Getting Up Close and Personal with History

Pistol 2Andrea here, thinking today about history. Those of you who read our blog regularly know how passionate all the Wenches are about history—not the dull, dry textbook litany of facts and dates that make most students fall asleep in school, but the myriad visceral experiences that make the past really come alive.

Recent posts here showed Christina sitting in a Viking longboat and Nicola exploring an historic castle. Seeing and touching history sparks a sense of wonder and excitement. Getting a glimpse of what people ate and wore . . . what their houses looked like . . . appreciating the details of their timepieces and personal jewelry. I find that helps me imagine what people in past were thinking; what mattered to them; what sparked a sense of wonder for them.

Egg 2So it will be no surprise when I say I’m a huge fan of ‘object-based learning.’ I find that individual items from the past can spark so many plot twists or add background color to my stories. I’m sure people think I’m totally eccentric when I start hyperventilating, nose pressed up to a glass display case, as I study the details of a flintlock pistol. But it truly does excite me.

Egg pocket pistolFor example, an exhibit at Metropolitan Museum in NYC on the innovative pistol makers of Regency London inspired plot twists in my historical mysteries. I fell in love the work Durs Egg, who was on the cutting edge of technological innovations in gunsmithing (his workshop created a really cool two-shot pocket pistol!) But what really blew me away was his attention to artistry. He wanted his weapons to look beautiful as well as perform perfectly. That made me think about him as a person . . . and I’ve ended up making him a characters in books, using my own imagination to flesh him out.

James-Gillray-cartoon-001
I love museums and always look to visit all the small, esoteric ones when I travel. They are always offer a wealth of wonderful information that add to my appreciation and understanding of the grand tapestry of Life. But I’m also lucky enough to live close to a museum that offers an amazing opportunity not only to see but also to touch important pieces of history.
Study room 1
The British Art Center at Yale has the largest collection of British art in the world outside the UK. (For a writer of Regency-set fiction what could be more perfect!) And its material is not only on display, but in keeping with its educational mission within a great university, much of it is available for hands-on examination in their study room—one of my favorite places in the universe!

Gillray james plumb puddingCharlotte Sloane, one of the main protagonists in my Wrexford & Sloane mystery series, is a satirical artist—a social commentator who keeps the public informed on politics, social issues and the scandals of the rich and powerful. The Study offers literally box after box of original satirical prints by famous gadflies of the Regency era like Rowlandson and Gillray. I fill out a request form, and take a seat at the table—and voila, I’m given a case filled with original hand-colored art that I’m allowed to touch and get really close-up to in order to study the tiny details. (And by the way, if you’re ever near New Haven, you should pay a visit there. The Study Room is open to the public, and it only a takes a quick registration process and then you’re allowed to work with the art.)

Turner 3I’ve spent hours with the prints. But my favorite “squee” moment happened on a whim. For some reason while I was fiddling with the card catalogues, I decided to look up J.M.W. Turner, one of my favorite artists. A number of his large original oil paintings hang in the museum’s galleries, but lo and behold there was box listed for the Study Room. Curious, I filled out a request for it, and five minutes later it was delivered to my table. I opened it—and my heart started thumping like a hammer against my ribs!

Turner 1It was a selection of watercolor sketches from a walk in the Alps. I was able to pick up a stack of his actual work—the watercolor paper he held!—and flip through them. Talk about a thrill, and having history come alive. Now, every time I see a Turner in a museum, I think about having had the experience of holding his actual art in my hands.

So what about you? Is there any historical object or place that has touched your imagination and given you that “ah-ha “thrill of making history come alive? Please share!

140 thoughts on “Getting Up Close and Personal with History”

  1. Great post, Andrea – I love getting up close and personal with historical objects (if I’m allowed)! Touching those JMW Turner drawings must have been absolutely magical! I once requested an ancestor’s will from the archives here and thought they would bring me a copy, but they brought the actual piece of paper dated 1602 and I was allowed to hold it – that was amazing. Obviously we have to be content to just look most of the time, but when we do get to hold something, it’s a wonderful feeling.
    That pistol is beautiful – I’d love to own one!

    Reply
  2. Great post, Andrea – I love getting up close and personal with historical objects (if I’m allowed)! Touching those JMW Turner drawings must have been absolutely magical! I once requested an ancestor’s will from the archives here and thought they would bring me a copy, but they brought the actual piece of paper dated 1602 and I was allowed to hold it – that was amazing. Obviously we have to be content to just look most of the time, but when we do get to hold something, it’s a wonderful feeling.
    That pistol is beautiful – I’d love to own one!

    Reply
  3. Great post, Andrea – I love getting up close and personal with historical objects (if I’m allowed)! Touching those JMW Turner drawings must have been absolutely magical! I once requested an ancestor’s will from the archives here and thought they would bring me a copy, but they brought the actual piece of paper dated 1602 and I was allowed to hold it – that was amazing. Obviously we have to be content to just look most of the time, but when we do get to hold something, it’s a wonderful feeling.
    That pistol is beautiful – I’d love to own one!

    Reply
  4. Great post, Andrea – I love getting up close and personal with historical objects (if I’m allowed)! Touching those JMW Turner drawings must have been absolutely magical! I once requested an ancestor’s will from the archives here and thought they would bring me a copy, but they brought the actual piece of paper dated 1602 and I was allowed to hold it – that was amazing. Obviously we have to be content to just look most of the time, but when we do get to hold something, it’s a wonderful feeling.
    That pistol is beautiful – I’d love to own one!

    Reply
  5. Great post, Andrea – I love getting up close and personal with historical objects (if I’m allowed)! Touching those JMW Turner drawings must have been absolutely magical! I once requested an ancestor’s will from the archives here and thought they would bring me a copy, but they brought the actual piece of paper dated 1602 and I was allowed to hold it – that was amazing. Obviously we have to be content to just look most of the time, but when we do get to hold something, it’s a wonderful feeling.
    That pistol is beautiful – I’d love to own one!

