Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Beautiful Day at the Pry House!

     I recently had some tasks to complete out at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum.  The Pry farm is gorgeous this time of year, and I will freely admit that I chose my Pry work day after consulting the weather forecast!  I was able to enjoy a beautiful sunny day there, while still doing my work.

My first task was to prepare to paint two display cases in the house.  This bright yellow color was a bit too distracting!  A more neutral color will allow our visitors to notice the artifacts on display and not the cases.

     I worked in a room which was closed off from the display areas in the house, so that I didn’t have to worry about the dust or paint fumes affecting the artifacts or the visitors!  I was also careful to protect the floor from any paint drips by laying down some sheets of plastic.  After a quick sanding and dusting of the cases, I was able to get the first coat of paint on both cases that morning.

     While I waited for the paint to dry, I worked on a few other issues in the displays.  I hid some pest strips in strategic areas, to cut down on the number of insects in the house.  Though we take as many precautions as possible to prevent insects from entering the house, historic buildings tend to have little cracks and gaps which still allow entry to some pests. 

     You may recall a post I did back in January about the Letterman desk which is on display at the Pry House.  (You can read that one here.) There was an issue with the amount of light to which it was being exposed.  Though curtains were installed in the windows to block much of the sunlight, I mentioned that I wanted to put a blue wool standard card on the desk to monitor the issue.  Shortly after that post, the entire desk was covered since the house was closed to the public for the winter.  I didn’t need to worry about monitoring its light exposure at that point!

This blue wool standard is used to help assess the amount of ultraviolet light damage to artifacts.  Half of it is covered to keep the light from affecting that side.  When I check it later, I will easily be able to see if the uncovered side has faded due to UV exposure.  You can also see that I placed the blue wool card out of view behind the label on the desk!

At lunch time it was a treat to be able to eat outside on the balcony, and to enjoy the view of the garden, barn, and mountains.

I wasn’t the only one taking advantage of the nice weather.  Kyle and Cooper were working hard to keep the Pry medicinal herb garden in good shape.

There are still more great views!  If you come to visit the Pry House Field Hospital Museum, don’t forget that there is an overlook out behind the house.  It allows for a spectacular view of the Antietam Battlefield!

     All too quickly, lunch time was over and I had to get back to my painting.

First though, I had to stop and pet Hazel, who’d come in to keep Katlyn company at the front desk.  How can you walk past that face without saying ‘hello’ to her?!

Back to work now!  The cases are already looking much better, but they need a second coat of paint. 

Two coats of paint did the trick.  You can see that one of the Plexiglas display tops is out of the way in the corner.  You can also see that there’s an easel set up next to it.  Though it may appear that the easel is out of place here, I purposely put it there so that no one would accidentally trip over the top.  Being clear and low to the ground can make them difficult to see when one is walking around and looking at other things…. not that I’m admitting that’s ever happened to me!

Finally, there was the little matter of cleaning up the mess!  It was certainly worth the effort to repaint those cases though.  Now the paint can “cure” for a few weeks while we work on the display of Civil War medicines which will go into these cases. 

Photos courtesy of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.

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