Curatorial Curiosity: Meet Hannah M.!

Here at Locust Grove, we are fortunate to have so many tremendously talented people share their time and talents with us.  Our volunteers are the lifeblood of the organization, and our interns serve as a superb resource for all sorts of projects. Over the past few months, Hannah M. has acted as our Collections Intern, working with our Curator Mary Beth to bring our collections storage and registry up to snuff. Hannah is a Louisville native who grew up near Locust Grove, and has many fond memories of adventures on the property. Take it away, Hannah!

Hannah M. in newly reorganized Collections Storage!

Hannah M. in newly reorganized Collections Storage!

Hi! I’m Hannah M. As a homeschooled kid, my siblings and I spent many hours roaming through the woods and creeks behind Locust Grove and often picnicked at HLG back in the 90s. I moved away from Louisville in the early 2000s but recently moved back with my husband, Justin, and our two Australian Shepherds, Dash and Zero. While I was away, I received my bachelors degree from the University of Mary Washington (UMW) in Fredericksburg, VA. It’s a lovely, small school that used to be the sister school to UVA! At UMW,  I double majored in Historic Preservation and American Studies with a minor in Museum Studies. I also interned at Kenmore Plantation, the home of George Washington’s sister, and Ferry Farm, GW’s childhood home! After graduating, I worked for a hospital system’s supply chain management department back in Virginia. It was nice to experience the “cubicle-life” but it made me even more sure that I wanted to work in a museum. I decided to take the leap and go back to school! Currently, I am completing my Masters in Museum Studies to be a Registrar or a Collections Manager at the University of Oklahoma. I have three classes to finish and am expecting to graduate in July. I also work part time at the Speed Art Museum but am starting to apply for “real jobs” in Registration all over the country!
2. What brought you to Locust Grove?

I was drawn to Locust Grove for two reasons. First, I spent a lot of time here as a child and always felt that my many visits helped spur me towards studying museums and history as an adult. Second, I love house museums! They all have many quirks and challenges, but for the most part, the people who work and volunteer at house museums do it because they love their jobs and are passionate about the work they do.

Hannah helps Curator Mary Beth with piece from our textile collection.

Hannah helps Curator Mary Beth with piece from our textile collection.

3. What are you working on at Locust Grove? 

I actually started interning at HLG last summer! I spent the fall interning in collections. Among other things, I reorganized collections storage, helped number and accession a number of objects, and updated our PastPerfect records. This spring I am starting a new project with Mary Beth. We are going to start researching and rewriting parts of Locust Grove’s Collection Management Policy. I am also going to help write a corresponding Collection Management Procedures document to help in the adherence of our current Collection’s Policy. It’s going to be exciting to continue to move HLG towards AAM excellence.

Thanks to Hannah, everything is in its proper place!

Thanks to Hannah, everything is in its proper place!

4. What has been your favorite part so far?

I have so many favorite parts! I loved getting hands on experience in Collections Storage. I learned so much about proper collections storage and AAM standards. I have also enjoyed working hand-in-hand with Mary Beth and seeing the behind the scenes of Collections Management and Curation at a House Museum.

Hannah and Education Assistant Diane polish silver.

Hannah and Education Assistant Diane polish silver.

5. What do you hope to gain from your Locust Grove experience?

I have already gained so much on-the-job training that is going to be relevant in my future career. I am beyond thankful to intern at such a vibrant House Museum. The staff and volunteers here are wonderful and I feel lucky to be here!

Thanks, Hannah! We’re lucky to have you! If you’re interested in joining the fun, stay tuned for summer internship opportunities! They will be posted here on our website.

Our 2017 events calendar is also on the website! Be sure to check out all our upcoming events and don’t forget about the Used Book Sale, March 3-5! We can’t wait to see all our friends this year.

Sincerely yours,

Hannah Z.

 

Market Fair Vendor Spotlight: Old Dominion Forge and J. Henderson Artifacts

The wood is chopped, the rat catcher is ready, and we’ve warned the neighbors we’ll be shooting off cannons–Market Fair preparations are underway! Today for our Vendor Spotlight, we’re talking to purveyors of tablewares–Kyle of Old Dominion Forge and Tracy and Jay of J. Henderson Artifacts. Read on to learn more about the manufacture of historic cutlery and the production of stoneware!

Here’s what Kyle of Old Dominion Forge has to say about his practice and his Market Fair experiences.

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Kyle at work in the forge. Photo courtesy of Old Dominion Forge. 

My main focus is in making cutlery; reproductions of the knives and swords that would have been used in colonial America. I got started making knives in the mid-90s, but had been working in the forge for several years before, making period fireplace tools, cooking utensils, and other colonial period ironwork. In addition to my blade work, I also offer reproduction and original colonial pewter, nicely scrimshawed powder horns made by my dad, and an ever-changing assortment of high quality, artisan made reproductions.

I’ve been to every Market Fair, except one. I think one of the best things about the Locust Grove Market Fair is the period feel of the event. The house and grounds make a great backdrop, and the high-quality and dedication of those attending make it one of the best. Setting up for an show such as the Market Fair can be a lot of work, but of course I enjoy seeing all my friends and also getting to talk customers about my work.

Seriously, keeping stocked is one of my greatest challenges. A tremendous number of hours goes into each project I make. It can take months to build enough to cover one show.

Some of the other events I can be found at include: Ft. DeChartres 18th century Market Fair, The Fair at New Boston, and the Fort Frederick Market Fair. Indoor shows include: Conner The Longrifles Antique Arms Show, The Contemporary Longrifle Association Annual Show, and the Kalamazoo Living History show.

