Speaking Objectively . . .

Bastille key 2Andrea/Cara here, musing today about objects. Allow me to explain . . . The other day I was rooting through my shelves looking for a reference book when I stopped to thumb through a completely different book. (This happens a lot to me!) The History of the World in 100 Objects, is a great favorite of mine. Written by the head of the British Museum, it’s a delightful and fascinating look at how individual objects, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, tell such grand stories, and can be such a powerful way to bring history alive.


Hope diamondAs I turned the pages, I got to thinking more about the subject. Object-based learning has become a trend in education. It’s seen as a way to connect and engage students to the subject matter in ways that transcend words on a page. Seeing and touching are elemental parts of our perception, and trigger different reactions. Abstract ideas can suddenly become more visceral—touching Jane Austen’s laptop desk can send a shiver down the spine as the opening line of Pride and Prejudice echoes in your head!

I Thoreau's pen’m a great believer in object-based learning. When I look at my own experiences, I know that specific things have made a huge impact on me. I remember squeezing through the crowd at the Smithsonian to get my first glimpse of the Hope Diamond. Now, I’m not all that into “bling” but it suddenly took my breath away as I started thinking about Marie Antoinette having worn it—OMG, this stone actually touched her skin—and then supposedly passed to the Prince Regent . . . It was no longer just an inanimate object, but a spark to the imagination. People and events come alive, reminding us that history is flesh and blood and passions

Napoleons-pistolsOkay—granted, I tend to get excited about a lot of things I see in museums, but I found it fun to sit back and start making a list about some of the things that really touched me. It’s a very eclectic list, and I can’t always explain why certain things struck me so powerfully. During a trip to Denver I was in Brown’s Hotel and noticed a display case holding Napoleon’s dueling pistols. Maybe it was because it was so unexpected, but I was totally blown away! Austerlitz, Borodino, Waterloo. I swear, I could almost smell a whiff of gunpowder in the air. (No doubt they thought I was very odd for all the time I stood there just staring at them.)

LanternAnother favorite of mine is the key to Bastille that hangs on the wall of George Washington’s house at Mount Vernon. It was a gift from the Marquise de Lafayette, who said that it seemed a perfect match for the Father of Liberty to have such a symbol of freedom. (I love that Washington was so moved by it that he designed the case to hold it.) When you think of all the people who were imprisoned there and all the history that took place within those grim walls . . . Yes, more goosebumps!

Then there’s the lantern that hung in Old North Church in Boston to signal that the British troops were on the move to Lexington and Concord. (I’m sure many of you remember the lines from Longfellow's famous poem on Paul Revere's ride: One if by land and two if by sea . . .) It’s a lovely piece of craftsmanship in itself, but given its significance in American history, one can almost see it glowing with that long-ago flame. Adding to the list, I also found Thoreau’s simple quill pen very moving.

Nelsons coatAnd getting back to the Napoleonic Wars, Admiral Nelson dress uniform coat—complete with the hole made by the bullet that killed him—was very moving. Aside from all the other emotions it stirred, it brought home how small a man he was, which made him that much more human.

Now that I’ve started I could go on and on. Peter the Great’s long boots in the Kremlin Armoury museum were quite amazing. (He was 6’7” so you can imagine how impressive they are.) I had just finished college when I saw them, and had studied a lot of Russian history. So again, it made him come alive . . .

But rather than rattle on, I’d love to hear what historical objects have made a lasting impact on you! Do you have some favorites that really made a person or event or era come alive? Please share!

120 thoughts on “Speaking Objectively . . .”

  1. We had that “100 Objects” exhibition on loan from the British Museum here at the National Museum in Canberra just a few months ago. It was the most popular exhibition they’ve ever had (I had to queue for hours!).
    Also, at the National Gallery we just had a bunch of stuff on loan from Versailles. However it wasn’t just paintings, but things like musical instruments belonging to Marie Antoinette, and other personal items.
    It definitely makes you feel connected to these people when you know they’ve played/worn/used those objects.

    Reply
  2. We had that “100 Objects” exhibition on loan from the British Museum here at the National Museum in Canberra just a few months ago. It was the most popular exhibition they’ve ever had (I had to queue for hours!).
    Also, at the National Gallery we just had a bunch of stuff on loan from Versailles. However it wasn’t just paintings, but things like musical instruments belonging to Marie Antoinette, and other personal items.
    It definitely makes you feel connected to these people when you know they’ve played/worn/used those objects.

    Reply
  3. We had that “100 Objects” exhibition on loan from the British Museum here at the National Museum in Canberra just a few months ago. It was the most popular exhibition they’ve ever had (I had to queue for hours!).
    Also, at the National Gallery we just had a bunch of stuff on loan from Versailles. However it wasn’t just paintings, but things like musical instruments belonging to Marie Antoinette, and other personal items.
    It definitely makes you feel connected to these people when you know they’ve played/worn/used those objects.

    Reply
  4. We had that “100 Objects” exhibition on loan from the British Museum here at the National Museum in Canberra just a few months ago. It was the most popular exhibition they’ve ever had (I had to queue for hours!).
    Also, at the National Gallery we just had a bunch of stuff on loan from Versailles. However it wasn’t just paintings, but things like musical instruments belonging to Marie Antoinette, and other personal items.
    It definitely makes you feel connected to these people when you know they’ve played/worn/used those objects.

    Reply
  5. We had that “100 Objects” exhibition on loan from the British Museum here at the National Museum in Canberra just a few months ago. It was the most popular exhibition they’ve ever had (I had to queue for hours!).
    Also, at the National Gallery we just had a bunch of stuff on loan from Versailles. However it wasn’t just paintings, but things like musical instruments belonging to Marie Antoinette, and other personal items.
    It definitely makes you feel connected to these people when you know they’ve played/worn/used those objects.

