Thursday, March 20, 2008

Butler's Pantry Up and Running at JMH

After two years of planning, the newly installed butler's pantry at the John Marshall House is officially open to the public!

Here's a sneak preview tour, but be sure to stop by the house and see the finished project.

This room is interpreted as a Butler's Pantry. We don't know exactly how it was used in Marshall's day, but we do know that it was probably a service space, based on the very simple wallfinishing (white wash and simple trim, compared to the papers, paints, and grained trim in the rest of the first floor) and location within the house. It certainly would have been a convenient place for Robin Spurlock, the Marshall family's enslaved butler, to have performed some of his daily work, right in the heart of the house and near the outbuildings and cellar.

The room is set up right now as if Spurlock is polishing brass candlesticks and preparing them for use throughout the house. The shelves store frequently needed household items, such as extra canton for use at daily meals and extra wine glasses. Less frequently used items are on the top shelves. A coal scuttle is on the floor, ready to refill the grates throughout the house.

The items in the room are a mixture of period pieces from our collection and new reproductions. I'll provide a full list later, but the short version is that the glassware, redware, and tin are all reproductions; the other ceramics, brass, and copper scuttle are all original.

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