Market Fair is an amazing gathering of some of the most talented artisans in the Midwest. The Fair pulls in some nationally known artists, several of who have been selected for Early American Life Magazine’s annual Directory of Traditional American Crafts. If its pottery, hand-weaving, fine furniture, ironwork, tinsmithing, leatherwork, etc. that you are looking for Market Fair has work from some of the best 18th century artisans in the country.

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Some of Kyle’s handiwork. Photo courtesy of Old Dominion Forge. 

For the next part of our table setting, we turn to Tracy and Jay of J. Henderson Artifacts in Southern Indiana.

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J. Henderson is a popular staple of Market Fair.

We’ve been attending Market Fair for a while, and we’ve been established tradespeople since 1999. Jay and I both apprenticed at Dakota Stoneware in Bushnell, SD. Jay was there for about 8 years, me for 2, before we started our own business. Our specialty is wood-fired salt-glazed stoneware, in historical designs. We travel the eastern US to historic shows and sites, mainly in the spring and fall. Our home and studio are in south central Indiana.

We really enjoy Market Fair’s 18th century atmosphere, being part of a quality event, and getting to see all of our traveling friends before winter. It’s always a challenge being a self employed artist, and Market Fair has always been our last event of the year, a chance to catch up with some of our favorite people before we switch over to off-season mode.


We are so pleased to welcome Kyle, Tracy, and Jay back to Market Fair this year! Look for them October 29-30! It’ll be another wonderful year of fun and frolic.

Yours sincerely,

Hannah

Making Your Own Piece of History: The Virginia Floor Cloth and Textile Company

January is a quiet, yet busy month here on Blankenbaker Lane. Locust Grove staff and volunteers are cleaning the house and visitors’ center, performing necessary maintenance, taking store inventory, and planning our calendar of the events for the upcoming year. Stay tuned for our complete 2016 calendar, but I am excited to announce that our first workshop of the year has been scheduled and is taking reservations! Virginia Tucker of the Virginia Floor Cloth and Textiles Company will present a two-day Painted Floor Cloth Workshop on February 6 and 7, from 10-4PM each day. Participants will be trained in the lost art of creating an 18th Century-style painted black and white floor cloth. A 24″ x 30″ floor cloth will be the result of the weekend’s workshop. All supplies will be provided and will be included in the $135 fee. Virginia and her husband Randolph have been involved with Locust Grove for 12 years, so I thought it was high time they were profiled for the blog. Read on to learn more about them and their work!
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Virginia Tucker outside her booth at the 2015 Market Fair. 

Virginia Tucker and her husband Randolph own the Virginia Floor Cloth & Textiles Company,  located in Louisville, KY. They are living historians and have a shop that travels to historic events in the Mid West and to the East Coast. Virginia has  been creating handmade floor cloths for over 16 years, and began hand dying and block printing scarves and fabric for the last 8 years. The Tuckers are constantly researching to provide as much authenticity to their product as possible.
How did you get started with historic floor cloths and textiles?
 In 1999 I was invited by a friend Angela Burnley of Burnley and Trowbridge fabrics to come to an event in Goodlettsville, TN called Manskers Station. She said bring the children and I will provide you with clothing to wear. That was all it took for me to become a lover of history and historic items. This is where I saw my first floor cloth.
How would floor cloths have been used? Why are they still practical?
Floor cloths go back as far as 1700. They were used in a variety of ways. Hall ways to entire rooms. We believe that initially they were created from the sail cloth that ships changed after they had been torn and were no longer able to be used as sails. They were then cut to make smaller floor cloths. They became very popular with the middle class as a way to move into a higher standard because they could be made to look like marble, or a wool rug which were very expensive. Now they are popular because they are easy care, hypoallergenic and can be created to a person’s personal specifications.
What training or background do you have?
I have not had formal training. All of my training has been through my love of history and research, which is always ongoing.
What is the most difficult part of your work?
Researching to find accurate information regarding patterns that were used during the 18th century.
What is your favorite part of your work?
Teaching our 3 different workshops. No two classes are alike but they are all fun to do and we meet wonderful people.
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Printing blocks used to make floor cloths on display in the Locust Grove Museum Store. 

What are some of the big projects you have undertaken?
 I have done some floor cloths for Locust Grove, including a 12×12 that is a view of Locust Grove that they use for school trips and the door mats in the house.  I have done some for some smaller historic sites as well.
What should workshop participants expect?
In our level 1 floor cloth class students will be provided with some of the history of floor cloths and we will teach the math on how to measure the spaces within a floor cloth, finishing , sealing and care once done. We will also teach different techniques of marbleizing. They will be given 3 different patterns to choose from: 9 diamonds, checkerboard, or medallion with border.
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An in-progress floor cloth. Photo courtesy of the Virginia Floor Cloth and Textile Company. 

What do you wish people knew about historic textiles and floor cloths?
 We wish that the general public knew that in the 18th century the colors were as vibrant  as today and that the patterns in the material and the floor cloths were as complex as patterns made today.
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Virginia’s floor cloths are on sale in the Locust Grove Museum Store. 

The motto of the Virginia Floor Cloth and Textiles company is a floor cloth in every home whether we make it for them or we teach them how to make one themselves.
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Randolph and Virginia Tucker. Photograph courtesy of the Virginia Floor Cloth and Textile Company. 

Make a reservation for the Painted Floor Cloth workshop today and have a floor  cloth for your very own home or the home of a friend! Pre-paid reservations of $135 are required, and the workshop is limited to 25 participants. Please call 502.897.9845 to make a reservation. We’ll happily put down our January brooms to take your call. And mark your calendars now–Locust Grove will reopen for tours and the 2016 season on February 1! We can’t wait to see you.
Paintily yours,
Hannah