    Reply
  6. I’ve been blessed to be invited into private collections to see, smell, and touch objects used during the American Revolution and American Civil War. The weight of a dress as one holds it, or the pungent smell of gun oil and spent gunpowder that lingers on an old battle-worn weapon can bring back glimpses of what the life of the former owner was like.
    Imagine carrying a 10.5 pound Brown Bess musket on your shoulder while you’re dressed in a wool uniform, carrying a pack with everything you need for a life as a soldier. It’s 97 degrees with 95% humidity. You are running to form lines of battle in front of men inciting rebellion while defending their homes. You can imagine the number of men who fell and died from the heat, and how physically and mentally tough they had to be to follow those orders. The Continentals were no less tough, not only did their muskets weigh less, but they had the advantage of officers who ordered them to remove their woolen coats behind giving them an advantage at the Battle of Monmouth.

    Reply
  7. I’ve been blessed to be invited into private collections to see, smell, and touch objects used during the American Revolution and American Civil War. The weight of a dress as one holds it, or the pungent smell of gun oil and spent gunpowder that lingers on an old battle-worn weapon can bring back glimpses of what the life of the former owner was like.
    Imagine carrying a 10.5 pound Brown Bess musket on your shoulder while you’re dressed in a wool uniform, carrying a pack with everything you need for a life as a soldier. It’s 97 degrees with 95% humidity. You are running to form lines of battle in front of men inciting rebellion while defending their homes. You can imagine the number of men who fell and died from the heat, and how physically and mentally tough they had to be to follow those orders. The Continentals were no less tough, not only did their muskets weigh less, but they had the advantage of officers who ordered them to remove their woolen coats behind giving them an advantage at the Battle of Monmouth.

    Reply
  8. I’ve been blessed to be invited into private collections to see, smell, and touch objects used during the American Revolution and American Civil War. The weight of a dress as one holds it, or the pungent smell of gun oil and spent gunpowder that lingers on an old battle-worn weapon can bring back glimpses of what the life of the former owner was like.
    Imagine carrying a 10.5 pound Brown Bess musket on your shoulder while you’re dressed in a wool uniform, carrying a pack with everything you need for a life as a soldier. It’s 97 degrees with 95% humidity. You are running to form lines of battle in front of men inciting rebellion while defending their homes. You can imagine the number of men who fell and died from the heat, and how physically and mentally tough they had to be to follow those orders. The Continentals were no less tough, not only did their muskets weigh less, but they had the advantage of officers who ordered them to remove their woolen coats behind giving them an advantage at the Battle of Monmouth.

    Reply
  9. I’ve been blessed to be invited into private collections to see, smell, and touch objects used during the American Revolution and American Civil War. The weight of a dress as one holds it, or the pungent smell of gun oil and spent gunpowder that lingers on an old battle-worn weapon can bring back glimpses of what the life of the former owner was like.
    Imagine carrying a 10.5 pound Brown Bess musket on your shoulder while you’re dressed in a wool uniform, carrying a pack with everything you need for a life as a soldier. It’s 97 degrees with 95% humidity. You are running to form lines of battle in front of men inciting rebellion while defending their homes. You can imagine the number of men who fell and died from the heat, and how physically and mentally tough they had to be to follow those orders. The Continentals were no less tough, not only did their muskets weigh less, but they had the advantage of officers who ordered them to remove their woolen coats behind giving them an advantage at the Battle of Monmouth.

    Reply
  10. I’ve been blessed to be invited into private collections to see, smell, and touch objects used during the American Revolution and American Civil War. The weight of a dress as one holds it, or the pungent smell of gun oil and spent gunpowder that lingers on an old battle-worn weapon can bring back glimpses of what the life of the former owner was like.
    Imagine carrying a 10.5 pound Brown Bess musket on your shoulder while you’re dressed in a wool uniform, carrying a pack with everything you need for a life as a soldier. It’s 97 degrees with 95% humidity. You are running to form lines of battle in front of men inciting rebellion while defending their homes. You can imagine the number of men who fell and died from the heat, and how physically and mentally tough they had to be to follow those orders. The Continentals were no less tough, not only did their muskets weigh less, but they had the advantage of officers who ordered them to remove their woolen coats behind giving them an advantage at the Battle of Monmouth.

    Reply
  11. I live in Canada so have to make do with museums for anything British. But we do have a marvellous castle in Toronto called Castle Loma built in 1914 by a very rich man. It was wonderful going thru the rooms and seeing all the treasures and even in the stables the horses had tiled stalls and wonderful drinking fountains. I go to any type of historical venue open to the public. We have a wonderful fort built in the 1600’s by the French missionaries and also a naval/military establishment built to protect Georgian Bay from the Americans during the war of 1812. These places take me back in time and to be able to touch artifacts is a magical experience!
    Thanks so much for the post.

    Reply
  12. I live in Canada so have to make do with museums for anything British. But we do have a marvellous castle in Toronto called Castle Loma built in 1914 by a very rich man. It was wonderful going thru the rooms and seeing all the treasures and even in the stables the horses had tiled stalls and wonderful drinking fountains. I go to any type of historical venue open to the public. We have a wonderful fort built in the 1600’s by the French missionaries and also a naval/military establishment built to protect Georgian Bay from the Americans during the war of 1812. These places take me back in time and to be able to touch artifacts is a magical experience!
    Thanks so much for the post.

    Reply
  13. I live in Canada so have to make do with museums for anything British. But we do have a marvellous castle in Toronto called Castle Loma built in 1914 by a very rich man. It was wonderful going thru the rooms and seeing all the treasures and even in the stables the horses had tiled stalls and wonderful drinking fountains. I go to any type of historical venue open to the public. We have a wonderful fort built in the 1600’s by the French missionaries and also a naval/military establishment built to protect Georgian Bay from the Americans during the war of 1812. These places take me back in time and to be able to touch artifacts is a magical experience!
    Thanks so much for the post.

    Reply
  14. I live in Canada so have to make do with museums for anything British. But we do have a marvellous castle in Toronto called Castle Loma built in 1914 by a very rich man. It was wonderful going thru the rooms and seeing all the treasures and even in the stables the horses had tiled stalls and wonderful drinking fountains. I go to any type of historical venue open to the public. We have a wonderful fort built in the 1600’s by the French missionaries and also a naval/military establishment built to protect Georgian Bay from the Americans during the war of 1812. These places take me back in time and to be able to touch artifacts is a magical experience!
    Thanks so much for the post.

