Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One Family's Heritage of Faith Part V

Several years ago I began collecting an incredible series of books for my kids, that told the story of several generations of the Hutchinson family across major eras of American history. When they were 9 and 13, my son and daughter (respectively) adventured through history with one of the Hutchinson descendents, who was faced with coming of age choices of Christian faith.

Leading to the Santa Fe Years (1944-1945) artistic Rudy Hutchinson moved his family to Santa Fe, New Mexico to be part of the art community. While Rudy is serving the military in the Philippines, war breaks out. The Bataan Death March impels Will to closely follow the war as he tries to help his mother as they hope for the best. Will struggles with acceptance when he discovers he was adopted and not of full blood of the honorary Hutchinson name. Will Rudy return home? Does Will find acceptance? Sadly, these incredible books are out of print. They are available at used bookstores, private sellers, etc. There are 6 books to each set. Full of historical facts, adventure, and struggle to make the proper choices in the Christian faith, the Christian Heritage Series is certain to enrich any child's heart. There are also teacher guides for each of the series.

Monday, August 30, 2010

One Family's Heritage of Faith Part IV

Several years ago I began collecting an incredible series of books for my kids, that told the story of several generations of the Hutchinson family across major eras of American history. When they were 9 and 13, my son and daughter (respectively) adventured through history with one of the Hutchinson descendents, who was faced with coming of age choices of Christian faith.

In the Chicago Years (1928-1929) Austin's grandson, Rudy, lives with his father and Great Aunt Gussie (little sister of Austin) in her beautiful mansion home. Aunt Gussie has a tattle tale parrot, a cavernous sarcophagos, and involves her grandchildren in helping the poor at Jane Addam's tenement house. Surrounded by gangsters, an absent minded father, and full of fear, will Rudy be able to rely on the Lord?

Follow the River

Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia during the French and Indian War, an Irish family falls prey to a massacre. Based on a true story, Mary Ingles is taken captive by the Shawnee Indians.  Mary's powerful determination to return home at all costs, is recreated in the movie.

On the downside, my costume friends will lament with me that the costumes are inaccurate.  The colonial gown that the star wears looks like it came from the costume section of a contemporary pattern catalogue.  Other than that, it is a good family movie that shows in as tame a way as possible the massacres and taking of hostages that was so common during the French and Indian War. From that aspect, it is a good fit for homeschool families.

For those of us who are not only costumers but bookworms, the movie is based on the book, Follow the River. From everything I read, the book is incredibly better than the movie.  Even more fascinating is the information I am finding behind the story. As for accuracy of the story, here is an article, with a statute of Mary Ingles in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Here is a site being developed with documentation of her escape.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

One Family's Heritage of Faith Part III

Several years ago I began collecting an incredible series of books for my kids, that told the story of several generations of the Hutchinson family across major eras of American history. When they were 9 and 13, my son and daughter (respectively) adventured through history with one of the Hutchinson descendents, who was faced with coming of age choices of Christian faith.

In the Charleston Years (1860-1861) Thomas' great grandson, Austin, is the son of an abolitionist family. During the turbelent years before the Civil War, his abolitionist activist father takes his ill wife to Charleston, to be cared for by her slave owning brother. Austin befriends one of the slave boys. Small of stature and facing opposition all around, can he be strong enough to protect those he cares for?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

One Family's Heritage of Faith Part II

Several years ago I began collecting an incredible series of books for my kids, that told the story of several generations of the Hutchinson family across major eras of American history. When they were 9 and 13, my son and daughter (respectively) adventured through history with one of the Hutchinson descendents, who was faced with coming of age choices of Christian faith.

In The Williamsburg Years (1780-1781) Josiah's great grandson, Thomas Hutchinson, rebels whether on the family plantation near Yorktown and the family house in Williamsburg. His family, not supportive of slavery, only have indentured servants. Thomas is tutored by a Loyalist, while his older brother runs away from the College of William and Mary to work with the Swamp Fox, Francis Marion. Thomas' father is often away from home, working as a Burgess in the capital of Richmond. Hoping to tame the wild Thomas, Father puts him to apprentice with the apothecary, where Thomas fears for his life when he sees the skeleton. Will Thomas' rebellion be tamed so that he can help his family and the patriot cause?

