Saturday, December 27, 2008
In the main museum rooms I lower the steam heaters and keep the lights turned down. It has always been a quiet place in winter, and these days just a few of us wander the collection. We will keep up with our work: cataloging, researching the collection, planning events, organizing archives. But the only times we will see our public are when we invite them in for events or gatherings, there are no tours for the next few months.
The collection breathes a sigh and settles down to a dark, cool quietness. In the meantime, keep an eye on our website www.minermuseum.org, and this blog for news of upcoming events! If you would like to receive email announcements of our events and exhibits please send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Saturday, December 6, 2008
When Christmas or Chanukah or Kwanzaa come along we start thinking of gifts to get for the people in our lives. More frequently these days gifts come with batteries, or plug into our televisions or computers; iPods and Wii video games have replaced the record player and Twister. One of the gifts that was most memorable for me as a child was the bike with the banana seat I got for Christmas when I was six!
Here at The Alice, however, none of the toys have batteries or plugs, and few even have moving parts! The toys at the museum hearken back to simpler times. Dolls and ice skates were things children enjoyed for hours, and in ways that did not necessarily isolate them from those nearby.
As a way to celebrate the youthful joy of the holidays we have put together some of our toys for you to see for yourself... sort of a visual "Letter to Santa Claus" from the 18th and 19th Centuries. We hope you will come enjoy this display, and perhaps linger for a last tour for 2008.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
The concert is inspired by The Legend of the Christmas Rose, a story written by Sweden’s Selma Lagerlof. “My imagination was captured by this story the very first time I heard it, read by a Viking descendant by the light of the real candles that burned on his Christmas tree on a snowy winter night many years ago,” says Gallagher. The Scandinavian story takes place in a monastery garden, a poor village, and a deep, dark northern forest. There are thieves, monks, robber women, herbs, wild animals, and wilder children. There are the rich, the poor, the narrow-minded, and the open-hearted. There is danger, faith, mistrust, love and, of course, there are miracles. The tale is unusual, captivating and perfect for the darkest time of the year, when light and miracles abound throughout the many celebrations and traditions of the season. The concert is suitable for adults and older children; it is not intended for the attention span of young children. Gallagher says, “Although it’s basis is in Christian beliefs, the miracles of the heart; the “heart” of the story, transcends any one religion, making it a universal tale of faith, joy, hope and love.”
Gallagher has been sharing her spirited, distinctive, and richly varied music with audiences for over 30 years. Known in the northeastern region of New York, where she makes her home, as The Adirondack Harper, she has performed with such luminaries as six-time Grammy winners, The Chieftains. Her extensive solo tours have taken her around the US and into Canada, with several tours sponsored by The National Endowment for the Arts. She has been featured on numerous television and radio programs; most recent appearances include BBC Television, Northeast Public Radio, and Good Morning Arizona.
For more information on Martha Gallagher, please visit www.adkharper.com.
Tickets are $5
Seating is limited at The Alice so reservations are required for this performance, 518-846-7336
Or reserve a seat by emailing us at email@example.com!
Saturday, November 8, 2008
The barn loom was made to be taken apart and moved occasionally. Intellectually, we could see it was possible to dismantle, move the loom, store it safely, and then put it all back together again after the exhibit. But none of us had ever tackled this puzzle before! If we took it apart, would we know how to put it together again... so many months later?
One Saturday in June we took on the project armed with labels, a camera, and four good brains! Stephanie Pfaff, Elizabeth Greeno, Steve Fessette and I carefully labeled every joint, took meticulous photographs, and slowly dismantled the loom.
It's amazing how well equipped we were to complete the task! We had taken so much time in the process of taking the loom apart, that putting it back together was accomplished pretty quickly!
The barn loom is back in its traditional home. Currently it is surrounded by Japanese prints, but will soon have its old mates back; spinning wheels, samplers and Federal settees... that is, until the NEXT exhibit transforms the Weaving Room, once again, into the Exhibit Space!
Saturday, November 1, 2008
The student desk is a solidly built piece of furniture - truly made to last! On a metal handle of the desk drawer below the seat is inscribed, ' "MOULTHROP" MADE BY LANGSLOW FOWLER COMPANY, ROSHESTER, NY'. Samuel Parker Moulthrop was a progressive and effective educator, a devoted Mason, Sunday school teacher, public speaker, Boy Scout Troop leader, and outdoorsman in Rochester, NY in the 1890s and 1900s.
