Tie Breaker Poll: Fountains Abbey or Harriet Tubman National Historical Park

April 14, 2022

We have a tie! Both of them will be discussed in the next couple of Museum/Historic Sites Impressions blog posts. I would like to know between the two of them which one would you like to learn more about first? Be sure to answer the poll below. Thank you!

Poll closes May 4th at 11:59 PM EST.

The History of St. Patrick’s Day and How Museums Are Celebrating

March 10, 2022

While we celebrate women during the month of March, we also celebrate Irish heritage on the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. It was once known as a religious holiday, the feast day of the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick. The origins of St. Patrick are varied according to Thomas O’Loughlin’s article “St. Patrick: The Legend and the Bishop” in History Ireland. O’Loughlin investigated the accounts of St. Patrick, and while some details are varied it is agreed that St. Patrick was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave, then escaped and returned sometime later to convert Ireland to Christianity. There were many legends that emerged about St. Patrick including he drove the snakes out of Ireland and used the shamrock to explain the Trinity (in Christianity, Trinity refers to the Father-God, Son-Jesus, and the Holy Spirit/Ghost). Emigrants, specifically to the United States, transformed St. Patrick’s Day into a secular holiday to celebrate all things Irish which led to the holiday we know today. To learn more about St. Patrick’s Day, I included a link below the list.

The following list is a random selection of events and places to visit especially during the holiday. St. Patrick’s Day takes place on a Thursday this year, and while we are still going through a pandemic some of the events that are occurring to honor and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day are virtual.

  1. Tenement Museum’s Virtual Tour: The Moore Family

The Tenement Museum is located in New York City. They are having a virtual tour that is honoring both Women’s History and Irish American History Month by exploring the story of an Irish immigrant family, Joseph and Bridget Moore and their children, who lived at 97 Orchard Street in the 1860s. Visitors will learn how Irish immigrants navigated the diverse city, maintained pride, and built a community in Lower Manhattan. To sign up, click on the link here: https://www.tenement.org/events/special-virtual-tour-the-moore-family/

2. Visit the Irish Hunger Memorial https://www.nyc-arts.org/organizations/2436/irish-hunger-memorial

   Another place to visit in New York City especially during St. Patrick’s Day is the Irish Hunger Memorial that was commissioned by the Battery Park City Authority to raise public awareness of the events that led to the Irish famine of 1845 to 1852, and to encourage efforts to address both current and future hunger worldwide. The memorial represents a rural Irish landscape with an abandoned stone cottage, stone walls, fallow potato fields, and the flora on the north Connacht wetlands. It contains stones from each of Ireland’s 32 counties, and is elevated on a limestone plinth.

3. Boston Irish Tourism Association https://irishboston.org/march.php

     If you are in the Boston area, check out the Boston Irish Tourism Association’s website for events throughout the month of March and St. Patrick’s Day Parade dates and times in New England and Dublin, Ireland.

4. Long Island Children’s Museum

At the Long Island Children’s Museum, there is a program known as stART (Story + Art) that combines reading both children’s classics and new stories and creating book-inspired crafts. On St. Patrick’s Day, they will be reading Joan Holub’s “Hooray for St. Patrick’s Day”, learning about the ways to celebrate the holiday, and creating leprechaun hats to wear home. To learn more and sign up for the class (space is limited), check out the link here: https://www.licm.org/calendar/event/start-story-art-3-17-22/

5. Children’s Museum of Manhattan

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan has a couple of events on St. Patrick’s Day. The first one is the opportunity to contribute to a mural in the CMOM Mural Wall: Colors of the Emerald Isle. Then there is a crafts activity where kids can create shamrock wreaths using recycled paper. More information can be found here: https://cmom.org/cmom-programs/

6. Garde Arts Center, New London, CT https://gardearts.org/events/the-high-kings-2/

On March 20th, there is a performance by the group The High Kings hosted by Garde Arts Center and co-presented with the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center. The High Kings return to the Garde to celebrate over a decade of sell-out shows and topping the Irish Album and World Music Charts. To find out more, visit the Garde Arts Center event page.

