Welcome to Staatsburgh State Historic Site's blog! Learn more about the Gilded Age home of Ruth and Ogden Mills!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

A Gilded Age Ice Skating Tea

It is currently tea season at Staatsburgh and we are serving scones, sandwiches, and our special Harney & Sons Staatsburgh blend tea almost every weekend.  We enjoy welcoming guests to the historic dining room for this unique experience.  During the Gilded Age, having tea was a very common social experience.  One of the more unique tea entertainments was the 'ice tea,' which was tea in conjunction with ice skating!  Ice skating became very popular during the Gilded Age when indoor ice rinks first opened, which lengthened the skating season.  Before 'artificial ice,' skating only happened on frozen outdoor ponds, and the weather played a big role in the number of skating days every season.  An event like an 'ice tea' was only possible once skating moved indoors!


Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A Nutcracker Christmas at Staatsburgh

This year the mansion was decorated for the holidays with a nutcracker theme.  Visitors walking through the house heard the lovely strains of the famous musical score as they admired the decorations and collection of various sized nutcrackers.  Not only are nutcrackers a popular Christmas decoration, the score from The Nutcracker ballet, composed by Peter Tchaikovsky in 1892 has a lasting association with the Christmas season.  The ballet is performed every year in cities large and small around the world.  Many productions continue to be set in the late 19th century and depict a world similar to the American Gilded Age (at least during the party scene before the fantasy elements begin).

Nutcrackers grace the mantel in Staatsburgh's dining room, Christmas 2019

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Preventative Conservation Workshop 2019: Part III - Moving the Drawing Room Carpets


During June 2019, aspiring conservators from around the country attended a 2 week intensive preventative conservation workshop at Staatsburgh.  This was the fourth year that the workshop was held at Staatsburgh with sponsorship from The  Foundation for the Advancement of Conservation along with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The workshop taught in-depth methods of caring for many different types of collections. Participants gained insight into artifact conservation and the conditions that cause deterioration. After the workshop, several of the participants wrote blog entries about their experience and a specific aspect of the workshop.


Independent Conservator Cathy MacKenzie organized this workshop to occur at Staatsburgh collaborating on its organization with the NYS Bureau of Historic Sites and Parks.  Several conservators participated in the workshop's instruction including Furniture Conservator David Bayne, textile conservator Kirsten Schoonmaker from Syracuse University, objects conservator Valentine Talland formerly of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, paper conservator Lyudmyla Bua of the Center for Jewish History in New York, and furniture conservator Paige Schmidt from the Mariners' Museum in Newport News, VA.

Blog Author, Josephine Ren
Blog Author, Beth Reid

Beth Reid is a museum technician at the Valentine Museum in Richmond, VA where she cleans the 1812 Wickham House and the general collections. She also interns in the conservation lab at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources treating archeological objects. Beth holds a B.F.A. in Painting and Printmaking with minors in Art History, History, Anthropology, and Italian Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University and is completing an A.S. in Chemistry at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.  Josephine Ren is from the Greater Los Angeles Area and received a B.A. in Art Conservation with a minor in Art History from Scripps College. She has held pre-program internships at the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, and in private practice. She also studied conservation during a semester abroad at Studio Arts College International, Florence, and has worked in collections at Pomona College Museum of Art and Scripps’ art gallery. Currently she works under private practices, and is interested in objects and painted surfaces.


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Preventative Conservation Workshop 2019: Part II - Moving Collections in the Drawing Room

During June 2019, aspiring conservators from around the country attended a 2 week intensive preventative conservation workshop at Staatsburgh.  This was the fourth year that the workshop was held at Staatsburgh with sponsorship from The  Foundation for the Advancement of Conservation along with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The workshop taught in-depth methods of caring for many different types of collections. Participants gained insight into artifact conservation and the conditions that cause deterioration. After the workshop, several of the participants wrote blog entries about their experience and a specific aspect of the workshop.

Independent Conservator Cathy MacKenzie organized this workshop to occur at Staatsburgh collaborating on its organization with the NYS Bureau of Historic Sites and Parks.  Several conservators participated in the workshop's instruction including Furniture Conservator David Bayne, textile conservator Kirsten Schoonmaker from Syracuse University, objects conservator Valentine Talland formerly of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, paper conservator Lyudmyla Bua of the Center for Jewish History in New York, and furniture conservator Paige Schmidt from the Mariners' Museum in Newport News, VA.

Blog Authors, Patti Maxwell and Paige Hilman
This blog post was written by workshop participants Paige Hilman and Patti Maxwell. Paige is a junior at the University of Arizona, studying art history and chemistry with the goal of becoming an art conservator. She currently works for the National Park Service as a Museum Technician at the Western Archeological and Conservation Center and interns at the Center for Creative Photography.  Patti has served for the past two years in the newly-created Head of Housekeeping position at Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Fallingwater” in Southwestern Pennsylvania. She worked many years as a hospitality Housekeeping Manager which has equipped her with a thorough knowledge of the workings of a housekeeping department. This program has furthered her ability to teach her team the importance of proper object handling and preventive conservation and to impart a deep appreciation for the need to maintain national treasures.


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Sunday, September 29, 2019

Preventative Conservation Workshop 2019: Part I - Housekeeping in the Historic Library

During June 2019, aspiring conservators from around the country attended a 2 week intensive preventative conservation workshop at Staatsburgh.  This was the fourth year that the workshop was held at Staatsburgh with sponsorship from The Foundation for the Advancement of Conservation along with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The workshop taught in-depth methods of caring for many different types of collections. Participants gained insight into artifact conservation and the conditions that cause deterioration. After the workshop, several of the participants wrote blog entries about their experience and a specific aspect of the workshop.

Independent Conservator Cathy MacKenzie organized this workshop to occur at Staatsburgh collaborating on its organization with the NYS Bureau of Historic Sites.  Several conservators participated in the workshop's instruction including NYS Bureau of Historic Sites Furniture Conservator David Bayne, textile conservator Kirsten Schoonmaker from Syracuse University, objects conservator Valentine Talland formerly of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, paper conservator Lyudmyla Bua of the Center for Jewish History in New York, NY, and furniture conservator Paige Schmidt from the Mariners' Museum in Newport News, VA.

Blog Authors, Olivia Lambert and Monica Stokes
This blog post was written by Olivia Lambert and Monica Stokes who participated in the two week  workshop at Staatsburgh.  Olivia Lambert graduated from the University of California Los Angeles, with a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry. While in Los Angeles, she worked at the Fowler Museum conserving textiles. She also worked in an art gallery in Visalia, California as a docent where she handled the objects and the display of the individual art pieces. Monica Stokes is the former Exhibit and Development Manager at the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago, Illinois. While there, she oversaw the care of the surgical instruments and a medical-focused manuscript and rare book collection. She holds a Bachelor of Visual and Critical Studies from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and currently resides in Traverse City, Michigan.
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