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Hands-On Learning

Craftsmanship in Early America, taught by department professor J. Ritchie Garrison, features quite a bit of hands-on learning. The course is part of the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, but is open to history department graduate students.

In March, the class took a trip to Colonial Williamsburg, where they were able to work in several trade shops. Over three days, students made S-hooks at the blacksmith’s, spoons at the foundry, staves at the cooperage, and much, much more. This experience gave students a more thorough understanding of the work of pre-industrial artisans.

For their final project, students designed exhibit panels, each focusing on a different tool. On the last day of class, students mounted their printed posters on gatorfoam. Being able to design and fabricate and exhibit panel economically, using widely available software and materials is an important skill for students planning to enter the museum field

The finished exhibit panels will be displayed near the Museum Studies and Winterthur Program offices at 77 East Main Street in Newark.

  • Colonial Williamsburg: Filing spoons in the foundry
  • Colonial Williamsburg Making barrel staves in the cooperage
  • Colonial Williamsburg: Shaping spokes at the wheelwright shop
  • Colonial Williamsburg: Grinding paint at the wheelwright shop
  • Colonial Williamsburg: Wigmaking
  • Colonial Williamsburg: Trying on a wig
  • Colonial Williamsburg: Being measured by the tailor
  • Colonial Williamsburg: At the weaver's shop
  • Colonial Williamsburg: Weaving
  • Mounting exhibit panels: Spraying glue on gatorfoam
  • Making exhibit panels: Preparing to attach the poster to the gatormfoam
  • Making exhibit panels: Attaching the poster smoothly and evenly
  • Making exhibit panels: Cutting off the hanging edges
  • Making exhibit panels: Craftsmanship students with their finished panels

This entry was posted in Graduate News, Home Slide, News.

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Map background Ratzer, Bernard "Province of New Jersey" (map) courtesy Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Newark Delaware.