7. Museum of Early Trades & Crafts, Madison, NJ https://metc.org/event/st-patricks-day-celebration/

This museum has a St. Patrick’s Day Celebration on March 12th that includes live music, dancing, and singing. Also, there is an interactive game for kids to “find the pot of gold” using QR codes in the museum’s exhibits.

8. Festival Quater at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks https://www.irishcentral.com/events/st-patricks-festival-launch-schedule

     In Dublin, there is a day-to-night festival called Festival Quarter at the National Museum of Ireland for all ages. There are family-friendly adventures including but not limited to performance, theatre, film screenings, interactive games, and science shows. At night, adults can enjoy a food village, bars, and hangout areas with some events including but not limited to Irish contemporary and traditional music, performance, comedy, literature, and dance.

9. Medici Museum of Art, Ohio

The Medici Museum of Art has an adult St. Patrick’s Day Sip & Paint on March 15th in which adults can paint a St. Patrick’s Day inspired artwork as well as sip drinks and eat snacks. If you are interested in this program, take a look at the link here: https://www.medicimuseum.art/upcomingevents/adult-st-patricks-day

There is a kids version and tickets can be found here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/kids-st-patricks-day-sip-paint-tickets-256298554877?aff=efbeventtix

10. The Heritage Museum & Cultural Center, St. Joseph, MI https://www.eventbrite.com/e/celebrate-st-patricks-day-at-the-heritage-with-kennedys-kitchen-tickets-271148832457

      At the Heritage Museum & Cultural Center, they collaborated with the Lake Michigan Music Concert Series to welcome the group Kennedy’s Kitchen. There is a cash bar that features Guiness, Bell’s Two-Hearted, Jameson, Bailey’s, wine, and snacks.

       Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Resources for St. Patrick’s Day history:

O’Loughlin, Thomas, “St. Patrick: The Legend and the Bishop”, History Ireland, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Jan. – Feb., 2006), pp. 16-19.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Saint-Patricks-Day

       

Virtual Historic Site Impressions: The Tower of London

March 3, 2022

Thank you to all of those who responded to the second poll I released. The one that had the most votes was the Tower of London in London, England. A little while back I saw a couple of documentaries about the Tower of London on Netflix and the Tower’s history has fascinated me ever since. I decided to include the Tower of London as one of the options for the poll since it has fascinated millions of visitors and I thought that there may be interest among all of you readers. Enjoy this impression of my virtual visit!

           I took a couple of tours including the 360-degree tour of the Tower hosted by the Historic Royal Palaces YouTube channel. The Historic Royal Palaces tour was guided by Dan Snow behind the camera and Chief Yeoman Warder Alan Kingshott. I appreciated that during the tour there are arrows at the top left corner to see more of this 360-degree tour especially when it may be a person’s only way to visit the Tower of London. It is great to have this experience of learning about the castle that not only held prisoners, but also guarded royal possessions, protected the royal family during times of war and rebellion, and was used as a luxurious palace.

         William the Conqueror, in the 1070s, began to build a massive stone fortress in London to defend and proclaim his power.  The Tower of London took about 20 years to build and William the Conqueror did not live to see it completed. Since it’s completion the Tower has been adapted and developed by other kings; for instance, Henry III (1216-1272) and Edward I (1272-1307) expanded the fortress by adding huge defensive walls with a series of smaller towers and enlarging the moat. In addition to using the Tower as protection, a defense and a palace, arms and armor were made, tested, and stored there until the 1800s. The Tower controlled the supply of the nation’s money; the coins were made at the Tower Mint from Edward I’s reign until 1810. Kings and queens locked away their jewels and other valuables at the Tower. Today, the Crown Jewels are protected by a garrison of soldiers.

