Northeast Museum Services Center

Northeast Museum Services Center We assist with the preservation, protection, management, documentation, and conservation of National Park Service museum and archival collections in the Northeast Region.
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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.

Operating as usual

10/31/2020
Of Witchcraft and Counter-magic, part 2 - Museum Collections

Happy Halloween, part 2!

NMSC's Nikki (currently assisting at Minute Man National Historical Park) and Ranger Jarrad talk about white magic and objects at Minute Man. What has been found in the walls at Hartwell Tavern and The Wayside? Watch to find out!

Part II of our Folkways Friday special "Of Witchcraft and Counter-magic" will feature Ranger Jarrad with Curator Nikki Walsh sharing objects from Minute Man'...

Happy Halloween!In the 17th and 18th centuries, evil spirits and witches were serious concerns. In order to protect thei...
10/31/2020
Unearthing White Magic: Witch Bottles in the Archeological Record

Happy Halloween!

In the 17th and 18th centuries, evil spirits and witches were serious concerns. In order to protect their homes and families, people used counter magic. Read more below and stay tuned for a video by Nikki showing off some real objects from Minute Man National Historical Park that were likely used as white magic!

In 1983, National Park Service archeologists conducted a survey of the City Point Unit of Petersburg National Battlefield in Hopewell, Virginia. The excavation included a series of test trenches d…

Are you a fan of all things SPOOKY?  Just in time for Halloween – and Daylight Savings! – check out our latest blog post...
10/30/2020
Who’s Afraid of the Dark? Dusk ’til Dawn in Early America

Are you a fan of all things SPOOKY? Just in time for Halloween – and Daylight Savings! – check out our latest blog post about scary stories, poison bottles, and life in the dark in early America. Have a Happy Halloween, and don’t forget to turn your clocks back tomorrow! And tell us… are YOU afraid of the dark? 😳

We can romanticize daily life in the past all we like.  The clothes!  The dishes!  The houses and furniture!  But let’s face it, a few general truths must be acknowledged. …

“A person should always choose a costume which is in direct contrast to her own personality." -Lucy Van Pelt  "It's the ...
10/29/2020

“A person should always choose a costume which is in direct contrast to her own personality." -Lucy Van Pelt "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown"

Some Halloween costumes are silly, some are sassy, and some are just plain spooky. But there's no better costume than a NPS Museum themed one! What would you be for Halloween based on your name? Post below! 🎃

Looking for a fun mid-week activity?Well look no further! NMSC has made some pumpkin carving templates with museum objec...
10/28/2020

Looking for a fun mid-week activity?

Well look no further! NMSC has made some pumpkin carving templates with museum objects. I mean, a typical jack-o-lantern face is cool, but we think these are cooler.

Get creative! Show us in the comments: What are you carving on your pumpkins this year?

A post that begins: "One of the most eerie ways to be wounded or to die on the battlefield in the 18th century..." surel...
10/27/2020

A post that begins: "One of the most eerie ways to be wounded or to die on the battlefield in the 18th century..." surely grabs our attention! It's Halloween week, and we strongly suggest you check out the Mystery, Myth, and Mayhem series shared by our friends at Fort Stanwix National Monument. This series is full of mysterious, fascinating, and downright CREEPY history! The post shared here discusses "Wind of the Ball" - have you heard of this eerie phenomenon before?? 😱

One of the most eerie ways to be wounded or to die on the battlefield in the 18th century was by “Wind of the Ball.” This was the term used by people at the time to describe the effects of a cannon ball passing so close to a person that they were injured or died without the ball ever touching them. While this type of death or wound was rather common on board the tightly packed decks of the fighting ships, it was more unusual in land battles. Due to this “novelty”, it was often remembered and recorded by those who witnessed it.

Two recorded accounts happened early in the Revolutionary War at the Battle of “Bunker Hill.” Prior to the British assault on the American redoubt, it was bombarded by British ships in the Boston Harbor. Captain Ebenezer Bancroft later stated that he was “Standing by the redoubt before the action began, a ball from the Somerset (a British ship) passed within a few inches of my head, which seriously affected my left eye so that it finally became totally blind.” Ezra Stiles later recorded of fellow soldier John Martin, ..”A Canon ball came by his Breast (but without Toutch) he fell instantly and was senseless, the Force so great. They let him blood & he recovered, tho’ he vomited or raised much blood & is still at pain in his breast.”

