Friday, August 28, 2009

Legends of the Province House - Howe's Masquerade

I. Howe's Masquerade

Hawthorne writes of conjuring the memory of this tavern's heyday amid the bustle and decay of "modern" Boston.

I had a similar experience a few weeks ago in Plymouth, MA when I visited the Mayflower II. Actors in period clothes and strange accents tried to help tourists imagine life on the ship nearly 400 years ago. I guess this is the challenge we all face when visiting historical sites. We strain to see the ghosts of the past gliding through the old buildings. We try to imagine the splendor of the old days when the finishes were vibrant and new. And then we step back into the everyday.

I also visited the Pilgrim Hall Museum while in Plymouth. Huge stained glass windows hung over the lobby. The docent explained that all the stained glass had recently been cleaned and restored. She pointed out details in the leaves that no one knew were there; the glass had appeared solid black for years. Someone removed all the bits of glass, cleaned them, releaded the windows and now they are restored to their original glory.

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