         The soldiers who guard the Tower are known as Yeoman Warders and are recognized as symbols of the Tower around the world have been there for centuries. They were originally part of the Yeomen of the Guard, who were the monarch’s personal bodyguard who traveled with the monarch. Henry VIII (1507-1547) decreed that some of the Yeomen would stay and guard the Tower permanently. Nowadays the Yeomen Warders guard the visitors but they still carry out ceremonial duties including the Ceremony of the Keys, which is the unlocking and locking of the Tower every day that began in the mid-1300s during the reign of Edward III; the King went to the Tower unannounced one night in December 1340 and walked straight in unchallenged, and after imprisoning the Constable of the Tower for neglecting his duty Edward III decreed that the castle should be locked at sunset and unlocked at sunrise. The Yeomen Warders wear their red state “dress uniforms” for important occasions at the Tower and special events including the Gun Salutes (firing the huge cannon on the Wharf). Yeomen Warders live on the premises of the Tower.

        When it was used as a royal residence, medieval kings and queens lived in luxurious apartments at the Tower. They worshipped in the Chapel Royal, kept a menagerie of exotic animals (which lasted until the 19th century), and welcomed foreign rulers at magnificent ceremonial occasions. Although it has long since vanished, there was once a splendid royal palace to the south of the White Tower. Henry VIII modernized the rooms inside in preparation for the coronation of his new bride, Anne Boleyn in 1533. She and the King feasted the night before Anne processed in triumph through the City of London to Westminster Abbey. Three years later Anne was back at the Tower, this time accused of adultery and treason. She was held in the same luxurious lodgings before being executed by sword on Tower Green.

         For over 800 years, men and women have arrived at the Tower. Some stayed for only a few days, others many years. During the Tudor age, the Tower became the most important state prison in the country. Anyone thought to be a threat to national security including the future Queen Elizabeth I, Lady Jane Grey, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Guy Fawkes were sent to the Tower. The last time individuals were sent to Tower was during World War II when German spies were brought here and shot. Not everyone who went to the Tower came to serve time in prison.

         The Tower has been a visitor attraction since the 18th century, but the number of tourists increased dramatically in the 1800s. Visitors were fascinated by the stories of England’s turbulent and sometimes gruesome history. Stories of ghosts haunt the Tower. Anne Boleyn is said to stalk the site of her execution on Tower Green. Arbella Stuart, the cousin of Elizabeth I who starved while under arrest for marrying without royal permission, is said to frequent the Queen’s House still. One of the most famous legends of the Tower surrounds the ravens.  The story goes that should the ravens leave the Tower, both it and the kingdom will fall. Seven ravens live at the Tower today and are cared for by a dedicated Yeoman Warder known as the Ravenmaster. It continues to be a popular visitor attraction today.

        To learn more about the Tower of London, I included a list of sources below.

Thank you for reading! If you would like to support my book project, check out my Buy Lindsey a Coffee page to learn more.

Links:

360 degree Tour of Tower of London: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeLQVare-3k

https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/history-and-stories/the-story-of-the-tower-of-london/#gs.p7qji9

https://joyofmuseums.com/museums/united-kingdom-museums/london-museums/tower-of-london/

Secrets of Great British Castles: The Tower of London episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdgjsSQ3McM&t=38s

https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/history-and-stories/the-ceremony-of-the-keys/#gs.p7v0pf

https://www.hrp.org.uk/discover-the-palaces/#gs.nvvop9

https://kidadl.com/online-events/video-tour-tower-of-london

https://www.londononline.co.uk/towerguide/

https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/#gs.nvx23z

Public Historian Takes a Closer Look at the History of Valentine’s Day

February 10, 2022

Valentine’s Day is on a Monday this year and it is important to understand that while it seems like a more commercial-founded holiday this holiday actually has historical roots.  I decided to take a closer look into the history of Valentine’s Day. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the true origins of the holiday are vague at best; for instance, it has been suggested that the holiday has origins in the Roman festival of Lupercalia which was a celebration of the coming of spring held in mid-February. Lupercalia was also known as a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

          It became St. Valentine’s Day towards the end of the 5th century when Pope Gelasius I forbid the celebration of Lupercalia and was often attributed to replacing it with St. Valentine’s Day; there were a number of Saint Valentines in the church, who all became martyrs, who the holiday was possibly named for. One example is that it is believed it was named for a priest who was martyred about 270 CE by the emperor Claudius II Gothicus. According to legend the priest signed a letter “from your Valentine” to his jailer’s daughter, whom he had befriended and, by some accounts, healed from blindness. Another legend stated that he defied the emperor’s orders and secretly married couples to prevent husbands from war. The holiday was not celebrated as a day of romance until about the 14th century.