One Family's Heritage of Faith Part I

Several years ago I began collecting an incredible series of books for my kids, that told the story of several generations of the Hutchinson family across major eras of American history. When they were 9 and 13, my son and daughter (respectively) adventured through history with one of the Hutchinson descendents, who was faced with coming of age choices of Christian faith.

 In The Salem Years (1690-1692) Josiah Hutchinson's adventures abound on the family farm in Salem Village and among ships in the seaport of Salem Town.  Will Josiah be able to trust the Lord for boldness?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Becoming Jane

Recently I purchased Becoming Jane (which was released in 2007) on a hope that it would be good.  After purchasing it I asked a friend "in the know" on Jane Austen if it was a good purchase. She assured me it had good stuff in it. My daughter and I studied Pride and Prejudice nearly two years ago and have since watched several movies based on her books.  This movie is about how Jane became the Jane we know today.  Free spirited, musical and literary, she spent her free time writing what one man dared to bascially label childish frivolity. Set in 1795 England, we see Jane in the same circumstances as her heroines, stuck in a society where she is destined, as other women, to marry not for love but within social class.  Raised in a simple home, Jane finds herself caught between a man of means who proposes marriage, whom she does not love, and the irritating man who criticizes her writing, to whom she is emotionally drawn.  As she falls in love with the man she first detested, she begins writing First Impressions.  When she is ultimately forced to face the defining moment of her life, she puts aside First Impressions and writes Pride and Prejudice.  Clearly we see how her own experiences influenced her future novels.

One of extra scenes of the DVD is to learn about the real Jane Austen, through the eyes of the director and actors, on various topics, such as costumes.    Although the costumes don't quite all match the1795  pages of my costume book, they apparently got some aspects correct. The actors talked about how constricted they felt in their clothes, even while wearing their coats, having to turn their entire body to turn their heads.  The actresses talked about how tight their cotumes were, not allowing them to bend.  Those comments prove that the construction of their costumes are right on target. I've been learning a lot about costumes at Colonial Williamsburg through the Costume Design Center and the Milliner Shop, while I've been trying to apply the concepts to the construction of my children's 18th century costumes. In essence, Iam constantly reminded to make them tight to the body. When my daughter is in her costume, sewing with the CDC ladies, she often bends for this or that and the ladies tell her that she is too loose, meaning that her stays are not tight enough! 

Also discussed was the importance of dancing to courtship. This was the only opportunity, in the 18th century, for couples to touch.  Often in these movies there are close ups where the couple get to touch hands, or a gentleman puts his hand on the lady's waist.  Also, this was a prime opportunity to talk discreetly, to find out matters of importance in the dancing partner, allowing one to decide if this is the person to pursue or not. Once again, we have learned this  in Colonial Williamsburg, where we've had opportunity to participate in dancing.  The colonial gentlemen who danced with me, told me that while we waited for our turn to dance, we could discuss matters of light importance. The dancing at CW is similar to that in the movie and it is not meant to be a serious event. It is actually a lighthearted time of fun!

 For those with young children, there are a few "adult" scenes, so preview first to decide how you want to handle it. Overall my kids and I enjoyed this poignant story. It's a keeper!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Another Special Tour of the Governor's Palace

When the kids and I arrived in Colonial Williamsburg (so I could take a sewing class that weekend) on a hot sultry day, we ate lunch on a shady bench and pondered our options. We decided to go to the Palace and try to get one of the Actor Interpreters in the tour. 
This time we got a tour with the upholsterer!  I had no idea the governor had his own upholsterer, who puts up and repairs wall paper.  Some walls that I thought were painted were actually wall paper.  Our tour also consisted of servant duties, family life, history and armament. We also learned a lot about the duties of Capt. Foy.  My son was asked about a bit of Virginia geography, which of course he knew.  We were taken to the largest bedroom in the house...the master bedroom right? No.  Lord Dunmore allowed his teenage daughters to have this room. They were preparing for the ball, with one of the lovely gowns laying on the bed.  The upholsterer asked about the possibility of the young ladies finding a suiter at the ball and my daughter chimed in that they definitely could.  The upholsterer, a gentleman himself, dignified her answer but said that although that was possible, it was not probable.  These were ladies of title, so they were being groomed to marry nobility in England. He talked about the training of young ladies in matters of art, music, dancing, sewing and overseeing a household/cooking.  For that of a gentleman it was dancing, horseback riding and fencing.  He did a fencing pose and you could tell he knew about fencing.  In fact, he reminds me of a gentleman in a terrific Colonial Williamsburg DVD, A Day in the Life, where the training of gentlemen was one of the features.   It was January 1775, and one of the guests asked why the fireplaces were covered up.  The upholsterer said it was the ineptness of the servants.  Being January, they should be opened. Normally the fireplaces are only covered in the summer, to prevent things like squirrels from sneaking in.

