07 August 2008

The last hurrah

Well, the summer interns at my museum are slowly filtering back home. Two more leave at the end of the week so we had one last field trip yesterday to a number of sites in Fredericksburg as a last hurrah (ahem, learning experience).

First on the tour was Ferry Farm, boyhood home of George Washington, which is primarily focused on archaeology and family programming. You may have heard that they recently "found" the actual house that Washington and his family lived in (I know at least Theresa saw that in the news) and are still digging to locate other features and objects associated with the family. We got a tour of the archaeological dig, the lab, and the grounds. It wasn't broiling hot (thankfully!) and we got to picnic on the grounds before we moved on.

After lunch we drove into town to visit one of my favorite house museums, Kenmore. They are currently completing a major restoration of the mansion, complete with historic paint colors, new geothermal HVAC system, and other architectural changes. Next up for the staff is the creating of a furnishing and interpretive plan (this, in non-historic house museum speak, means what they'll want visitors to see and what they'll want visitors to learn in the rooms). This means lots more research and lots more time. They've definitely been doing things very carefully and I think Kenmore is a good example of how to do these major reinterpretation and restoration projects correctly. Plus, the house is gorgeous and has amazing decorative plasterwork.

Anyway, the final museum stop on our tour was the James Monroe Museum, which, as you may have guessed, highlights the life and legacy of James Monroe. The exhibits in the museum review his contributions to American government and highlight some of the objects in their very extensive collection. The museum recently installed a number of new exhibits and I must say the museum really looks great (different from a little over a year ago when it was more "vignette" in focus - you know, groupings of furniture to make it look like the corner of a room - very confusing when not an actual house museum). Plus, we got to see collections storage which was a highlight for many.

After a full day, last stop was of course Carl's - a Fredericksburg institution in its own right (which has its own Wikipedia entry now!). The maple nut sundae was a big hit with the interns. All in all a good day. Bet everyone slept very well last night.


M said...

Hehe - thanks G!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had fun!