            Formal valentines appeared in the 1500s, and by the 1700s individuals were using commercially printed cards. The first commercial valentines in the United States were printed in the mid-1800s. On the Valentines, they commonly depict Cupid, the Roman god of love, along with hearts. Birds also became a symbol of the day since it was thought that the avian mating season begins in mid-February. The holiday is popular in the United States as well as in Britain, Canada, and Australia, and it is also celebrated in other countries, including Argentina, France, Mexico, and South Korea. In the Philippines it is the most common wedding anniversary, and mass weddings of hundreds of couples are not uncommon on that date. The holiday has expanded to expressions of affection among relatives and friends.

          At the time I wrote this post, I did not find many academic studies written in books and journals about Valentine’s Day. What I did come across were articles and a list of children’s Valentine’s Day books. I included links to books on Valentine’s Day in the list below. There was an article from American Quarterly written by Vivian R. Pollak about Emily Dickinson’s Valentines. Emily Dickinson was an American poet born in Amherst, Massachusetts who wrote almost 1,800 poems and of those poems fewer than a dozen were published during her life; scholars identified her writing period was between 1858 and 1865. Pollak’s article, published in 1974, discussed her early works including two humorous Valentines as well as the history of noncommercial Valentines during the 19th century, and argued that Dickinson was writing poetry before 1858. According to the Emily Dickinson Museum website, these early writings were published anonymously in the early 1850s. The first Valentine was referred to as “Magnum bonum, harem scarum” which was a valentine letter published in Amherst College’s Indicator in February 1850, and the second Valentine was published in Springfield Daily Republican titled “A Valentine” called “‘Sic transit gloria mundi’” on February 20, 1852.

      A periodical about St. Valentine and English poet Geoffery Chaucer in Jack B. Oruch’s “St. Valentine, Chaucer, and Spring in February (appeared in Speculum in The Medieval Academy) came from The Wilson Quarterly was called “The First Valentine”. It discusses how Oruch pointed out the first time St. Valentine was connected with romance occurs in Chaucer’s poem “Parlement of Foules” when Nature summons the birds on “seynt Valentynes day” and commands them to choose mates. Chaucer and other writers’ work in the 14th century and after led to associating St. Valentine and Valentine’s day with romance and love.

      In the end, Valentine’s Day is about celebrating the people you love in your lives including family, friends, pets, and romantic partners.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!!

Thank you for reading! If you would like to support my book project, check out my Buy Lindsey a Coffee page to learn more.

Links and Sources:

Vivian R. Pollak, “Emily Dickenson’s Valentines”, American Quarterly, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Vol. 26, No. 1 (Mar., 1974), pp. 60-78.

Emily Dickinson Museum:

https://www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/

The First Valentine The Wilson Quarterly (1976-), Vol. 6, No. 2 (Spring, 1982), pp. 37-38.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Valentines-Day

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Valentine#ref1290121

https://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day-2

https://www.byrdsbooks.com/book/9781638786337

https://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/valentines-day-books-for-kids

Book Review: Creating Meaningful Museum Experiences for K-12 Audiences

February 3, 2022

Cover for Creating Meaningful Museum Experiences for K-12 Audiences edited by Tara Young

       I recently read the book Creating Meaningful Museum Experiences for K-12 Audiences: How to Connect with Teachers and Engage Students which is a series of articles edited by Tara Young offering comprehensive insight at best practices in working with K-12 audiences including teachers and students. I appreciate that there is a number of different perspectives in the field to contribute to this book so readers can learn from museum professionals who work in more than one type of museum. The book is divided into four parts to help organize the articles based on topics: Setting the Stage, Building Blocks, Questions and New Paradigms, and Solutions and Innovative Models. Each part has six or seven chapters written by various writers in the museum education field.