    Reply
  15. I live in Canada so have to make do with museums for anything British. But we do have a marvellous castle in Toronto called Castle Loma built in 1914 by a very rich man. It was wonderful going thru the rooms and seeing all the treasures and even in the stables the horses had tiled stalls and wonderful drinking fountains. I go to any type of historical venue open to the public. We have a wonderful fort built in the 1600’s by the French missionaries and also a naval/military establishment built to protect Georgian Bay from the Americans during the war of 1812. These places take me back in time and to be able to touch artifacts is a magical experience!
    Thanks so much for the post.

    Reply
  16. Thanks, Christina!
    What a thrill it must have been to hold your ancestor’s will from 1602. That would send goosebumps down my spine. Looking is so wonderful, but actually holding a special object from the past is magical (as you so beautifully show in your timeslip stories!)
    I would LOVE to own an Egg pistol, too!

    Reply
  17. Thanks, Christina!
    What a thrill it must have been to hold your ancestor’s will from 1602. That would send goosebumps down my spine. Looking is so wonderful, but actually holding a special object from the past is magical (as you so beautifully show in your timeslip stories!)
    I would LOVE to own an Egg pistol, too!

    Reply
  18. Thanks, Christina!
    What a thrill it must have been to hold your ancestor’s will from 1602. That would send goosebumps down my spine. Looking is so wonderful, but actually holding a special object from the past is magical (as you so beautifully show in your timeslip stories!)
    I would LOVE to own an Egg pistol, too!

    Reply
  19. Thanks, Christina!
    What a thrill it must have been to hold your ancestor’s will from 1602. That would send goosebumps down my spine. Looking is so wonderful, but actually holding a special object from the past is magical (as you so beautifully show in your timeslip stories!)
    I would LOVE to own an Egg pistol, too!

    Reply
  20. Thanks, Christina!
    What a thrill it must have been to hold your ancestor’s will from 1602. That would send goosebumps down my spine. Looking is so wonderful, but actually holding a special object from the past is magical (as you so beautifully show in your timeslip stories!)
    I would LOVE to own an Egg pistol, too!

    Reply
  21. A great post. I woul like to add that we also have the heirloom objects in our houses. My grandmotner used old flat irons for doorstops, so I investigated flat irons as a child, and learned lots about earlier ways of housekeepng. I Inherited some piecs o f flowware from her; this sent me into reesearching earlier patterns for tableware (china, but NOT fine china.)
    We need the museums, and I love them, but we also need to be aware of the familiar items also.

    Reply
  22. A great post. I woul like to add that we also have the heirloom objects in our houses. My grandmotner used old flat irons for doorstops, so I investigated flat irons as a child, and learned lots about earlier ways of housekeepng. I Inherited some piecs o f flowware from her; this sent me into reesearching earlier patterns for tableware (china, but NOT fine china.)
    We need the museums, and I love them, but we also need to be aware of the familiar items also.

    Reply
  23. A great post. I woul like to add that we also have the heirloom objects in our houses. My grandmotner used old flat irons for doorstops, so I investigated flat irons as a child, and learned lots about earlier ways of housekeepng. I Inherited some piecs o f flowware from her; this sent me into reesearching earlier patterns for tableware (china, but NOT fine china.)
    We need the museums, and I love them, but we also need to be aware of the familiar items also.

    Reply
  24. A great post. I woul like to add that we also have the heirloom objects in our houses. My grandmotner used old flat irons for doorstops, so I investigated flat irons as a child, and learned lots about earlier ways of housekeepng. I Inherited some piecs o f flowware from her; this sent me into reesearching earlier patterns for tableware (china, but NOT fine china.)
    We need the museums, and I love them, but we also need to be aware of the familiar items also.

    Reply
  25. A great post. I woul like to add that we also have the heirloom objects in our houses. My grandmotner used old flat irons for doorstops, so I investigated flat irons as a child, and learned lots about earlier ways of housekeepng. I Inherited some piecs o f flowware from her; this sent me into reesearching earlier patterns for tableware (china, but NOT fine china.)
    We need the museums, and I love them, but we also need to be aware of the familiar items also.

    Reply
  26. What a wonderful post, Andrea! I can imagine the delight you felt being able to handle the sketches of a favorite artist.
    I can remember when my daughter was homeschooling. Our state university has a juvenile collection from which residents are allowed to borrow. We checked out one book that was from the late 1800s; it was neat to see a note in beautiful copperplate within its margins.

    Reply
  27. What a wonderful post, Andrea! I can imagine the delight you felt being able to handle the sketches of a favorite artist.
    I can remember when my daughter was homeschooling. Our state university has a juvenile collection from which residents are allowed to borrow. We checked out one book that was from the late 1800s; it was neat to see a note in beautiful copperplate within its margins.

    Reply
  28. What a wonderful post, Andrea! I can imagine the delight you felt being able to handle the sketches of a favorite artist.
    I can remember when my daughter was homeschooling. Our state university has a juvenile collection from which residents are allowed to borrow. We checked out one book that was from the late 1800s; it was neat to see a note in beautiful copperplate within its margins.

    Reply
  29. What a wonderful post, Andrea! I can imagine the delight you felt being able to handle the sketches of a favorite artist.
    I can remember when my daughter was homeschooling. Our state university has a juvenile collection from which residents are allowed to borrow. We checked out one book that was from the late 1800s; it was neat to see a note in beautiful copperplate within its margins.

    Reply
  30. What a wonderful post, Andrea! I can imagine the delight you felt being able to handle the sketches of a favorite artist.
    I can remember when my daughter was homeschooling. Our state university has a juvenile collection from which residents are allowed to borrow. We checked out one book that was from the late 1800s; it was neat to see a note in beautiful copperplate within its margins.

    Reply
  31. thanks so much, Sue. So glad you enjoyed it.
    That’s a wonderful point about appreciating the everyday things from the past. And you’re so right about how they are such a great learning tool. As you say, the weigh of the iron made you think about how it was used, which in turn got you asking questions which taught you how a house was run in past times. It’s such a fun way to learn!

    Reply
  32. thanks so much, Sue. So glad you enjoyed it.
    That’s a wonderful point about appreciating the everyday things from the past. And you’re so right about how they are such a great learning tool. As you say, the weigh of the iron made you think about how it was used, which in turn got you asking questions which taught you how a house was run in past times. It’s such a fun way to learn!

