NMSC Story Time
We assist with the preservation, protection, management, documentation, and conservation of National Park Service museum and archival collections in the Northeast Region.
The Northeast Region, one of seven regions that make up the National Park Service, is responsible for the care and preservation of more than 26,000,000 nationally significant items. The NPS museum collections in the Northeast include the landscape drawings of Frederick Law Olmsted, the library of John Quincy Adams, archeological collections from Jamestown, Civil War archival collections at Gettysburg, and natural history specimens collected from Shenandoah.
Mission: The mission of the Northeast Museum Services Center (NMSC) is to support and strengthen park management, partnerships and programs that preserve and protect natural and cultural resource collections within Northeast Region sites of the National Park Service and make those collections accessible for research, education and public enjoyment.
NMSC Story Time
Wondering how our coloring book was created? Wonder no more! Join Claire as she shows how she transformed photos of real archeological artifacts from Northeast National Parks into line drawings destined to be colored! #ColorYourPark #ArcheologyABCs #ColorYourCulture
Calling all artistes, young and old! For those of you who may not know, today is National Coloring Book Day!
We are so excited to share this coloring book featuring artifacts we highlighted last year in our #ArcheologyABCs social media campaign. Every page features a ready-to-color drawing of an artifact from a National Park Service archeology collection and a brief history lesson about the object at hand. We invite you to color the artifacts as historically accurate or inaccurate as you like - this is the time to add a rainbow to a plain white salt-glazed stoneware plate! Please share your finished pages with us, and please ENJOY these images and this glimpse into the past!
#FindYourPark #ColorYourPark #ColorYourCulture
An awesome US letter designed in Canva by Northeast Museum Services Center.
Having trouble ditching your plastic cups for #PlasticFreeJuly? Our friends at the Northeast Region Archeology Program have the answer! Who needs plastic when you've got gorgeous ceramics like this?? (Helpful hint - please note the word "replica" in their post and refrain from eating or drinking out of museum objects or lead-glazed bowls... 😉)
Have you participated in #PlasticFreeJuly yet? Reducing our dependence on single-use plastics will have huge ramifications for the health of our communities and oceans. If you’re not sure what you could possibly use instead of plastic, we’re here to help! Check out these fantastic alternatives from before plastic was popular. Have to kick solo cups? Instead use this gorgeous salt-glazed stoneware drinking jug, manufactured in Germany in the 1400s used mainly for drinking wine or beer! If you’re more of a tea drinker, these cross-mended sherds are from a porcelain teacup. Porcelain is based on thousands of years of Chinese ceramic technology, and at one time was the world’s most desirable ceramic throughout the historic period.. Porcelain is often associated with households that had greater access to higher-quality goods on 17th and 18th century sites in America. Too fancy for your tastes? This redware bowl is an example of a common utilitarian household item based on ceramic technology used for hundreds of years. Redware is a ceramic type commonly used even to this day in flower pots and other ceramic items with that distinctive red colored clay they are made from. This bowl, without any maker’s marks or other distinct elements, would be almost impossible to date because of the centuries of use associated with redwares, but it would very easily hold your cereal in the morning and can be washed and reused indefinitely! As you can see, kicking plastic is easy for anyone to do, as long as you have access to replicas of historic ceramic hollowware! Images: Image 1 courtesy of the British Museum, Online Catalogue, MUSEUM NO 1981,1002.33, AN1613139899, Images 2 & 3 courtesy of Northeast Museum Services Center and Salem Maritime National Historic Site
Maybe it's an escutcheon and drawer pull from Minute Man National Historical Park's archeology collection... or maybe it's a smiley face wishing you a Happy Wednesday! Once you see it, you can't unsee it! 🙂
"A Children's Intro to African American History" and "Mind Your Manner's Alice Roosevelt!"
⚾️ Guess Who's Back??!!
If you look closely at this bottle base from an NPS archeology collection, you'll see a familiar logo!
That's right, it's #OPENINGDAY at Fenway Park for our local team!
Let's Go #RedSox! ⚾️
Live from: Minute Man National Historical Park
Today marks the 203rd anniversary of the death of English novelist Jane Austen, and our final #JaneAustenWeek post! Between 1811 and 1817, Austen published six novels that are loved to this day for their witty social commentary. We hope you’ve enjoyed seeing and learning about NPS archeological artifacts from this time period. For our final post, we’re talking about… WORK! Austen’s novels contain multiple references to female characters “at work,” “sitting down to their work,” “picking up their work,” etc. In this context, the word “work” refers primarily to sewing and other needlework, which was considered proper, productive use of a lady’s time in the early 19th century. (This, of course, was different from the “work” accomplished by the women who were on the receiving end of the call bells we talked about yesterday!) These thimbles from Petersburg National Battlefield, scissors from Minute Man National Historical Park, and wooden bobbin from Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site illustrate what may have been used for needlework and lace-making in early 19th-century America. Through her outspoken, strong-willed female characters and her own defiance of what was expected of a female at the time, Jane Austen actually paved the way for a vastly different meaning of the word “work” for women. Despite receiving offers, she never married, and chose her work as an author over becoming a wife and mother. Thank you for tuning in to #JaneAustenWeek!
