Often discovered after the fact, what is this object?  

In what part of the world can you find these structures? And what are they called?

The structure pictured above, called Heddal Stave Church, or Heddal Stavkirkje in Norwegian, is a Stave church that dates back to the 13th century. These medieval Christians structures are named for their method of construction -- the name derives from an Old Norse term that described the load-bearing posts that make up the church's frame. Once found all over Europe, most of the remaining Stave Churches are located in Norway. The oldest of these dates to 1150 and is located in Luster, Norway. As with most Scandinavian stave churches, the wooden structure is richly decorated with carvings of real as well as mythical creatures throughout. 

Who wore these?  And when and where were they worn?


What thrill of childhood does this object unlock?

Skate keys were once used to tighten and adjust old fashion metal roller skates that strapped to your shoes.  Without the key the skates would be useless.  The hexagonal loop turned the bolt that adjusted the length of the skate and the tubular end slid onto a pin that tighten the toe grips.  Skaters wore the key on a string that they slipped through the long narrow hole in the middle which was typically worn around their necks. 
He lived in New York State's Hudson River Valley but when he traveled here, he was stunned by the treasures he found.  Who was he?  What did he discover?  And how did he share it with others?

Petra, known as the “rose-red city,” is located in today’s Jordan.  In the fourth century BCE, the city was the capital of the Nabataean people and the center of a thriving caravan trade in the Middle East.  Rock formations which require people to enter the city through a narrow passage (Siq) or through other equally difficult passageways made the city a natural fortress.   A massive earthquake in 363 AD accelerated the city’s decline which had begun to occur with the rise of the Roman empire.

The city was “rediscovered” by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812 (Burkhardt posed as an Persian traveler when he traveled in this area).  Burckhardt’s “discovery” fascinated nineteenth-century Europeans and Americans, many of whom possessed an in-depth knowledge of classical history.  Frederick Church, one of the foremost landscape painters of the nineteenth century, traveled to Petra in the 1860s.  Church painted this view of El Khasne (Al Khazneh) in 1874 and then installed his painting in the Persian-style house he built high above the Hudson River in New York State.  Visitors can still see it there today.

The painting is a depiction of El Khazneh or the Treasury as seen through through the Siq, a narrow passageway which leads into the city. 

In this outdoor observatory, visitors can witness astronomical phenomena with the naked eye. Do you know what this site is?

Jantar Mantar

In this outdoor observatory surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens, more than a dozen astronomy instruments predict astronomical events, measure time, and track the locations of stars and planets. These large-scale instruments were designed to allow visitors to observe astronomical phenomena with the naked-eye. Built in Jaipur, India by a scholarly prince in the early 18th century,Jantar Mantar was recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2010.

It was green all over.

Which iconic consumer  institution is being referenced in this 1907 cartoon in Puck Magazine?
Did your family use these? 

S & H Green Stamps

Thomas Sperry and Shelly Byron Hutchenson, creators of the S & H Green Stamp entered the trading stamp business in 1896. Green stamps were trading stamps that the company sold to retailers to promote their stores. Consumers received a predetermined number of green stamps, which they saved in a book that held 1200 stamps. The book represented $120 worth of merchandise spent with the retailer. Once filled the books could be redeemed by catalogue or at 
S & H redemption centers for cash or prices. Trading stamps became popular with Americans post-WWII and by the 1960s eighty percent of Americans were saving stamps. Trading stamp usage declined in the United States in the 1980s. 


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What do you like about the image and why is it duplicated so often?  We'd love to know!

The Book of Kells, Chi Rho page, Folio 34
The Chi Rho page of the Book of Kells represents the pinnacle of Irish medieval manuscript illumination.  Begun at the monastery of Iona, near the end of the 8th century, the work, under pressure from Viking raids, was moved to Kells.  There it was finished and remained until the 17th century, when under threat from another invader, Oliver Cromwell, it was moved to Dublin.

The text is written in Irish half-uncial, also known as Irish majuscule, which belongs to the system of Insular scripts developed in Ireland and Britain from the 7th century on. The three different scribes of Kells achieved a remarkable uniformity of lettering.  Paleographer Tim O’Neill, FSC, argues that the scribes cut their pens into a chisel-shape rather than the more common point or slant.  This chisel shape helped them create large wedge-shaped serifs on the ascenders and descenders.  The text’s thin horizontal lines contrast with broad verticals, which, combined with the very short ascenders and descenders create a strong, even, horizontal line that draws the eye across the page.

To learn more about the earliest form of Irish writing, Ogham, please read “Irish Letters: Written in Stone” http://www.ultimatehistoryproject.com/the-vibe-june.html