    Reply
  33. thanks so much, Sue. So glad you enjoyed it.
    That’s a wonderful point about appreciating the everyday things from the past. And you’re so right about how they are such a great learning tool. As you say, the weigh of the iron made you think about how it was used, which in turn got you asking questions which taught you how a house was run in past times. It’s such a fun way to learn!

    Reply
  34. thanks so much, Sue. So glad you enjoyed it.
    That’s a wonderful point about appreciating the everyday things from the past. And you’re so right about how they are such a great learning tool. As you say, the weigh of the iron made you think about how it was used, which in turn got you asking questions which taught you how a house was run in past times. It’s such a fun way to learn!

    Reply
  35. thanks so much, Sue. So glad you enjoyed it.
    That’s a wonderful point about appreciating the everyday things from the past. And you’re so right about how they are such a great learning tool. As you say, the weigh of the iron made you think about how it was used, which in turn got you asking questions which taught you how a house was run in past times. It’s such a fun way to learn!

    Reply
  36. What a fabulous post, Andrea and how lucky are you to have a place like the Yale Study Room at your fingertips. In the olden day’s before Covid came along, we used to travel extensively, visiting mostly Europe and the UK. I learn from objects, archaeological sites, visits to old houses and castles. I envy the English, Scots and Welsh for their wonderful National Trust and English Heritage (and Scottish equivalent) as these organisations make it possible to glimpse so much about the past. I remember visiting Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s cottage a few years ago and discovering so much about his life, probably the sort of stuff you could read in books but to see some of his actual letters and learn about his long suffering wife was a real gem for me. And yes, I could imagine them standing in one of the rooms talking, or him sitting at his desk writing. It was fabulous.

    Reply
  37. What a fabulous post, Andrea and how lucky are you to have a place like the Yale Study Room at your fingertips. In the olden day’s before Covid came along, we used to travel extensively, visiting mostly Europe and the UK. I learn from objects, archaeological sites, visits to old houses and castles. I envy the English, Scots and Welsh for their wonderful National Trust and English Heritage (and Scottish equivalent) as these organisations make it possible to glimpse so much about the past. I remember visiting Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s cottage a few years ago and discovering so much about his life, probably the sort of stuff you could read in books but to see some of his actual letters and learn about his long suffering wife was a real gem for me. And yes, I could imagine them standing in one of the rooms talking, or him sitting at his desk writing. It was fabulous.

    Reply
  38. What a fabulous post, Andrea and how lucky are you to have a place like the Yale Study Room at your fingertips. In the olden day’s before Covid came along, we used to travel extensively, visiting mostly Europe and the UK. I learn from objects, archaeological sites, visits to old houses and castles. I envy the English, Scots and Welsh for their wonderful National Trust and English Heritage (and Scottish equivalent) as these organisations make it possible to glimpse so much about the past. I remember visiting Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s cottage a few years ago and discovering so much about his life, probably the sort of stuff you could read in books but to see some of his actual letters and learn about his long suffering wife was a real gem for me. And yes, I could imagine them standing in one of the rooms talking, or him sitting at his desk writing. It was fabulous.

    Reply
  39. What a fabulous post, Andrea and how lucky are you to have a place like the Yale Study Room at your fingertips. In the olden day’s before Covid came along, we used to travel extensively, visiting mostly Europe and the UK. I learn from objects, archaeological sites, visits to old houses and castles. I envy the English, Scots and Welsh for their wonderful National Trust and English Heritage (and Scottish equivalent) as these organisations make it possible to glimpse so much about the past. I remember visiting Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s cottage a few years ago and discovering so much about his life, probably the sort of stuff you could read in books but to see some of his actual letters and learn about his long suffering wife was a real gem for me. And yes, I could imagine them standing in one of the rooms talking, or him sitting at his desk writing. It was fabulous.

    Reply
  40. What a fabulous post, Andrea and how lucky are you to have a place like the Yale Study Room at your fingertips. In the olden day’s before Covid came along, we used to travel extensively, visiting mostly Europe and the UK. I learn from objects, archaeological sites, visits to old houses and castles. I envy the English, Scots and Welsh for their wonderful National Trust and English Heritage (and Scottish equivalent) as these organisations make it possible to glimpse so much about the past. I remember visiting Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s cottage a few years ago and discovering so much about his life, probably the sort of stuff you could read in books but to see some of his actual letters and learn about his long suffering wife was a real gem for me. And yes, I could imagine them standing in one of the rooms talking, or him sitting at his desk writing. It was fabulous.

    Reply
  41. Christina, you come up with the best stuff! I hope I’m you in an alternate universe.
    I have an extensive collection of glass/crystal paperweights that span from the late 1840s (when they originated) to current times, from Baccarat and Clichy to a cute little Betty Boop snow globe. I love speculating on who gave and received them over the years. I’ve even made a few myself, making me part of the tradition.
    Truly, history is a special power of the human race. We all participate in it!

    Reply
  42. Christina, you come up with the best stuff! I hope I’m you in an alternate universe.
    I have an extensive collection of glass/crystal paperweights that span from the late 1840s (when they originated) to current times, from Baccarat and Clichy to a cute little Betty Boop snow globe. I love speculating on who gave and received them over the years. I’ve even made a few myself, making me part of the tradition.
    Truly, history is a special power of the human race. We all participate in it!

    Reply
  43. Christina, you come up with the best stuff! I hope I’m you in an alternate universe.
    I have an extensive collection of glass/crystal paperweights that span from the late 1840s (when they originated) to current times, from Baccarat and Clichy to a cute little Betty Boop snow globe. I love speculating on who gave and received them over the years. I’ve even made a few myself, making me part of the tradition.
    Truly, history is a special power of the human race. We all participate in it!

    Reply
  44. Christina, you come up with the best stuff! I hope I’m you in an alternate universe.
    I have an extensive collection of glass/crystal paperweights that span from the late 1840s (when they originated) to current times, from Baccarat and Clichy to a cute little Betty Boop snow globe. I love speculating on who gave and received them over the years. I’ve even made a few myself, making me part of the tradition.
    Truly, history is a special power of the human race. We all participate in it!

    Reply
  45. Christina, you come up with the best stuff! I hope I’m you in an alternate universe.
    I have an extensive collection of glass/crystal paperweights that span from the late 1840s (when they originated) to current times, from Baccarat and Clichy to a cute little Betty Boop snow globe. I love speculating on who gave and received them over the years. I’ve even made a few myself, making me part of the tradition.
    Truly, history is a special power of the human race. We all participate in it!

