Cleaning out the attic is pretty low on the list of fun activities for most people, but at Juniata dedicated history or museum studies students can get credit for it. And if they are astute and observant, they might find a relatively rare colonial document hidden among the knick-knacks, artifacts and book stacks in the attic of the College art museum.
Cody Fulton ’10, of Robesonia, Pa., spent the summer and fall semester organizing, categorizing and prioritizing a huge collection of College artifacts and paraphernalia as part of an internship to create exhibits for the Juniata History Room in the newly refurbished Founders Hall.
“There was a lot of stuff piled up there when I first went into the attic,” says Fulton, who hopes to work at a military museum or battlefield park upon graduation. “Some of the weird things include a couple of diplomas from Harvard, a drawing by (Juniata’s first professor) Jacob Zuck explaining how he’d like Founders to be laid out, and three sets of panties from a panty raid in the 1970s.”
Early in the fall, Fulton was taking apart a framed map of Huntingdon as part of a preservation project and discovered a folded document stuffed behind the frame. It turned out to be a legal deposition from 1784. “It refers to a skirmish between people from Connecticut–they called them ‘Yankyies’–and Pennsylvanians, where eight people were killed,” he says. “I couldn’t read it because the writing is pretty ornate.” Historians David Sowell and David Hsiung quickly identified that the document referred to 18th century incidents where Connecticut tried to claim territory in northeast Pennsylvania.
Although it wasn’t as thrilling as discovering a van Gogh or a copy of the Declaration of Independence in the attic, Fulton is going to research the skirmish and the names of the people mentioned in the document as part of an independent study project.
1 Comment on "Joys in the Attic: Student Discovers Colonial Document" »
February 8, 2010 at 11:58 am Erin (Pappariella) Doan said: