Tuesday, July 22, 2014

An Update from our Intern Avery Fox: Biography Cards at the Ephrata Cloister

An update from our intern Avery Fox:

Peter Miller Biography Card
For the past few weeks, as I mentioned in my last post, I have been working on my individual project. I have asked some of the fellow guides to read through my biographies of various Brothers, Sisters, and Householders of note here at Ephrata and their feedback has been really helpful. Michael Showalter and I were able to work together to create the basic format that these biographies will be in. Each person will have their biography printed on an enlarged trading card shaped sheet and the individual’s information would be on either side of the card. Also included on the card is a Where To Go Next section that will direct guests to locations they can visit on the site that have some connection to the person they are reading about on the card. The ultimate goal for the cards is to have them on display in the Visitor’s Center and allowing the guests to choose an individual’s card from the stacks that they can take home with them. It was also brainstormed to have the cards on sale in the Museum Store so guests would be able to complete the set of biography cards to take home with them. I hope my finished project can be a tool for the guests, especially for children, to more deeply connect with the people that lived here at Ephrata and to understand the life experiences that brought them to live in this community. 
Inside the Peter Miller Biography Card
 Other than the project, I am continuing with tour guiding and interpretation in the Weaver’s House. In the past week I have really noticed a lot of interest in history coming from some of the youth that are on my tours. Also I was able to shadow a Discovery Tour for a group of children that was run by fellow tour guides. It was interesting to see the different way in which history is taught to children versus adults. But again like on my tours, I noticed some kids who seemed interested in the history of Ephrata as well as history in general.  This thrills me because I think it’s great when kids get excited about history because I know at a young age it always fascinated me. This might mean some more history majors in the future and I’m all for that! 
-Avery Fox

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Kristin's project update & some thoughts on craft projects for children

With our summer vacation season in full swing, we’re seeing a lot more visitors today than I expected.
We have started interpreting in a few of the buildings for the summer. I’ve been doing the Weaver’s House on my own, but I’ve also learned a few things about the Physician’s House and the Bakery. I’m also quite interested in colonial candlemaking, so I may end up in the Small Bake House as well. Who knows?
As for my project, I just finished crafting a survey on SurveyMonkey, an online program that allows members to customize surveys and send them out via email, Facebook, or other platforms. I have sent the survey to Rebecca for approval, and we should be able to send it out to other museums very soon. The survey is designed to summarize summer camp programs at historic sites. We'll use the results to assist us in designing next year's summer camp program at the Ephrata Cloister.
I wound up discussing crafts with Elizabeth and she offered up some very good ideas. For example, we thought of having the kids make potholders, using the looms and fabric loops that you can buy at the craft store. Making potholders would teach them the basic principles of weaving. The most difficult part has been trying to come up with craft ideas for much younger children. 
-Kristin Kachel, intern

What's your favorite historical craft project for young families and kids? Share your thoughts below!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Avery shares a glimpse into her intern project at Ephrata

Avery often can be found demonstrating how to use the Tape Loom at the Weaver's House

For the past two weeks I have continued to work on my individual project. It is coming along well, I have been able to get through one editing copy and am working on my second edit. Michael Showalter is a great help in finding the sources for these people as well as giving me ideas for further individuals to research. I'm up to almost 25 Brothers, Sisters, and Householders. It is very interesting to learn more about the everyday happenings of the Ephrata Community and the chemistry between the Community members. Along with my project, I am continuing to give guided tours. This is probably one of my favorite aspects of my internship because I thoroughly enjoy connecting with the public and getting them excited about the history of Ephrata. I was also able to shadow Curator Kerry Mohn with his Special Collections tour and I got to learn more about the collections.
Avery's Museum Selfie!
I am interpreting the Weaver's House and am slowly bettering my skills on the tape loom. I'm looking forward to the coming weeks and sharing with you all my adventures here at Ephrata!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Update from Summer Intern Caleb Bean; Photographing a Ledger

As summer begins, I am finally feeling settled in working at the Cloister. After much preparation, I have finally given a full tour by myself! The group was very receptive and seemed to enjoy their time at the Cloister. It is refreshing when visitors are inquisitive and I can answer questions on topics they are interested in. Besides giving tours, I have spent some time working within the buildings on site, carefully dusting and vacuuming around furniture and artifacts. One prospect I am excited about for my summer project is the purchase of a ledger book connected to the Ephrata Cloister.
a page from the newly accessioned ledger, a listing of the estate of Jacob Senseman

This book, with entries written in both English and German, will need to be carefully photographed so that it can be studied without direct handling. I look forward to this project and the new information about early life in Ephrata that could possibly be gained from this book. 
                 -Caleb Bean

A Note from our Curator:
Front cover illustrating boards made from Martyrs Mirror pages
Early business records kept by members of the Ephrata Community are extremely rare. In June the Ephrata Cloister Associates (ECA) acquired a ledger kept by several generations of the Senseman family from about 1770 until 1845.  The ledger was privately acquired by the ECA using the Back To The Cloister Fund. The purchase adds another unique primary source for studying Ephrata’s social and economic history. The earliest records in the ledger are entered in German for grain milling done for the Ephrata celibate Brothers and Sisters. Another interesting aspect of this ledger book is that the boards the book is bound with are cardboard made from Ephrata edition Martyrs Mirror pages glued together. We are delighted to have our intern Caleb Bean photograph the ledger to make it available for further study.

Support of the Back To the Cloister Fund helps to occasionally return home unique artifacts from the history of the Ephrata Community. If you would like to support the back To the Cloister Fund contact the Ephrata Cloister Associates at Ephrata1732@gmail.com.

-Kerry A. Mohn, Curator, The Historic Ephrata Cloister

The views contained within do not necessarily reflect those of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), Historic Ephrata Cloister or Ephrata Cloister Associates, as a whole, nor the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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