    Reply
  46. Andrea-great post! In the Baltimore area, there are several places that have captured my imagination. I belong to a group called The Baltimore Bibliophiles, and as such, I’ve been privileged to visit several places of historical merit. One is the Engineers Club, which is in the historic Garret-Jacobs mansion on Mt. Vernon Place (the home of Baltimore’s Washington monument). One of the outstanding features of the Club is the magnificent carved wooden spiral staircase, which was created by the great architect Stanford White (who was murdered). I walked on the staircase and touched (caressed) the carved banister. I also used the staircase in my first book, The Color if Love. Another outstanding house in Baltimore is Evergreen House, a gilded age mansion once owned by a railroad magnate and now a museum and part of Johns Hopkins University. It has, among other things, a 30,000 volume library with Shakespeare folios, original Audubons, countless precious objects and a gold-plated bathroom. Our book collectors group was founded at Evergreen House and for decades, our dinner meetings were held in that library. The mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places.

    Reply
  47. Andrea-great post! In the Baltimore area, there are several places that have captured my imagination. I belong to a group called The Baltimore Bibliophiles, and as such, I’ve been privileged to visit several places of historical merit. One is the Engineers Club, which is in the historic Garret-Jacobs mansion on Mt. Vernon Place (the home of Baltimore’s Washington monument). One of the outstanding features of the Club is the magnificent carved wooden spiral staircase, which was created by the great architect Stanford White (who was murdered). I walked on the staircase and touched (caressed) the carved banister. I also used the staircase in my first book, The Color if Love. Another outstanding house in Baltimore is Evergreen House, a gilded age mansion once owned by a railroad magnate and now a museum and part of Johns Hopkins University. It has, among other things, a 30,000 volume library with Shakespeare folios, original Audubons, countless precious objects and a gold-plated bathroom. Our book collectors group was founded at Evergreen House and for decades, our dinner meetings were held in that library. The mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places.

    Reply
  48. Andrea-great post! In the Baltimore area, there are several places that have captured my imagination. I belong to a group called The Baltimore Bibliophiles, and as such, I’ve been privileged to visit several places of historical merit. One is the Engineers Club, which is in the historic Garret-Jacobs mansion on Mt. Vernon Place (the home of Baltimore’s Washington monument). One of the outstanding features of the Club is the magnificent carved wooden spiral staircase, which was created by the great architect Stanford White (who was murdered). I walked on the staircase and touched (caressed) the carved banister. I also used the staircase in my first book, The Color if Love. Another outstanding house in Baltimore is Evergreen House, a gilded age mansion once owned by a railroad magnate and now a museum and part of Johns Hopkins University. It has, among other things, a 30,000 volume library with Shakespeare folios, original Audubons, countless precious objects and a gold-plated bathroom. Our book collectors group was founded at Evergreen House and for decades, our dinner meetings were held in that library. The mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places.

    Reply
  49. Andrea-great post! In the Baltimore area, there are several places that have captured my imagination. I belong to a group called The Baltimore Bibliophiles, and as such, I’ve been privileged to visit several places of historical merit. One is the Engineers Club, which is in the historic Garret-Jacobs mansion on Mt. Vernon Place (the home of Baltimore’s Washington monument). One of the outstanding features of the Club is the magnificent carved wooden spiral staircase, which was created by the great architect Stanford White (who was murdered). I walked on the staircase and touched (caressed) the carved banister. I also used the staircase in my first book, The Color if Love. Another outstanding house in Baltimore is Evergreen House, a gilded age mansion once owned by a railroad magnate and now a museum and part of Johns Hopkins University. It has, among other things, a 30,000 volume library with Shakespeare folios, original Audubons, countless precious objects and a gold-plated bathroom. Our book collectors group was founded at Evergreen House and for decades, our dinner meetings were held in that library. The mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places.

    Reply
  50. Andrea-great post! In the Baltimore area, there are several places that have captured my imagination. I belong to a group called The Baltimore Bibliophiles, and as such, I’ve been privileged to visit several places of historical merit. One is the Engineers Club, which is in the historic Garret-Jacobs mansion on Mt. Vernon Place (the home of Baltimore’s Washington monument). One of the outstanding features of the Club is the magnificent carved wooden spiral staircase, which was created by the great architect Stanford White (who was murdered). I walked on the staircase and touched (caressed) the carved banister. I also used the staircase in my first book, The Color if Love. Another outstanding house in Baltimore is Evergreen House, a gilded age mansion once owned by a railroad magnate and now a museum and part of Johns Hopkins University. It has, among other things, a 30,000 volume library with Shakespeare folios, original Audubons, countless precious objects and a gold-plated bathroom. Our book collectors group was founded at Evergreen House and for decades, our dinner meetings were held in that library. The mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places.

    Reply
  51. Standing by the grave of Jane Austen! I knelt down and touched it and it almost overwhelmed me!!! I love her books and never thought I would get to see where she rested or to get to Bath, which I did, and walk where she walked.
    I’ll never forget that trip with my girls.
    Lovely post Andrea.

    Reply
  52. Standing by the grave of Jane Austen! I knelt down and touched it and it almost overwhelmed me!!! I love her books and never thought I would get to see where she rested or to get to Bath, which I did, and walk where she walked.
    I’ll never forget that trip with my girls.
    Lovely post Andrea.

    Reply
  53. Standing by the grave of Jane Austen! I knelt down and touched it and it almost overwhelmed me!!! I love her books and never thought I would get to see where she rested or to get to Bath, which I did, and walk where she walked.
    I’ll never forget that trip with my girls.
    Lovely post Andrea.

    Reply
  54. Standing by the grave of Jane Austen! I knelt down and touched it and it almost overwhelmed me!!! I love her books and never thought I would get to see where she rested or to get to Bath, which I did, and walk where she walked.
    I’ll never forget that trip with my girls.
    Lovely post Andrea.

    Reply
  55. Standing by the grave of Jane Austen! I knelt down and touched it and it almost overwhelmed me!!! I love her books and never thought I would get to see where she rested or to get to Bath, which I did, and walk where she walked.
    I’ll never forget that trip with my girls.
    Lovely post Andrea.

