Don’t Forget Your Local History!

currently playing on my laptop: The Silver Tent by Ramin Djawadi

As you are well aware, I’m a gigantic history nerd. I travel all over this planet gathering stories and eating amazing things and touching all the artifacts I shouldn’t be. But sometimes, I forget about all the history right under my nose.

I live in a little town south of Nashville and recently I took a tour of Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. Now, he is a man that would totally fit into Game of Thrones. He’s as gray as any Tyrion. He did great things (the Battle of New Orleans!) and very terrible things (owned slaves and killed Native Americans). That shouldn’t stop us from learning about his life and the time period in which he lived. There are lessons there, my friends.

The Hermitage has an amazing museum. In addition to the period-accurate rooms and the haunting garden and cemetery, a large building holds an impressive collection of artifacts.

I’m into daily life items. When I get up close and personal with these little things, I can almost feel the people around me, the heat in the air, the conversations about long-ago problems that echo through our lives today.

So here are a few for your perusal. (Okay my Mac update obvs hates this site for some reason. So my pics are sideways. Screw it. I’m posting anyway. I have things to do!)

The first shows a set of marbles that enslaved adults and children used for games. These may have been a gift from the Jacksons.


And here we have a carriage. It’s no Escalade, I’ll tell you that. The thing is tiny! White cloth flowers decorate the inside of the carriage and a cut glass lamp sits near the driver’s seat.

Here are some medicine bottles from the Hermitage. Creeps. During this period, many believed a medicine was only working if it had violent side effects like bleeding and vomiting and horrible pain. Yeah. Glad I can enjoy history from over here in 2015.


These artifacts below are by far the most interesting to me. The pierced coins and metal hands are actually all types of hands. African-Americans used the term “hands” to mean any object that brought good luck or protected a person from evil spirits or disease. The objects would be worn around the neck or ankles usually. I have my own pierced coin that I wear on a chain. I found it in my mother’s things and have yet to ask her where it originated.

Don’t turn up your nose at your local history! Help your spot in the world hold on to the good parts and learn from the bad. 

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