No, we don’t have Gaultier–he’s the wrong century for our museum. But we are delighted to have received a piece by Charles Frederick Worth. I don’t know if Madonna would have liked his clothing, but throughout the decades around 1900 all the other women in America longed to wear a dress by the undisputed leader of the Paris fashion scene. The House of Worth was the shopping destination for American women rich enough to journey to Europe for fitting and to spend amounts that would embarrass some of our modern fashionistas. Worth was known for some signature fashion touches, such as using lots of lace. But he championed the practice of constantly changing fashion trends. New shapes, details and colors rendered last year’s dress passé. Am ..
As you all know, we close to the public in January and August, the two months that feature our worst weather and our lowest attendance. A few years ago when we analyzed the cost of staying open to the public versus how much revenue we generated during those months, it was clear that we were losing money being one of the only outdoor museums in the country that operated twelve months a year. So, we now close to the public during those two months. But that does not mean that we are all in hibernation. Our administrative, education, and curatorial staff and our maintenance contractors continue normal working hours. We always have post-Candlelight chores, like putting away the decorations and stowing the candles and stanchions. Of course, work on Gone To Texas really picks ..
There are a lot of people that shudder when they hear the words “teenager” and “museum” in the same sentence. Two weeks ago, we held our annual Junior Historian training camp. During that week, I went to get my hair cut and my guy asked me what I had been up to lately. I said “Well, this is Junior Historian week. So I’ve been outside with a bunch of teenagers.” His shocked response: “Whatever possessed you to do that?” Confession time: this is one of my very favorite programs. But maybe I am a little crazy. For many, many years (no one is exactly sure how long, but we’re talking about decades), Dallas Heritage Village has had a Junior Historian program for teens. The basic format hasn’t changed too much: ..
Thursday, June 2 was an explosive day at Dallas Heritage Village. For the first time ever, the Curatorial department disposed of an antique from our collection by blowing it up, with the help of the Dallas Police Department’s bomb squad. There was no act of terrorism or other criminal threat, just a dangerous chemical legacy from the past. The artifact was a brown glass bottle that once contained liquid picric acid. Doctors and dentists used this around 1900 for medical purposes, particularly to treat burns. Liquid picric acid is poisonous, but that would not be enough to scare a history curator. Collections of historic artifacts can contain many dangerous things, including medical artifacts. Many early medicines were substances that, technically speaking, were poisons, ..