more information here and here.

Our first Cultural Pass visitors in the kitchen with Program Coordinator Brian Cushing!

Our first Cultural Pass visitors in the kitchen with Program Coordinator Brian Cushing!

In addition to Cultural Pass, every Thursday night we’ll be hosting a different evening program! Special guest speakers will discuss areas of interest as diverse as home brewing, hearth cooking, Locust Grove’s woods, swing dancing, and book collecting. All programs begin at 6:30pm at Locust Grove and as some programs have attendance limits, you can call for reservations at 502.897.9845. A full list of Summer Thursday programs is here on our website.

Our ever-popular Summer Antiques Market returns on June 28 from 10-4:30pm, with a special Books, Collectibles and Art Sale running June 27-28, along with our FREE Independence Day celebration on July 4, and a new Historic Picnic and Croghan Family Wedding on July 18! We’ll be celebrating the marriage of Ann Croghan to General Thomas Jesup, so stay tuned for more updates and mark your calendars!

Summer is always such a fun time, so we hope you’ll spend part of it with us! I’ll leave you with this lovely air in celebration!

With warmest regards,

Hannah

P.S. To receive updates on all the goings-on at Locust Grove, why not join our e-mailing list? Sign-up HERE to receive monthly updates! Or if you foresee numerous visits to Locust Grove in your future, why not become a member? Friends of Locust Grove receive free admission, invitations to members-only events, a 10% discount in the Museum Store, a copy of our quarterly newsletter, The Grove Gazette and much, much more! More information can be found HERE.

You can also follow Locust Grove on the web by subscribing to the blog on the right, and following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. (We’re everywhere!)

 

Volunteers make Locust Grove go ’round: Meet Mary Beth Williams

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to tour Locust Grove, attend an event, drop off books for the book sale, browse in our gift shop, or stroll through our gardens, chances are you’ve come in contact with a Locust Grove volunteer. Our volunteers are passionate, tireless individuals who care deeply about Locust Grove and its mission and do everything from giving tours to directing traffic so our museum can continue to flourish and serve the community. We love all of our volunteers, and we’re always looking for new faces to join our team! Mary Beth Williams is our Curator of Collections and Education, and she also serves as our fearless leader of volunteers! Mary Beth has a Bachelor’s degree in History from Bellarmine University and a Master’s Degree in Art History with a concentration in Curatorial Studies from the University of Louisville. Mary Beth came to Locust Grove as the Program Director in 2008, and last summer rose to her current position as Curator of Collections and Education. When she’s not on site herding schoolchildren, Mary Beth loves to travel and knit, and is currently working on a sweater from the 1940s using a vintage pattern! She took some time out of her busy schedule of to answer some questions about our wonderful volunteers at Locust Grove.

Hi Mary Beth!

Hi Mary Beth!

Why are volunteers so important to LG?
Volunteers are crucial to the success of our operation!  We have a pretty small staff—only four full-time employees, and several part-time staff members.  Our volunteers make it possible for us to offer large events like the Gardeners’ Fair, Market Fair and book sale, or accommodate large school groups.  Just this week we had 95 kindergarteners and a church group all touring the house simultaneously.

Volunteer Bob Smith in the woodshop with local students

Volunteer Bob Smith in the woodshop with local students

What kinds of jobs do volunteers fill at LG?
Volunteers help in so many ways here.  They do everything from giving tours, helping in the store, helping with large mailings, research, working with school kids, and in the gardens.  At large events we always need help in the house, taking admissions, selling concessions, assisting with parking, and the ever illustrious and crucial job of trash patrol.

Volunteers in the kitchen with our gardener, Sarah!

Volunteers in the kitchen with our gardener, Sarah!

What kind of training goes into becoming a volunteer?

The type of training depends on the volunteer position.  During the training period, our docents shadow tours and are provided with a manual and materials to read.  Visitors Center volunteers work with our museum store manager to learn the ropes of customer service and using our cash register system.   Other areas, like helping with mailings or volunteering at special events, require little prior training—just the enthusiasm to help out Locust Grove.

 

What is your favorite thing about volunteers at LG?
I love working with our volunteers.  We have such fun and interesting people that are involved here.  We are fortunate to have a pretty good size group of volunteers, so I enjoy chatting and joking around with them.  I can be pretty sarcastic at times, but they’re pretty good about rolling with the punches.  Many of our volunteers are history lovers (for obvious reasons), so even though all of our volunteers are from different backgrounds, professions and ages we all share a common passion so that tends to bond us all together.

 

What is something people might not know about volunteering/volunteers at Locust Grove?
I am constantly amazed by how many years our volunteers have dedicated to Locust Grove (some for over 30 years!), as well as how many hours they contribute each year.  We recognize this service by adding a special bar with stars to a volunteer’s name tag.  One star = 100 hours of service, 2 stars = 500 hours, 3 stars = 1,000 hours of service, 4 stars = 2,000 hours, and so forth.  We have several volunteers who have earned a special fleur-de-lis which represents over 3,000 volunteer hours.  We even have one volunteer with over 7,000 hours!

 

Some of our award-winning volunteers!

Some of our award-winning volunteers!

Why should people volunteer at LG?
We are very grateful for the volunteers who give of their time and expertise, so we try to show them how grateful we are.  We have an annual volunteer appreciation party in the spring, where we have dinner and hand out awards.  Volunteers also get little perks like free admission to our monthly lecture series, and 10% off in the museum store.  We also take trips periodically throughout the year that are open just to volunteers.  In the past we have visited Mammoth Cave, Conner Prairie, Ashland, the Mary Todd Lincoln house, Riverside and Cave Hill to name a few.  We have a trip to Frankfort planned for this summer, so we’d love to have some new volunteers join us for that.

Locust Grove volunteers on a 2012 trip to Colonial Williamsburg!

Locust Grove volunteers on a 2012 trip to Colonial Williamsburg!

What are the current volunteer needs at Locust Grove?

Currently we are seeking docents, visitors center volunteers, and costumed demonstrator volunteers.  The costumed demonstrators showcase things like hearth cooking, spinning and wood working to school groups.  Training will be provided so no previous experience is necessary.

If you’re interested in becoming a Locust Grove volunteer, contact Mary Beth by calling (502) 897-9845 or emailing mwilliams@locustgrove.org. And to all of our volunteers–past, present, and future–thank you for all that you do! Locust Grove would not be Locust Grove without you.

Gratefully yours,

Hannah

P.S. If you haven’t already taken the Locust Grove blog survey, there’s still time! Click this link to add your input: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/W5X9CS3.

To receive updates on all the goings-on at Locust Grove, why not join our e-mailing list? Sign-up HERE to receive monthly updates! Or if you foresee numerous visits to Locust Grove in your future, why not become a member? Friends of Locust Grove receive free admission, invitations to members-only events, a 10% discount in the Museum Store, a copy of our quarterly newsletter, The Grove Gazette and much, much more! More information can be found HERE.

You can also follow Locust Grove on the web by subscribing to the blog on the right, and following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. (We’re everywhere!)