    Reply
  56. Shelagh, what a wonderful experience to be in Coleride’s cottage. It really does make a difference to see a person’s home and personal effects.
    And I so agree with you on how lucky the UK is to have so many amazing sites in a relatively small area. I am SO looking forward to traveling again!

    Reply
  57. Shelagh, what a wonderful experience to be in Coleride’s cottage. It really does make a difference to see a person’s home and personal effects.
    And I so agree with you on how lucky the UK is to have so many amazing sites in a relatively small area. I am SO looking forward to traveling again!

    Reply
  58. Shelagh, what a wonderful experience to be in Coleride’s cottage. It really does make a difference to see a person’s home and personal effects.
    And I so agree with you on how lucky the UK is to have so many amazing sites in a relatively small area. I am SO looking forward to traveling again!

    Reply
  59. Shelagh, what a wonderful experience to be in Coleride’s cottage. It really does make a difference to see a person’s home and personal effects.
    And I so agree with you on how lucky the UK is to have so many amazing sites in a relatively small area. I am SO looking forward to traveling again!

    Reply
  60. Shelagh, what a wonderful experience to be in Coleride’s cottage. It really does make a difference to see a person’s home and personal effects.
    And I so agree with you on how lucky the UK is to have so many amazing sites in a relatively small area. I am SO looking forward to traveling again!

    Reply
  61. I find museums and ancient artifacts interesting but am afraid that I don’t get that buzz when viewing.I do however have a sense of awe and respect when say in Norman churches or great cathedrals, particularly with some of the stained glass … perhaps I am sensing an atmosphere, maybe the spirit of the saints?
    I also love megalithic monuments and associated astronomical theories! I once tried to dowse the earth energy fields at Avebury but alas the high winds at the time blew my pendulum horizontal .. maybe the spirits objected to my probing!
    If however I could travel to the future (and return!) I am sure I would get a huge buzz from observing how stable fusion reactors were constructed and used for say, controlling climate and powering inter-planetary flight. I guess I just find the future much more interesting as it holds the secrets for possible solutions to current problems.
    Perhaps this has something to do with differences in education and training.

    Reply
  62. I find museums and ancient artifacts interesting but am afraid that I don’t get that buzz when viewing.I do however have a sense of awe and respect when say in Norman churches or great cathedrals, particularly with some of the stained glass … perhaps I am sensing an atmosphere, maybe the spirit of the saints?
    I also love megalithic monuments and associated astronomical theories! I once tried to dowse the earth energy fields at Avebury but alas the high winds at the time blew my pendulum horizontal .. maybe the spirits objected to my probing!
    If however I could travel to the future (and return!) I am sure I would get a huge buzz from observing how stable fusion reactors were constructed and used for say, controlling climate and powering inter-planetary flight. I guess I just find the future much more interesting as it holds the secrets for possible solutions to current problems.
    Perhaps this has something to do with differences in education and training.

    Reply
  63. I find museums and ancient artifacts interesting but am afraid that I don’t get that buzz when viewing.I do however have a sense of awe and respect when say in Norman churches or great cathedrals, particularly with some of the stained glass … perhaps I am sensing an atmosphere, maybe the spirit of the saints?
    I also love megalithic monuments and associated astronomical theories! I once tried to dowse the earth energy fields at Avebury but alas the high winds at the time blew my pendulum horizontal .. maybe the spirits objected to my probing!
    If however I could travel to the future (and return!) I am sure I would get a huge buzz from observing how stable fusion reactors were constructed and used for say, controlling climate and powering inter-planetary flight. I guess I just find the future much more interesting as it holds the secrets for possible solutions to current problems.
    Perhaps this has something to do with differences in education and training.

    Reply
  64. I find museums and ancient artifacts interesting but am afraid that I don’t get that buzz when viewing.I do however have a sense of awe and respect when say in Norman churches or great cathedrals, particularly with some of the stained glass … perhaps I am sensing an atmosphere, maybe the spirit of the saints?
    I also love megalithic monuments and associated astronomical theories! I once tried to dowse the earth energy fields at Avebury but alas the high winds at the time blew my pendulum horizontal .. maybe the spirits objected to my probing!
    If however I could travel to the future (and return!) I am sure I would get a huge buzz from observing how stable fusion reactors were constructed and used for say, controlling climate and powering inter-planetary flight. I guess I just find the future much more interesting as it holds the secrets for possible solutions to current problems.
    Perhaps this has something to do with differences in education and training.

    Reply
  65. I find museums and ancient artifacts interesting but am afraid that I don’t get that buzz when viewing.I do however have a sense of awe and respect when say in Norman churches or great cathedrals, particularly with some of the stained glass … perhaps I am sensing an atmosphere, maybe the spirit of the saints?
    I also love megalithic monuments and associated astronomical theories! I once tried to dowse the earth energy fields at Avebury but alas the high winds at the time blew my pendulum horizontal .. maybe the spirits objected to my probing!
    If however I could travel to the future (and return!) I am sure I would get a huge buzz from observing how stable fusion reactors were constructed and used for say, controlling climate and powering inter-planetary flight. I guess I just find the future much more interesting as it holds the secrets for possible solutions to current problems.
    Perhaps this has something to do with differences in education and training.

    Reply
  66. Thanks so much for a wonderful post. When I was a child, we lived near Chicago, and our school field trips were often to the Museum of Science and Industry. It was marvelous.
    There were 2 special places. One was a Nickelodeon theater. We got to go in and see silent pictures. That was exciting. But, the best thing was the coal mine. An elevator took you down to the mine. It was black and it felt as though we were thousands of feet under the surface of the earth. Looking back, I am pretty sure that was not true, but as a child it felt that way. And it made me feel as though I were a miner who was working down in such a very scary place. Those were brave men who worked hard for their pay. And it was not a cheerful place to work.
    I hope everyone is well and happy and safe.

    Reply
  67. Thanks so much for a wonderful post. When I was a child, we lived near Chicago, and our school field trips were often to the Museum of Science and Industry. It was marvelous.
    There were 2 special places. One was a Nickelodeon theater. We got to go in and see silent pictures. That was exciting. But, the best thing was the coal mine. An elevator took you down to the mine. It was black and it felt as though we were thousands of feet under the surface of the earth. Looking back, I am pretty sure that was not true, but as a child it felt that way. And it made me feel as though I were a miner who was working down in such a very scary place. Those were brave men who worked hard for their pay. And it was not a cheerful place to work.
    I hope everyone is well and happy and safe.

