New Discoveries at CHM

Cabinet found in the CHM basement..

Cabinet found in the CHM basement..

Just when we’re starting to think we have this whole “restoration of a 163 year old house” thing figured out, something comes out of the woodwork and makes us realize we don’t know quite everything there is to know about the Campbells and their beautiful home.  In this case it was a cabinet originally located in the Butler’s Pantry hall.  This area has always been a little bare, not much more than a breezeway providing access into the dining room from the kitchen.  If you’ve been through the house in the last few years, you probably haven’t even noticed the area because it’s been blocked by a screen with the enclosed space used for storage.

A few months ago, two of our volunteers were doing some cleaning and organizing in the Campbell House basement when they found part of a sturdy cabinet that was obviously from the mid-19th century, which was curious.  The kicker was that, once the decades of dust was wiped off, they could see beautiful faux-wood graining that perfectly matched the original faux-graining found in the CHM pantry.  Some more digging uncovered a glass-paneled cabinet door and another slightly larger solid door.  After doing some examining, the cabinet was found to have a swing-out doorstop attached to its top which just happened to perfectly matched a worn down patch at the top of the kitchen door (coincidentally, we usually have a tough time getting that particular door to stay open) and its base was cut precisely to fit on top of the baseboard that runs the length of the hallway.  It was a “holy cannoli” moment, to say the least.

Swing-out door stop at the top of the rediscovered cabinet.

Swing-out door stop at the top of the rediscovered cabinet.

Our best guess is that the cabinet was broken apart and removed from the hallway in the 1960s, when the Butler’s Pantry was converted into a small catering kitchen used by the Museum for parties and special events.  The idea of tearing out an original part of the house in order to put in a modern kitchen might sound a little jarring to us today, but attitudes toward preservation have evolved a lot over the past fifty years.  Heck, you should see some of the wallpaper they put up in this place pre-restoration (#yikes.)  Regardless, the cabinet was broken up, taken down to the basement, and has been hanging out there ever since.

That is, until last week.  Though some framing for the cabinet had to be reconstructed, we had the important stuff: doors, hardware, trim, and the original faux graining.  The space that has for so long sat empty has finally been reunited with its original fixture, and we can’t wait for our friends at Master Artisans to restore the original graining and recreate the delicate design on the newly-constructed portions of the cabinet.  Click through below to check out the finished product!

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Meet the Interns » Anna

Intern Anna! Click her image to learn more about internships with the Campbell House Museum.

Intern Anna! Click her image to learn more about internships with the Campbell House Museum.

It’s time for the last (but certainly not least) member of our crew of interns this summer – Anna!  She’s been with us since the beginning of the summer and unfortunately is leaving us next week to head back to school for the Fall semester.  We’ve had a blast working with her and she’s been doing some incredible work on some of the Museum’s digital initiatives – meet Anna!

What are you studying and where?  Computer Science and Art History at Truman State University (editorial note: How cool is that?! – can you think of two more completely different majors?!  Luckily her diverse skillset been a huge help here at CHM as we deal with tech issues and some other neat projects.)

Why Campbell House?  It is an amazing place and it gave me the opportunity to use both of my majors.

What are you working on at CHM?  I am creating a virtual 3D model of the Lucas Place neighborhood (Campbell House was the first house built on Lucas Place and today is the last original structure remaining) using the Virtual City platform and doing some work on CHM’s website.

When you aren’t having a blast at Campbell House, what are you doing?  I’ve been working on my summer classes in Contemporary Art and Macroeconomics, volunteering at the St. Louis Art Museum, and hanging out with friends. (one of whom is fellow intern and fellow Truman State-er Jamie)

A snapshot of Anna's work on the Virtual City project - using Google Maps, she's constructing a virtual model of the Lucas Place neighborhood  using period photographs of the street's structures. (click to get a closer look)

A snapshot of Anna’s work on the Virtual City project – using Google Maps, she’s constructing a virtual model of the Lucas Place neighborhood using period photographs of the street’s structures. (click to get a closer look)

What is your favorite thing about CHM thus far?  Tours through the house, I love all of the history of the house, the family and the neighborhood.

iPhone or Android?  Android

Favorite color?  Green

Favorite band?  Led Zepplin

Little know fact about yourself?  I have backpacked the Grand Canyon twice!

If you could have had the starring role in one film already made, what movie would you pick and why?  “Singing in the Rain” because then I’d be tap dancing machine!

 


And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes our “Meet the Interns” series for the Summer of 2014. We’ve had a blast getting to know and work with such a diverse and engaging group of students over the past few months and can’t wait to see where their futures take them! Campbell House is now accepting applications for Fall 2014 interns – please visit our website for more information on student internships and other volunteer opportunities.

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CHM Summer 2014 Interns from left to right: Jamie, Amanda, Rachel, and Anna

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Meet the Interns » Rachel

Intern Rachel! Click her image to learn more about internships at the Campbell House Museum.

Intern Rachel! Click her image to learn more about internships at the Campbell House Museum.

Meet Rachel – CHM’s third summer intern.  She’s originally from St. Louis, but this summer Rachel came all the way from RIT in Rochester, New York to spend a couple months with us (which we think is pretty snazzy) and has been doing some great work with our collection!

