May has been a very busy month for me. First, I was able to attend the first ever Cultural Entrepreneurship Institute. This new program, hosted by the Cooperstown Graduate Program (my alma mater) and the Museum Association of New York invited 20 museum professionals to Cooperstown for three days to learn about innovative risk-taking in a non-profit environment. A few weeks later, I travelled to Baltimore for Connecting to Collections: Raising the Bar, a seminar from the Institute of Museum and Library Services about fundraising for, and developing awareness about, museum collections - the physical manifestation of our cultural heritage. Both experiences were incredibly rewarding and rejuvenating.
You may remember that back at The Farmers' Museum, we're making some improvements in Bump Tavern. Since I've been in and out of the office for most of the month, I hadn't been able to check up as often as I usually do on the painting projects. Jim Havener is grain-painting the bar area in the tap room. When I went in to take a peek, I saw this:
I know that Jim Havener is very talented and knows what he's doing. But, we had agreed that he would duplicate the grain painting on the original door that leads to the basement. It is clearly not pink!
So, today, I stopped by again to check on the progress. And here is what I discovered:
I am so amazed that Jim knew that a salmon base coat was under all of that brown glaze. Here's another comparison: old door on the bottom, new bar panelling on the top.
Many families in the 19th century chose to decorate their wood surfaces with grain painting. Often it mimicked a more expensive wood. Sometimes it was purely decorative and fanciful, as in the More House. That grain painting is also the work of Jim Havener.
Later this week, I will have some photos of the updated sitting room and best bedroom in Bump Tavern.
Informal contest: How many staff does it take to move a 19th century piano?
The Farmers' Museum cultivates an understanding of the rural heritage that has shaped our land, communities and American culture.
Plowline: Images of Rural New York
Plowline: Images of Rural New Yorkis a collecting initiative. The Farmers' Museum, with the generous support of the Gipson Family, is actively assembling original photography that documents changes in agricultural practice, rural life and farming families in New York State from the 19th century through the present. Visit the collection online.