Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dr. Jackson's Office - Now Open!

By: Erin Crissman, Curator
On July 4th, Dr. Jackson’s office opened after an extensive restoration. A new exhibition inside the building completes the transformation. Although I have already been at The Farmers’ Museum for over a year, this was the first project I was able to complete from start to finish; all of my other projects so far had been underway when I arrived.
The original structure (the front room) is furnished like Dr. Elhanan Jackson may have used it inthe 1840s. Since most rural doctors were not wealthy and travelled to see their patients, this space is sparsely furnished.
This little office was quite challenging, mostly because the space is so small. We had to accommodate people, artifacts and information in two very tiny rooms - 11' x 14' and 11' x 11'. I’m surprised that the project stayed true to its original plan. Sometimes, especially in historic structures, a variety of problems prevent us from doing exactly what we’d like: plaster walls won’t let us hang things in certain places; some objects that we’d like to display won’t hold up to the environmental changes in buildings without temperature and humidity control.
Physicians like Dr. Jackson mixed thier own medicines and had at least a few medical texts for reference.
Most physician's offices were used for record keeping and mixing medicines and were usually furnished with only two tables and a chair. All of a typical rural physician's equipment is displayed here. Not much to work with!
The back room of the office, added in the 1870s, displays developments just beyond Dr. Jackson's time: more advanced surgery and anethstesia in the 1860s; stethescopes; Mary A. and Mary Imogene Bassett - mother and daugher female physicians in Cooperstown in the 1870s and 1880s - represent women in medicine.
One of the most successful aspects of this project was very simple – color choice. The little office looks much more welcoming now with its yellow walls and red floors. The Museum’s interpretive staff reports that it was full of visitors all weekend!

No comments:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin