A weekly round-up of my favorite preservation related stories from around the web and in the news. Click on the title of each story to jump through to the original article/blog post.
Paris Then and Now – Voyage Voyage
Who doesn’t love side by side comparisons of historical photos and present day places? The descriptions here are in French, but it doesn’t matter. The slide show is delightful. It is amazing how much has stayed the same and how much has changed over the last 100 years in the City of Light.
In the Box – Three Months by Car
Among the post cards sent home by Dotty during her 3 month long, cross country road trip in 1929, was a newspaper clipping about a wild fire in Los Angeles that destroyed 500 acres. At the top of the clipping she wrote, “We saw this fire.” Not only is the clipping an interesting bit of ephemera, an interesting bit of history, and an interesting anecdote from their trip, it also exposes a difference in the way we communicate today as opposed to 1929. Today, it would have been necessary for Dotty send home a newspaper clipping to let her family know about a major event, her family would probably already know about the fire (and likely would have been calling/texting her to make sure she and her friends were ok!) from any number of national news outlets and social media: tv, radio, internet, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Shepton Mallet Prison has run the gamete of prison history in England. Prison historian, Francis Disney said of the prison’s early days, “There were times that were very terrible in the early days. The prisoners had no segregation, they were all mixed in together, men, women and children from nine years of age upwards and that carried on for many years until the prison reform act came in.” During World War II, the prison’s imposing 75-ft high stone walls housed the Magna Carta, the Domesday Book and the Logs of Nelson’s Flagship HMS Victory for protection. When it closed this week due to budget cuts, it was one of the country’s top rehabilitative institutions. It is unclear what will happen to the facility in the future.
Fascinating story! Every Monday, conservators spend time cleaning, repairing, and maintaining the grandiose 17th century chateau and its collections. “There’s always an equilibrium to be struck between preserving the history of the palace and operating in the 21st century, a constant pull between conservation and creation,” Catherine Pegard, president of Versailles, says. “But the better the conservation is, the more creative we can be.” The team at Versailles also spends a good deal of time tracking down lost artifacts. During the Revolution, the house was emptied – pieces can be found all over the world! Versailles’ curators eagerly scour estate sales and auctions looking for items from the palace – they found Marie Antoinette’s brocade bedspread in New York in the 1960s!