      The Setting the Stage section focuses on establishing and financing K-12 programs as well as on how to engage with students. In the Building Blocks section, the chapters discuss the core elements of successful programming including mission alignment, educator recruitment and training, working with teacher advisory boards, and anti-racist teaching practices.

      Questions and New Paradigms has case studies in which museum education practitioners reconsider established approaches to museums’ work with schools and engage in iterative processes to update and improve them. It is important to see case studies especially within books since we need to see examples of practical practices not just discussing theory in museum education. The fourth section, Solutions and Innovative Models, provides examples of programs that were reimagined for the current status of museum/school collaborations.

      This book covers a wide range of topics in museum education including but are not limited to the field trip past and present, financial realities of the education department in museums, integrating engineering and empathy in the preschool/kindergarten classroom, creating effective teacher advisory boards, building a new model for staffing school programs, sustainable training for museum education staff, mastering field trip logistics, virtual learning, and teaching slavery at historic sites and lessons learned. It is an important book for both emerging and experienced museum professionals who need to have a better understanding of museum education practices. I plan to continue to refer to this book in my career and to utilize it for the book project I began last year.

To learn more about Creating Meaningful Museum Experiences for K-12 Audiences, check out the link here: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781538146798

To learn more about the book project I started last year, take a look at the Buy Lindsey a Coffee! page on the website.

Happy New Year! Plans for 2022

January 13, 2021

Happy New Year everyone! Since we are in our second week of the new year, I thought I would share a few plans I have so far for this website. I am going to share my thoughts on the museum field and how it is continuing to handle the coronavirus pandemic as we are going into the second year since the initial lockdown in the United States.

Also, last month I released a poll to decide the second historic site you want to read about. If you would like to respond to the poll, be sure to answer the poll before it closes on January 31st. Click on the link here: https://wp.me/p8J8yQ-1xi

I will continue my history of witchcraft series that I started in the last months of 2021. I am planning the second post to be about witchcraft history outside of Europe and the United States.

I am also continuing the book project that I started last year. To learn more, be sure to check out what I am offering as a thank you for your support by visiting my Buy Me A Coffee page here.

Stay tuned for more posts this year!

Taking A Closer Look at the History of Christmas: A Public Historian’s Perspective

December 23, 2021

      As many people are preparing for celebrating Christmas, I decided to revisit and share the history of Christmas. I remember the first time I learned about the history of Christmas when I was still studying for my bachelor’s degree in history. My history professor assigned my class to read Stephen Nissenbaum’s The Battle for Christmas towards the end of my first semester of college and we had a class discussion about the origins and history of Christmas. I continued to observe Christmas from a historical perspective since that time many years ago. While I have previously discussed what museums are doing to observe the winter holidays including Christmas, I realized that I have not yet discussed where it came from, how we started celebrating the holiday, and how it became the holiday we know it now. Here I will share a brief introduction to Yule and what Christmas was like before the nineteenth century when things like Christmas trees, the concept of gift giving, and the idea of the family-centric holiday were becoming associated with Christmas.

     We understand today that Christmas is a winter celebration within Christianity to honor the birth of Jesus Christ. When we take a closer look, we would be able to see that the origins of the holiday were not as straightforward as the religion may teach. Christmas has its roots in Paganism which honors the changes in seasons. Yule is connected to a number of religious celebrations and spiritual traditions that coincide with the Winter Solstice which occurs on December 21st in the Northern Hemisphere. Last year I briefly shared information about Yule or the Winter Solstice. In that post, I described what the celebration of Yule is:

 Yule is a celebration, practiced by pagans, neo-pagans, and other individuals who incorporate witchcraft practice in their lives, which involves gathering together to enjoy meals and gift-giving, and activities like feasting and wassailing (where the tradition of singing carols comes from) are sometimes regarded as sacred.