    Reply
  6. Not from a famous person, but I had my grandmother’s school report from when she was a child in what was then Bohemia. She got her best reports in needlework and behavior. I know how skilled she was with a needle, and since she said students had to sit on their hands if they spoke out of turn, I could understand her desire to behave!

    Reply
  7. Not from a famous person, but I had my grandmother’s school report from when she was a child in what was then Bohemia. She got her best reports in needlework and behavior. I know how skilled she was with a needle, and since she said students had to sit on their hands if they spoke out of turn, I could understand her desire to behave!

    Reply
  8. Not from a famous person, but I had my grandmother’s school report from when she was a child in what was then Bohemia. She got her best reports in needlework and behavior. I know how skilled she was with a needle, and since she said students had to sit on their hands if they spoke out of turn, I could understand her desire to behave!

    Reply
  9. Not from a famous person, but I had my grandmother’s school report from when she was a child in what was then Bohemia. She got her best reports in needlework and behavior. I know how skilled she was with a needle, and since she said students had to sit on their hands if they spoke out of turn, I could understand her desire to behave!

    Reply
  10. Not from a famous person, but I had my grandmother’s school report from when she was a child in what was then Bohemia. She got her best reports in needlework and behavior. I know how skilled she was with a needle, and since she said students had to sit on their hands if they spoke out of turn, I could understand her desire to behave!

    Reply
  11. When my grandmother died I was given the apron from her nursing uniform, some of her textbooks, and her school ring. As I am a nurse, these were very meaningful to me and showed the continuity of medical service in my family. (Both of her grandfathers were doctors in the civil war).

    Reply
  12. When my grandmother died I was given the apron from her nursing uniform, some of her textbooks, and her school ring. As I am a nurse, these were very meaningful to me and showed the continuity of medical service in my family. (Both of her grandfathers were doctors in the civil war).

    Reply
  13. When my grandmother died I was given the apron from her nursing uniform, some of her textbooks, and her school ring. As I am a nurse, these were very meaningful to me and showed the continuity of medical service in my family. (Both of her grandfathers were doctors in the civil war).

    Reply
  14. When my grandmother died I was given the apron from her nursing uniform, some of her textbooks, and her school ring. As I am a nurse, these were very meaningful to me and showed the continuity of medical service in my family. (Both of her grandfathers were doctors in the civil war).

    Reply
  15. When my grandmother died I was given the apron from her nursing uniform, some of her textbooks, and her school ring. As I am a nurse, these were very meaningful to me and showed the continuity of medical service in my family. (Both of her grandfathers were doctors in the civil war).

    Reply
  16. Fabulous post, Andrea! I absolutely love material objects and like you could list a whole load of them that give me a shiver a down the spine. Guy Fawkes’ lantern, in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is one of my favourites. I could picture him creeping about in the cellars under the Houses of Parliament, holding it whilst he planned his treason. Then there was Napoleon’s cloak in the exhibition at Windsor Castle… I wanted to try that on!
    As a couple of people have mentioned, objects with personal connections can also be so special and important as a link to people and their history. My mother has the truncheon that my grandfather had when he was a special policeman during the 2nd World War and it feels such an important link to him and the role he played during that time. Theses things are priceless!

    Reply
  17. Fabulous post, Andrea! I absolutely love material objects and like you could list a whole load of them that give me a shiver a down the spine. Guy Fawkes’ lantern, in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is one of my favourites. I could picture him creeping about in the cellars under the Houses of Parliament, holding it whilst he planned his treason. Then there was Napoleon’s cloak in the exhibition at Windsor Castle… I wanted to try that on!
    As a couple of people have mentioned, objects with personal connections can also be so special and important as a link to people and their history. My mother has the truncheon that my grandfather had when he was a special policeman during the 2nd World War and it feels such an important link to him and the role he played during that time. Theses things are priceless!

    Reply
  18. Fabulous post, Andrea! I absolutely love material objects and like you could list a whole load of them that give me a shiver a down the spine. Guy Fawkes’ lantern, in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is one of my favourites. I could picture him creeping about in the cellars under the Houses of Parliament, holding it whilst he planned his treason. Then there was Napoleon’s cloak in the exhibition at Windsor Castle… I wanted to try that on!
    As a couple of people have mentioned, objects with personal connections can also be so special and important as a link to people and their history. My mother has the truncheon that my grandfather had when he was a special policeman during the 2nd World War and it feels such an important link to him and the role he played during that time. Theses things are priceless!

    Reply
  19. Fabulous post, Andrea! I absolutely love material objects and like you could list a whole load of them that give me a shiver a down the spine. Guy Fawkes’ lantern, in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is one of my favourites. I could picture him creeping about in the cellars under the Houses of Parliament, holding it whilst he planned his treason. Then there was Napoleon’s cloak in the exhibition at Windsor Castle… I wanted to try that on!
    As a couple of people have mentioned, objects with personal connections can also be so special and important as a link to people and their history. My mother has the truncheon that my grandfather had when he was a special policeman during the 2nd World War and it feels such an important link to him and the role he played during that time. Theses things are priceless!

    Reply
  20. Fabulous post, Andrea! I absolutely love material objects and like you could list a whole load of them that give me a shiver a down the spine. Guy Fawkes’ lantern, in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is one of my favourites. I could picture him creeping about in the cellars under the Houses of Parliament, holding it whilst he planned his treason. Then there was Napoleon’s cloak in the exhibition at Windsor Castle… I wanted to try that on!
    As a couple of people have mentioned, objects with personal connections can also be so special and important as a link to people and their history. My mother has the truncheon that my grandfather had when he was a special policeman during the 2nd World War and it feels such an important link to him and the role he played during that time. Theses things are priceless!

