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

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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Sunday, August 25, 2019

A Quick Trip to Newport

Recently on a family vacation, I made a quick detour to Newport, Rhode Island.  I have visited Newport and toured mansions on two separate occasions in the past, but both times were before I started working at Staatsburgh.  Previously I had just a general interest in the Gilded Age seaside colony, but after becoming more immersed in researching the Mills family, their servants, and the context of their life, my interests have become much more pointed.  I was eager to explore Newport as it related to the Mills family.

Though the trip was brief, I made a few integral stops and have some insights and photos that I would like to share.


Sunday, July 28, 2019

Who was Anna Van Bloem of Staten Island?

Ruth Mills died in Paris on October 13, 1920 at age 65.  She was survived by her husband, her twin sister, three children, and several grandchildren.  When her will was read, bequests were made to her family as one would expect.*  She also included some of her servants.  She gave $2000 each to her butler, Frederick Thompson, as well as Eva Wilton, Mary Golding, and Maggie Sheridan.  Her will stated that they would receive the money on the condition that they were still in her service at the time of her death.  In one other bequest apart from her family and servants, Ruth stipulated an amount of $1,000 should go to Mrs. Anna Van Bloem of Staten Island.  She was not family and there were no conditions included like the bequest to the other servants.  So if she was was not currently in service to Ruth, who was Mrs. Anna Van Bloem?  I resolved to find out.