Tag Archives: Executive Director Andy

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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When you’re in a car for hours and hours and hours on a long road trip, conversation is bound to produce a few ideas, some better than others. Sometimes, you actually remember some of these crazy ideas after the road trip is over. The 2,500-mile drive Executive Director Andy and Intrepid Researcher Tom™ took over the summer to Robert’s old stomping grounds in and around the Rocky Mountains was no exception.

Since Andy and Tom were heading west to visit some of the rendezvous grounds Robert visited when he was in his early twenties, the question arose: What did Robert look like when he was a twentysomething? The only images we have of Robert are when he was a mature man, in his 50s and 60s. When Tom returned to St. Louis, he started researching what he could do to get a picture of a young Robert.

After sifting through many websites, Tom found PhoJoe, a company that specializes in photo restoration, colorization, age progression (making the subject look older) and age regression (making the subject look younger). Obviously Tom was interested in age regression, so he sent their artists the pictures we had of Robert. After some minor tweaking, this is what they came up with:

Robert, age 25.

To give you a comparison, here are some of the pictures Tom sent to Phojoe:

Detail of a painting that was done by A.J. Conant between 1879 and 1888, after Robert died. Robert died at the age of 75 in 1879.

A pastel of Robert that hangs in Virginia Campbell’s bedroom.

Sure, when Robert was spending months at a time in the wilds of (what is now) Wyoming, he probably wasn’t that clean shaven or wearing a suit, but it’s an interesting image to consider. This youthful man was the Robert who fought in the Battle of Pierre’s Hole. This was the Robert whose exploits were immortalized in Washington Irving’s The Adventures of Captain Bonneville. What do you think of the composite? Any ideas for what we should do with our new picture of Robert? Send your strokes of brilliance here by leaving a comment, or send an email to shelley@campbellhousemuseum.org.

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Monday Update » 6.25.12

Good Afternoon! A lot has happened over the last two weeks….

Pierre’s Hole in the Teton Valley, Idaho, the site of the 1832 Rocky Mountain Rendezvous.

Andy’s Back!
Executive Director Andy made it back from his excursion to Robert’s old stomping grounds in Wyoming and Idaho. We’ll do a full post of the Rendezvous and all the sites he visited, but to give you a preview, here’s a shot of Pierre’s Hole. Not only did Robert trade here during the rendezvous, but it was also the site of the famous Battle of Pierre’s Hole, in which Robert played a key role with his friend Bill Sublette. (Beautiful, huh?)

Campbell House class at Lifelong Learning Institute
We are pleased to announce that staff from Campbell House Museum will be teaching a class at Washington University’s Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) this fall. The LLI is a college-style curriculum of courses for people age 55 and older, and they offer a range of classes on history (local and otherwise), art, and literature. This fall, Campbell House will be the topic of a four-week course. This is what we’ll be teaching each week:

  • Week 1: History of the Campbells and the Lucas Place Neighborhood (Andy)
  • Week 2: Late 19th Century Culture (Shelley)
  • Week 3: Field trip to Campbell House (Andy and Shelley)
  • Week 4: Document workshop (Andy and Shelley)

Interested? Fall 2012 registration isn’t online yet,  but if you’re age 55 or older, send an email to shelley [dot] satke [at] gmail [dot] com, and we’ll send you a reminder when you can register. In the meantime, learn all about the LLI here.

New Garden Volunteers
Have you seen how beautiful the garden looks? In addition to the regular bunch of volunteers (parents of the staff!), we’ve been joined by Dan, Dan and Alex, three young men from St. Louis Arc. Dan works with Dan and Alex to teach them life skills while building friendships in the local community. Every Tuesday and Thursday they work outside keeping the garden in tip-top shape for our guests and neighbors, and they’ve been doing a wonderful job. They’ve been a joy to work with — stop by to see their handiwork!

Do you have a green thumb? Could you lend a hand mowing, pruning and planting? We’re always looking for help! Drop Andy a note at andy [at] campbellhousemuseum [dot] org.

Jessica and Mark in front of Virginia’s gazebo.

Congratulations to the Pierrons
Speaking of the garden, cheers to Jessica and Mark, who had their wedding ceremony in our garden on Friday night. The flowers were in full bloom, the weather cooperated, and everyone had a wonderful evening on Jessica and Mark’s big day.

Campbell House is the perfect outdoor spot for a wedding ceremony. If you would like to check out the space in person, please email Shelley at shelley [dot] satke [at] gmail [dot] com.

Meet Kevin
Be sure to visit our blog tomorrow, where we’ll continue with our popular “Meet the Interns” series with Kevin. Talk about well-rounded — he’s working on a double major in history and chemistry. Tune in tomorrow to find out what he’s doing at Campbell House this summer!

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