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After the palace tour, we did a bit of time travel in the backyard of the Coffeehouse to meet with President Thomas Jefferson in the early 19th century, wearing a summer suit.

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Afterwards we journeyed to 1781, to see General Lafayette review the troops.
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My son and I try to conquer two goals in photo taking for this program. One is getting a great action shot of the horse and Lafayette. If only I had zoomed in closer. That is difficult to do, since they go so fast.

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The other goal is to get the fire coming out of the guns and cannons. This time I missed the incredible smoke rings that burst forth, as well as the fire, but I did get a smoke burst!
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Saturday afternoon, we decided to meet with Patrick Henry in, I think, 1776. After all, we had been visitors to his house, Scotchtown, the previous weekend.  I thought he looked especially colorful in the sage green. Afterwards when my kids posed with him, he was really gracious and encouraging to them.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Colonial Williamsburg Milliner-Featuring the Brunswick Riding Ensemble

While we were at Colonial Williamsburg last weekend, we stopped in at the Milliners.  They often rotate their goods and even bring out hidden treasures from the back.  Last Saturday proved no different.

While the milliners were busy working on their newest projects, they took the time to show us other items in the shop.
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The completed Lady Dunmore ball gown...
Lady Dunmore Gown

Hats...
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Fly fringe...
Fly Fringe

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The newest Burnley and Trowbridge workshop to be offered will be to learn to make a Brunswick traveling ensemble. I had no idea what that was, so I asked and the milliner brought this out! I loved it! It differs from other riding jackets in that this has a hood and longer sleeves than most jackets . With all the traveling I do from the "backwoods" to Williamsburg, and as cold as I easily get, I should have a riding jacket! Oh well. This is beyond my skill level right now.  This type of fabric is called, not gingham, nor tavern check, but simply check. I asked! It's actually a silk piece, which is wonderfully rustly to the touch.
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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fiery Duel

Last winter my son entered an art contest at the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, Virginia. The theme of the contest was the face off of the Civil War iron clads, the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia. The Mariner's Museum is home to the restoration of the USS Monitor, recently recovered from the Atlantic.  The contest winners were announced in early March, during a Civl War reenactment to commemorate the Battle of Hampton Roads.  The night of the announcement, the doors of the exhibit of all the contestants' work were opened.   The art was displayed from March through July.  The other day we drove down to pick up the painting. This is my son's interpretation of the Battle of Hampton Roads, which he titled, "Fiery Duel."

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Martha Washington Sewing Kit at the CW Sewing Class

This morning my daughter and I took another sewing class with the Colonial Williamsburg Costume Design Center, presented as part of their 75th anniversary celebration.  Unlike the other classes, this one was not based on an 18th century product.  As the story goes, this 19th century sewing kit was made from silk gowns that Martha Washington wore while her husband was president.  You can see a picture of it in the Linda Baumgartner book, Costume Close-up.   The actual piece is in the Colonial Williamsburg collection.

The instructor endeavored to find fabrics as close as possible to the actual sewing case.  She did a great job keeping the feel of the original.  Additonally meaningful was the fact that these are remnant silks that were used to make silk gowns for the ladies and silk suits for the gentlemen that interpret in the historic area of Colonial Williamsburg.  It makes me want to walk around town trying to match fabrics between my sewing kit and interpreters' cotumes. The peach, cream and green striped silk fabric, used in the center, is fabric from a gown that the Colonial Williamsburg actress, who portrays Martha Washington, wears.  I have some of this silk in my fabric stash!

Once finished, this case will have a thimble holder (perfect for storing my antique thimble), wool from the sheep of Colonial Williamsburg, to stuff behind the thimble (perfect for use as a pincushion), and pockets (perfect for holding my needle collection.) The pocket dividers are made from several sheets of colonial paper (from the print shop) that have been glued together (the recipe for the glue is from an 18th century recipe).

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I'm looking forward to fnishing it because it will be quite handy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

18th Century Shirt #2

I have completed my son's linen colonial shirt.

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It is sufficiently hand sewn with linen thread, complete with hand sewn button holes and dorset buttons! These are thread buttons that I learned how to sew in a class with the Colonial Williamsburg Costume Design Center.

