Sometimes I look back at my life and wonder how I took this particular path and not another one that I would have also (probably) enjoyed. These bouts of introspection are usually caused by running across people who are passionate about something and are getting paid for that passion. If they’re having that much fun doing something, maybe I made the wrong choice by taking a different route? Case in point: material culture.
From Wikipedia:”Material culture is the physical aspect of culture in the objects and architecture that surround people. It includes usage, consumption, creation and trade of objects, and the behaviors, norms and rituals these objects create or take part in. The term is commonly used in archaeological and anthropological studies, specifically focusing on the material evidence which can be attributed to culture, in the past or present. Material culture studies is an interdisciplinary field telling of relationships between people and their things: the making, history, preservation, and interpretation of objects.”
As evidenced by things like the Art of Revolutions conference I went to, I love it when different fields intersect, or when something is presented in a totally and completely new way that blows the mind.
This video is one of those things. Dies Irae is a medieval piece, describing the Final Judgement. The direct translation of dies irae from Latin is “Day of Wrath” so it seems fitting that it appears in both the Catholic funeral Mass setting as well as all sorts of doom and gloom situations throughout musical and cinematic history.
Seriously, watch this video and be amazed.
A prominent museum in Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute, “is one of the oldest and premier centers of science education and development in the country”. That makes sense – Franklin himself was a more than just a thinker. He was a curious tinkerer and creative problem solver. So I was intrigued when I heard that several of the Terracotta Warriors from China would be on exhibit there because, to me, they seem more like a subject of history. Perhaps I’m biased, being a history nerd and all that.
This was a traveling exhibit, spending the first six months of its life at the Pacific Science Center (PSC) in Seattle, Washington, before spending the last six months of its life at the Franklin. Knowing that, it was interesting to see how the pieces of the exhibit fit into the space. I would have liked to go visit it at the PSC just to see the layout choices between two very different floor plans.
Anyway, back to the Terracotta Warriors themselves …
The standing figure is an acrobat while the kneeling figure is an archer.
Technically, this still counts since it falls before Epiphany, right? (In the Catholic tradition, Epiphany – the feast of the Three Kings on January 6 – is the official end of the twelve days of Christmas.)
Anyway, technicalities aside, I recently attended a Living History event at Fort Mott State Park in New Jersey called Soldiers’ Christmas. Maybe it was Soldier’s Christmas. Soldiers Christmas? Whatever.
It was my first time attending this event, although I’ve heard about it for a number of years. There were groups from a number of different eras, although the majority were from World War 2. It was great to see a lot of familiar faces from the Living History scene, and I even learned a thing or two along the way!
Christmas the American GI way
Because it’s the season, here’s a compilation of all my previous posts on Thanksgiving and this time of the year. My favorite part of the holiday is proclaiming the family’s relationship to John Billington, a Mayflower wayfarer who shot his neighbor in a land dispute and was then executed by the powers that be. I’m fairly certain we’ve turned Thanksgiving into National Civil Disobedience Awareness day, because we, as a family, aren’t afraid to let you know when you’re being an idiot, but sometimes we forget to play nice when we work for you, and there’s a small nonexistent chance that was the same for Billington.
And so without further ado, in order of most recent to oldest, my Thanksgiving Day posts
Book Review of The Mayflower: A Story of Community, Courage, and War: featuring the Mayflower story and more interestingly, King Philip’s War that the second generation were involved with
So You Think You Know The Pilgrims : featuring an expansion on the themes brought up during the History Film Forum
History Film Forum : featuring a gratuitous history conference and a screening of Ric Burns’ The Pilgrims, an account of the first colony from the perspective of its leader, William Bradford
Turkey Day: a summary of the origins of the holiday, with excerpts from both Washington’s and Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Day Proclamations
Of all the things to get me out of bed before 7:30 on a Saturday morning, you can bet a conference discussing the intersection of art and revolution would be near the top of the list. Hosted by the American Philosophical Society, this conference expanded on the concepts unearthed when putting together the Curious Revolutionaries, or the Peales of Philadelphia, exhibit.
I missed the keynote on Thursday night and the first day of paper presentations on Friday so I was only present for the Saturday sessions and the closing remarks. But that was ok because I had more space to digest the paper abstracts that were presented. Afterwards, descendants of the Peale family were to donate more artifacts or papers to the American Philosophical Society, but if it happened, I missed it as I was caught up in sandwiches and discussing Alternate/Virtual Reality and it’s potential impact on smaller museums.
*quick note: my only information was from the panel presentations. I have not read the full text of the papers presented.
A full program of events can be found at the event page of the APS’s website:
You can watch the segments live at this link: https://boxcast.tv/channel/wvm92bbypnromwbykzup