‘Workways’ Category

Hands-On Demonstration

April 6th, 2010 by admin

Here, Hank is demonstrating just the right twisting motion to Interpretive Artisan Justin Keegan.

Many thanks to Hank for his time and his expertise. There is so much wisdom in the seemingly simple process of making a spar. We are fortunate to have Hank as both a resource and as a friend.

It’s Almost Time…

March 2nd, 2010 by admin

We will be, once again, opening the gates to our village (and the rest of the museum) to visitors on March 20th of this year. We hope all of you can plan on being in attendance.

And on opening day there will be a Farm Fresh Breakfast serving Scrambled eggs, Bacon/sausages, French toast casserole, biscuits & gravy, Corn & blueberry muffins, fruit salad, home fries, butter and preserves, assorted juices/milk, coffee/tea/decaf. Tax, tip and Museum Admission is included for: $32.00 for adults, ($15.00 for Museum Members), $22.00 for children ($10.00 for Child Museum Members).

If you’d like a FREE ticket to Plimoth Plantation, just stop by on Saturday March 13th, 2010 for our 18th annual Spring Clean Day.

“Spring Clean Day is a sign of winter’s end and a community tradition many look forward to! Volunteers are encouraged to invite a friend or enlist whole families to join Plimoth Plantation staff for a fun-filled day of planting, raking, painting, dusting, cleaning and the overall setup of museum exhibits and sites, as we prepare for the 2010 season. This harbinger of spring is a great opportunity to lend a helping hand. 
Registration begins at 9 AM, in the Visitor Center. Lunch will be served at 1 PM. Everyone will receive (with museum thanks!) a complimentary pass for a return visit to Plimoth Plantation in 2010 to admire the day’s achievements. All are asked to R.S.V.P. by Thursday, March 4, by calling 508-746-1622, 8210, or by emailing ppeters@plimoth.org.”

By the way, if you didn’t know, we’ve been having a Farmer’s Market here over the winter every third Thursday December through May. The upcoming ones are Thursday March 13, April 16, and finally May 21.

I hope I get a chance to see all of you this year. Stop by Stephen Hopkins’ house. He’ll look a lot like me.


Megs and the Foodways Makeover

February 7th, 2010 by admin

So there have been some changes (and major improvements) to the Colonial Foodways kitchen and store room. I have installed a new floor in the store room which was desperately needed.. That painted particle board was just awful. I have also repainted the door (purple), trim (green), and one part of the ceiling in the kitchen to give the room a whole new cheerful and spunky feel (if I do say so). So I hope everyone will enjoy the new Colonial Foodways area. Here are some pictures from my progress over the past few weeks.

It's Not Just the Food, It's the Ways

It's Not Just the Food, It's the Ways

Sky's the Limit!

Sky's the Limit!

foodways floor
New Storeroom Floor

Yours Truly,
Megan Stanley
Foodways Apprentice

One House Goes Up and Another Comes Down

February 3rd, 2010 by admin

Pic 1

On Friday, January 29th, after a long, cold morning of “de-thatching” the soon to be razed Brown House in the English Village, we welcomed archeologist Tad Baker, chair of the History Department at Salem State College and other friends who stopped by the Plantation to conduct an informal but informative survey of timber decay patterns & the thrusts & stresses of a failing, 23 yr-old earthfast timber frame. It may sound a little dry, but it was anything but! The detective work that archeologists and framers apply to an old frame and the surviving bits left in and above the ground are as interesting as anything seen on CSI! There are important details to be gleaned on how a timber framed house–without a foundation–will eventually succumb to the ground and the elements, and we can use this valuable information to instruct us in the building of new houses, even as we gain rare insight into the past. We were very impressed as Tad rolled up his metaphorical sleeves on a frigid afternoon, knelt to the ground, trowel in hand, and looked for clues. Many thanks to Tad and friends for their expert help! These are essential relationships for Plimoth Plantation to keep and cultivate as we move forward in our research, understanding, and interpretation.

Pic 2
Michael French and Justin Keegan “de-thatching” Brown House. The reed will be recycled for repairs on the lower storehouse. The old and the new: View of the soon to be razed Brown House with the new Brewster House in the background.

Pic 3

Pic 5
Tad Baker examining sill and post decay of the Brown House. He is looking for patterns of what oak does after 23 years in the ground, and how that affects the overall structure. There is value and insight in making archeological comparisons between a “new” structure, and framing remnants from from centuries ago.

Pic 6
Digging outside looking for sill remnants in Brown House.

Rick McKee
Interpretive Artisan

The Pilgrim Garden And The Modern World

September 8th, 2009 by admin


A few of our guests have been commenting lately about why our gardens look so messy. Other than the fact that gardens tend to explode in August in New England, and that an aesthetically pleasing garden doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with a well-producing garden, there’s a few other reasons the gardens feel a little different to our guests than what they might be expecting.

Grass is one of the worst enemies to a gardener without the aid of a lawn mower, edging tool, or modern fencing. Our garden beds are often very well weeded; it’s just that the grassy areas in the borders at the edge of the garden make the whole thing feel overgrown, despite the fact it doesn’t affect the garden’s production. And we have a choice: should we use a weed-whacker resulting in a modern aesthetic that really has nothing to do with our museum’s purpose? Or should we preserve and exhibit colonial lifeways by doing as much as we can the 17th century way, with 17th century tools and methods? I personally vote for the latter, though some of my co-workers disagree with me. If all we’re teaching our guests is that our site is messy, we’re not really teaching them anything of value. And yet, if we’re teaching them that a 17th century colonial garden has neatly mowed grass, we’re not teaching them the right things either.

The grass is another problem: it’s not native to New England. It wasn’t here when the Colonists arrived. We can dig out as much as we can, remove sod, but it always grows back. That’s the problem with non-native plants: once they’re around, there around for good.

Our gardens also look overgrown because we save seeds. When a plant goes to seed, it goes wild. Many vegetable gardeners eat all their lettuce before it bolts, and harvest all their radishes before they grow ten times as big they were before, fall over, and make funny-looking green pods. Perhaps an onion gone to flower look like we’ve wasted a good onion–but the colonists had no other way to get seeds. It’s not like they could go to the nearest Home Depot or Agway and buy seeds for next year’s garden. We can’t exactly go to Home Depot either, because we grow many heirloom and rare varieties of seed that are hard to find. But that’s not the only reason we save seeds–we hope we are contributing to these rare plants’ preservation by saving their seeds and planting more of them.

-Shelley, agricultural exhibits interpreter

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