'Colonel' Moulthrop, as he was affectionately called, developed the design for a desk with an adjustable top in 1905, to be used in Washington Grammar School where he served as School Principal. This desk offered more flexibility for the classroom over the previous use of benches, and was also a better seat for the student. The design attracted the interest of the Langslow Fowler Furniture Company, a maker of Arts & Crafts furniture, and they began producing this new style of desk a short time later. Our desk is about the size used by a kindergarten student, has a recessed pencil holder on the desktop and in the drawer, and a little metal holder for the student's name on the back of the chair.
The 'Funk & Wagnall New Standard Dictionary of the English Language' from 1927 is a large, heavy volume that was probably referenced by many students at CCRS during its heyday! "Prepared by More Than Three Hundred and Eighty Specialists and Other Scholars Under the Supervision of Isaac K. Funk, D.D., LL.D., Editor-in-Chief" this volume must have been a wonderful resource. With over 2800 pages the dictionary weighs at least 20 pounds (it would have been the perfect book to be placed under your shorter cousin to boost him or her up at the Thanksgiving table!) With small engravings on most pages, the volume also includes numerous full-page illustrations (some in full color) on such subjects as Aeronautics, Bacteria, Coats of Arms, Fire-fighting Appliances, and Wireless Telephony.
The desk is now right at home in the Childrens Room, and the fully illustrated Dictionary sits on the table in the Lincoln Library. The Board, Docents and Staff at The Alice are very grateful to the Boire siblings for their thoughtful donation.
Friday, September 12, 2008
When I began learning the story of Will Miner I heard about Dora and marveled at the kindness of Huldah and John, raising these two orphaned children with a combination of strong love and strong discipline. The only photo of Dora I knew of was the one shown above. I had no idea what she looked like, and did not know what became of her.
Through my work on the archives at Miner Institute I found unusual photos of the Simonds family. They stood out simply because they were portraits, with names written on the negatives. The majority of photos in the archives are of scenery, buildings and animals on Heart's Delight Farm. A very small percentage are photos of people, and even fewer of those actually name the persons pictured. But I did not know who the Simonds family were, or what connection they might have had to the Miner family.
A great-granddaughter of Dora, Diane, sent me three photos after she visited The Alice, along with some writings done by her grandmother, Anna Simonds and Anna's older sister Eva. These writings and photos have connected some seemingly unrelated fragments in the archives and have been very exciting for me! First, of course, is the name Simonds, Dora's married name. I had not known that I was looking at portraits of Dora's children (these two photos are from the Miner Institute archives)...
Not only was that first photograph the only one I had ever seen (knowingly) of Dora, but also the only one I had seen of Uncle John, until this one sent by Diane:
Carrie Eudora 'Dora' Oliver, ca. 1881
One of the photos I shared with Diane was a real treat for her because she had known Eva Simonds, who lived well into her nineties, because Eva shared a home with Anna in their elder years. Diane and her siblings visited with them when they were children.
"I was about eight years old when I first remember seeing this boy now grown into fine manhood. My family was living with Aunt Huldah and he came to spend his honeymoon.
I think she was the prettiest girl I had ever seen. Light golden hair, beautiful blue eyes the color of the sky and it was June, the year was about 1896. (Alice and William were married in 1895). I remember her blouse; the sleeves were large at the top and tight at the forearm and wrist. Her skirt was long and with wide gores like my mother's. She was the youngest of the four sisters Mathilda, Louisa, Bertha and Alice."
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Le Breviaire d'Henri de Lorraine was created ca. 1430 in Rouen, France, for Henri de Lorraine, then Bishop of Therouanne. Alice T. Miner purchased the manuscript from her friend and fellow collector Frank Gunsaulus around 1917. When Alice opened her museum in 1924 the breviary was placed on the third floor for visitors to see. When our collections committee prioritized it for conservation it had been in it's display case on the landing since that time.
We sought out Deborah to assess the breviary's condition and to formulate a conservation plan for it. Our Collections Committee then approved implementation of the plan. Her work began immediately - the breviary was dis-bound completely and she removed the glue from the spine.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
waitress walking through the snow.
Totoya Hokkei (1780-1850)
Saito Oniwakamaru subduing a giant carp.
of The Alice T. Miner Colonial Collection
Guests enjoying the food...
...and reading the catalog that accompanies the
"Warriors & Entertainers" exhibit.
and Director/Curator - Amanda Palmer
Friday, June 6, 2008
Colonial Revival influenced collectors during Alice’s time were, among other interests, motivated by a wish to preserve the Nation’s early history. They valued quality hand-made objects and tools over machine-made objects, exhibiting a longing to capture the spirit of the past. As these collectors and the Movement itself grew, the ideals embodied in the Colonial Revival Movement became internalized as an emotional, spiritual and intellectual heritage. Collectors no longer limited themselves to decorative arts made in the Colonies, but appreciated quality hand-made decorative and fine art objects from around the world.
