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Posts Tagged ‘medieval’

As I said in yesterday’s post, being bored is impossible when you enjoy history and genealogy! You always have places to go, photos to take, research to complete, and stacks of paperwork to sort through. So hearing people say they’re bored during this time of social distancing sounds rather alien; some of us are finding more to do than ever.

After finally catching up on email in the wee hours of the morning, I realized just how many online learning opportunities there are right now. In particular, many museums and historical collections are putting the word out about the resources they have online. Here are just some of the many free gateways to personal enrichment available.

The Smithsonian Institution, Ten Museums You Can Virtually Visit. This article includes links to The Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea, The Anne Frank House, The Vatican Museums, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The London National Gallery, NASA Research Centers, The National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, San Francisco’s De Young Museum, and The Louvre.

The National Nordic Museum here in Seattle has digitized Nordic American oral histories and an online collections portal that could keep you busy for days. I still miss the old building and the old name, but their relocation and relabeling has renewed their outreach power.

Our beloved local HistoryLink is an online encyclopedia of Washington State History. They have thousands of essays, fun slide shows, a roster of Washingtonians who gave their lives in service for our country, resources for schools, and how-tos for self-guided walking tours. Their weekly newsletter is a great way to get to know the area.

HistoryLink featured Washington State University’s Early Washington Maps collection this week (go Cougs!). From that page you can find your way down other rabbit holes, such as the amazing WSU Manuscripts, Archives & Special Collections page, the United States Geological Survey Topos Index, and the University of Washington Digital Collections site.

D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition mentioned that Travel + Leisure posted Stuck at Home? These 12 Famous Museums Offer Virtual Tours You Can Take on Your Couch. This article lists links to the British Museum in London, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea, the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the MASP in São Paulo, and the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.

You can get lost in the British Library Medieval Manuscripts Blog. It’s not just the language but the art that draws you in. The Digital Collections of Trinity College Library in Dublin are also a gold mine of art and literature.

Seattle’s Burke Museum is promoting Burke from Home. There are activities for kids, virtual exhibits, and extensive information about local flora and fauna. I love their pages on animals and am thrilled to see that Rod Crawford has a Spider Myths page on there. People scream when they see spiders, blame them for all manner of skin blemishes, and kill them on sight. Crawford sets the record straight and encourages us to practice respect. As I tell the big gnarly spiders hanging out in the shower sometimes, “you don’t bug me and I won’t bug you.”

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution have more than 30,000 pre-1840 American objects in their collection and many are featured online. They have an online quilt index as well. Now would also be a good time to get in touch with your local Sons or Daughters of the American Revolution chapter to ask for help connecting the dots to your suspected patriots.

Universe Today featured Five Space and Astronomy Activities to do at Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak. You can choose from Re-live Apollo 13 in Real Time, Citizen Science, Astronomy Outdoors, and Read and Listen. Slooh.com, Space.com, and NASA’s interactive Solar System Exploration are also excellent places to sharpen your space skills. There are also a great many space-related videos on YouTube (due to the classes and educational shows on YouTube alone, boredom should not exist). How ’bout some honey in zero-g or the Wired interview with Chris Hadfield that discusses if space smells like burnt steak.

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society is offering free webinars for another 10 days or so. Some free genealogy courses are listed at Lisa Lisson’s site as well. Washington State has the nation’s best Digital Archives at a state level. Start clicking around and enjoy!

The American Battlefield Trust offers virtual tours of Civil War and Revolutionary War battlefields. Seeing King’s Mountain on that site this morning was profound. My ancestor and his four young brothers fought in the Battle of King’s Mountain. One was killed, one was “shot through” but recovered, and my forebear was nearly killed but lived to a very old age.

The Battlefield Trust employs that fascinating 360-degree interactive technology that allows you to explore every nook and cranny of a site. Much closer to home, Seattle Now & Then often does that too. The articles, archives, photography, and other bonuses from Dorpat & Co. are engrossing. From their sidebar you can enter other portals such as the Globe Radio Repertory, where you can listen to dramatized versions of classic literature. That gem is parked on the Internet Archive, which could keep you busy until our sun burns out.

Collective Evolution posted How Your Kids and You Can Learn and Explore the World for Free While Quarantined. This mentions museums, but includes virtual aquariums, opera, symphonies, and world landmarks that you can visit courtesy of the world wide web. I like how they are emphasizing music– today’s kids may think music is a snap track with a scantily clad auto-tuned 20 year-old wailing about her first world problems. There is a whole ocean of actual music out there.

There are undoubtedly many more opportunities to absorb beauty, wonder, and knowledge online. Know of a good website? Please a link in the comments section. With this bottomless pit of information at our fingertips, there’s no excuse for being bored. If we lose the power grid as well, there are these wonderful objects called books which also contain endless enlightenment. Books are easy on the eyes, don’t need batteries, and can go just about anywhere with you.