 This celebration corresponds with the astrological change of the Earth tilting away from the sun, known as the Winter Solstice. The amount of sunlight on Earth during this time varies, short day and long night to long darkness, depending on which part of the globe one lives on. In the Northern Hemisphere, it also marks the first day of winter.

To learn more about the Yule, Christmas, and other Winter Holidays, I included the link to the blog post “Winter Holidays in 2020 and Happy New Year” in the list below.

         Christmas was a different holiday than what we would recognize today. During the colonial period in New England, the Puritans suppressed the holiday, and it was illegal to celebrate Christmas in Massachusetts between 1659 and 1681. Their reasoning for suppressing the holiday, according to Stephen Nissenbaum, was because there was no biblical or historical reason to place the birth of Jesus on December 25th; it was in the fourth century that the Church decided to observe Christmas on December 25th which happened to be around the arrival of the winter solstice. Another reason they suppressed Christmas was that at that time the holiday involved behavior that most today would consider as offensive and shocking such as rowdy public displays of excessive eating and drinking and aggressive begging with threats of doing harm. In northern agricultural societies, harvesting was finished in winter, and since they had plenty of beer or wine and meat that needed to be consumed before it spoiled.  It was not until the nineteenth century that Christmas started to resemble the holiday we recognize.

           Wage labor and capitalist production were spreading in England and the United States by the early nineteenth century.  Employers were insisting on keeping Christmas as business as usual while some urban workers saw the meaning of the season as one that no longer involved a lull in demand for labor and for other urban workers winter meant the prospect of being laid off since the water-powered factories were put on seasonal halt. The Christmas season could be easily seen as a form of social protest by the managers and the upper class since the traditions included wassailing (singing) and mischief. Stories like Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and poems like Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas” started to introduce things including but not limited to the concept of generosity and the figure of Santa Claus that would become the traditions we know today. If you would like to read more about the history of Christmas, I recommend taking a look at Nissenbaum’s The Battle for Christmas and other resources provided. I will be taking a break from posting new blog posts; in the meantime, be sure to stay tuned for new blog posts in 2022.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!!

Links:

Winter Holidays in 2020 and Happy New Year

The Battle for Christmas: A Social and Cultural History of Our Most Cherished Holiday by Stephen Nissenbaum

Encyclopedia Britannica: Christmas

English Heritage History of Christmas

National Geographic How Christmas has evolved over centuries

Virtual Historic Site Impressions: Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

December 16, 2021

Thank you to all of those who responded to the poll I released a few weeks ago. The site with the most votes was the Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland. I plan to write about the other sites in the future and I released another poll to ask all of you which one you want to read about next. In the meantime, I will share with you all my experience visiting this Scottish castle.

    Edinburgh Castle is one of the oldest fortified places in Europe and was used as a royal residence, military garrison, prison, and a fortress. Parts of it remain in military use while the rest of it is now a popular world-wide visitor attraction.

    When I made a virtual visit to the Edinburgh Castle, I was surprised to discover that it was more than one large castle; there were also a chapel, a whiskey shop, tea rooms, et. cetera.  Before I even entered the castle, I was already impressed with the architecture and the details that were on and inside. I decided to do a general walk around the castle with no specific plan and share some of the highlights from my visit.

         I made my virtual walk around the area and noticed a small chapel known as St. Margaret’s Chapel. St. Margaret Chapel was named for Queen Margaret who was later made a saint. When Queen Margaret died in 1093, the chapel was built in her honor by her son, King David I. It is Edinburgh’s oldest building. St Margaret’s Chapel still hosts weddings and christenings today. Close to the chapel is the Portcullis Gate.

St. Margaret’s Chapel (oldest building in the castle)

     Portcullis Gate was built almost 450 years ago in the wake of the devastating Lang Siege that took place in 1571 when supporters of Queen Mary held the castle against the rule of the regent the Earl of Lennox (who supported the then infant King James VI). The Gate was erected by the Regent Morton in 1574.  The building contains a long-vaulted trance, once furnished with two outer double doors, a portcullis and an inner double door that once sat alongside the iron gate to ward off intruders. The top floor, Argyle Tower, was added in the 1880s.

