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The Oddment Emporium

A Cornucopia of Eclectic Delights

Posts tagged Museum:

Virginia House: The House that Moved Homes

The house which would become Virginia House was originally built in the 12th century and served as a priory until Henry VIII split from the Catholic church and closed the hundreds of monasteries and nunneries around Britain. Over the next four hundred years the house would change hands numerous times, with each owner adding a personal touch; such as knocking down the surrounding monastic buildings and adding curvilinear Dutch gables to the front façade around 1620. The fortunes of the house rose a fell throughout the centuries with one owner entertaining Queen Elizabeth I there and another, in the early 20th century, being forced to sell it.

In 1925, Alexander and Virginia Weddell bought it at a demolition sale. They had it dismantled and rebuilt part of it in Richmond, Virginia, where they hoped the west wing would serve as a museum for the Virginia Historical Society. 

The company that was to demolish the Priory felt the stones would crumble in the process, so they decided to make a small explosion in the middle of the building and send only those stones that survived the blast to America. To their amazement, most of the stones fell intact. The more fragile ornaments were packed in boxes with sand to cushion them. The ship bringing the stones to America had to turn back to port as it was taking on water. Consequently, when the stones arrived in Richmond they were soaked in seawater and had to be washed and dried. The first group of stones arrived in Richmond in the spring of 1926. 

Virginia House was completed in 1928, and in 1929 it was presented to the Virginia Historical Society with the Weddells retaining lifetime tenancy.


[Image One: The house in England : Image Two: The House in Virginia : Images 3-5: (courtesy of Vintage-Royalty) The House now]

(Source: vahistorical.org)

Wax Effigy of Charles II
Made soon after Charles’s death in February 1685, this life-size effigy stood over the king’s grave for 150 years. It then moved to the Islip Chapel, where it was photographed [above] by Sir Benjamin Stone, and is now in the Abbey museum. The figure is dressed in the robes of the Order of the Garter, possibly those of the king himself.

Wax Effigy of Charles II

Made soon after Charles’s death in February 1685, this life-size effigy stood over the king’s grave for 150 years. It then moved to the Islip Chapel, where it was photographed [above] by Sir Benjamin Stone, and is now in the Abbey museum. The figure is dressed in the robes of the Order of the Garter, possibly those of the king himself.

Doll used in Stillbirth Ceremony in Gambia, c.1930-50

This doll is made of baked mud with textiles and human hair. It is a replica of one made in a Gambian Village for women who had had stillbirths. The doll is treated as a live child. It is baptised on the eighth day, when a feast is held. In many West African medical traditions, stillbirth is attributed to evil forces or spirits. It requires a range of healing practices, some dating back thousands of years.

(Source: sciencemuseum.org.uk)

Crushed Skull
I was hanging about at the British Museum today when I happened upon this - the crushed skull of a guardian of the ‘King’s Grave’:

This skull comes from the ‘King’s Grave’ in the Royal Cemetery at Ur. The main tomb was in a rough stone chamber at the bottom of a large pit. The bodies of six soldiers wearing copper helmets and carrying spears lay at the foot of the ramp which descended to it, over eight metres below the modern surface. The helmets were broken and crushed flat by the weight of the soil which had been thrown back into the grave during the burial.
The soldiers were presumably intended to be the guardians of the tomb for eternity. If so, they failed in their duty because the central tomb had been robbed in antiquity. Including the six soldiers, sixty-three victims in total, most richly adorned, filled the floor of the pit.
The soldiers’ helmets closely resemble those worn by the soldiers on the Standard of Ur.

Crushed Skull

I was hanging about at the British Museum today when I happened upon this - the crushed skull of a guardian of the ‘King’s Grave’:

This skull comes from the ‘King’s Grave’ in the Royal Cemetery at Ur. The main tomb was in a rough stone chamber at the bottom of a large pit. The bodies of six soldiers wearing copper helmets and carrying spears lay at the foot of the ramp which descended to it, over eight metres below the modern surface. The helmets were broken and crushed flat by the weight of the soil which had been thrown back into the grave during the burial.

The soldiers were presumably intended to be the guardians of the tomb for eternity. If so, they failed in their duty because the central tomb had been robbed in antiquity. Including the six soldiers, sixty-three victims in total, most richly adorned, filled the floor of the pit.

The soldiers’ helmets closely resemble those worn by the soldiers on the Standard of Ur.

MODEL OF THE MOON, FIELD COLUMBIAN MUSEUM, CHICAGO C.1894

MODEL OF THE MOON, FIELD COLUMBIAN MUSEUM, CHICAGO C.1894

series of photographs from the archives of the American Museum of Natural History. Taken between 1933-1935 by Thane L. Bierwert, they show museum staff engaged in the task of cleaning and re-mounting the skin of an elephant for display. As well as offering a great (and I suspect rare) behind-the-scenes glance of a 1930s natural history museum, that deflated elephant body is also a powerful and unsettling image of our strange relationship to death and display.

Images via the online research library of the American Natural History Museum. More images of elephants in the archive can be found here.

(Source: ridiculouslyinteresting.wordpress.com)