Do you ever wonder what’s behind those doors? Photo Credit: Bryan French Photography
This summer at Glensheen we introducing a new feature to our tours! Formally called the Education Stations, but informally called the Bonus Stations, these stations give you a chance to catch a glimpse of rarely seen artifacts up close and learn their history as you make your way through the house.
And most importantly of all, this corresponds with a personal passion of mine: revealing the hidden things at Glensheen. With dozens of artifacts in storage, Glensheen has long lacked a way to display and rotate these artifacts for the public. Now, with our education stations, you’ll be able to get a close up look at artifacts rarely seen.
Some of the Finer Things
Several of the stations feature exquisite artifacts. In the Dining Room you can finally get the perfect picture of the hand-wrought (hammered) silver set. This silver set was made by Barbour Silver Company and was used by the Congdons for decades.
The largest silver piece in the house in the chandelier. Photo Credit: Bryan French Photography
The tortoiseshell combs are two of the prettiest and saddest artifacts at Glensheen. These particular combs were bought in Nagasaki, Japan in 1914 by Chester Congdon for 6 yen. While undoubtedly beautiful, the use of tortoise shell materials was outlawed in 1973 by the Endangered Species Act.
One of the tortoise shell combs. Photo Credit: Bryan French Photography
Two of the Louder Things
Easily my favorite station is the gun station. Featuring two of the Congdon’s guns, you’ll get a chance to get up close with one of the nicest pieces of the collection: a Parker Bros. Shotgun from 1908!
Paired with the shotgun is a good old Remington .22 Rifle. While this rifle was fairly common, it is unique because Edward Congdon’s initials are scrawled into its side. These are but two of the seven Congdon guns, but without a doubt the pair represent the nicest and most unique guns in the collection.
Engraved on the stock are Edward Congdon’s initials. Photo Credit: Bryan French Photography
Always talked about but never seen
Two of our stations bring direct enhancement to our classic tour script. In the library is a set of Edgar Allen Poe’s works. This particular set is from a 1902 print by Putnam and Sons. Glensheen has number 206 out of 300. This artifact is a must see, as it is signed by the publisher!
Here you can see the complete set of Poe’s work. Photo Credit: Bryan French Photography
The second station features the famous John Congdon photo and painting. A family portrait of the kids was taken in 1889 in St. Paul, Minnesota. In the photo, John the youngest child, has his tongue sticking out. While some of us find that to be adorable, when Clara had the picture repainted, she specifically had it painted without John’s tongue sticking out!
A digital copy of the original photo of the Congdon children.
Glensheen gets Technical
Ironically, the oldest and first Education Station is the most technologically advanced. With a device called the Dinolight, an electronic microscope, this station gets up close looks at hard to see details on artifacts. It has been used to pick the detail out of vases, tea cups, and more. Currently it hosts one of our Quezal sconces. For more samples of “Hidden” Glensheen, check out Bryan French’s Hidden Glensheen Gallery.
Pictured is the Dino Light over a Quezal Art Glass Sconce. Come to the ‘Sheen to see the magnified view.
This is but a part of what is happening this summer at Glensheen. Don’t forget to check out all of our speciality tours, from the Servants Tour to the Nooks & Crannies Tour. And of course, come to our free events on Wednesday nights. For more info, go to glensheen.org. Hope to see you here soon!