Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Low Tech Interactives at Boston’s Old State House

1760s Council Chamber in the Old State House in Boston. If the woman at the table looks familiar, it’s Dr. Jane Kamensky, professor of history and Pforzheimer Director of the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University.

The Old State House in Boston reconstructed its eighteenth century Council chamber several years ago but only recently was I able to visit as part of an advisory meeting.

The Council Chamber appears to be a typical period room from the 1760s, except that it’s actually an exhibition that requires visitors to get involved. When they sit at the Council table (yup, on those beautiful chairs), they need to handle the objects to discover the interpretive elements hidden inside.
It’s designed to provoke surprise and causes visitors, even teenagers, to look more closely.  Although the restoration of the room was expensive, the techniques used are not and can easily be adapted by others who want to create an interactive hands-on activity.

Here are several before-and-after images so you can see Continue reading

Don’t Let Money Stop You: Scholarships available for Program in New England Studies

Thanks for several generous donors, Historic New England is providing scholarships for its outstanding Program in New England Studies (PINES). The scholarships are available to mid-career museum professionals and graduate students in the fields of architecture, decorative arts, material culture, preservation or public history. Candidates from diverse cultural backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

The Program in New England Studies is an intensive week-long exploration of New England decorative arts and architecture that runs from Monday, June 19 to Saturday, June 24, 2017. Participants travel throughout New England to hear lectures and presentations by some of the country’s leading experts in regional history, architecture, preservation, and decorative arts. There are workshops, visits to Historic New England properties, other museums, and private homes and collections.

If you’ve always wanted to study the architecture or decorative arts of New England, don’t let money stop you.  This year, PINES offers two generous scholarships: Continue reading

How to Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Historic New England

Program in New England StudiesHistoric New England presents its annual Program in New England Studies (PINES), an intensive week-long exploration of New England from Monday, June 15 to Saturday, June 20, 2015.  PINES includes lectures by noted curators and architectural historians, workshops, behind-the-scenes tours, and special access to historic house museums and collections. The program offers a broad approach to teaching the history of New England culture through artifacts and architecture in a way that no other museum or historic site in the Northeast can match.  It’s like the Attingham Summer School as a week in New England.

Examine New England history and material culture from the seventeenth century through the Colonial Revival with some of the country’s leading experts in regional architecture and decorative arts. Curators lecture on furniture, textiles, ceramics, and art, with information on history, craftsmanship, and changing methods of production. Architectural historians explore architecture starting with the seventeenth-century Massachusetts Bay style through the Federal and Georgian eras, to Gothic Revival and the Colonial Revival.

Expert presenters include: Continue reading

Video: The Fairbanks House

This 2:20 video by Nick Papps provides a contemplative introduction to the 1637 Fairbanks House in Dedham, Massachusetts, believed to be the oldest surviving timber frame house in North America and now an historic house museum.  The video blends contemporary and historic images accompanied by the reading of a 1937 poem by Elizabeth Fairbank Rock.

New England’s History and Architecture Explored in June

Program in New England StudiesHistoric New England presents the tenth annual Program in New England Studies (PINES), an intensive learning experience with lectures by curators and architectural historians, workshops, and behind-the-scenes tours of Historic New England’s properties and collections, as well as of other museums and private homes in the region.  This year’s program begins on June 17 with Cary Carson on the 17th century in the Boardman House and ends on June 22 with Richard Nylander and Nancy Carlisle on the Colonial Revival at Beauport.

PINES examines New England history and material culture from the seventeenth century through the Colonial Revival, and delves into building design and technology, and the wide-ranging lifestyles illustrated by the historic sites on the itinerary.  Highlights include private tours of Historic New England properties in Greater Boston; Essex County, Massachusetts; Portsmouth, New Hampshire; South Berwick, Maine; and Woodstock, Connecticut; workshops in furniture, ceramics, and textiles at Historic New England’s facility in Haverhill, Massachusetts; and a private tour of Continue reading

Video Highlights Internships at Old Sturbridge Village

Smith College student interning at the dye pit at Old Sturbridge Village.

Smith College, a liberal arts college in Massachusetts, recently highlighted the internships of two students at Old Sturbridge Village in a well-produced online video.  Yup, they had these nice college students wearing 19th century clothes in 19th century buildings (with 21st century flies) cooking on an open fire, making cheese, and working in the dye pit to learn about life in the 19th century–and about museums.  Smith College provides the funding for the internships through their Praxis program, allowing students to explore careers they may not have considered otherwise.  Thanks to Sandy Lloyd for sharing this!