Portcullis Gate

        During my visit, I came across The Redcoat Café which offers a variety of things to eat and drink including but not limited to soups, roasts, toasted deli sandwiches, beer, wine, spirits, hot beverages, and soft drinks. I also went by the Tea Rooms located at the top of the castle in the Crown Square; they offer traditional afternoon tea as well as light lunch (soup, salad, sandwiches), cakes, hot cocoa, coffee, spirits, wine, beer, and ale. Next to St. Margaret’s Chapel is the Whisky Shop where visitors can purchase whisky that was created in collaboration with the award-winning Edinburgh Gin distillery. They have a huge range of whiskies including their exclusive Edinburgh Castle 10-year-old single malt, and sweet and savory treats including traditional shortbread, whisky fudge, and cakes.  In addition to exploring the castle on my own, I also visited Edinburgh Castle’s website to learn more about it.

The Redcoat Café

        Edinburgh Castle was built upon a rock for a military strategic advantage during the Iron Age, and their defenses evolved over hundreds of years. For instance, Mons Meg, one of the greatest medieval cannons ever made, was given to King James II in 1457. The Half Moon Battery, which was built in the aftermath of the Lang Siege of 1573, was armed for 200 years by bronze guns known as the Seven Sisters. Six more guns defend the Argyle Battery, with its open outlook to the north.

          In addition to serving as a military fort, Edinburgh Castle was also a royal residence. The Great Hall, that was completed in 1511 for King James IV, hosted grand banquets and state events. But the king had little time to enjoy his new addition. James IV died at the Battle of Flodden in 1513, fighting English forces sent by his brother-in-law, King Henry VIII of England. According to their website, they pointed out that above the door to the Royal Palace are the gilded initials MAH – for Mary Queen of Scots and her second husband Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley. Mary gave birth to James VI in the Royal Palace in 1566 who would become king of Scotland at 13 months old and united the crowns of Scotland and England in 1603. After the ‘Union of the Crowns’ of 1603, Edinburgh Castle was rarely visited by the reigning monarch, but from the 1650s it grew into a significant military base. Defenses were rebuilt and enhanced in response to the Jacobite Risings of 1689–1746. New gun batteries such as Dury’s Battery were constructed and new barracks such as the Queen Anne Building were added to house the many soldiers and officers. To learn more about Edinburgh Castle, I included a list of resources below.            

       Their website includes a number of resources to help people plan their visit, COVID restrictions, the history of the castle, et. cetera. I appreciate that they have a list of suggested itineraries based on interest and the amount of time one has to visit Edinburgh Castle. I would like to someday visit the castle in person as well, and in the meantime, I will make numerous virtual trips to keep exploring the many places within the castle.

The second poll to choose the next historic site is active. To decide which historic site you want to learn more about, click on the link here: https://wp.me/p8J8yQ-1xi

I’m on Buy Me a Coffee. If you like my work, you can buy me a coffee and share your thoughts.  More information about additional benefits for supporting my work can be found here: https://lookingbackmovingforwardinmuseumeducation.com/buy-me-a-coffee-page/

Links:

Edinburgh Castle website: https://www.edinburghcastle.scot/

Edinburgh Castle Virtual Tour with Us blog post: https://blog.edinburghcastle.scot/virtual-tour-with-us/

Virtual Edinburgh Castle: https://www.google.com/maps/@55.9485358,-3.1984482,3a,75y,272.57h,110.04t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sK8bujNmtCtGOcDq8H1KZng!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

https://canmore.org.uk/site/52093/edinburgh-castle-portcullis-gate-and-argyle-tower

http://www.edinburgh-history.co.uk/lang-siege.html

Poll: What is the Second Historic Site You Would Like to Read About?

December 9, 2021

In the first poll, the one with the most votes was Edinburgh Castle in Scotland. My experience with the virtual visit will come out next week so stay tuned. In the meantime, please choose the next historic site you would want to learn more about.

*as of January 31, 2022, the poll is closed. Stay tuned for the post on the second historic site chosen by this poll.