Wednesday, February 10, 2010

An inside peek at exhibit design

If you've walked down Allen Street recently or had the good fortune to visit the Museum in the last month, you may have seen the newly recreated rear yard exhibit. Now that the laundry is firmly in place, it's looking better than ever.

Our education assistant Katie recently put together a simulation for the rear yard that gives visitors the chance to feel what it was like to carry a bucket of water up from the water source in the rear yard to their apartment inside the building. We strive for historical accuracy here at the Tenement Museum, so Katie went to work:

According to our friends at Old Sturbridge Village, a historic bucket would weigh between three and five pounds and one gallon of water weighs approximately 8.5 pounds. Assuming an average healthy female living on the fourth floor (Bridget Moore) climbing close to 60 stairs from the rear yard to her apartment would carry as much water as possible to avoid a second trip while carrying as little as possible to avoid injury, I (with the help of Derya and Pam) calculated she would at minimum attempt to carry 2 gallons.

The total weight of our simulation bucket should then be 17 pounds for water and approximately 4 pounds for the bucket itself. I have filled the non-historic bucket with an estimated 20-25 pounds of gravel to allow visitors to feel the weight of the buckets of water our early residents would have been hauling up the stairs inside our beloved tenement.

All in the name of your education, dear reader!

- posted by Kate

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