Now you can’t be bored! Sir Isaac Newton’s Self-Quarantine tells how Newton’s time alone led to some of his most world-changing discoveries. Perhaps you or your kid are the next Newton. There is much more to you than you know. What divinely deposited gifts lie within, veins of talent that have been waiting for a pause in your life to be discovered?

Every difficulty in life presents us with an opportunity to turn inward and to invoke our own submerged inner resources. The trials we endure can and should introduce us to our strengths.

Epictetus

3/23/20: The Smithsonian came out with this mega-list of extreme awesomeness, 68 Cultural, Historical and Scientific Collections You Can Explore Online: Tour world-class museums, read historic cookbooks, browse interactive maps and more.

3/24/20: Did you know this about Shakespeare? Shakespeare and the Plague


©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Back in mid-September of last year, the Alexander Farm on Ebey Island in Everett held a pumpkin hurl and medieval faire. This was part of the annual Snohomish Valley Festival of Pumpkins.

People of all ages were treated to some fantastic entertainment. Take the standard autumn quest for jack o’ lanterns, add tents, pirates, Vikings, weapons, crafts, food, all manner of costumed characters, knights, and horses, and you have a blast, pun intended.

After bumpitty-bumping through the parking pasture and paying for admission, you do need to wander around a bit to figure out what’s going on. There is some walking to do but it’s worth it.

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The day’s menu.

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Umbrellaed gnome, pirate, princess, REI gnome. This family was awesome. You can show up in whatever you want– which is how work should be. Every day.

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This weaver had mad medieval skills. He gladly demonstrated the logic behind the loom. It was complex.

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A look down Market Lane.

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Minstrel solo jam.

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One of the merchants.

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A Viking gathering spot. Check out the Etsy shop of my associate in red, who makes much of his own gear, Hearthfire Nordic Wares.

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A pirate on his AYYYYEE-pod. Oh wait, he’s with the other guys.

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Ah, pirates and their cannons. These things are louder than they look. One kid started screaming hysterically after this went off.

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Our emcee, ready for battle, brawls, and merriment. I couldn’t decide which picture I liked better. He did a fantastic job.

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Both adults and children can participate in battles. Here, Team Princess-Cowboy-Wizard prepares to charge.

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And yes, there was a banana. Why wouldn’t there be?

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There was Viking shield wall training.

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Oh yeah.

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Enter the trebuchets. This is the main event. Teams bring their pumpkin launches to the edge of the field, load them up with weight, and send squash hurtling through the air as far as they can.

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This knight and king soaked in the day’s festivities.

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A professional survey team drove this van around the field to accurately measure how far the fat orange fruit were flung. When they were not on the field, corn was occasionally launched from air guns at the targets. It was hilarious.

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Whaachaaa… the pumpkin is already out of the frame but you still see the motion of the launch.

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Swashbuckling spectators ponder the economic advantages of firing plump produce from their cannons instead of metal balls. Sustainability is one of Seattle’s most beloved buzzwords right now.

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Here’s the big boy. At the end of the competition, all of the teams threw their metal weights into his bucket to increase his power. You could launch a Volkswagen from this thing. And centuries ago, they would lob just about anything available at their enemies.

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And the emcee’s shelter collapses. There was a strong breeze. Thankfully no Vikings, wizards, gnomes, or bananas were caught in the canvas.

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Enter the Seattle Knights. These lords and ladies are the real deal. Their website accurately describes them as, “(the) Northwest’s medieval combat troupe with excellent equestrian skills, high-energy acting, and choreographed stage combat using real steel weapons.” The knights and their steeds have well-developed personas and you are encouraged to cheer for a particular color.

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Between events the knights bring their horses to the sidelines so spectators can interact with them. There are various breeds and sizes, the oldest of which was an energetic 27. All are poetry in motion.

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There are both male and female knights.

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Off with his head! Literally. This knight beheaded his foe at a gallop.

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Getting the spear through the ring at this speed has to be something like threading a needle while you’re tripping over a pile of Legos. Amazing.

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Knights challenge each other to combat. By the end of this round, she had him at spear point on the ground.

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The thrill of the joust. It was difficult to get a good action shot over the crowd. It is intense to see this event up close.

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What a day. What makes it so appealing is that you wear what you feel like, you get to participate and learn things, and the entertainment involves all manner of medieval weaponry. All area pumpkin farms have unique attributes to draw crowds; we’re serious about our gourd hunting in Washington State. This one basically offered time travel. I hope they have a similar program next year because I plan to bring the whole Fruit of the Loom pack along.

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I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion. -Henry David Thoreau

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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