I’m sorry we are so behind in posting November’s Collection’s Featurette, but hopefully many of you have already seen it published in the newsletter…
By Todd Galle
This month’s focus object is a delftware (most likely Dutch) charger or platter. The use of earthenware in the food service realm was widespread both in Europe and the colonies. A healthy trade in tin glazed pottery began by the Dutch and later continued by the English, expanded as the colonies matured and developed. Tin ware, wooden bowls, and pewter were augmented and sometimes replaced by imported delftware as socio-economic conditions improved.
The rapid development of Philadelphia as a trading center would have helped to make such goods available to a wide variety of early colonists. This example is useful in interpreting the rapid development of Pennsylvania as both a colony and an economy desirous of bringing a European style of living to the New World.
This artifact also helps to illustrate the museum collection management and curatorial field. People often ask what a curator actually does. The easiest explanation, and one that Pennsbury staff and volunteers can appreciate, is that curators are stewards. We look after not only objects, but also the track the history of the object, the ‘who, what, where, when, why’ type of information helpful in interpreting that item. In the next newsletter, I’ll let you know what the file tells us about “PM75.127 / CHARGER, DELFT / 4: Food Service T & E” as well as other curatorial considerations regarding the object.