    Reply
  21. I love museums, large or small. The smaller museums are nice, because they often have artifacts from the same area and give you an idea of how the “common” people lived – the homespun wedding dress of a farm girl, the gun of a local soldier, the butter churn of a farm wife… They are all interesting. Our small local museum here in Livingston TX is fantastic.

    Reply
  22. I love museums, large or small. The smaller museums are nice, because they often have artifacts from the same area and give you an idea of how the “common” people lived – the homespun wedding dress of a farm girl, the gun of a local soldier, the butter churn of a farm wife… They are all interesting. Our small local museum here in Livingston TX is fantastic.

    Reply
  23. I love museums, large or small. The smaller museums are nice, because they often have artifacts from the same area and give you an idea of how the “common” people lived – the homespun wedding dress of a farm girl, the gun of a local soldier, the butter churn of a farm wife… They are all interesting. Our small local museum here in Livingston TX is fantastic.

    Reply
  24. I love museums, large or small. The smaller museums are nice, because they often have artifacts from the same area and give you an idea of how the “common” people lived – the homespun wedding dress of a farm girl, the gun of a local soldier, the butter churn of a farm wife… They are all interesting. Our small local museum here in Livingston TX is fantastic.

    Reply
  25. I love museums, large or small. The smaller museums are nice, because they often have artifacts from the same area and give you an idea of how the “common” people lived – the homespun wedding dress of a farm girl, the gun of a local soldier, the butter churn of a farm wife… They are all interesting. Our small local museum here in Livingston TX is fantastic.

    Reply
  26. I remember my first visit to the art museum when I was about nine years old. The paintings were interesting but they did not especially move me at that age. But then I stepped into a room that was filled with ancient Egyptian artifacts and I suddenly felt as if I had stepped into history. They were everyday items (cups, bowls, etc.) but I felt as if I was standing among the people who used them. I felt the same way when I entered another room done up as a room from a medieval castle. I think that is where I first started my love affair with history.
    Like several others have mentioned, one of my most prized possessions is personal. It is a pitcher and wash basin that I was given by my great aunt. It had belonged to her grandmother (circa 1850???). I doubt that it has great material value – they were simple farm folk – but it means the world to me.

    Reply
  27. I remember my first visit to the art museum when I was about nine years old. The paintings were interesting but they did not especially move me at that age. But then I stepped into a room that was filled with ancient Egyptian artifacts and I suddenly felt as if I had stepped into history. They were everyday items (cups, bowls, etc.) but I felt as if I was standing among the people who used them. I felt the same way when I entered another room done up as a room from a medieval castle. I think that is where I first started my love affair with history.
    Like several others have mentioned, one of my most prized possessions is personal. It is a pitcher and wash basin that I was given by my great aunt. It had belonged to her grandmother (circa 1850???). I doubt that it has great material value – they were simple farm folk – but it means the world to me.

    Reply
  28. I remember my first visit to the art museum when I was about nine years old. The paintings were interesting but they did not especially move me at that age. But then I stepped into a room that was filled with ancient Egyptian artifacts and I suddenly felt as if I had stepped into history. They were everyday items (cups, bowls, etc.) but I felt as if I was standing among the people who used them. I felt the same way when I entered another room done up as a room from a medieval castle. I think that is where I first started my love affair with history.
    Like several others have mentioned, one of my most prized possessions is personal. It is a pitcher and wash basin that I was given by my great aunt. It had belonged to her grandmother (circa 1850???). I doubt that it has great material value – they were simple farm folk – but it means the world to me.

    Reply
  29. I remember my first visit to the art museum when I was about nine years old. The paintings were interesting but they did not especially move me at that age. But then I stepped into a room that was filled with ancient Egyptian artifacts and I suddenly felt as if I had stepped into history. They were everyday items (cups, bowls, etc.) but I felt as if I was standing among the people who used them. I felt the same way when I entered another room done up as a room from a medieval castle. I think that is where I first started my love affair with history.
    Like several others have mentioned, one of my most prized possessions is personal. It is a pitcher and wash basin that I was given by my great aunt. It had belonged to her grandmother (circa 1850???). I doubt that it has great material value – they were simple farm folk – but it means the world to me.

    Reply
  30. I remember my first visit to the art museum when I was about nine years old. The paintings were interesting but they did not especially move me at that age. But then I stepped into a room that was filled with ancient Egyptian artifacts and I suddenly felt as if I had stepped into history. They were everyday items (cups, bowls, etc.) but I felt as if I was standing among the people who used them. I felt the same way when I entered another room done up as a room from a medieval castle. I think that is where I first started my love affair with history.
    Like several others have mentioned, one of my most prized possessions is personal. It is a pitcher and wash basin that I was given by my great aunt. It had belonged to her grandmother (circa 1850???). I doubt that it has great material value – they were simple farm folk – but it means the world to me.

    Reply
  31. The thing that sticks out for me is when I was about 15, my family was travelling (somewhere) in Missouri and stopped at a Pioneer village. It was a living museum but they had an entire log cabin intact. With the accouterments that would have been used. I sat in the small cabin that served as the entire families living space and for the first time really visualized what “pioneering” entailed to a point. Riding in a covered wagon here in Oklahoma (ow.); walking across a Civil War battlefield (in Oklahoma) and standing where the lines of soldiers fell; going to a plantation in Mississippi and seeing a mansion and then further back a slaves shanty with the disparity glaring at all to see. Just really brings history to life in a very cognizant way. I would LOVE to see some of the British and Colonial history that you all are mentioning. Just fascinating stuff.

