30 March 2011

Mystery Object No. 3 - Something Oriental

It’s time for our third ‘mystery object’ from the Geffrye’s collection!
(c) Geffrye Museum, London

(c) Geffrye Museum, London

(c) Geffrye Museum, London
Can you take a guess where this eighteenth-century corner cupboard was made? 

It is made of wood (possibly pine), is 90 cm (around 3 feet) high, and would be mounted on the wall of a parlour.

Here’s a clue: we haven’t given away the answer!
Answer in the blog comments or via our Twitter feed.
Look here for the correct answer this Saturday.

28 March 2011

What's international in your home?

Yes, that's right, we want to hear from you!

The World at Home project is looking at ways in which the English home has been influenced by objects and cultures from all over the world for centuries. But we want to use our blog to make this project about homes everywhere in the world. There's a good chance that your home, wherever you are, contains many things that started their life in another country.

Maybe you brought something back from holiday. Or maybe someone brought it back for you. You could have had something delivered from overseas, or perhaps you live elsewhere and have something that started life in England.

As an example, here's something one of us found in our English home:
These adorable little pandas were a gift from some one who went travelling - they came all the way from China in the 1980s! Giant pandas are often seen as a symbol of China, since that's the only country where they're found in the wild, so they make a great reminder of a trip to that country.

Wherever you live and whatever kind of home you have, we want you to photograph your home's international objects and tell us about them.

We've set up our very own group for you to contribute your pictures. Once you've uploaded them to your Flickr account (see our previous post about joining Flickr - it's easy!) join our group and click 'add something' to contribute your images. Tell the international story of your object in the photo's description.

This way, we can collect your images and make our own online gallery of photographs.

You don't need to be a professional photographer, or even have a camera - a mobile phone shot will do, or maybe you could even draw us a picture. We want to get as many people as possible exploring their home for international influences, and then let you share them with people all over the world! If you can't get us a picture, tell us about your international objects in the blog comments.

Our favourite images and/or stories from the group will be posted here on the blog next Saturday (9th April). Maybe yours will make it through!

26 March 2011

Mystery Object No. 2 - the Solution

This week we asked you to guess what people in the 1700s would have used this object for:

Rushlight and candle holder, 1700-1800 (c) Geffrye Museum, London
Thankyou to everyone who guessed - those who went for anything along the lines of candle holder were closest, and 'space flute' was the furthest out!

It’s actually called a rushlight holder: the part which looks a bit like a pincer holds a strip of a plant called a ‘rush’ (shown in the picture) which had been dipped in fat (usually the drips from cooking meat) and was then lit like a candle wick.

This one can hold candles too, but rushlights were cheaper and easier to make. Most people in the 1700s would have had to use tallow candles, which were expensive, messy and didn’t smell very good. Rushlights were not very bright, but at least they didn’t make as much mess or smoke as candles.

Light from a rush would last about 20 minutes, but if you wanted a bit more you could light both ends. This meant that the rush wouldn’t last as long. This is where the saying ‘burning the candle at both ends’ comes from!

Rumour has it if you had a visitor you didn’t like very much, you could light both ends so the light would burn out sooner and they would have to leave – sneaky!

You can see this object on display in the Geffrye Museum of the Home, or find more information about it online.

23 March 2011

Mystery Object No. 2 – Something Irish

It’s Wednesday again, which means it’s time for this week’s mystery object!

(c) Geffrye Museum, London

We can tell you that this metal object is from Ireland, but can you tell us what people in the 1700s would have used it for?

Here’s your clue: the use of this object is where a famous British saying comes from

Post your answers in the blog comments or via our Twitter feed and check whether you got it right in this Saturday’s blog post.

21 March 2011

Calling all photographers!

...or anyone with a camera!

Nowadays, most people have some way of taking a photo, whether they have a fancy SLR a mobile phone with a camera, and photo-sharing sites like Flickr are an excellent way to show off your snaps and contribute to online collections. We're looking for people who can get involved with the Geffrye museum and our project by showing off photos you've taken.