What are you studying and where?  I’m studying Museum Studies and Hospitality Management and Tourism (try saying that three times fast!) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, New York.

Why Campbell House?  I thought it would be an interesting place to work and learn about the history of the Campbells.  Even though CHM is small, it has a lot of treasures worth seeing!

What are you working on at CHM?  I’m working on the annual collections inventory – I go through every room armed with a laptop and three notepads to ensure that the inventory is up to date.  I account for every object in CHM’s collection.

When you aren’t having a blast at Campbell House, what are you doing?  Video games, reading, mulling about characters from TV shows (I just started watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix!)

What is your favorite thing about CHM thus far?  Seeing the objects up close in person – it’s interesting how some objects have different physical appearances from the 1800s compared to the ones in this century.

One of the THOUSANDS of objects Rachel has inventoried this summer. The inventory is no small task - everything from the smallest spoons to the largest pieces of furniture have to be accounted for and their collections files have to be updated to reflect new locations, additions, and conditions.

One of the THOUSANDS of objects Rachel has inventoried this summer. The inventory is no small task – everything from the smallest spoons to the largest pieces of furniture have to be accounted for and their collections files have to be updated to reflect new locations, additions, and conditions.

iPhone or Android?  Android.

Favorite color?  Purple.

Favorite band?  The Beatles.

Little know fact about yourself?  I can wiggle my ears!

Which of Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs describes you best and why?  Happy describes me best because I’m an optimistic person.  I like to make people happy even if it’s just listening to them rant about things.

Want to check out some of the fun stuff Rachel has been working with this Summer?  The Campbell collection is fully accessible online!  Click here to access object files and get the dirt on your favorite Campbell goodies.

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Meet the Interns » Amanda

Amanda

Intern Amanda! Click her image to learn more about internships at the Campbell House Museum.

Next up on Campbell House’s roster of summer interns is Amanda, who’s staying in St. Louis for the summer in order to work on some great projects with us.  Though she’s originally from the Metro-East, her family moved down south several years ago and we’re happy to welcome her back to her hometown!  Amanda is also our resident sports enthusiast, most recently keeping us in the loop on Team USA’s performance in the World Cup with a snazzy live-feed app on her phone that had us cheering and jeering for most of the afternoon.

What are you studying and where? I’m working on my Masters in Public History at North Carolina State University.

Why Campbell House? The Museum’s website had great images and I am interested in the house’s time period.

What are you working on at CHM? Currently, lots of reading.  I’m also doing an inventory/survey of the Museum’s archive.

When you aren’t having a blast at Campbell House, what are you doing? Reading by a pool or visiting historic sites and attractions throughout St. Louis.

As a side note: don't mess with Amanda.  She's always armed with a super-sharp pencil (the electric sharpener has been used more in the past few weeks than it's probably ever been used before).

As a side note: don’t mess with Amanda.  She’s always armed with a super-sharp pencil (the electric sharpener has been used more in the past few weeks than it’s probably ever been used before).

What is your favorite thing about CHM so far? Learning more about my hometown’s history and meeting like-minded individuals.

iPhone or Android? iPhone.

Favorite color? Green.

Favorite band? Mumford & Sons.

Little known fact about yourself? College football is my favorite sport.

If you could be one for just 24 hours, what cereal box cartoon character would you be? Why? Captain Crunch, because then I would own a boat and get to wear a cool hat.

 

 

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CHM: Then and Now

Over the past few months, we’ve been posting some “Then and Now” images on Facebook and Twitter, showing how the Campbell House has evolved over its 70 years as a museum.  This House has gone through a few different color schemes, restorations, and more crazy wallpaper prints than we sometimes care to admit!  Click through the images below to see what we mean.

This time we thought we’d dive in a little deeper and look at how one of our favorite rooms, the Morning Room, has changed over a few different eras.

Bird-tastic stained glass window on the Morning Room's east wall.

Bird-tastic stained glass window on the Morning Room’s east wall.

The Morning Room got its name because it was mainly used (you guessed it!) in the morning.  Sunlight comes in through the beautiful, east-facing stained glass windows and gives the room a sort of glow until about midday.  The room served also served as a

less formal family room-type parlor, because the big, flashy, red and gold behemoth that you can see in the middle photo above was really just for entertaining (and impressing) guests.  CHM’s morning room served as a place for the Campbell family members to go in the morning: to write their letters, read their newspapers, slurp their coffee, etc. but it also was useful to servants because it kept the Campbells out of their hair for a while.  Generally nineteenth century servants weren’t permitted to  in the same room as the family members unless one of them was ill, so having a space where servants knew the Campbells would consistently spend a chunk of their morning allowed them free range of the upper floors to make beds, empty chamber pots (wahoo!) and get ready for the day without having to worry about a family member walking in on them and interrupting their work.

The Morning Room was originally chock-full of stuff ranging from marble busts to taxidermied birds, and most of it can still be found in exactly (or pretty close to) in today’s pictures.  Click through the images below and watch the Morning Room’s progress from the 1880s to the present – see if you can find which objects have moved, which ones are missing today, and which ones are sitting in the same exact spot 160 years later!

 

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