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Back in the 21st Century

We're safely back from Jamestown, not too much the worse for wear, and only slightly frost-bitten.

Actually, I had the most awesome time ever interpreting the Governor's house, since I had ample, delightful company, and was able to wander about, take breaks, and sometimes, just sit back and listen to someone else chat about the house without feeling guilty. I hardly knew what to do with myself, but it was fantastic. We also had a great time completely distracting the kids with the cup and ball toys, then sending the parents into deep despair by *ahem* mentioning that possibly they might be able to find toys just like them in the gift shop.

The bilbo catcher version of the toy was a big hit - that's the one I am reasonably good at.  I managed to land the ball on the spike a number of times, once when someone was taking high-speed photos of me (I felt inordinately proud of being able to master a completely useless skill, I can tell you).  The cup version was pinkleader 's specialty - despite saying "I never manage to get it", she demonstrated that she could, in fact, catch the ball almost every single time. 

pinkleader and I were joined by stringmonkey and another lovely volunteer, Paula, on Saturday (though stringmonkey  disappeared for a bit to procure and press the linen for the Governor's bed project she's organizing), and Lauren, one of the staff, on Sunday.  I laid out a pretty good working display for the table, with pens, books, a map, and a sundial, as well as the toys and some small grooming accessories for people to see and explore, and it seemed pretty successful, and the kids were very talkative, which is always a good sign.  It's great fun to show kids things like the sundial, and see them light up when they realize it actually works, omg.


One of the other fun things is trading stories of the stuff the tourists do.  My favourite story of all time came from Plimoth - a couple came out from the village and asked "Are those the original Pilgrims?" - but we get some good ones at Jamestown, too.  The one I heard this time came from one of the security people - he watched a woman drag her bag, obviously containing something heavy, through the fort, bit by bit, until she finally got disgusted, and pulled a cannonball out and left it there, right in front of him.  Apparently, he said "Don't worry, ma'am, we'll put it back for you!". 

A cannonball?!  I know people steal things all the time (we keep a close watch on all the small bits and pieces we put on display) - they seem to feel that a stolen item is a much better souvenir than anything they can get in the gift shop - but a cannonball seems a bit excessive.  Mind you, quite large things like brooms get lifted fairly frequently, and we have no idea how they manage to hide them.  I remember putting out a bowl of apples years ago, and literally, every time I turned around, another apple was gone.  I never saw anyone take them, but they all disappeared.

It would be funny, if it wasn't so sad.  But I do love the cannonball story.

The small kids, I can sort of understand; the musket ball dice in particular seem very attractive, and I saw more than one child palm them thoughtfully as they stood up from the table, but their parents were alert, and every time, they made the kids put the dice back before I had to say anything.  But adults stealing... *sigh*

Most of the visitors were just great, and we saw several people we knew - chargirlgenius  and jljonsn  were participating in the MTA competition, along with azpapillion  and her sweetie.  psalite  and pirategirleee  came by, doing the tourist thing, and thatpotteryguy  was doing his selling thing. 

All in all, a fine weekend.  And if anyone asks, Bob totally did not teach the game of shin-kicking to a bunch of teenage girls.  Not at all.  And they totally didn't think it was awesome.  Nuh-uh.  Nope.  *innocent*


( 15 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 23rd, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
We have no idea. :)
Mar. 23rd, 2009 03:21 pm (UTC)
Fin and I wandered through the gift shop on Sunday. Turns out they also sell a cup-and-ball-toy painted with the figure of a Jamestown-era girl or boy. I should have checked the price.

Sorry I spent so much time pressing linen--I figured that between you, Paula, and Pink, you were good to go.
Mar. 23rd, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
We were. :) But we loved your company, too.
Mar. 23rd, 2009 03:46 pm (UTC)
(falls over laughing at cannonball story)

I used to do interpretation at Pennsbury Manor. (I was anonymous serving girl/garden grunt. Digging in stays=not fun.) But I used to go there during the weekdays in a non-interpretation way to do even more garden digging and weeding, and follow the peacocks and guineafowl around.

