Sunday, July 19, 2020

Historic Annapolis on the 4th of July 2020

     I always look forward to going to Annapolis.  The city has a certain feel to it, the historic buildings can give you a sense of walking back in time.  This was the fifth year for the group that I organize to interpret for the 4th of July.  We only had three, and we were in the gardens as the house was closed due to a Maryland State mandate for COVID-19.

I made the mask to match my gown, and the umbrella was used 
to keep sun off of me was made by Barrington Brolly

     We were able to interpret without a modern mask and ensured we were safe with visitors and employees of the site by holding up a fan or the historic mask to our faces.  This was in-line with how they did things in the 18th century.  It was 1776 after all!  Mr. Paca, while in Phildelphia, was gracious enough to allow us to enjoy his gardens while he was away.

Kerry and I on the terrance.  Photo by Robin Matty.

     I am sure that you want to know more about these masks!  A friend of mine, Philippe Halbert, has done research about them.  He talks about how "protective face coverings have emerged as a potent multifaceted metaphor the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite inconsistent examples set by elected leaders and conflicting recommendations made by public health officials, unisex masks have steadily assumed a greater role in social distancing measures and become mandatory in certain settings outside the home. Options range from standard blue and white surgical masks to creative DIY improvisations and “Corona Couture.” Some museums are looking to add homemade masks to their collections as a way to document the crisis. Worn for slightly different reasons and more implicitly gendered, the masks owned by early American women and even children were no less symbolic in terms of practical use, commodification, or controversy."

The Antigua-born Penelope Royall Vassall (masked and socially distanced), 
by Joseph Blackburn, circa 1755, Massachusetts Historical 
Society taken from Philippe's article.

     "Notwithstanding their association with pre-Lenten carnival and the masquerade, early modern masks also served utilitarian, health-related purposes, namely protection against sun and windburn, and the preservation of a light or pale complexion for European women and those of European descent living in the Americas.  Believed to have originated in sixteenth-century Italy, oval masks sometimes referred as “vizards,” “visors,” and even “invisories” in early English sources were available in black, brown, green, red, and “natural” colored velvet. They appear to have changed little in overall design and materiality as they made their way across Europe and the Atlantic Ocean by the mid-seventeenth century."  To read more about this go to this - link.  

Kerry talking with visitors, our indentured servant (Carolyn) sitting behind, 
and me listening intently.  Kerry is holding up her mask to talk with them.  Photo by Ken Tom.

I was reading to Kerry from a pamphlet I had just received about coffee.  Photo by Ken Tom.

Kerry holding up her mask (fan from my shop).  She made her mask from 
leather and covered it with cotton velvet.  Photo by Ken Tom.

A closer detail of me and my mask.  You can find mask forms at 
your local craft store.  I covered mine with a cranberry felt.  Photo by Ken Tom.