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I also cross stitched laundry markers, using Kannik's Korner publication, A Lady's Guide to Plain Sewing. Cross stitching on linen yields insanely teeny tiny stitches.

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At the suggestion of Kannik Korner, I decided to put numbers under the monogram, to document my sewing progress. At the time of stitching I was so caught up in teeny tinyness insanity, that I forgot that this is actually the second shirt I had sewn for my son. The first shirt was my very first historically accurate 18th century hand sewn garment, where I made horrible mistakes, necesitating a trip to the Colonial Williamsburg tailor, to see one of the display shirts. The tailor gave me tips to fix the mistakes in a historically accurate way, but after this shirt was sewn, I threw out the first one. This shirt is now number 1!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Scotchtown-Patrick Henry's Home 1771-1778

Last Saturday we went to Scotchtown, home of famed American Revolution orator, Patrick Henry.
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Patrick Henry's plantation is far more simple and down to earth than the grandness of Mount Vernon or Monticello.  Also, as Patrick Henry always tells us in Colonial Williamsburg, he lives in the backwoods.  Google maps directed us through the backroads, winding through woods, going up and down hills, and traversing rippling brooks with small waterfalls. The drive gave me a deep impression of the down to earth gentleman who fired up a revolution.
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The house tour was great!  We were a small group of 6 people.  Unlike feeling like being herded like a bunch of cattle at other tourist sites, we got to take our time and ask every question we wanted about anything we saw. As much as we know about the colonial era, we learned yet more about life, politics, architecture, design and fashion. Instead of the usual 20-40 minute tour, this one took well over an hour!  Most of it entailed lively and interesting conversation between all 7 of us!
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One of my favorite stories was the way in which Patrick Henry dressed. While in CW, anytime we mention Patrick Henry to one of the historic townspeople, they always groan because he is well known for talking and talking and talking. Furthermore, if the way he dresses comes up, there are more groans. We are always told that he has no sense of style. Well that came up in the tour, when we looked at a famous painting of him wearing a black suit and a red cape.  He always wore dark clothes, usually black or grey and the red cape.  One day, as the story goes, he walked down the streets of Williamsburg wearing a peach suit!  It so astounded the town, that the news made the Virginia Gazette, which was printed in town! I did a bit of research and all I can find is this story, found on page 41. Do a search on "peach" and read the highlight.
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My favorite artifacts were two quilts.  The one in the children's room was a Grandmother's Flower Garden made with teeny tiny blocks. (You can see and read more about it here.)  They must have been 1/2" blocks. These days, this pattern can be done easily with various modern tricks.  This quilt was made by two daughters of the homeowner who bought the house after Patrick Henry. Being made in the early 19th century you know they pieced this exquisite quilt by hand. (This mosaic pattern dates back in use to 1700 and was a popular colonial revival piece in quilting in the early 20th century.  You can read more about it here.)   Another quilt in the master bedroom was a combination applique and, oh what do you call it, like blocks of matelasse.  (I've been away from quilting so long since I've picked up costuming, I forget all my terminology!)  We were told that this one was done by Henry's granddaughter.  Since I could not take pictures inside the house, at least there is an on-line tour where you can see the quilts and anything else you'd like to see! 
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Another favorite story was about a painting of a man who was a dragoon for the Marquis de Lafayette!  That brought a huge response from us (I wonder why).  The guide went into great detail about the dragoons, which the kids and I could completely relate to.

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Also, all the tour guides are in costume...period correct costumes I might add.  There are few tourist sites that have accurate costumes.  As she talked I was analyzing her gown and later we got into an animated discussion over different aspects of it, comparing notes.  I told her I could tell it was draped and she said that it was!

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After the tour we were free to walk the grounds. Every second Saturday there is an interactive activity, that changes each month. You can check the calendar for special events. Last year there was an exhibition of period garments!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Quantico Museum-Vietnam War

Yesterday the kids and I went to the Quantico Museum.  We still hadn't done the Vietnam War exhibit, even though we had studied the war last spring. Also there were new exhibits on the beginning of the Marines during the American Revolution and WWI. We ended up spending the entire afternoon at the Vietnam War exhibit.  I had forgotten my camera, so I'll do my best with word pictures of things that especially impressed me. (At the link above, you can see much of the exhibit.)