    Reply
  68. Thanks so much for a wonderful post. When I was a child, we lived near Chicago, and our school field trips were often to the Museum of Science and Industry. It was marvelous.
    There were 2 special places. One was a Nickelodeon theater. We got to go in and see silent pictures. That was exciting. But, the best thing was the coal mine. An elevator took you down to the mine. It was black and it felt as though we were thousands of feet under the surface of the earth. Looking back, I am pretty sure that was not true, but as a child it felt that way. And it made me feel as though I were a miner who was working down in such a very scary place. Those were brave men who worked hard for their pay. And it was not a cheerful place to work.
    I hope everyone is well and happy and safe.

    Reply
  69. Thanks so much for a wonderful post. When I was a child, we lived near Chicago, and our school field trips were often to the Museum of Science and Industry. It was marvelous.
    There were 2 special places. One was a Nickelodeon theater. We got to go in and see silent pictures. That was exciting. But, the best thing was the coal mine. An elevator took you down to the mine. It was black and it felt as though we were thousands of feet under the surface of the earth. Looking back, I am pretty sure that was not true, but as a child it felt that way. And it made me feel as though I were a miner who was working down in such a very scary place. Those were brave men who worked hard for their pay. And it was not a cheerful place to work.
    I hope everyone is well and happy and safe.

    Reply
  70. Thanks so much for a wonderful post. When I was a child, we lived near Chicago, and our school field trips were often to the Museum of Science and Industry. It was marvelous.
    There were 2 special places. One was a Nickelodeon theater. We got to go in and see silent pictures. That was exciting. But, the best thing was the coal mine. An elevator took you down to the mine. It was black and it felt as though we were thousands of feet under the surface of the earth. Looking back, I am pretty sure that was not true, but as a child it felt that way. And it made me feel as though I were a miner who was working down in such a very scary place. Those were brave men who worked hard for their pay. And it was not a cheerful place to work.
    I hope everyone is well and happy and safe.

    Reply
  71. Those are wonderful childhood memories, Annette. What an experience to have been immersed in the coal mine. No, a happy place, but clearly it made an impact on you about how hard and and scary a mine was for a worker. And I’m sure that gave you an appreciation of their experience when you read in history book about mines strikes or cave-ins.
    Field trips to museums are great educational tools!

    Reply
  72. Those are wonderful childhood memories, Annette. What an experience to have been immersed in the coal mine. No, a happy place, but clearly it made an impact on you about how hard and and scary a mine was for a worker. And I’m sure that gave you an appreciation of their experience when you read in history book about mines strikes or cave-ins.
    Field trips to museums are great educational tools!

    Reply
  73. Those are wonderful childhood memories, Annette. What an experience to have been immersed in the coal mine. No, a happy place, but clearly it made an impact on you about how hard and and scary a mine was for a worker. And I’m sure that gave you an appreciation of their experience when you read in history book about mines strikes or cave-ins.
    Field trips to museums are great educational tools!

    Reply
  74. Those are wonderful childhood memories, Annette. What an experience to have been immersed in the coal mine. No, a happy place, but clearly it made an impact on you about how hard and and scary a mine was for a worker. And I’m sure that gave you an appreciation of their experience when you read in history book about mines strikes or cave-ins.
    Field trips to museums are great educational tools!

    Reply
  75. Those are wonderful childhood memories, Annette. What an experience to have been immersed in the coal mine. No, a happy place, but clearly it made an impact on you about how hard and and scary a mine was for a worker. And I’m sure that gave you an appreciation of their experience when you read in history book about mines strikes or cave-ins.
    Field trips to museums are great educational tools!

    Reply
  76. Quantum, I totally understand how you find the future more intriguing than the past. How unanswerable questions to present-day minds will unfold has to be a fascinating thought for you.
    It’s interesting that cathedrals stir a sense of wonder in you—maybe it’s sometimes aboutthe space and light through the colored stained glass that appeals to your scientific sensibilities.
    I’m smiling thinking of you trying to douse the energy field in a high wind. Yes, perhaps the cosmic forces like keeping things a mystery for us mere mortals.

    Reply
  77. Quantum, I totally understand how you find the future more intriguing than the past. How unanswerable questions to present-day minds will unfold has to be a fascinating thought for you.
    It’s interesting that cathedrals stir a sense of wonder in you—maybe it’s sometimes aboutthe space and light through the colored stained glass that appeals to your scientific sensibilities.
    I’m smiling thinking of you trying to douse the energy field in a high wind. Yes, perhaps the cosmic forces like keeping things a mystery for us mere mortals.

    Reply
  78. Quantum, I totally understand how you find the future more intriguing than the past. How unanswerable questions to present-day minds will unfold has to be a fascinating thought for you.
    It’s interesting that cathedrals stir a sense of wonder in you—maybe it’s sometimes aboutthe space and light through the colored stained glass that appeals to your scientific sensibilities.
    I’m smiling thinking of you trying to douse the energy field in a high wind. Yes, perhaps the cosmic forces like keeping things a mystery for us mere mortals.

    Reply
  79. Quantum, I totally understand how you find the future more intriguing than the past. How unanswerable questions to present-day minds will unfold has to be a fascinating thought for you.
    It’s interesting that cathedrals stir a sense of wonder in you—maybe it’s sometimes aboutthe space and light through the colored stained glass that appeals to your scientific sensibilities.
    I’m smiling thinking of you trying to douse the energy field in a high wind. Yes, perhaps the cosmic forces like keeping things a mystery for us mere mortals.

    Reply
  80. Quantum, I totally understand how you find the future more intriguing than the past. How unanswerable questions to present-day minds will unfold has to be a fascinating thought for you.
    It’s interesting that cathedrals stir a sense of wonder in you—maybe it’s sometimes aboutthe space and light through the colored stained glass that appeals to your scientific sensibilities.
    I’m smiling thinking of you trying to douse the energy field in a high wind. Yes, perhaps the cosmic forces like keeping things a mystery for us mere mortals.