Doctor James Thacher, a military surgeon from Massachusetts, had a personal experience with this type of incident at the battle of Springfield, New Jersey in 1780: “While advancing against the enemy, my attention was directed to a wounded soldier in the field…It may be considered a singular circumstance, that the soldier…was wounded by the wind of a cannon-ball. His arm was fractured above the elbow, without the smallest perceptible injury to his clothes, or contusion or discoloration of the skin. He made no complaint, but I observed he was feeble and a little confused in his mind. He received proper attention, but expired the next day. The idea of injury by the wind of the ball, I learn, is not new…and are almost constantly attended with fatal effects.”

One of the best documented occurrences of “Wind of the Ball” took place at the siege of Yorktown in October of 1781. It was witnessed by at least two individuals who later recorded it in their memoirs. Colonel Philip Van Cortlandt, commanding the 2nd New York Regiment, had just entered the siege trenches with his men and saw “Another remarkable occurrence Sergt. Brown was leaning over the embankment looking at the Enemies Battery when Capt. Vandenburgh ordered him down and as he slid down the Ball that was intended to kill him…passed over his head and either the Wind or the Sand as it passed without breaking his skull or skin produced his death in an instant as he fell dead in the trench no mark but bloodshod head and face.” Sergeant Joseph P. Martin of the Corps of Sappers and Miners (a Continental Army engineer corps) was also in the same trench at the time and witnessed the fate of Sgt. Brown: “…I was sitting on the side of the trench, when some of the New York troops coming in, one of the sergeants stepped up to the breastwork to look about him…At that instant a shot from the enemy which doubtless was aimed for him in particular…passed just by his face without touching him at all. He fell dead into the trench. I put my hand on his forehead and found his skull was shattered all in pieces and blood flowing from his nose and mouth, but not a particle of skin was broken. I never saw an instance like this among all the men I saw killed during the whole war.”

While some sort of concussive effect seems likely in causing these injuries and deaths, it is not the definitive answer. Other theories put forward include shock wave, air turbulence and reflex paralysis. In many ways “Wind of the Ball” is still just as eerie and strange a phenomenon today as it was in the 18th century.

AND... that's a wrap!  We’ve arrived at the final stop on our virtual trip Around the World in 80 Artifacts.  Today, we’...
10/26/2020

AND... that's a wrap! We’ve arrived at the final stop on our virtual trip Around the World in 80 Artifacts. Today, we’re sharing artifacts from NPS collections that were made in AMERICA. Working with archeology collections from the American Northeast, we come across a wide variety of items that were manufactured in North America anywhere between thousands of years ago and the 20th century. The artifacts pictured here reflect the craftsmanship of Native American traditions, the skill and resourcefulness of enslaved and free African Americans, and the products of American industrialization in the 19th century. Please click on the individual photos for more information! Thank you for joining our trip around the world! As you can see, the artifacts in NPS archeology collections originated all over the globe. Their journey to American sites can help us better understand those sites and the larger world they existed in. #InternationalArchaeologyDay #AroundTheWorldIn80Artifacts #AroundTheWorldWithNMSC

10/26/2020
Minute Man National Historical Park

Join cultural resources staff at Minute Man National Historical Park as they open this daguerreotype to find out who, or what, is inside...

What’s inside!? *insert creepy noise here*

Opening tintypes*** is a bit of an adventure... you just never know who or what you will find staring back at you. 👀

This tintype dates to the mid-19th century and features a young girl. We believe this girl was a Hartwell descendent but are in the process of researching further...

