Friday, July 11, 2014

More Old Things

Continuing with the other stuff at Aztalan last weekend, I'll try to focus on the "stitchy" things.  You can probably imagine the rest of the usual items seen in a museum.

Stitchy thing number one, treadle sewing machines.  Check out the generous harp space on the one on the left.  The thoughts I was having while looking at these ran along the lines of, "Someone really needs to clean and oil these; I bet they might still work," and then wondering if the general population knows that quite a few sewers and quilters still use a treadle today.  More novelty than necessity, true, unless you're Amish.


I am not a treadler myself.  I messed around on my grandma's when I was a kid, which she mostly used as a plant stand.  A couple years ago, I had an opportunity to get a treadle machine cheap or free, but passed on it.  For one thing, I can't get my extra-long legs under the machine to do what they need to do without my knees banging up against the underside of the cabinet. 


This interesting machine was used for sewing hats.  I'd never seen one of these before.


I wish I could have seen this signature quilt close up, a simple yet striking on-point setting with the signatures stitched in red on the diagonal in the white blocks.


There was a sign next to this display that indicated this dressmaker did the hand embroidery down the front of the bodice.  That is some intricate stitchery.


I'm not sure what the significance of the old cutlery was; I was more interested in the crazy quilt it was sitting on (no info on that, unfortunately).


This Native American buckskin bag featured some wonderful bead work.  It was purchased from a Chippewa elder born in 1784 who lived to be well over 100 years old. 


It was hard to get a good image with the reflection on the glass and the fact that it was displayed high on the wall.


There were a number of arrowhead and other types of ancient implements  to see, alongside a woolly mammoth tooth. The tooth is probably around 12,000 years old, dating to near the end of the Pleistocene.

In North America, the mammoth died out at the end of the last Ice Age, which in Wisconsin included the glaciation of approximately two-thirds of the state.  This mammoth tooth was found in what is known as the Driftless Area (unglaciated), where the tundra landscape would have provided the mammoth diet.  As the thick ice sheet receded, the tundra was replaced by predominantly pine forest, an ideal food source for the mastodon (relative of the mammoth). They too became extinct, around 10,500 years ago, probably due to hunting by the rapidly expanding population of Paleo-Indians, as well as continued climate change.

Outside there were various buildings from some of the first settlers of the area.


Can you imagine living with six children in this cabin?  We couldn't step down into it, but that's okay; I would not have been able to stand up in it.

I'm going apartment hunting with my daughter tomorrow and will bear this in mind when I look at those small studios, which will undoubtedly cost more per month than a couple hundred acres of land cost here in the mid-1800s.  But no trees to fell, and there's indoor plumbing, so that's a plus.

This building was representative of a general store (note the selection of fabric under the counter).  I had to laugh at the list of goods and their prices posted on the door, from an 1850 ledger (click to enlarge).  

A pint of whiskey cost less than a skein of thread—and a lot of other things!


We didn't spend much time in the tool shed, but I wouldn't have minded carrying tools in this beautifully painted box.

So there you have it, a little sampling of the other sites at Aztalan village.  So tell me, do you like to visit museums, or learn about history in any other kind of setting? 

7 comments:

Sarah Craig said...

Wow, cool pics, P.! I have a treadle machine like the one on the left, but I'd love to have one like that smaller one - it's cute! I actually used mine through most of high school and college - it's a very soothing rhythm. But I haven't ever quilted on mine - I should probably clean it up and give it a try!

Kim said...

I love visiting museums, they are such fascinating time capsules of life in bygone eras. How extraordinary is that embroidery on the dress. Love the buckskin bag and of course the crazy patchwork. I'm supposing there were a lot of drunks in the good ole days!!

Sara said...

I would love to see this place next time I am in WI. I enjoy museums and learning about people of the past. Thanks for sharing with us P!

Shay said...

Arent those antique linens and quilts amazing! And I love old treadle machines. I'd probably have one here for the novelty factor if I had space.

Looking back at the past really puts in perspective how spoiled we are by modern conveniences.

Mom Wald said...

Ooooh Yes, Milton House and Beckman Mill are very close to us. How about Old World Wisconsin? I have not tried the one in Rockford, IL. There is the Mining Museum in Platteville, which is super cool!

Hazel said...

I like the treadle sewing machines, but have never used one. My mom had one and by the time I was old enough to remember, he had put a motor on it.

I love learning about almost anything, museums are wonderful, as are reading books, seeing documentaries, etc. Thanks for sharing all this with us.

Karen said...

Love seeing all the antiques from your visit! The treadle machines probably stitch better than some newer machines, they were built so well!