Why Are These People Laughing?

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Yesterday was the first work bee I have attended at the Rowe Historical Society.  Like most small town museums there is a decided lack of space.  This is something that creeps up with collections growing year after year.

One storage space had flooding a while back and our task was to remove all of the covering from the basement walls in preparation for painting.

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Getting to the walls was a whole different issue.

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The group of eight split along gender lines as it always does with the men doing demo on one end of the room and the women sorting and categorizing everything to move into spaces better suited for each item.  For me it was a pretty awesome experience and not unlike going through the barn or coop here with decades of stuff collected.

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I have to say everyone worked diligently to get to the end of the task but there were many, many light moments surrounding the question “What the heck is this?”.

I daresay this may be an issue with most museums, especially those that are trying to make sense of collections without policy taking place since the sixties.  We are not alone.  There is so much knowledge in this group that there were maybe 3 items in that room that were left unidentified.  That’s pretty cool considering the amount of stuff that was there.

We each have our own strengths.  Mine is photography and textiles but having grown up with a nutty, hoarding collecting  father it extends to sawmills, lumber and vintage farm equipment.  Old Sturbridge Village taught me the use of household items in 1840 so that helped too.

There is only one member that I knew when I started this a short month ago but I see this as building community within a community.  We have a common interest.  These bees will continue as well as individuals working on their areas of interest.  Trying to bring centuries worth of belongings into the present.  Knowing what there is, why it’s there and how best to share it with the community.  It always amazes me just a little bit when strangers come together with a common goal and through that friendships are built or made stronger.




There is a lot going on in the house at Fort Pelham Farm.  We decided to turn the old bathroom into a pantry for now and the library will become a bedroom for my Dad who will be moving home in about 6 weeks.  Yes, you guessed right, I will be in Rowe full-time starting in May.  Not exactly the circumstances I had always envisioned but right now it is what it is.

140308 Bathroom to Pantry (4)This is the lovely bathroom that we used for years and years.  It was time for it to go and boy was Bill excited about this project (not).

140308 Bathroom to Pantry (7)He pointed out that this is the glory part of home improvement – removing the toilet.  Chester is making sure he is doing it properly.

140309 Bathroom to Pantry (1)Okay, I primed everything – don’t judge, we still have a ways to go.

IMAG0577Initial painting is done – the shelving I will be building this week.  Another coat of paint still on tap but the project is moving along.

Did I tell you that I have dozens and dozens of jars of canned goods sitting on the floor in the living room right now with no home?  Yeah, nice decor.  That’s because they were stored in the library.  All of that shelving had to come down to make room for Dad on the first floor.

IMAG0580Hello old friends – haven’t seen you in quite some time.

IMAG0579Before.  These shelves were built in 1985 to replace the shelving that was there when we moved in.  I’m assuming that was done because the room had lathe and plaster and it was what was the back of the bookshelves.  Originally the shelves were on two walls in the room with a window seat under the north window.  IMG_0191

It took Mike and Bill all of about an hour to get this out of there. You will notice that Chester is always in the middle of things.  I personally think he just likes having his picture taken.

IMAG0585Another work in progress.  Mike will be repairing the walls and fixing the ceiling.  The floor will have to wait, it’s too big a job for our time constraints.

I have to say that I’m not fond of renovation projects with a specific time deadline.  Things are not done the way they should be, they are done in the quickest way possible.  The pantry started out as a project for me.  A temporary fix in a space that was not being used.  The eventual plan with that room is for the walls to come down and have it be part of a more open kitchen – that’s down the road a bit.  Kitchen remodeling is not for the faint of heart.

The other fact pushing this project along is we know spring will get here at some point and when it does we will not want to be spending any time indoors.  While the weather is still wintry we can at least feel like we are getting something done.