Education · Merchant's House · Movies and Videos

Capturing The Sounds of The Past

Capturing the sounds of the past seems almost impossible, yet these “authentic sounds,” when available, can connect us to another time in an almost magical way.
In the front parlor of the Merchant’s House Museum in New York City there is a pianoforte that dates to the 1840s and remarkably retains all of its original parts. It has been been reconditioned, using these parts, and is now in playable condition. A concealed speaker softly plays a looped recording of tunes from a music lesson book bearing the name of the oldest daughter of the family who lived in the house. Stand in that parlor furnished with the family’s furniture; see what they saw, and hear what they heard. You’ll never come closer to the 19th century.


Engaging Places

Soundworks documents the creation of “authentic sound” for Steven Spielberg’s film, Lincoln.  The sound designer discusses his efforts to collect sounds at historic sites and in museum collections, such as the clocks and doors at the White House and a pocket watch at the Kentucky Historical Society.

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Books · Historic House Museums · Merchant's House · Movies and Videos · New York Theater

The Heiress Comes (Back) to Broadway!

The Heiress, starring Jessica Chastain in the title role, is now in previews at the Walter Kerr Theater on Broadway. It will run for a limited engagement of 18 weeks.

Washington Square by Henry James tells the story of a young woman, her domineering physician father, and the man she loves.
Based on Henry James’ novel Washington Square, it is such a powerful story that audiences can’t get enough of it. The novel is one of James’ most popular and certainly one of his most readable books. In 1947 Ruth and Augustus Goetz wrote a play based on the book called The Heiress, which opened that year on Broadway and ran for a year. A movie, starring Olivia de Havilland, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of the pathetically shy Catherine Sloper, came out in 1949. In 1995 the play returned to Broadway with Cherry Jones turning in Continue reading “The Heiress Comes (Back) to Broadway!”

Movies and Videos · Technology

Recommended Viewing: Seven Wonders of the Industrial World

I know it sounds like the most boring thing you ever sat through in seventh grade, but believe me it isn’t. Many of you are probably familiar with this video; I wasn’t, and I was awestruck by what I was seeing. Continue reading “Recommended Viewing: Seven Wonders of the Industrial World”

Movies and Videos

Midnight in Paris

I don’t usually like fantasy, and I am no fan of Woody Allen, but I loved this movie! In my opinion it should have won an Oscar. A charming romantic comedy with a wonderfully evocative score (listen here), it’s funny and very witty (which is not necessarily the same thing). If you’ve seen it, you know what happens at midnight. If you haven’t seen it but have read reviews, you probably know what  happens at midnight. If you have neither seen nor read about it, you don’t know what happens at midnight, and I don’t think I should ruin it for you. Just let me say that that since you’re reading this blog, you will probably relate to the theme of this movie in a big way. I’ll have more to say about that later.  Bonus—Paris is so deliciously filmed that you will want to book a flight tomorrow.