One of the first signs I read told a great story.  As the Marines landed on a certain beach, they expected to be "greeted" by snipers. To their surprise, they were greeted with flower garlands.

In the first main area of the exhibit, we sat down on a bench and looked up for the movie, which was set into the underside of a Marine plane flown during the Vietnam War.  During the movie, we learned about how speedily the Marines put together landing strips, sort of like how we can slide and lock in wooden floors or types of floor tile today. As we walked around to read the different displays in the area, I realized the entire section had a special flooring...the same type as the instant tarmac that was quickly installed during the war.  It was probably an actual section of the tarmac.  While waiting for the kids to finish reading and catch up to me, I sat on the bench and looked at the flooring, imagining the planes that left the markings, while coming and going on their various missions.  These landing strips were quite small. Like on an aircraft carrier, jets thrust the planes quickly into the air, and special "cords" caught the planes on descent to slow them down quickly.  When the kids caught up with me, I asked them where the flooring came from.  After they reasoned it out, I had them look at the joints, where you could see how they locked into place.

Towards the end of the tour, was a mock up of a television store in the early 1970's.  In the shop window were 6 different televisions for sale. The three on the bottom were those classic floor models  and the three on top were different "desk top" models. One was an astronaut helmet shape!  They were showing different segments of the newsand commercials, from the beginning of the Vietnam War to the end.  We saw sound bites of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. After the doomed Tet Offensive,  President Johnson announced he would not run for re-election as president. Meanwhile we saw Woodstock, the moon landing and Bobby Kennedy.  Then we saw Nixon winning the presidency among cheering crowds, the continuing news reports of Vietnam, Henry Kissinger, Nixon's resignation and Ford's oath of office. We saw the dramatic final evacuation before the close of the war, then men returning home to jubilant wives.  Throughout we saw Walter Cronkite, who ended the segment by quoting Harry Reasoner, who defined  history  and concluded with his trademark line, which I guess is linked to Harry Reasoner.  I jotted down a couple of notes, thinking I  could google the quote, but I can't find it anywhere.  I'll have to go back and copy it word per word.  I thought it was interesting.

At the end, was a display of a Soviet field gun (you can see it in the top picture at the link) that the Vietnamese used. This was massive, towering high above me!   As I stood there thinking about it, all I could think about was, "What would Alexander the Great have thought if he could see this?"  (Can you tell I am immersed in buying books for Ancient history for this next year?) I told my kids and they started laughing.  Alexander the Great's men had massively long spears...like this muzzle (is that what the long narrow part is called? Doesn't it look like a spear?)  Then I noticed the two shields on each side of the muzzle, at ground level.  Those are tall shields.

We ran out of time for the new displays. We'll just have to go back!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Poplar Forest

Last Saturday we went to Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson's private retreat. This retreat was so private, that the British didn't even know about it!  During the American Revolution, British Colonel Banastre Tarleton was on his way to Monticello to capture then governor of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson received word of Tarleton's impending arrival, so he packed up his family and headed safely to Poplar Forest.

As we drove onto a stony road, leaving a 21st century neighborhood and going back in time to the early 19th century, we saw three deer, two of whom ran alongside the van, as we passed a golf course!  Leave it to Jefferson to think of a private golf course! (Just teasing!  Golf courses are 21st century methods of preserving historical homes.)

We arrived and met some friendly ladies in the gift shop, who directed us to picnic tables in the back property, overlooking the retreat home.  Never have I been able to eat lunch in the backyard of a Presidential home!

Then we began the 40 minute tour of some of the grounds and the main floor of the house.  Poplar Forest continues to be restored to the architectural fascination that Jefferson created in a unique octagon shape.  As we stood in one of the angled rooms, someone asked about the difficulty in practicality in the layout for a family. The tour guide reminded us that at this time of his life, Jefferson was unmarried. In essence, Poplar Forest was a bachelor pad!  You do see familiar elements from Monticello, like the French practice of setting the bed into an alcove of the wall.  Jefferson extended the idea in both homes a step further, by having open walls on each side of his bed.