    Reply
  81. I was in Worcester Cathedral a few years ago. A choir was rehearsing. I mentioned to a passing cleric how lovely it was to hear such music when you’ve just walked in off the street to admire the architecture. He said he’d just been showing the choir the Cathedral’s greatest treasure. It was a book of music (The Worcester Antiphoner) dating back to the 1230s. He opened it for me to see. It had no fading and was still easily legible. I can read music quite well but this was the old notation used for plainsong. I asked whether he could read it and he opened it at random and sang a page. Then he let me touch a corner of the book. It was a seminal moment of my life to be so close to an 800 year old book. I still get shivers just writing about it…

    Reply
  82. I was in Worcester Cathedral a few years ago. A choir was rehearsing. I mentioned to a passing cleric how lovely it was to hear such music when you’ve just walked in off the street to admire the architecture. He said he’d just been showing the choir the Cathedral’s greatest treasure. It was a book of music (The Worcester Antiphoner) dating back to the 1230s. He opened it for me to see. It had no fading and was still easily legible. I can read music quite well but this was the old notation used for plainsong. I asked whether he could read it and he opened it at random and sang a page. Then he let me touch a corner of the book. It was a seminal moment of my life to be so close to an 800 year old book. I still get shivers just writing about it…

    Reply
  83. I was in Worcester Cathedral a few years ago. A choir was rehearsing. I mentioned to a passing cleric how lovely it was to hear such music when you’ve just walked in off the street to admire the architecture. He said he’d just been showing the choir the Cathedral’s greatest treasure. It was a book of music (The Worcester Antiphoner) dating back to the 1230s. He opened it for me to see. It had no fading and was still easily legible. I can read music quite well but this was the old notation used for plainsong. I asked whether he could read it and he opened it at random and sang a page. Then he let me touch a corner of the book. It was a seminal moment of my life to be so close to an 800 year old book. I still get shivers just writing about it…

    Reply
  84. I was in Worcester Cathedral a few years ago. A choir was rehearsing. I mentioned to a passing cleric how lovely it was to hear such music when you’ve just walked in off the street to admire the architecture. He said he’d just been showing the choir the Cathedral’s greatest treasure. It was a book of music (The Worcester Antiphoner) dating back to the 1230s. He opened it for me to see. It had no fading and was still easily legible. I can read music quite well but this was the old notation used for plainsong. I asked whether he could read it and he opened it at random and sang a page. Then he let me touch a corner of the book. It was a seminal moment of my life to be so close to an 800 year old book. I still get shivers just writing about it…

    Reply
  85. I was in Worcester Cathedral a few years ago. A choir was rehearsing. I mentioned to a passing cleric how lovely it was to hear such music when you’ve just walked in off the street to admire the architecture. He said he’d just been showing the choir the Cathedral’s greatest treasure. It was a book of music (The Worcester Antiphoner) dating back to the 1230s. He opened it for me to see. It had no fading and was still easily legible. I can read music quite well but this was the old notation used for plainsong. I asked whether he could read it and he opened it at random and sang a page. Then he let me touch a corner of the book. It was a seminal moment of my life to be so close to an 800 year old book. I still get shivers just writing about it…

    Reply
  86. I don’t own any very old artifacts(at least not older than the 20th century), but I love looking at everyday objects from long ago in museums. A couple of my favorite museums are the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York and the Musee Carnavalet, which is the historical museum for the city of Paris. I was awed to see objects there like Jean-Paul Marat’s bathtub, and the furnishings from Marie Antoinette’s prison cell.

    Reply
  87. I don’t own any very old artifacts(at least not older than the 20th century), but I love looking at everyday objects from long ago in museums. A couple of my favorite museums are the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York and the Musee Carnavalet, which is the historical museum for the city of Paris. I was awed to see objects there like Jean-Paul Marat’s bathtub, and the furnishings from Marie Antoinette’s prison cell.

    Reply
  88. I don’t own any very old artifacts(at least not older than the 20th century), but I love looking at everyday objects from long ago in museums. A couple of my favorite museums are the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York and the Musee Carnavalet, which is the historical museum for the city of Paris. I was awed to see objects there like Jean-Paul Marat’s bathtub, and the furnishings from Marie Antoinette’s prison cell.

    Reply
  89. I don’t own any very old artifacts(at least not older than the 20th century), but I love looking at everyday objects from long ago in museums. A couple of my favorite museums are the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York and the Musee Carnavalet, which is the historical museum for the city of Paris. I was awed to see objects there like Jean-Paul Marat’s bathtub, and the furnishings from Marie Antoinette’s prison cell.

    Reply
  90. I don’t own any very old artifacts(at least not older than the 20th century), but I love looking at everyday objects from long ago in museums. A couple of my favorite museums are the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York and the Musee Carnavalet, which is the historical museum for the city of Paris. I was awed to see objects there like Jean-Paul Marat’s bathtub, and the furnishings from Marie Antoinette’s prison cell.

    Reply
  91. Karin, that’s amazing! To see those things and think about the history in which they played a part is incredible. I’ve never been to the Musee Carnavelet, but it’s now on the Must See List.
    At Mt. Vernon, the main key to the Bastille is on display, as Lafayette gave it to Washington as a gift. THAT sent shivers down my spine

    Reply
  92. Karin, that’s amazing! To see those things and think about the history in which they played a part is incredible. I’ve never been to the Musee Carnavelet, but it’s now on the Must See List.
    At Mt. Vernon, the main key to the Bastille is on display, as Lafayette gave it to Washington as a gift. THAT sent shivers down my spine

    Reply
  93. Karin, that’s amazing! To see those things and think about the history in which they played a part is incredible. I’ve never been to the Musee Carnavelet, but it’s now on the Must See List.
    At Mt. Vernon, the main key to the Bastille is on display, as Lafayette gave it to Washington as a gift. THAT sent shivers down my spine

    Reply
  94. Karin, that’s amazing! To see those things and think about the history in which they played a part is incredible. I’ve never been to the Musee Carnavelet, but it’s now on the Must See List.
    At Mt. Vernon, the main key to the Bastille is on display, as Lafayette gave it to Washington as a gift. THAT sent shivers down my spine

    Reply
  95. Karin, that’s amazing! To see those things and think about the history in which they played a part is incredible. I’ve never been to the Musee Carnavelet, but it’s now on the Must See List.
    At Mt. Vernon, the main key to the Bastille is on display, as Lafayette gave it to Washington as a gift. THAT sent shivers down my spine

    Reply

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