Monthly Archives: December 2016

Christmas at the Historical Society

2016-12-22-002I can’t take any real credit for decorating the Historical Society. I did do some additional touches, but the majority of the work had been done in the weeks before by other volunteers. They did a great job in getting the place ready for the holidays.

The recent gift of a rope bed became the centerpiece of a festive display. Rope beds were what they are called. Instead of boxe springs or a mattress, which is what are modern beds are made of, a rope bed was a bed frame with rope being used to create a web in the frame for someone to lay upon. It is possible that some type of mattress would be put on top of the ropes, but in this case the mannequins were placed on the ropes.

The rope bed was a central piece in ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas display. Two adult mannequins were dressed for “a long winter’s nap,” 2016-12-22-001except the children were up and standing next to their parents’ bed. The baby was asleep in the cradle. A corner of the bed covers were pulled back so visitors could see how the ropes were strung to create a surface. I do wonder how comfortable the bed would be. While in Scotland, I slept in a twin rope bed that did have a mattress on it. As I remember, it wasn’t that comfortable. I didn’t sleep well in the bed.

In one of the front rooms is a display to Virginia O’Hanlon, the little girl who wrote to Francis P. Church, the editor of the New York Sun, one of the prominent newspapers of the city at the end of the nineteenth century. The eight-year-old wanted to know if there 2016-12-22-013was a Santa Claus. Church’s famous editorial defending the existence of Santa Claus is known throughout the world. The display also included a copy of Church’s reply.

Following are some images from the society. I wanted to get these posted before the year ended and the holiday season fades from memory.

2016-12-22-003Oh, the photo here is of what has become known as the “Evil Clown.” There’s a debate among the volunteers of whether or not this toy is scary-looking. I think that everyone would agree that no one would give such a painted toy to a child of today. At some point in the distant past, this toy must have been beloved by some child. Nonetheless, by today’s standards this clown has scary-looking features. What do you think?

 

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Filed under Holidays, Museums, Tarrytown

City Museum Purchase

I went to the Museum of the City of New York a few weeks ago with a friend.

The building is beautiful. I remember that there was some talk of moving the museum down to Tweed Hall, but it did not happen. There were a lot of school kids there when we visited early in the morning right after the place opened.  I didn’t get to see the first floor, which is now the permanent exhibit on the history of the city, since this is where the kids spent all of their time. Instead, we stayed upstairs and visited the traveling exhibits. One thing that differentiates the City Museum from the rest is that there is not a lot of realia, i.e. objects, on display. Instead, what is displayed are exhibits with models and photographs. For example, the way skyscrapers are built to allow light to reach the street, which was the exhibit on zoning laws. Models, photos, and lots of text. Though I found it interesting, I really like objects, which I love to photograph.

One object that is a recent acquisition of the museum is on the first floor, and that was a deck chair reputedly from the Titanic. It was in its own display in the recent acquisitions area. It looks like its seen better days. Then again, it is well over 100 years old. Since these chairs floated in the water, people clung to them after the ship sank. However, most died not from drowning but from hypothermia, as the water was well below freezing.

Did someone try and cling to this chair, only to lose his/her life?

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Filed under History, Museums, New York City