    Reply
  32. The thing that sticks out for me is when I was about 15, my family was travelling (somewhere) in Missouri and stopped at a Pioneer village. It was a living museum but they had an entire log cabin intact. With the accouterments that would have been used. I sat in the small cabin that served as the entire families living space and for the first time really visualized what “pioneering” entailed to a point. Riding in a covered wagon here in Oklahoma (ow.); walking across a Civil War battlefield (in Oklahoma) and standing where the lines of soldiers fell; going to a plantation in Mississippi and seeing a mansion and then further back a slaves shanty with the disparity glaring at all to see. Just really brings history to life in a very cognizant way. I would LOVE to see some of the British and Colonial history that you all are mentioning. Just fascinating stuff.

    Reply
  33. The thing that sticks out for me is when I was about 15, my family was travelling (somewhere) in Missouri and stopped at a Pioneer village. It was a living museum but they had an entire log cabin intact. With the accouterments that would have been used. I sat in the small cabin that served as the entire families living space and for the first time really visualized what “pioneering” entailed to a point. Riding in a covered wagon here in Oklahoma (ow.); walking across a Civil War battlefield (in Oklahoma) and standing where the lines of soldiers fell; going to a plantation in Mississippi and seeing a mansion and then further back a slaves shanty with the disparity glaring at all to see. Just really brings history to life in a very cognizant way. I would LOVE to see some of the British and Colonial history that you all are mentioning. Just fascinating stuff.

    Reply
  34. The thing that sticks out for me is when I was about 15, my family was travelling (somewhere) in Missouri and stopped at a Pioneer village. It was a living museum but they had an entire log cabin intact. With the accouterments that would have been used. I sat in the small cabin that served as the entire families living space and for the first time really visualized what “pioneering” entailed to a point. Riding in a covered wagon here in Oklahoma (ow.); walking across a Civil War battlefield (in Oklahoma) and standing where the lines of soldiers fell; going to a plantation in Mississippi and seeing a mansion and then further back a slaves shanty with the disparity glaring at all to see. Just really brings history to life in a very cognizant way. I would LOVE to see some of the British and Colonial history that you all are mentioning. Just fascinating stuff.

    Reply
  35. The thing that sticks out for me is when I was about 15, my family was travelling (somewhere) in Missouri and stopped at a Pioneer village. It was a living museum but they had an entire log cabin intact. With the accouterments that would have been used. I sat in the small cabin that served as the entire families living space and for the first time really visualized what “pioneering” entailed to a point. Riding in a covered wagon here in Oklahoma (ow.); walking across a Civil War battlefield (in Oklahoma) and standing where the lines of soldiers fell; going to a plantation in Mississippi and seeing a mansion and then further back a slaves shanty with the disparity glaring at all to see. Just really brings history to life in a very cognizant way. I would LOVE to see some of the British and Colonial history that you all are mentioning. Just fascinating stuff.

    Reply
  36. Such a fabulous objects from history, Nicola! Love your image of Fawkes slinking around in the cellars!q
    And aren’t family heirlooms so meaningful! I have items from my grandfather, who died before I was born, and they are a tangible connection to him, and make my mother’s stories about him so much more real.

    Reply
  37. Such a fabulous objects from history, Nicola! Love your image of Fawkes slinking around in the cellars!q
    And aren’t family heirlooms so meaningful! I have items from my grandfather, who died before I was born, and they are a tangible connection to him, and make my mother’s stories about him so much more real.

    Reply
  38. Such a fabulous objects from history, Nicola! Love your image of Fawkes slinking around in the cellars!q
    And aren’t family heirlooms so meaningful! I have items from my grandfather, who died before I was born, and they are a tangible connection to him, and make my mother’s stories about him so much more real.

    Reply
  39. Such a fabulous objects from history, Nicola! Love your image of Fawkes slinking around in the cellars!q
    And aren’t family heirlooms so meaningful! I have items from my grandfather, who died before I was born, and they are a tangible connection to him, and make my mother’s stories about him so much more real.

    Reply
  40. Such a fabulous objects from history, Nicola! Love your image of Fawkes slinking around in the cellars!q
    And aren’t family heirlooms so meaningful! I have items from my grandfather, who died before I was born, and they are a tangible connection to him, and make my mother’s stories about him so much more real.

    Reply
  41. Oh, Mary, I feel the same way you do when I step into a room like the Egyptian or medieval ones you describe. There’s something about seeing things that have been touched and used by people that makes the past come alive. I remember as a kid walking into the medieval a hall at the Met and seeing all the suits of armor. I was totally captivated! I think it’s those sorts of things that grab children and make them fall in love with history.
    Your pitcher and washbasin sound amazing. It truly is a treasure to have those touchstones to past generations.

    Reply
  42. Oh, Mary, I feel the same way you do when I step into a room like the Egyptian or medieval ones you describe. There’s something about seeing things that have been touched and used by people that makes the past come alive. I remember as a kid walking into the medieval a hall at the Met and seeing all the suits of armor. I was totally captivated! I think it’s those sorts of things that grab children and make them fall in love with history.
    Your pitcher and washbasin sound amazing. It truly is a treasure to have those touchstones to past generations.

    Reply
  43. Oh, Mary, I feel the same way you do when I step into a room like the Egyptian or medieval ones you describe. There’s something about seeing things that have been touched and used by people that makes the past come alive. I remember as a kid walking into the medieval a hall at the Met and seeing all the suits of armor. I was totally captivated! I think it’s those sorts of things that grab children and make them fall in love with history.
    Your pitcher and washbasin sound amazing. It truly is a treasure to have those touchstones to past generations.

