Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Seneca Log House is Moving

Eva Fognell, Curator Thaw Collection of American Indian Art

There is a big change happening just outside my window! Where the back lawn of Fenimore Art Museum meets the wooded area to the north, close to Otsego Lake, a house is slowly emerging. After much planning our Seneca Log House has finally moved from the hill behind The Farmers’ Museum to its new location on the grounds of the Fenimore Art Museum. At the Farmers’ Museum, the construction crew very carefully took the house apart, uniquely marking each piece so they could be put together again at the new location. In the photos you can see that it is still in many pieces but it’s all coming together. Much work has gone into preparing the area for the house as well as the area around the house. There will be traditional Iroquois gardens surrounding the house, growing the important 3 sisters crops: beans, squash and corn. There is also a small pond in close proximity to the house, which will be used to grow reeds that will be made into basketry. You can see it in this photo, on the right behind the two patches of bare earth.

The work is still in progress so I will post an update soon with new pictures and plans for the area. It is going to be a fantastic site when all parts are complete. The move of the house will allow us to better interpret Iroquois life during a period of tremendous change for the Native population. The Fenimore Art Museum’s back lawn already has the Iroquois Bark House / Fishing Camp that interprets the history of New York’s Native peoples as well as frontier life in the 1770s. And now with the Seneca Log House, built on the Tonawanda reservation between 1780 and the 1810s, we can offer a much richer experience to our visitors.

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