The Gallery: The Idea Was to Live in the Past.

Brooklyn Sanitary Fair 1864: The New England Kitchen.

My mom was in town over the weekend, and being the history nerd duo that we are, we decided to go see “Healing the Wounds of War: The Brooklyn Sanitary Fair of 1864” at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.  I know a “Sanitary Fair” doesn’t sound like much fun, but apparently it was in the 19th Century.  From the BMA website:

“During the Civil War, sanitary fairs were held to raise money for the war effort in major cities in the Northeast. These large-scale fairs were social events that combined entertainment, education, and philanthropy…The money was used for clothing, food, medical supplies, and other provisions for the Union Army.”

There were arts and crafts for sale, “curiosities” on display, and opportunities to flirt.  But my favorite? “The New England Kitchen.”

“The idea is to present a faithful picture of New England farm house life of the last century. The grand, old fire place shall glow again; the spinning wheel shall whirl as of old; the walls shall be garnished with the products of the forest; and the dinner table, always set, shall be loaded with substantial New England cheer.  We shall try to reproduce the manners, customs, dress, and if possible, the idiom of the time…The period fixed upon is just prior to the throwing overboard of the tea in Boston Harbor.

The idea was to live in the Past, and the Present was ignominiously banished.”  From History of the Brooklyn and Long Island Fair

The Kitchen was a Civil War reenactment of Revolutionary War era foodways.  It was 1864 reenacting 1776.

Awesome. I love this. Love. It.

I really want to reenact the 186o’s  reenacting 1770’s.  I just have to figure out how.

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