    Reply
  44. Oh, Mary, I feel the same way you do when I step into a room like the Egyptian or medieval ones you describe. There’s something about seeing things that have been touched and used by people that makes the past come alive. I remember as a kid walking into the medieval a hall at the Met and seeing all the suits of armor. I was totally captivated! I think it’s those sorts of things that grab children and make them fall in love with history.
    Your pitcher and washbasin sound amazing. It truly is a treasure to have those touchstones to past generations.

    Reply
  45. Oh, Mary, I feel the same way you do when I step into a room like the Egyptian or medieval ones you describe. There’s something about seeing things that have been touched and used by people that makes the past come alive. I remember as a kid walking into the medieval a hall at the Met and seeing all the suits of armor. I was totally captivated! I think it’s those sorts of things that grab children and make them fall in love with history.
    Your pitcher and washbasin sound amazing. It truly is a treasure to have those touchstones to past generations.

    Reply
  46. You’re so right, Stephanie! Being able to visualize the past brings it to a whole new level of experience. It’s amazing the impact it has.
    Another thing I remember is visiting a whaling ship at Mystic Seaport and going down below decks and seeing the tiny bunks and cramped spaces. Really made the experience come to life.

    Reply
  47. You’re so right, Stephanie! Being able to visualize the past brings it to a whole new level of experience. It’s amazing the impact it has.
    Another thing I remember is visiting a whaling ship at Mystic Seaport and going down below decks and seeing the tiny bunks and cramped spaces. Really made the experience come to life.

    Reply
  48. You’re so right, Stephanie! Being able to visualize the past brings it to a whole new level of experience. It’s amazing the impact it has.
    Another thing I remember is visiting a whaling ship at Mystic Seaport and going down below decks and seeing the tiny bunks and cramped spaces. Really made the experience come to life.

    Reply
  49. You’re so right, Stephanie! Being able to visualize the past brings it to a whole new level of experience. It’s amazing the impact it has.
    Another thing I remember is visiting a whaling ship at Mystic Seaport and going down below decks and seeing the tiny bunks and cramped spaces. Really made the experience come to life.

    Reply
  50. You’re so right, Stephanie! Being able to visualize the past brings it to a whole new level of experience. It’s amazing the impact it has.
    Another thing I remember is visiting a whaling ship at Mystic Seaport and going down below decks and seeing the tiny bunks and cramped spaces. Really made the experience come to life.

    Reply
  51. What an enjoyable post! Thank you, Andrea/Cara. I’m reminded of when my husband and I were visiting England. We went into an old pub that had been built in the 1100s. It was rather staggering to think of how much living that place had seen. It brought home the realization that the US, where I’ve lived much of my life, is such a young nation. Here in the Pacific Northwest an OLD building might be 150 years old.

    Reply
  52. What an enjoyable post! Thank you, Andrea/Cara. I’m reminded of when my husband and I were visiting England. We went into an old pub that had been built in the 1100s. It was rather staggering to think of how much living that place had seen. It brought home the realization that the US, where I’ve lived much of my life, is such a young nation. Here in the Pacific Northwest an OLD building might be 150 years old.

    Reply
  53. What an enjoyable post! Thank you, Andrea/Cara. I’m reminded of when my husband and I were visiting England. We went into an old pub that had been built in the 1100s. It was rather staggering to think of how much living that place had seen. It brought home the realization that the US, where I’ve lived much of my life, is such a young nation. Here in the Pacific Northwest an OLD building might be 150 years old.

    Reply
  54. What an enjoyable post! Thank you, Andrea/Cara. I’m reminded of when my husband and I were visiting England. We went into an old pub that had been built in the 1100s. It was rather staggering to think of how much living that place had seen. It brought home the realization that the US, where I’ve lived much of my life, is such a young nation. Here in the Pacific Northwest an OLD building might be 150 years old.

    Reply
  55. What an enjoyable post! Thank you, Andrea/Cara. I’m reminded of when my husband and I were visiting England. We went into an old pub that had been built in the 1100s. It was rather staggering to think of how much living that place had seen. It brought home the realization that the US, where I’ve lived much of my life, is such a young nation. Here in the Pacific Northwest an OLD building might be 150 years old.

    Reply
  56. It’s strange that this post came up now. I’ve just started a history course on line about Bonnie Prince Charlie and a lot of it is being done through Material Culture. I know I won’t get to touch the items but just seeing them is fascinating. Seeing the plaid he wore and items he had with him during his time in Scotland. It just brings you so much closer to the person and has made it much more interesting for me to study.

    Reply
  57. It’s strange that this post came up now. I’ve just started a history course on line about Bonnie Prince Charlie and a lot of it is being done through Material Culture. I know I won’t get to touch the items but just seeing them is fascinating. Seeing the plaid he wore and items he had with him during his time in Scotland. It just brings you so much closer to the person and has made it much more interesting for me to study.

    Reply
  58. It’s strange that this post came up now. I’ve just started a history course on line about Bonnie Prince Charlie and a lot of it is being done through Material Culture. I know I won’t get to touch the items but just seeing them is fascinating. Seeing the plaid he wore and items he had with him during his time in Scotland. It just brings you so much closer to the person and has made it much more interesting for me to study.

    Reply
  59. It’s strange that this post came up now. I’ve just started a history course on line about Bonnie Prince Charlie and a lot of it is being done through Material Culture. I know I won’t get to touch the items but just seeing them is fascinating. Seeing the plaid he wore and items he had with him during his time in Scotland. It just brings you so much closer to the person and has made it much more interesting for me to study.

    Reply
  60. It’s strange that this post came up now. I’ve just started a history course on line about Bonnie Prince Charlie and a lot of it is being done through Material Culture. I know I won’t get to touch the items but just seeing them is fascinating. Seeing the plaid he wore and items he had with him during his time in Scotland. It just brings you so much closer to the person and has made it much more interesting for me to study.

