Saturday, July 13, 2013

Part 1, The Victorian Era At The Potsdam Museum

I'd been working on brush hogging the borders of the hay fields and had quite a difficult day. I wound up getting the tractor stuck in the mud and having my neighbor tow me out. At the end of the day I was bruised, sore and exhausted. The next morning, still aching, I was happy to see that it was raining and several more days of rain were predicted. Good. I could rest my weary body and drive in to Potsdam, where I'd visit their museum:

I'd been wanting to see this museum for a long time but had never been able to do so while only paying brief visits to the farm. Well, now I was a permanent resident and intended to visit the museum. I entered, signed in and chatted with the lady at the desk. The Potsdam Museum specialized in the Victorian Era, which was a time of great prosperity in the area. The first thing I saw was this fawn colored wedding dress from 1860, preserved and treasured by a local family. The white leather shoes, from 1862, had 3 white buttons on each side and were only for the most formal occasions:

The wedding gown right next to it was a two piece, white-on-white, striped silk muslin with gold pigment from 1882. The lady at the desk explained that these dresses were from the wealthier families, that poorer folks would get married in their best clothes, their Sunday church clothes, but would then have to keep wearing them - not save them for posterity. The white kid ankle length boots dated back to 1886:

There were old school pictures and a child's piano:

And more Victorian bridal gowns - lots more:

More bridal gowns and old photos of the weddings they celebrated:

I took a close-up of this Victorian wedding photo and a pair of shoes with white flowers:

A giant cabinet filled with wondrous things - china, dolls, toys, and figurines:

This little black pony was carved by Charles Dare, an English immigrant, sometime between 1867 and 1901. He became a toy manufacturer in New York City and this pony was probably made as a rocking horse, being fitted with the pole at a later date:

The tall case clock belonged to the Raymond Family, one of the first families to settle in Potsdam. It had wooden clockworks and was made by Riley Whiting of Winchester, Connecticut around 1807:

I don't know if this was a piano or a related instrument, but I would have loved to hear it played. There was a harp resting atop it:

Another look at the large display case, the black pony and a couple of Victorian wedding dresses:

This display case contained a woman's hat, 1869, of blue velvet with velvet leaves, stylized flowers and beads. The white flowers were added for the wedding. The darker blue bonnet, 1885, was trimmed with brown and white bead-work and brown, chenille pussy-willow. There were three women's handkerchiefs of fine, white linen from the same era.

The man's wedding vest, c.1880, was of white silk damask. There were also several white silk neckties with hand painted ornamentation or woven diamond patterns. But there was more to see at the Potsdam Museum, and I'll post Part 2 tomorrow:

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