Lizzie and Mr. Darcy, Emma and Harriet, Anne and Captain Wentworth. If you’re a Jane Austen fan, you’re probably familiar with those names! What about Mrs. Hill, Sally, and Sarah? The housekeeper and maids employed by the Bennett family are mentioned only briefly in Pride and Prejudice. We don’t know much about the domestic servants mentioned in Austen’s novels, but we do know they were busy! Austen makes several references to call bell systems in all of her novels. Mrs. Bennett in Pride and Prejudice asks Lydia to “ring the bell – I must speak to Hill this moment.” In Mansfield Park, Mrs. Bertram asks Fanny to “ring the bell; I must have my dinner.” And in Persuasion, Mary frets, “Suppose I were to be seized of a sudden in some dreadful way, and not able to ring the bell!” In America, bell systems were common by the late 18th century and throughout the 19th. Pulls, knobs, or levers positioned throughout the home were connected via a system of wires and cranks to bells that were answered by paid servants or slaves. This artifact from the archeology collection at Saratoga National Historical Park is a crank from a bell system, which allowed the wiring to turn corners and change direction. Studying bell systems can help us better understand the workings of a historic household and the dynamics between the people living and working there. We’ve seen call bell systems at Adams National Historical Park, Hampton National Historic Site, and Martin Van Buren National Historic Site (check out the restoration video posted with the photo!). Where else have you seen them?? #JaneAustenWeek
This week, we’re celebrating the birth of Maggie Lena Walker! In addition to becoming a successful businesswoman and editor, Walker fought tirelessly for civil rights and to improve the lives of people in her community. These efforts are visible in the archival collection at Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, which NMSC’s archives team has been processing for the past couple of years. In our latest blog post, NMSC archives technician Sandra highlights some of the photographs and documents she’s come across while working on this project. Walker’s spirit, determination, and activism are evident in her archives and are an inspiration to us all.
This blog post was written by NMSC’s archives technician, Sandra! Sandra has a joint degree in Archeology and Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Museum…
This week, we’re sharing artifacts from NPS archeology collections that date to the time of Jane Austen’s novels. We’ve talked about tools used for writing, artifacts related to playing, and ceramic vessels used for serving and drinking tea. Today, it’s FASHION time! Clothes in England and America during Austen’s time had shifted from the elaborate styles of the 18th century to the simple, elegant styles of the Romantic Period. In Mansfield Park, Fanny frets that her gown is “too fine,” and Edmund assures her, “I see no finery about you; nothing but what is perfectly proper.” In Emma, Mrs. Elton says of her gown, “a simple style of dress is so infinitely preferable to finery.” These paintings from Longfellow House - Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site of Maria Theresa Gold Appleton and Nathan Appleton date to ca. 1806 and perfectly illustrate fashionable dress during this time period. We don’t see many early 19th-century garments survive in the archeological record, but we do see objects used to fasten and ornament clothes. Check out these examples from Minute Man National Historical Park, Saratoga National Historical Park, and Petersburg National Battlefield, and don’t miss the extra information in the photo captions! #JaneAustenWeek
Today we celebrate the birthday of Maggie Lena Walker, who was born on this date in 1864. Walker went on to become an accomplished and respected businesswoman and a civil rights activist. Over the past couple of years, NMSC's archives team has been privileged to work with historic photos and documents related to her life and work, including this photograph of Walker and some of her employees in the accounting office at St. Luke Hall in Richmond, Virginia. To learn more about Walker and the archival collection at Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, STAY TUNED to our blog later this week! https://nmscarcheologylab.wordpress.com/
Looking for INSPIRATION? Look no further than the life of Maggie Lena Walker! Today, our friends at Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site are celebrating her birthday with a Parade of Love on Facebook Live. Tune in to their page at 11 o'clock sharp to participate! Want to learn more about Maggie Walker? Check out the great information and resources on the park's website! https://www.nps.gov/mawa/index.htm
Today’s the day! Join us in wishing Maggie L. Walker a happy 156th birthday as we present the “Parade of Love!” See our Facebook Event for more details, and enjoy this poster for the parade designed by our intern Zosia!
#happybirthday #paradeoflove #maggielwalker #findyourpark
We're taking a break from #JaneAustenWeek tomorrow to focus on another amazing woman - Maggie Lena Walker! Learn more about her here:
Stay tuned to our page tomorrow to learn about and celebrate Walker's many accomplishments. Look for Jane Austen fashion in NPS archeology collections on Thursday!