    Reply
  61. All your great memories — those from Andrea/Cara and from the posters ahead of me have raised so many memories I don’t know where to start!
    I own a bed made by my grandmother’s uncle — it’s not a standard size, just the size he decided to make. That, alone is interesting. I have the remaining pieces of an elaborate tea set (in “flow ware) which originally belonged to his sister-in-law, and which came to me through my grandmother.
    StephanieL — my mother’s brother-in-law (and one of my favorite uncles) went down to Oklahoma from Illinois during the land rush, in order to hold the horses at the stake, so his uncle could write up the claim. He used to tell us about it. There is no object to connect with this story — except a very ordinary, scarcely connected one. The year Oklahoma was celebrated it’s 100th anniversary, the licenses all proclaimed this. Seeing one of those licenses reminded me to tell my three grandchildren of Uncle Dates’s connection. You could see history come alive in their eyes. The two-great uncle their elders spoke of frequently had been a part of HISTORY! Without that license plate I’m not sure I would have remembered the story.
    Lastly: I like our local history museum, but mostly the displays merely remind me of my grandmother’s home, rather than of history. But someone above mentioned them, and I was instantly reminded of the museum in “Shadowy Horses”, so the discussion has evoked memories of national history, family history, and a favorite book.
    You can’t do much better than that!

    Reply
  62. All your great memories — those from Andrea/Cara and from the posters ahead of me have raised so many memories I don’t know where to start!
    I own a bed made by my grandmother’s uncle — it’s not a standard size, just the size he decided to make. That, alone is interesting. I have the remaining pieces of an elaborate tea set (in “flow ware) which originally belonged to his sister-in-law, and which came to me through my grandmother.
    StephanieL — my mother’s brother-in-law (and one of my favorite uncles) went down to Oklahoma from Illinois during the land rush, in order to hold the horses at the stake, so his uncle could write up the claim. He used to tell us about it. There is no object to connect with this story — except a very ordinary, scarcely connected one. The year Oklahoma was celebrated it’s 100th anniversary, the licenses all proclaimed this. Seeing one of those licenses reminded me to tell my three grandchildren of Uncle Dates’s connection. You could see history come alive in their eyes. The two-great uncle their elders spoke of frequently had been a part of HISTORY! Without that license plate I’m not sure I would have remembered the story.
    Lastly: I like our local history museum, but mostly the displays merely remind me of my grandmother’s home, rather than of history. But someone above mentioned them, and I was instantly reminded of the museum in “Shadowy Horses”, so the discussion has evoked memories of national history, family history, and a favorite book.
    You can’t do much better than that!

    Reply
  63. All your great memories — those from Andrea/Cara and from the posters ahead of me have raised so many memories I don’t know where to start!
    I own a bed made by my grandmother’s uncle — it’s not a standard size, just the size he decided to make. That, alone is interesting. I have the remaining pieces of an elaborate tea set (in “flow ware) which originally belonged to his sister-in-law, and which came to me through my grandmother.
    StephanieL — my mother’s brother-in-law (and one of my favorite uncles) went down to Oklahoma from Illinois during the land rush, in order to hold the horses at the stake, so his uncle could write up the claim. He used to tell us about it. There is no object to connect with this story — except a very ordinary, scarcely connected one. The year Oklahoma was celebrated it’s 100th anniversary, the licenses all proclaimed this. Seeing one of those licenses reminded me to tell my three grandchildren of Uncle Dates’s connection. You could see history come alive in their eyes. The two-great uncle their elders spoke of frequently had been a part of HISTORY! Without that license plate I’m not sure I would have remembered the story.
    Lastly: I like our local history museum, but mostly the displays merely remind me of my grandmother’s home, rather than of history. But someone above mentioned them, and I was instantly reminded of the museum in “Shadowy Horses”, so the discussion has evoked memories of national history, family history, and a favorite book.
    You can’t do much better than that!

    Reply
  64. All your great memories — those from Andrea/Cara and from the posters ahead of me have raised so many memories I don’t know where to start!
    I own a bed made by my grandmother’s uncle — it’s not a standard size, just the size he decided to make. That, alone is interesting. I have the remaining pieces of an elaborate tea set (in “flow ware) which originally belonged to his sister-in-law, and which came to me through my grandmother.
    StephanieL — my mother’s brother-in-law (and one of my favorite uncles) went down to Oklahoma from Illinois during the land rush, in order to hold the horses at the stake, so his uncle could write up the claim. He used to tell us about it. There is no object to connect with this story — except a very ordinary, scarcely connected one. The year Oklahoma was celebrated it’s 100th anniversary, the licenses all proclaimed this. Seeing one of those licenses reminded me to tell my three grandchildren of Uncle Dates’s connection. You could see history come alive in their eyes. The two-great uncle their elders spoke of frequently had been a part of HISTORY! Without that license plate I’m not sure I would have remembered the story.
    Lastly: I like our local history museum, but mostly the displays merely remind me of my grandmother’s home, rather than of history. But someone above mentioned them, and I was instantly reminded of the museum in “Shadowy Horses”, so the discussion has evoked memories of national history, family history, and a favorite book.
    You can’t do much better than that!

