On Tuesday, I drove down to Stonington, CT to visit the Stonington Historical Society’s Lighthouse Museum and look at a coat. Stonington was beautiful as ever, smelling of the ocean and money, and the little Lighthouse Museum was nicely done.
The coat did not disappoint.
It is a truly amazing artifact, having survived despite pretty incredible events. The donor wrote a letter about the coat when he gave it to the SHS in 1914:
“I have heard my father say due to the haste and excitement of the volunteers they failed to properly cool their gun before pouring into its muzzle the powder, which due to the excessive heat of the gun caused the powder to explode prematurely, as you may see by reference to the coat—burned and torn upon the neck and shoulder.” (Coat and letter, Stonington Historical Society, 2009.120.001).
As beautiful as the town of Stonington may be, and as much money as there may be on the Connecticut coast, the SHS has a small budget and must use its funds wisely. We had an interesting conversation about the reenactors and museum collections, and what responsibility historical costumers have to the collections that hold clothes they replicate.