Since Poplar Forest is being restored, you can see the architectural bones from the genius in Jefferson's imagination. After Jefferson's death, Poplar Forest fell into the hands of other families.  We learned a bit about those families and how they changed the home into something more practical for families.  At this point in time, the old incorrect elements have been pulled out.  With a blank canvas, the restorers are now able to carefully return the look to that of Jefferson's lifetime.  We saw open walls where the layers of lathe and plaster and brick showed how the walls were built. We saw samples of molding that will eventually return to the walls.  We saw the under layers of the fireplace.  We saw the wall niches the beds would go into.  I was thrilled to stand in the spot where the beds would one day go.  I think it would be fun to sit on one of those beds at Monticello, but of course I'll never be allowed to do that. I need to enjoy the moment of being inside the niche while I have the chance!  The huge center room of the house is for dining. Being the only room without windows, it looks into the other rooms that have large windows.  Well, the dining room has a window in the ceiling, which allows for ventilation, allowing cooler air to poor in during the heat of summer. 

Afterwards we were free to roam the property.  Because our gps nearly died before we were done, I recommend doing the self tour in the lower level of the house first.  Here you can see the archaeology, architectural pieces, a few movies, the French kitchen, and a great slide show of the process of restoring the one wing in place today.

Then return to the gift shop to get the gps tour with Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by the reknown Colonial Williamsburg actor who portrays him.  This gps is audio and video. I'm not sure how it works, since my son was in charge of it.

When Jefferson attended the College of William and Mary, he got a book from a famous Italian architect from the 16th century.  Jefferson used his ideas.  Here is a photo of it.  At the top is the Italian plan for an estate.  Jefferson changed it up a bit in good old Design Star style!



Here is one of Jefferson's clever inventions.  The wing off the house has a flat roof. How does the water drain off the roof? This is important, because water is an enemy to wood. Any water that sits will cause rot.  That won't happen on this wing. This is a cross-section mock up of the drainage plan.

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At the top is the floorboards that we walk on.  Inside you can see a v-shape structure, that collects water. It pours out through the opening on the side.

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Here is the real thing close up...

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...and as a long shot...

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The hill you see on each side of the house is an idea Jefferson brought back from France. The idea was to sit on top of the hill to enjoy the gardens below.  For the rest of the tour, I'm going to let the architectural details speak for themselves.

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"That Jefferson was, along with so many other things, one of the premier American architects, has long been appreciated..." -David McCullough, Historian

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"I shall be engaged in Bedford in making a geometrical measurement of the Peaks of Otter which has never been done yet, altho deemed the highest mountain of our Ranges." -Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Milligan Oct 27, 1815

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"I read nothing, therefore, but of the heroes of Troy...of Pompey and Caesar, and of Augustus too...I slumber without fear, and review in my dreams the visions of antiquity." -Thomas Jefferson to Nathaniel Macon Jan 12, 1819

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"I have fixed myself comfortably, keep some books here, bring others occasionally, am in the solitude of a hermit, and quite at leisure to attend to my absent friends." -Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin  Rush Aug 17, 1811

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"The whole site is Jefferson's last dramatic marriage of classical art with the American wilderness...a masterpiece of Jefferson's art and a revelation of his mind." -Garry Wills, Historian
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"By the very contradictions of his subtle and complex personality, of his bold mind and highly sensitive nature, Jefferson has both vexed and fascinated all who have attempted to interpret him." -Dumas Malone
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"With Mr. Jefferson I conversed at length on the subject of architecture...He is a great advocate for light and air-as you predicted he was for giving you octagons." -Colonel Isaac A. Coles to John Hartwell Cocke Feb 23, 1816

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On each side...
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of the hills...
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 you find these...
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The inside of the roof reminded me of our studies of Renaissance architecture...
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Far in the distance, a brick wall kept catching my eye...
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Intrigued, I was drawn closer...


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...to the remains of a quaint 20th century rose garden.

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The curves in the wall are in honor of Thomas Jefferson's architectural style of curved walls, which I think he used at the University of Virginia.
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Today there are still hints of the past beckoning to the busy archaeologists...
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For the nature buffs there is opportunity to identify birds...
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...and bird nests.

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Poplar Forest is home to the annual program, Conversations in Democracy, which feature Thomas Jefferson and a historic guest.  I found out that we can attend these tapings in person, so I'll be watching the announcement for that. I know the kids would love it.  Before we moved from Texas, we watched tapings of some of the programs, including Jefferson's conversations with Napoleon, Lafayette, Aaron Burr, John Adams and Meriweather Lewis.

Because Poplar Forest is a restoration work in progress, there is always something new to see.  At the web site you can see some photos of the restoration.  However it's not the same as seeing it in person. My husband, especially, is anticipating a return visit to see the latest stage of the restoration.