While influenced by the Colonial Revival Movement and by other collectors, Alice T. Miner was a sophisticated collector in her own right. She embraced the decorative arts – ceramics, furniture, textiles, and glass. Her collecting did not stop with objects of everyday life, however. The museum also holds smaller collections of beautiful objects and art. Alice acquired her Japanese woodblock prints in the 1920s through her friend Emma B. Hodge. Her friend Frank W. Gunsaulus advised Alice in collecting some wonderful books and manuscripts.
Here in Chazy, Alice is remembered as she appeared in the 1940s – an elderly woman who stayed close to home. Viewing her entire life and collection from this perspective can limit one’s appreciation of the scope of her experience, however. As evidenced in our archives of travel photos, letters and postcards from around the world, Alice T. Miner traveled far and wide in her lifetime. Yes, she ventured across frozen Lake Champlain on collecting trips with her friends, yet she also journeyed widely across the United States and throughout Europe.
The influence and aesthetic for her collection came primarily from her other home, Chicago, not merely through buying furniture from the neighbor’s old barn. This influence is what you will see when you tour The Alice T. Miner Museum, for within these walls is an eclectic collection of wonderful depth and substance!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Yesterday I finished hanging the artwork and placing the objects back into what we call the Sheraton Room. This is the second floor bedroom in the northwest corner, named for the style of chairs that grace the room. The Sheraton Room has been the home of our collection of silhouettes since the museum opened in 1924. If you have been here for a tour you may not have realized this fact. The silhouettes were haphazardly hung and thus gave little indication of their integrity as a wonderful collection.
The silhouette collection as it was displayed in the Sheraton Room before renovation:
In the process of examinging each room in the museum we prioritized the Sheraton Room for repair of a window seat damaged by steam. The window seat was skillfully rebuilt by Roger Bodine and Steve Fessette, afterward Steve painted the woodwork and floor of the room. Of course, everything was removed to allow for this renovation. Moving the objects back afforded the opportunity to hang the silhouette collection with care and planning.
Docent Seana Remillard was a great help during the process of hanging the silhouettes and other artwork. After plotting out where each piece would be hung we tackled the concrete and terracotta tile walls! I hope the results speak for themselves... but you must tour the museum to really experience these wonderful, diminutive works of art!
And here is the silhouette collection today:
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I'd like to take a moment to inform you of our need for volunteers! This summer we have an exciting event at the museum - our first exhibit of some exquisite Japanese woodblock prints first collected by Alice Miner in the 1920s. We expect to have a greater number of visitors because of the show, which can only further strain our small number of volunteers. If you have the time and inclination, please consider volunteering.
The Alice T. Miner Museum is seeking volunteers to help in interpreting the museum and its contents for visitors, researching our collection or archives, and assisting with events. The Alice also has a garden club for the green thumb looking to commit a few hours each week. The museum docent should be able to set aside six hours a week for museum work.
The Alice T. Miner Museum is a Colonial Revival Museum with a widely varied and exciting collection of decorative arts and furniture displayed in period rooms first arranged by Alice in 1924. The museum also houses extensive archives, including local history, genealogical information, and letters from well-known historical figures, as well as photographs and personal letters of Alice T. and William H. Miner.
Docents learn skills relating to the proper handling and care of historic objects and archival materials as well as tour guiding techniques, public relations, and research methods.
Our docents are committed to excellent visitor service and appreciate the importance of the Museum's collection, founders and history.
Docents are outgoing, enthusiastic communicators (for tours lasting up to 1.5 hours) who are interested in learning detailed information about the museum's artifacts and about Alice and William Miner - which will enable them to tell the stories of the Miners and the history of the collection. This job requires the ability to express ideas clearly and concisely, experience working with the public is preferred.
For more information email Amanda Palmer - firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 518-846-7336
I cannot emphasize enough how important the old ways of spreading the news can be... when I hear from a friend that a show is really worth seeing it means much more to me than merely noting an interesting flier, or reading a review written by someone I do not know. But these methods are somewhat fleeting. People move on and fliers get blown away in the breeze.
And now I will get to the point about embracing technology. This blog affords an opportunity that word of mouth and hanging fliers cannot promise - it will be available for our public to read until I am ready to change the message.
I hope to use our new blog site to keep you up to date on our more immediate news. We already produce a quarterly newsletter and post show announcements on our website, but now I can tell you what happened @ The Alice last week, or yesterday, or just an hour ago on a tour.