Monday, April 24, 2017

American Revolution Museum Opening

Back in February I was recruited to work as an 18th Century interpreter for a day, as part of the dedication of the newly-opened American Revolution Museum at Yorktown on April 1.

Myself and two of my former co-workers at the Colonial Williamsburg Costume Design Center, Nikki and Melissa, set up a work table where we demonstrated sewing and trim-making throughout the afternoon:

Nikki had samples of wool, cotton, silk, and linen for guests to examine while she hemmed strips of silk to make ribbon trim, and Melissa demonstrated the use of a box loom:

I worked on a kerchief, demonstrating a hand-rolled hem.

I had all of my period-appropriate sewing supplies handy in my housewife, most of which came from Burnley & Trowbridge.  Since I first blogged about the housewife, I have added the bone creaser, awl, and bodkin, plus a hand-marked measuring tape I made from linen tape - all from B&T - to my kit.  I got the scissors and embroidery snips last year at Fort Frederick Market Fair, and I already had the wood threadwinders (B&T), needle case (from CW), and the pincushion and lump of beeswax.

I also had some pockets and cravats that I had made, in case any visitors wanted to buy something. 
As we worked, we were occasionally serenaded by strolling musicians, such as the lovely Kaylan:

She played the Baroque flute, quite beautifully I might add.

Brian the Engineer came to visit partway through the afternoon, and as a visitor was able to actually experience the museum (whereas I was working and needed to stay in my designated area).  I gave him my camera and asked that he take pictures of the festivities.

I'll let Brian tell you about it in his own words:
The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is an excellent resource for immersing yourself in the period of the American Revolution. Throughout the museum, children and adults can view real historical artifacts, including British and Continental swords, guns, and muskets. The main galleries are full of great interactive displays, including a copy of the constitution that you can read in parts. There’s plenty for the kids to do, as almost all the displays seem designed for young kids to enjoy as well as their parents.

Outside, the living history portion of the museum is equally engaging, with interpreters in full costume engaging with visitors and telling them about life in revolutionary times. One very pleasant surprise was the overt effort to include the stories of historically disenfranchised groups in the museum. I was excited to see a great number of books in the gift shop focused on the African American experience. All in all, a great trip and definitely worth a second visit!

On a break, I took a few pictures myself.  The basket-maker was right next to our tent, so I got to watch her work on this basket throughout the day:

Here it is almost finished!

Another musician and a dancer joined Kaylan at one point:

On our other side was a tailor, demonstrating his craft:

And beyond him was an apprentice tinsmith, who was quite fascinating to talk to:

She made all of these pieces:

After we wrapped up for the day, Nikki was kind enough to take some photos of me in my 18th Century maternity wear:

The only new pieces to my ensemble were the apron and kerchief.  I used the stomacher I made earlier this year to expand my jacket to fit over the baby bump:

A few more pictures of the day - these were taken by my friend Zöe:

Not sure what I was reacting to here, but it's a fun picture:

Someday soon I will have to go back to the museum and experience it for myself!

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