#museummoday

*** daguerreotypes (thank you Robert!)

We've almost completed our trip Around the World in 80 Artifacts!  Today, we're sharing this gorgeous Iberian storage ja...
10/25/2020

We've almost completed our trip Around the World in 80 Artifacts! Today, we're sharing this gorgeous Iberian storage jar from the archeology collection at the African Meeting House (part of the Museum of African American History, cooperative partner of Boston African American National Historic Site). These storage jars were made in SPAIN and are not uncommon on 17th- and 18th-century American archeological sites. Although they are often known as olive jars, they were used for shipping and storing a variety of goods including olives, olive oil, wine, lard, and bullets. Stay tuned for the last stop on our virtual trip tomorrow! #InternationaArchaeologyDay #AroundTheWorldIn80Artifacts #AroundTheWorldWithNMSC (Artifact photo by Norm Eggert for NMSC)

If you don't follow the Northeast Archeological Resources Program on Facebook, now's the time to start!  Our friends at ...
10/24/2020

If you don't follow the Northeast Archeological Resources Program on Facebook, now's the time to start! Our friends at NARP have been hosting takeovers of their page this month to showcase various archeology programs and resources. Want to learn more about archeology at Monticello? Check out their most recent post shared here! Want to learn more about archeology in general? Stay tuned for more great posts!

The Monticello Department of Archaeology (Monticello Archaeology) from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello (Thomas Jefferson's Monticello) in Charlottesville, Virginia, is excited to take over Northeast Archeological Resources Program’s social media today!

One question people often ask us is, “How do you know where to dig?” Historic maps, drawings, insurance plats, and standing structures provide clues to the locations of some sites at Monticello, primarily in the plantation core near the mansion, which has been carefully documented over the years. Restoration projects or utility work often guide where we excavate around the mansion, and documents such as Jefferson’s architectural drawings or survey plats provide clues of what features likely lie below the ground surface.

However, most of the buildings associated with the broader plantation landscape have vanished without historic documentation or above-ground evidence. One of our ongoing research projects is to explore the Monticello plantation landscape, searching for homes of all the people who lived there during Jefferson’s ownership (1757 – 1826). The Monticello Plantation Archaeological Survey is a shovel test pit (STP) survey that began in 1997 and has resulted in the identification of over 40 archaeological sites on Monticello Mountain, most of which were homes of enslaved laborers and not noted on historic documents or maps.

Using variation in quantities of ceramics and nail types to date each site, we observe a shift in the location of sites occupied by enslaved workers and overseers around 1790. This coincides with a shift in economic strategies pursued by Jefferson from hoe-based tobacco farming (monoculture) to a more diversified regime, emphasizing plow-based wheat cultivation and crop rotation. During the wheat period, sites were more numerous than during the tobacco period. The increase points to fewer houses within each site, shorter occupation spans, or both. Furthermore, later sites were located on sloped land at the periphery of large fields since plow-based wheat cultivation increased the value of flat terrain.

A second long-term research project, the Household Archaeology Initiative, focuses on more detailed investigations of the social organization of households within individual sites. For example, multi-season excavations at Site 8 (tobacco period) and Site 6 (wheat period) bring to light aspects of daily life for enslaved field workers. Work at Site 8 revealed the presence of at least four dwellings with over 100,000 artifacts recovered. Research at Site 6 is on-going, with three dwellings identified and over 40,000 artifacts. Since the log houses in which Monticello's enslaved laborers lived seldom left architectural traces, artifact concentrations are the primary way we identify their location.

Most of our efforts this summer have concentrated on defining the boundaries of an artifact scatter associated with the third cabin at Site 6. This season we’ve found wrought and cut nails, brick or daub fragments, American stoneware, pearlware, creamware, Buckley, North Midlands, and, surprisingly, two copper alloy buttons (one with silver plating!) in one test square. Our research and analysis of artifacts from these and other sites create an opportunity to evaluate evidence for different levels of access to goods among households, changes in settlement patterns under different agricultural regimes, and how people conducted everyday life in the Monticello community.

Scroll through our photos to see some of our work at homes of enslaved laborers and recent finds! To learn more about our research on the mountaintop and the plantation, check out our blogs at https://bit.ly/374Wqi6 ; data and academic research through the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (@DAACSORG); and our social media platforms for regular research updates.

Thanks for joining us today Monticello Archaeology! Pay close attention to this post, and you might even spot a familiar face from the NARP office 😃

We’re down to our last groups of objects as we travel Around the World in 80 Artifacts, and we hope you’re enjoying the ...
10/24/2020

We’re down to our last groups of objects as we travel Around the World in 80 Artifacts, and we hope you’re enjoying the trip! Artifact #62 from the archeology collection at Colonial National Historical Park is an early 17th-century chibouk pipe fragment from TURKEY. Jamestown Rediscovery archeologists recovered this artifact at the Angela site, named for an Angolan woman called Angela who was among the first documented enslaved Africans to arrive in North America. Angela lived and worked in the household of Captain William Pierce.

