How difficult is it to move an entire room from a house into a museum?
Very difficult! It's done by a whole team of curators, conservators, and technicians. Rooms are disassembled, pieces are labeled and numbered, and everything is very carefully packed for the move.
Then, once the room arrives, it has to be re-assembled, and decisions are made about things like new wallpapers or upholstery, of the old ones are too worn to be displayed. Oh, and lighting has to be installed, and labels need to be researched and written. It's a really laborious and time-consuming process, but fascinating and well-worth the effort!
Yup, definitely worth the effort!
Yes indeed! And we're lucky to have so many good historic interiors here.
Did all the beds having hangings just for decoration or to serve some purpose?
That's an excellent question. Bed hangings were definitely aesthetic and decorative while also serving the purpose of keeping the cold out. Like curtains, bed hangings showed your wealth and status and were often fashioned out of expensive luxury fabrics. And, before people had good heat sources, bed warmers were placed under the mattress to heat it and bed hangings would keep the cold air away from the sleeping person!
Can you tell me about some of the objects in this room?
The metal object in the back is a bed warmer. It would have been filled with hot embers and placed between the sheets before getting into bed during the cold winters! The rocking chair comes from Long Island and is of the type made throughout the eighteenth century. The rush seat (often the first part of a chair to break) could be easily re-woven and replaced. It was also a breathable material and considered hygienic.
I really love the little models of the houses.
Those are great! I recently learned a little bit about the model maker. He had a fascinating life!
Albert Fehrenbacher was a master woodcarver from the Black Forest region in Germany. Taken prisoner during the Second World War, he spent five years in a Russian camp during which time he began work on a panoramic Nativity scene, designed to carry the message of peace and brotherhood for all.
Upon his release, he brought his Nativity scene to the United States, where it was shown in over 150 churches across the country. He was hired to work at several American museums, building models.
Grateful for the friendliness with which he was received in the United States, Fehrenbacher said, “This country, it has been good to me. I am happy in this work I do for the Brooklyn Museum." He apologized for “having much trouble with speaking English...but I hope I speak from heart to heart with my models.”
That is such a wonderful story. My father was born in a Russian camp during the war.
Wow, what a fascinating link.
Are the floors original to the Henry Trippe house?
I believe that they are. I am certain that the walls, molding, and stairs are taken directly from the house. The home itself underwent significant remodeling in the 1970s, but the Museum has made an effort to restore an 18th century appearance.
How long does an installation like all of the period rooms take? I love literally stepping back in time down to the very last detail....like the creaky floors, is that part of it?
The creaky floors are an inevitable part of it! While the museum did not specially engineer the creaks, they are a result of incorporating the original flooring from some of these homes! I agree it really adds to the ambience!