No one stole anything from the manor that I know of during tours, but there was a break-in one time and the Sotcher charger was stolen, as well as a load of reproduction and original plate. The charger was given to the Penns' steward, John Sotcher, in 1729 when he and the housekeeper, Mary Lofty, married. The local thieves, realizing that the stuff was unsellable, dumped it into the Delaware River. One of the thieves' girlfriends told police where it was dumped, and a dive team retrieved the items. The charger is now back on display in the manor dining room after cleaning and restoration.
Mar. 23rd, 2009 03:53 pm (UTC)
Well, we haven't had a cannonball removed from Kentwell (not that we have any cannonballs available to be removed), but sometimes a chess piece or a gaming piece is quietly removed.

However, on one of the mini weekends when visitors are allowed to see the upstairs rooms, the replica "Lady Mary Clopton" dress was removed from its stand, stuffed into a bin liner and walked out of Kentwell under everyone's noses!

The gown has never been found!

Edited at 2009-03-23 03:56 pm (UTC)
Mar. 23rd, 2009 04:17 pm (UTC)
Oh, I would be BOILING mad! Holy cow!
Mar. 23rd, 2009 03:57 pm (UTC)
I just could NOT ever convince Henry to go into the Governor's house. I kept trying, maybe if I'd have mentioned to him that there were toys I wouldn't have been able to get him *out*. :-D

Oh, and you can tell Bob that Henry adores the nail. He wouldn't let it go all day.

Edited at 2009-03-23 03:59 pm (UTC)
Mar. 23rd, 2009 04:16 pm (UTC)
A *cannonball.* Okay, then.

We had a kid take a HUGE mail main gauche glove at a demo at a school a few years back. Had *no* use for it. Wrrryyyy? Ever since we've changed the format of our demo there and never caught any guff for it from the teachers, who know that all of our stuff is handmade.
Mar. 23rd, 2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
You had a good time....
Mar. 23rd, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
Cannonball??? I wonder if it was a dare?

I am understanding of some of the 'borrowing' kids do, I think they are caught up in the excitement of a new experiences that, hey, they can see/hear/touch, not just watch on tv! Always good to have vigilant parents though, don't want to encourage lifting. I remember one kid who had tried on a chainmail shirt at a demo and did not want to take it off. They held him upside down by his ankles (with parental permission) hoping that gravity would do it's thing but he outsmarted us and wrapped both arms tightly around his chest. Wasn't coming off, and probably didn't help that there was now a small crowd laughing their asses off :). I think an offer to teach him how to make his own finally did the trick :).
Mar. 23rd, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
Last year at the end of the Tournament of the Phoenix joust we had a number of teenage boys slip onto the tourney field and make off with armor bits and parts of left over lances. Most of them were caught in the parking lot and "divested" of their loot...but a few got away. *sigh*
Mar. 23rd, 2009 10:00 pm (UTC)
I saw you in the Governor's house! I stopped in mid-afternoon on Sunday (wearing my 18c red jacket and blue petticoat - I was at MTA with the Department of the Geographer to the Army and the Corps of Sappers & Miners as a laundress, ca.1781), but got pushed out by the strollers before I had a chance to say much. I'm an interpreter Upriver at Henricus Historical Park and I love your website. It's been a great help when I've been struggling to make clothes for all of our female interpreters.

~ Jenny
Mar. 24th, 2009 06:36 pm (UTC)
Oh! I loved your outfit. Sometimes you gotta stand up to those strollers or come back around through the other door again. :)
Mar. 24th, 2009 07:25 am (UTC)
I miss Jamestown! I particularly loved messing about on the boats.

Favourite Jamestown tourist quote (from local girl peering curiously at my flatmate as he discussed his pike and armour):

Y'all really talk like that?
Mar. 25th, 2009 01:28 am (UTC)
Aaron loved the governor's house. He seemed to drive some gratification that there was a cup-and-ball toy, just like his. Or, at least, that's what I understood him to say.

He and Henry discovered that the ball makes an excellent wrecking ball for block towers as well.
( 15 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )

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