    Reply
  65. All your great memories — those from Andrea/Cara and from the posters ahead of me have raised so many memories I don’t know where to start!
    I own a bed made by my grandmother’s uncle — it’s not a standard size, just the size he decided to make. That, alone is interesting. I have the remaining pieces of an elaborate tea set (in “flow ware) which originally belonged to his sister-in-law, and which came to me through my grandmother.
    StephanieL — my mother’s brother-in-law (and one of my favorite uncles) went down to Oklahoma from Illinois during the land rush, in order to hold the horses at the stake, so his uncle could write up the claim. He used to tell us about it. There is no object to connect with this story — except a very ordinary, scarcely connected one. The year Oklahoma was celebrated it’s 100th anniversary, the licenses all proclaimed this. Seeing one of those licenses reminded me to tell my three grandchildren of Uncle Dates’s connection. You could see history come alive in their eyes. The two-great uncle their elders spoke of frequently had been a part of HISTORY! Without that license plate I’m not sure I would have remembered the story.
    Lastly: I like our local history museum, but mostly the displays merely remind me of my grandmother’s home, rather than of history. But someone above mentioned them, and I was instantly reminded of the museum in “Shadowy Horses”, so the discussion has evoked memories of national history, family history, and a favorite book.
    You can’t do much better than that!

    Reply
  66. Thanks for all these lovely recollections, Sue! Yes, once you start thinking on the subject, it’s hard to pick out just a few things. I’m so glad schools and museums are recognizing how important actual objects are in connecting people—especially children—to the past. It really makes a difference and sparks an interest that can grow over a lifetime.

    Reply
  67. Thanks for all these lovely recollections, Sue! Yes, once you start thinking on the subject, it’s hard to pick out just a few things. I’m so glad schools and museums are recognizing how important actual objects are in connecting people—especially children—to the past. It really makes a difference and sparks an interest that can grow over a lifetime.

    Reply
  68. Thanks for all these lovely recollections, Sue! Yes, once you start thinking on the subject, it’s hard to pick out just a few things. I’m so glad schools and museums are recognizing how important actual objects are in connecting people—especially children—to the past. It really makes a difference and sparks an interest that can grow over a lifetime.

    Reply
  69. Thanks for all these lovely recollections, Sue! Yes, once you start thinking on the subject, it’s hard to pick out just a few things. I’m so glad schools and museums are recognizing how important actual objects are in connecting people—especially children—to the past. It really makes a difference and sparks an interest that can grow over a lifetime.

    Reply
  70. Thanks for all these lovely recollections, Sue! Yes, once you start thinking on the subject, it’s hard to pick out just a few things. I’m so glad schools and museums are recognizing how important actual objects are in connecting people—especially children—to the past. It really makes a difference and sparks an interest that can grow over a lifetime.

    Reply
  71. When I was at Gettysburg, I saw uniforms from the Civil War and they made me cry. I know some of them were boys, because some of my family members were boys. They looked tiny, even the officers uniforms looked tiny.
    I have seen other items, but the Civil War memorabilia hit me the hardest.

    Reply
  72. When I was at Gettysburg, I saw uniforms from the Civil War and they made me cry. I know some of them were boys, because some of my family members were boys. They looked tiny, even the officers uniforms looked tiny.
    I have seen other items, but the Civil War memorabilia hit me the hardest.

    Reply
  73. When I was at Gettysburg, I saw uniforms from the Civil War and they made me cry. I know some of them were boys, because some of my family members were boys. They looked tiny, even the officers uniforms looked tiny.
    I have seen other items, but the Civil War memorabilia hit me the hardest.

    Reply
  74. When I was at Gettysburg, I saw uniforms from the Civil War and they made me cry. I know some of them were boys, because some of my family members were boys. They looked tiny, even the officers uniforms looked tiny.
    I have seen other items, but the Civil War memorabilia hit me the hardest.

    Reply
  75. When I was at Gettysburg, I saw uniforms from the Civil War and they made me cry. I know some of them were boys, because some of my family members were boys. They looked tiny, even the officers uniforms looked tiny.
    I have seen other items, but the Civil War memorabilia hit me the hardest.

    Reply
  76. The Musee Carnavalet in Paris had the most amazing objects, which I recall even though it’s been decades since I was there. Among other things, Jean-Paul Marat’s bathtub, and the furnishings from Marie Antoinette’s prison cell before she was executed. More recently, I saw Abraham Lincoln’s pocket watch which is part of the Smithsonian’s collection.

    Reply
  77. The Musee Carnavalet in Paris had the most amazing objects, which I recall even though it’s been decades since I was there. Among other things, Jean-Paul Marat’s bathtub, and the furnishings from Marie Antoinette’s prison cell before she was executed. More recently, I saw Abraham Lincoln’s pocket watch which is part of the Smithsonian’s collection.

    Reply
  78. The Musee Carnavalet in Paris had the most amazing objects, which I recall even though it’s been decades since I was there. Among other things, Jean-Paul Marat’s bathtub, and the furnishings from Marie Antoinette’s prison cell before she was executed. More recently, I saw Abraham Lincoln’s pocket watch which is part of the Smithsonian’s collection.

    Reply
  79. The Musee Carnavalet in Paris had the most amazing objects, which I recall even though it’s been decades since I was there. Among other things, Jean-Paul Marat’s bathtub, and the furnishings from Marie Antoinette’s prison cell before she was executed. More recently, I saw Abraham Lincoln’s pocket watch which is part of the Smithsonian’s collection.

    Reply
  80. The Musee Carnavalet in Paris had the most amazing objects, which I recall even though it’s been decades since I was there. Among other things, Jean-Paul Marat’s bathtub, and the furnishings from Marie Antoinette’s prison cell before she was executed. More recently, I saw Abraham Lincoln’s pocket watch which is part of the Smithsonian’s collection.

    Reply
  81. Great post, Andrea/Cara! I also identify with the love for objects – whether they’re mine or not. One example is a very large, very beautiful paisley wool challis shawl. It was my great-grandmother’s. I never met her, but if feel her when I wear the shawl. There’s also a garnet-edged Star of David pendant that took me 30 years of hunting to find. And the oddest objects I can think of were from a trip to the Governor’s mansion in Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia). There were chairs that had arms at angles, so that the end of each arm would hold a candle. They resonated with me because I had grown up with two such chairs since I was a child. I had no idea that the design had such a history. And they’re still in my living room.