The World at Home project has its own Flickr account - we're filling it with behind the scenes images from the project.

Concourse case team
Getting started is easy: Flickr allows you to sign in with your Facebook or Google accounts, but you don't need to have one to sign up! You can organise your photos, show them at their best, and share them with others in groups and discussions. Plus, privacy controls mean your images are secure. It's a great way to stay in touch and to take part in all kinds of events and communities - like the Geffrye. Take the Flickr tour to find out more.

The Geffrye Museum has uploaded many of its own images to Flickr, letting you get a closer peek at the museum now and in the past. It also has its group, called 'Around the Geffrye's rooms and gardens' where anyone can upload images from their visits to the Geffrye. It's full of amazing shots, but we think it could do with even more visitors showing off their images.

If you've ever taken a picture in or around the Geffrye, why not investigate signing up to Flickr and connecting with other photographers? We'd love to see your work.

Keep an eye on this blog too - soon we'll be posting some photographic competitions to do with our 'around the world' theme and our favourite contributions to our Flickr group will be posted here!

19 March 2011

Mystery Object No. 1 - the Solution

The waiting is over! Thankyou to all of you who guessed, and apologies for driving one or two of you a little mad. We can now reveal the true identity of our mystery object: congratulations to those who guessed it was a tea cup!

(c) Geffrye Museum, London
One of the things we are currently in the process of doing is putting together a digital story on the history of tea drinking in English homes (available on the Geffrye Museum website from early May), so we will be looking at a lot of teacups in the next few weeks!

This one is part of a set manufactured by Royal Worcester in 1876, and is decorated with the ‘Variety’ pattern, which includes a scroll pattern, stylised flowers and a bamboo design.

The decoration is influenced by both Japanese and Middle Eastern designs, and is our first example of how styles and techniques from across the globe have appeared in English homes.

16 March 2011

Mystery Object No. 1 – Something Square

We are proud to present our first ‘mystery object’ from the Geffrye’s collection.

In this mini-series, we shall be posting pictures of some of our favourite objects from the Geffrye – and asking if you can guess what they were used for, where they came from, or just simply what on earth they are.

We thought we’d start with an easy one:

(c) Geffrye Museum, London

Can you guess what this object might be?

Here’s a clue: you probably have a few of these in your home, but they might not look quite the same as this one.

Post your answers in the blog comments or via our Twitter feed.

Look for the answer in this Saturday’s blog post!

14 March 2011

Welcome to the World at Home!

As a museum of the home, the Geffrye Museum in Shoreditch allows you to follow the story of the English home over the last 400 years.
Geffrye Museum / photographers David Clarke & Marcus Leith
But look more closely, and you might find the ‘English’ home is not as English as you thought it was.
Even though different countries are separated by different languages and cultures, there are many connections between them. The Geffrye has many objects which can tell stories about England’s links with the rest of the world. If you visit the Museum’s set of period rooms, you can already see many of these international influences in the objects on display.

Our team from UCL’s Institute of Archaeology is working with the Geffrye as part of the Stories of the World project to highlight some of these influences other countries and cultures have had on objects and rituals that are now part of the English home.
The UCL team outside the Geffrye Museum
We’ll be helping the Geffrye run family events in April, as well as creating a permanent children’s trail and activities. We’re also developing a new display to be installed in May and web resources to go with it.

‘Who are we?’

We’re Vicky and Hannah and we are the Web Resources Team. It’s our job to let you know all about what we’re doing and add some extra insights into the project. We’ll be with you until the display goes live, giving you updates, offering behind-the-scenes glimpses of some of our favourite Geffrye objects and perhaps even setting you a challenge or two!

As well as our blog, you can follow us on Twitter. And for the photographers out there – or anyone with a camera – we’ll be running Flickr groups so you can send us your own pictures.

While we’re doing all this, we’ll be developing the resources which will be added to the museum’s website. If all goes to plan, we’ll have an interactive feature, as well as a slideshow to give to you!

We’re all really excited about our project and we hope you enjoy it!