The Dancing Whatnot

Published on Monday, January 28, 2013 By Melissa Prycer
(/images/postimages/spool-whatnot.jpg) The whatnot at rest after a dance Its an antique, its a shelving unit, it moves with perfect rhythm, and that makes it a star of our museum collection. Valuable antiques by well-known makers are nice, but I don’t think they can compete with a quirky, one-of-a-kind item made by some creative individual in the past. We have woodworking tools redesigned by a craftsman to do a special job, and homemade rag dolls who love to attend parties with the fancy French playthings blessed with porcelain heads. The dancing whatnot is an enticing example of some unknown person’s determination and creativity. So what’s a whatnot? Let us start with what its not. It is not an object of any practical use. It was vital for the Vict ..

Reading, Writing, and Arithimetic: 2013 Village Readers Book Club

Published on Wednesday, January 09, 2013 By Melissa Prycer
It is a wet, cold, gray day here at the Village. As much as I love my job, this is the kind of day that makes me think longingly of home—with my comfortable chair, a blanket, a cup of tea and a good book. If you’re like me and think reading is an excellent way to spend your time, you might consider joining the museum’s book club. The Village Readers (/BookClub)have a few important things in common: we love books and we love history. The book club began in the early 2000s, and I took over when I joined the Village in 2004. We’re not a huge group (and at times, we were quite small—in the early days it was sometimes a “private” book club with just me and one other person!), but we now average about 10 participants at each meeting. Some me ..

Supporting the Bandstand

Published on Thursday, December 20, 2012 By Melissa Prycer
In 1974, the staff and volunteers of Old City Park built our reproduction Victorian bandstand, and since that time, it’s been a visual centerpiece of the museum. (/images/postimages/cl1979_0231.jpg) Candlelight 1979 ( One of our all time favorite “pretty” shots. By volunteer photgrapher Priscilla Killion For decades, it was the main image of our logo. (/images/postimages/ocp-pc-2871.jpg) It’s been an important part of various museum events and activities. ( A camp activity in 2005 ( Using the bandsta ..

At the Movies with Abraham Lincoln

Published on Wednesday, November 07, 2012 By Melissa Prycer
(/media/rm291022848/tt0443272)Last week, Elaina (Education Assistant/Miss Gordon at the Farmstead) and I waited in a long line for a chance to see a free sneak preview of Lincoln ( After all, we are history nerds and we’re cheap. As we finally made our way into the theater, we ran into museum friends from The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, the Dallas Historical Society and the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History and Culture. I shouldn’t have been so surprised to see them—after all, history museum employees are naturally attracted to such occasions. So, what did we think of said movie, set to open on November 16? Loosely based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals (which I haven’t read, Elaina has) ..

History Hits the Road

Published on Thursday, November 01, 2012 By Melissa Prycer
(/images/postimages/trip-with-bennett-0021.jpg)A merry troupe of historians set out one Friday to explore the history of the Cedars. This trip was part of an oral history project Dallas Heritage Village is conducting to accompany our new exhibit on the history of the neighborhood and the park. That will open in spring of 2013, and we have been busy collecting information and images. There is no better source for such information than Bennett Miller, a local developer and historian who has researched, owned and rehabilitated numerous buildings in the neighborhood. Our happy history hunters are pictured here, left to right: Steven Sielaff, of Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History. He is a graduate student in Baylor’s Museum Studies program and expert on ..

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