Dwight Peck's personal website

Summer 2022

A photographic record of whatever leapt out at us

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

The descent of the Ottawa gang upon us

Marlowe, Dima, and Will grace us briefly on their American road trip. Having stopped in to visit Alison briefly in Alexandria, our welcome guests have popped up for a few days on our figurative doorstop, 17 May 2022.

The Frontier Culture Museum

All of our visitors since our arrival in Staunton are obliged to immerse themselves in the wonders of the Frontier Culture Museum . . .

. . . and Dima, Will, and Marlowe are no exceptions. 19 May 2022.

The theme of the Museum is to illustrate the lifestyles and the contributions to this regional American culture in its early post-European days, specifically . . .

. . . the 18th century immigrants from Protestant areas of Europe: the English midlands, the German Palatinate of the Rhine, and Northern Ireland, as well as an 1820s and an 1850s Shenandoah Valley farm and outbuildings.

The faded old didactic signs for the exhibits have been revised this year and printed anew, and we'll show our appreciation by parading extracts from some of these here. They are not the complete texts of the panels.

All of these authentic buildings, moved here from their original sites, are represented alongside a recreated 18th century one-room settler's log cabin from this 'Valley of Virginia', a recreated 18th century Native American farm to recall the culture that preceded the European incursions, and a model West African village to commemorate the contributions of the enslaved African population of this region.

We're starting off, in a counter-clockwise direction, with a replica of an 18th century Igbo village of present-day Nigeria. There was formerly more of it here, but it's presently being revivified and still in progress.

We don't want to interrupt the school groups imbibing their lessons in native drumming (like our friend Dan a few years) ago, so we'll carry on along the circuit . . .

. . . to the yeoman's farmhouse from the 17th century English midlands.

Dmitri masqué

A frontier cultural swamp

A frontier cultural tree

The English farmhouse viewed from Northern Ireland, as it were

The Irish forge, perhaps the most scenic exhibit in the museum

It's a very hot day outside, but wait till we get into that place.

The blacksmithing docent explains his craft and pretends to enjoy serious heat. He demonstrates the basic principles to visitors and in the process makes all of the metalwork used throughout the museum's exhibits.

We continue -- this is the Northern Irish farm, with educational demonstrations in progress.

A simple kitchen, and living room, and bedroom, all in one, with . . .

. . . a workroom alongside.

A costumed docent is helping schoolkids demonstrate the various stages of preparing the homegrown wool for household use.

A rapt audience. But where did all the wool come from?

From here -- a crowd of newly shorn sheep

Kristin is a longtime admirer of sheepses (and marmots, little chippies, harbor seals, etc.)

Here is the 18th century German farmhouse, transported here from the Protestant Palatinate of the Rhine.

The German farm plays host to an enormous pig, called Sunshine, which on this hot day is hidden away in its little hut seen in the far background, and not available at the moment for a photograph. Here's an older one.

The docent is always available to answer questions.

Dmitri and Will trying out some of the exhibits, and Kristin observing from in front of the farm's central heating unit

Now, we progress onward to this side of the Atlantic. Can't wait.

A 'starter home' for an early settler, who may or may not have had any farming experience. Good luck, Scooter.

A replica of a 1740s settler's cabin. The leaning chimney is intentional.

A 21st century facility: this one is not reserved for Protestants.

Approaching the 1820s and 1850s farms in the valley

That is a perfectly disgusting exhibit, and it's called 'Dally'.

Zero points for dignity

Some people, however, find Dally fascinating.

The 1820s farm on the left, 1850s on the right, both moved here from elsewhere in western Virginia.

A kiln on the left, the local schoolhouse in the centre, and the 1820s farmhouse looming on the right

The kitchen's twice the size of the 1740s cabin's floorplan -- that's called progress.

The 1850s farm across the way, with spring house, smoke house, barns, etc.

The 1820s farm from the front

The spring house

The 1850s farm, enlarged in stages. On previous visits, we were able to clamber up the narrow stairs to the kids' bedoom upstairs, but not this time. Oh well.

The smoke house, apparently, with . . .

. . . god knows what inside it.

Kitchen nook

The view from the front porch -- the schoolhouse behind, and a volunteer driver posing his golf cart at the pickup leanto for tiring historical-culture enthusiasts. There is, by the way, another enormous porcine monster associated with the 1850s farm, by the name of 'Trouble', not pictured today -- but here's an earlier view.

This 1840s log schoolhouse was brought here from Rockingham County, Virginia. There was no statewide public education in the state before 1870, and wealthy families sent the wee ones off to private schools or hired tutors, so this sort of thing depended upon groups of less affluent folks banding together to build such a one-roomer for students of all ages.

Overlooking the Culture Museum grounds, that's the disused DeJarnette Sanitarium, founded by Dr J. DeJarnette in 1932, a respected eugenicist and forced sterilizer of defectives; his methods continued into the 1970s, but in 1975 the state turned this into a children's mental hospital. In 1996 that was moved into new facilities, and these buildings have been vacant ever since; the story seems to be that there is too much asbestos in them to renovate them or even to demolish them safely.

Pretty basic

Apparently we're lost, at the moment.

Now we know where we are -- here's the Native American village, or a sort of small-scale representation of it.

Enough for one day. Our visitors are off tomorrow for a formidable two-day drive back to our Northern Neighbor, with promises of more frequent meetings in a post-covid world, if such a blessing should ever fall upon us.

Next up: A few days in Morgantown, West Virginia . . . ermmmm.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 19 June 2022.

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