We hope you’ve been enjoying #JaneAustenWeek! Today, it’s time for TEA, TEA, and MORE TEA! Tea was an integral part of life for people living in England during Jane Austen’s time - and it was just as important for Americans! We count the word “tea” about 87 times in Austen’s novels - and we probably missed a few! This includes references to tea time, tea tables, drinking tea, and “tea things.” What did these tea things look like? In Northanger Abbey, Austen describes General Tilney’s breakfast set as “elegant,” “neat and simple,” and made in Staffordshire. Staffordshire teawares were popular in late 18th- and early 19th-century America as well as England. These examples from Salem Maritime National Historic Site, Minute Man National Historical Park, and the African Meeting House (partner of Boston African American National Historic Site) are exactly what people would have used to drink tea during the time Jane Austen was writing her novels. The African Meeting House collection contains a significant amount of fashionable ceramics, offering a glimpse into what life was like for the free Black community in early 19th-century Boston. #JaneAustenWeek
Unfortunately we need to cancel this week’s story time. We will be back next week at 9am!
Thank you for tuning in to #JaneAustenWeek! We’re enjoying bringing the Austen era alive with artifacts from NPS archeology collections. Yesterday, we talked about tools used for writing. Today, we’ve moved on to PLAYTIME! Jane Austen’s letters indicate that she enjoyed a variety of games with her family, including shuttlecock and battledore (a precursor to badminton), which she played with her young nephew. This tile from the archeology collection at the African Meeting House (a partner of Boston African American National Historic Site) pictures a game of shuttlecock and battledore, which was popular in America as well as England. Austen’s novels are full of references to various card games like commerce, speculation, loo, and whist. This small bone disc from the archeology collection at Saratoga National Historical Park is a counter from a late 18th- or early 19th-century whist set, which would have been used to keep track of tricks and points during the game. Someone in Saratoga was playing whist! Have you played? What’s your favorite of these “Austen-tic” games? #JaneAustenWeek
Welcome to #JaneAustenWeek! For many years, readers have loved Jane Austen for her witty and satirical commentary on social class and her defiance of expected gender roles. This week, we’ll be using artifacts from NPS archeology collections to paint a picture of daily life during her lifetime and as presented in her novels. Today, we’re talking about, what else, WRITING! Writing during Austen’s time required paper (made from cotton rags, not trees), a goose quill pen (steel-nibbed pens weren’t common until the 1830s), a full inkwell (made of ceramic, glass, metal, or wood), sand to dry the ink, a penknife to sharpen the pen, and, in the case of letter-writing, sealing wax. These artifacts from Saratoga National Historical Park and Minute Man National Historical Park are representative of the tools one may have used to write a letter – or a novel! – in England or America around the turn of the 19th century. Check out the photo descriptions for excepts from Austen's novels. What’s your favorite letter-writing scene? #JaneAustenWeek
Calling all Jane Austen fans! Austen challenged the expected gender roles of her time by choosing her work as an author over becoming a wife and mother. Her female characters are loved to this day for their outspokenness and strength of will. Readers continue to enjoy her satirical depictions of class and society. And, Jane Austen was among the first English authors to portray the intricacies of daily life in her novels. If you love Jane Austen, stay tuned to our page during the week of July 12-18! In honor of the anniversary of her death on July 18, 1817, we’ll be using objects from NPS archeology collections to bring daily life during Austen’s time (and in her novels) to life! #JaneAustenWeek
Next week, we'll be celebrating a very special birthday. July 15 marks the birthday of Maggie Lena Walker! Maggie L. Walker, the first African American woman in the United States to found a bank, was also a newspaper editor, fraternal leader, and civil rights activist. Our colleagues at Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site are inviting all young artists to make a birthday card for Maggie and send it to the site, where it will be displayed for all to admire! Check out the details shared here and join us in celebrating the birth of this remarkable American woman.
Calling all young artists! Maggie L. Walker’s birthday is coming up on July 15, and we’d like to invite you to make a birthday card for her. Please send your cards - addressed to us - to 3215 E. Broad St. / Richmond, VA 23223 by Wednesday, July 8, and we’ll display them on site the day of her birthday!
📸: example of a birthday card, complete with hearts and balloons, made by Ranger Ben’s five year-old son, Miles
If you tuned into our Story Time today, you may have heard Nikki mention the Abel Smith School in Boston. Want to learn more about the school and its students? Check out this online exhibit from the Museum of African American History - Boston and Nantucket in collaboration with the NMSC archeology lab! Which objects are your favorite? How would you interpret the site?
Story time is BACK!
We’re going live at 9AM EST today to read these two books. What will we learn today? Tune in to find out!
ATTENTION: We need YOUR help!!
NMSC is having a cover photo contest!
Submit a photo (or photos!) from National Park Service sites in the Northeast and/or of NPS museum collections from your parks within the Northeast in the comments by July 30th at 12PM EST to enter. We will choose our top three favorites and put it out for a vote on July 31st with the winner selected as our Facebook cover photo!
Not sure which parks are in the Northeast? Click here:
Charlestown Navy Yard
Our work is organized into four program areas: Documentation (Archival and Archeological Collections) Preservation Research and Planning Collections Conservation
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