The pipe is decorated in relief with Arabic script in the Persian or Ottoman style. Archeologists believe that it may have belonged to John Martin, who arrived in North America in 1618 and was called “the Persian.” Martin was a close associate of Captain William Pierce, and is known as the first Iranian-American in the New World. (Artifact photo by Chuck Durfor, courtesy of Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation and Colonial National Historical Park.)

#InternationalArchaeologyDay #AroundTheWorldIn80Artifacts #AroundTheWorldWithNMSC

It's time for some good news!  Please join us in congratulating NMSC’s Senior Curator and Conservator, Brynn, on being n...
10/23/2020

It's time for some good news!
Please join us in congratulating NMSC’s Senior Curator and Conservator, Brynn, on being named a winner of the National Park Service’s Appleman-Judd-Lewis Award for Excellence in Cultural Resource Management for 2018-2019!
Before joining our staff at NMSC, Brynn was curator at Flight 93 National Memorial (FLNI). In this photo, she works to preserve FLNI's Wall of Names. The award recognizes Brynn's exceptional leadership in managing the Collection Recovery Phase of the United Airlines Project at FLNI. This annual award goes to just one cultural resources specialist throughout the entire National Park Service.
Congratulations, Brynn, on this tremendous accomplishment!
➡️ https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/2018-director-s-awards.htm

It's Day 7 of Around The World in 80 Artifacts, and today we're highlighting some artifacts from GERMANY!  German stonew...
10/23/2020

It's Day 7 of Around The World in 80 Artifacts, and today we're highlighting some artifacts from GERMANY! German stoneware is found in the earliest American historical archeology contexts. Pictured here are some stoneware fragments we've worked with over the years: a 17th-century bearded Bartmann jug, 19th-century stoneware mineral water bottles, and cobalt-decorated Westerwald fragments from the late 17th and 18th centuries. Some of the Westerwald was made in Germany for an English market - "AR" stands for Queen Anne of England ("Anna Regina") and "GR" for King George of England ("George Rex"). More expert marketing at work hundreds of years ago! #InternationalArchaeologyDay #AroundTheWorldIn80Artifacts #AroundTheWorldWithNMSC

We’re about halfway through our trip Around the World in 80 Artifacts, and today we’re going to… JAPAN!  The United Stat...
10/22/2020

We’re about halfway through our trip Around the World in 80 Artifacts, and today we’re going to… JAPAN! The United States reestablished trade with Japan in the 1850s after two hundred years of no contact. Throughout the latter 19th century and into the 20th, Americans fell in love with Japanese art and culture and the Japanese goods that appeared on the market. These three artifacts from NPS archeology collections are examples of Japanese ceramics that were extremely popular during this time period: hand-painted lusterware (Minute Man National Historical Park), “water drop” ceramics (Lowell National Historical Park), and porcelain with the “Phoenix Bird” pattern (Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields National Military Park). For more information on Japanese goods in 19th-century America, check out our 2014 blog post, "Victorian America and the Japan Craze" (see comments). Do you have Japanese ceramics or other objects in your collection? Please share in the comments! #InternationalArchaeologyDay #AroundTheWorldIn80Artifacts #AroundTheWorldWithNMSC

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Charlestown Navy Yard
Charlestown, MA
02129

General information

Our work is organized into four program areas: Documentation (Archival and Archeological Collections) Preservation Research and Planning Collections Conservation

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Monday 08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 08:00 - 17:00
Thursday 08:00 - 17:00
Friday 08:00 - 17:00

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(617) 242-5613

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Comments

FOMC should win.Land of the free and Home of our Country's flagpole and the Brave.That is my vote ,best wishes to all.
I give up! I searched and searched but can't find where you are located. Are you a venue or a search site only?
Welcome history lovers to a program in the Great Falls Historic District on Sunday, November 3, free lecture at 3:00 pm. Reception at 2:00 pm, $25 per person. Park on Market Street across from the Paterson Museum. Take trolley to the Art Factory 70 Spruce Street.
the best
Came here to vote for #sara but couldn't find it!