Just 3 more days left for this residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. I am craving for some activities other than working on my music. This was one reason for my visit at the Nelson House Museum, last Saturday. I literally crossed the street to the museum, together with my house-mate, Meryl. It was a nice change of scene for both of us.
Nelson house was built in 1853. The floral and strips wallpaper patterns and the furniture and decor in the living room threw me off to the Victorian time period. I am always fascinated to meet live history and this house was definitely that; it allowed me to have a snick pick into history. The people of that time had their little tricks to make their lives a bit more comfortable and enjoyable, as it shows from their chair design- the ladies chairs were designed without arms to make the ladies more comfortable to sit in their long skirts. Men had, what it's called, a mustache-mag, a mag designed to help gentleman to keep their mustaches dry while zipping their tea/coffee... For entertainment, people had their own version of "3D" pictures, which they would look at through a special device. A book laying on the far away table catches Meryl's eye. It is a bible for home usage. Meryl got permission to take a closer look. As book-arts-ardent, Meryl was ecstatic from this finding! I was interested and approached. The old book was fragile and charming with beautiful illustrations and fonts. Even I started to become excited about this finding.
Downstairs, was a kitchen, where it was cooler in the summers and warmer in the winters than the upper level of the house. So, this room used to serve as the main room where the family would gather. One of its walls showed all three layers from different additions of the house, including the original lime stone the house was built from. It must not have been easy to warm the house up back in those times with that little wood/coal oven. Another interesting accessory was the whole clothes-washing set of instruments, made of wood and iron. Our lady guid explains to us the process: water had to be draw from the whale, then boiled (for that you had to operate the heating oven). With the boiled water they would grade the cloths on a wash board. Then, they would iron the cloths with a super heavy iron (I held it). Here are some links where you can read more about it: http://www.ebparks.org/Assets/files/Laundry_19th_Century_06-01-09.pdf
It seems such a draining job! I will defiantly remember this next time I complain that I have to go down to the basement to wash my garderobe in the washing machine ;)
The lady guide was impressively knowledgeable with the history of Nebraska City, remembering so many details. Not only did she tell us many anecdotes of the city from it's early establishment but she also knew additional facts to the information that was hanged up on wall about the cornet band and the Opera house. Apperantly they were blooming in the 19th century in Nebraska City. Opera house in Nebraska City! Well, this discovery was clearly the highlight of my visit! :)
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