    Reply
  82. Great post, Andrea/Cara! I also identify with the love for objects – whether they’re mine or not. One example is a very large, very beautiful paisley wool challis shawl. It was my great-grandmother’s. I never met her, but if feel her when I wear the shawl. There’s also a garnet-edged Star of David pendant that took me 30 years of hunting to find. And the oddest objects I can think of were from a trip to the Governor’s mansion in Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia). There were chairs that had arms at angles, so that the end of each arm would hold a candle. They resonated with me because I had grown up with two such chairs since I was a child. I had no idea that the design had such a history. And they’re still in my living room.

    Reply
  83. Great post, Andrea/Cara! I also identify with the love for objects – whether they’re mine or not. One example is a very large, very beautiful paisley wool challis shawl. It was my great-grandmother’s. I never met her, but if feel her when I wear the shawl. There’s also a garnet-edged Star of David pendant that took me 30 years of hunting to find. And the oddest objects I can think of were from a trip to the Governor’s mansion in Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia). There were chairs that had arms at angles, so that the end of each arm would hold a candle. They resonated with me because I had grown up with two such chairs since I was a child. I had no idea that the design had such a history. And they’re still in my living room.

    Reply
  84. Great post, Andrea/Cara! I also identify with the love for objects – whether they’re mine or not. One example is a very large, very beautiful paisley wool challis shawl. It was my great-grandmother’s. I never met her, but if feel her when I wear the shawl. There’s also a garnet-edged Star of David pendant that took me 30 years of hunting to find. And the oddest objects I can think of were from a trip to the Governor’s mansion in Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia). There were chairs that had arms at angles, so that the end of each arm would hold a candle. They resonated with me because I had grown up with two such chairs since I was a child. I had no idea that the design had such a history. And they’re still in my living room.

    Reply
  85. Great post, Andrea/Cara! I also identify with the love for objects – whether they’re mine or not. One example is a very large, very beautiful paisley wool challis shawl. It was my great-grandmother’s. I never met her, but if feel her when I wear the shawl. There’s also a garnet-edged Star of David pendant that took me 30 years of hunting to find. And the oddest objects I can think of were from a trip to the Governor’s mansion in Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia). There were chairs that had arms at angles, so that the end of each arm would hold a candle. They resonated with me because I had grown up with two such chairs since I was a child. I had no idea that the design had such a history. And they’re still in my living room.

    Reply
  86. One of the most interesting things I’ve ever seen was in a museum on Turkey. It was supposed to be the rod that Moses opened the Red Sea with. It was long and thin and looked like it was carved out of some red stone–semi-precious. I also in Austria saw the first draft of music that Mozart had written when he was 15. Very complicated and without one cross-out or change. The Smithsonian sent an exhibition of the contents of Lincoln’s pockets of the night he was assassinated. Very touching to see the Confederate money. When I went to Versailles, I was thrilled to walk down the steps that I presume Marie Antoinette had. If you have an imagination, it’s thrilling to see objects that have belonged to historical people.

    Reply
  87. One of the most interesting things I’ve ever seen was in a museum on Turkey. It was supposed to be the rod that Moses opened the Red Sea with. It was long and thin and looked like it was carved out of some red stone–semi-precious. I also in Austria saw the first draft of music that Mozart had written when he was 15. Very complicated and without one cross-out or change. The Smithsonian sent an exhibition of the contents of Lincoln’s pockets of the night he was assassinated. Very touching to see the Confederate money. When I went to Versailles, I was thrilled to walk down the steps that I presume Marie Antoinette had. If you have an imagination, it’s thrilling to see objects that have belonged to historical people.

    Reply
  88. One of the most interesting things I’ve ever seen was in a museum on Turkey. It was supposed to be the rod that Moses opened the Red Sea with. It was long and thin and looked like it was carved out of some red stone–semi-precious. I also in Austria saw the first draft of music that Mozart had written when he was 15. Very complicated and without one cross-out or change. The Smithsonian sent an exhibition of the contents of Lincoln’s pockets of the night he was assassinated. Very touching to see the Confederate money. When I went to Versailles, I was thrilled to walk down the steps that I presume Marie Antoinette had. If you have an imagination, it’s thrilling to see objects that have belonged to historical people.

    Reply
  89. One of the most interesting things I’ve ever seen was in a museum on Turkey. It was supposed to be the rod that Moses opened the Red Sea with. It was long and thin and looked like it was carved out of some red stone–semi-precious. I also in Austria saw the first draft of music that Mozart had written when he was 15. Very complicated and without one cross-out or change. The Smithsonian sent an exhibition of the contents of Lincoln’s pockets of the night he was assassinated. Very touching to see the Confederate money. When I went to Versailles, I was thrilled to walk down the steps that I presume Marie Antoinette had. If you have an imagination, it’s thrilling to see objects that have belonged to historical people.

    Reply
  90. One of the most interesting things I’ve ever seen was in a museum on Turkey. It was supposed to be the rod that Moses opened the Red Sea with. It was long and thin and looked like it was carved out of some red stone–semi-precious. I also in Austria saw the first draft of music that Mozart had written when he was 15. Very complicated and without one cross-out or change. The Smithsonian sent an exhibition of the contents of Lincoln’s pockets of the night he was assassinated. Very touching to see the Confederate money. When I went to Versailles, I was thrilled to walk down the steps that I presume Marie Antoinette had. If you have an imagination, it’s thrilling to see objects that have belonged to historical people.

    Reply

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