Tuesday, September 19, 2023

The Museum of Dumb Guy Stuff


This little museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire has no website, no admission tickets, and a very funny name. Everyone of all ages will enjoy it, not just guys.  And this year, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Portsmouth, the museum is featuring lots of history.  There are lots of unique, small museums in New Hampshire, but this has got to be one of my very favorites! 

This little, tiny Museum of Dumb Guy Stuff is located in the basement of an old house on 114 Mechanic Street in Portsmouth (almost across the street from Geno's restaurant).  It is run by Clayton Emery and Rod Hildebrand, and opened to the public about five years ago.  The basement space is full of "stuff" including lots of historic scenes made out of action figures like G.I. Joe and Barbie as well as anything else that can be converted or redesigned.  There is no admission fee, and they refused to take a donation ("We're not an official museum"). 

Visiting this museum is a bit of nostalgia ("I had that figure!"), a bit of American history ("look at that scene from the Old West!"), and a lot of fun.  Besides history, there are scenes from around Portsmouth, scenes from movies, TV, and what ever else Emery and Hildebrand imagine.  

Inside the museum

Out in the garden (in front of the museum) 
Clayton Emery describes the details in this 20th century diorama of Portsmouth

This year The Museum of Dumb Guy Stuff features dioramas of Portsmouth history for the 400th anniversary. When we visited this summer we saw the 20th century diorama, and the 18th and 19th century dioramas have been moved for display at the visitor center for the Portsmouth Historical Society at 10 Middle Street.  

"Oldest 'action figure'. Dug up in the back yard
Probably buried by some little brother 150 years ago."

Ancient Gaul. LOL!

For the truly curious:

The Museum of Dumb Guy Stuff on Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/DumbGuy2

A story about the Museum of Dumb Guy Stuff at RoadsideAmerica.com:    https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/66000   

The Museum of Dumb Guy Stuff, 114 Mechanic Street, Portsmouth. Open daily 10am to 3pm 

The Porstmouth Historical Society, 10 Middle Street, Portsmouth.  Open daily 10am to 5pm. $10 general admission. Walking tours and tickets to the John Paul House are available, too. https://portsmouthhistory.org/  


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "The Museum of Dumb Guy Stuff", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 19, 2023, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2023/09/the-museum-of-dumb-guy-stuff.html: accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Visiting Our Ancestors in Lexington, Massachusetts


This summer we took our granddaughter to see Lexington, Massachusetts.  She had been reading a book called Sam, the Minuteman, by Nathaniel Benchly.  This is an "I can Read" level 3 book about a fictional young man that witnessed the Battle of Lexington. One day while she and I took turns reading this book I mentioned that her ancestors were at this battle, and that the houses of some family members still stand in Lexington.  A few months later we took a short day trip to see these sights! 

The first place we visited was the Munroe Tavern.  It was owned by members of the Munroe family.  Seven members of the family were mustered on Lexington Common on 19 April 1775.  Our ancestor, Andrew Munroe, was only eleven years old on that day.  This was about the age of Sam, the Minuteman in the book.  We don't know if Andrew witnessed the battle, but chances are that he was nearby.  His two uncles, Robert Munroe and Jonas Parker (husband to his Aunt Lucy Munroe), were the first two men killed on Lexington Green. His cousin William Munroe (1742-1827) owned the Munroe Tavern.

On 19 April 1775 William Munroe had to leave his family and join the minutemen on Lexington Green.  He left his wife and children, and a handyman named John Raymond.  The British Regulars marched right down the road in front of the house towards the town common.  The women and children fled to the woods, and John Raymond stayed to protect the house.  The British killed Raymond, and commandeered the tavern as a field hospital.  On the retreat, after the battles of Lexington and Concord, the house was used to treat the British wounded, and then it was set on fire when they left. Fortunately the house survived. 

In 1789 President Washington toured the new United States and stopped in Lexington, Massachusetts to have a meal with the Munroe family at their tavern.  The table, chair, and even the dishes Washington used were carefully preserved by the Munroe family. These items are still on display at the Munroe Tavern, on the second floor. I've also blogged about this event, and you can read about it HERE

In the tavern room, on the first floor, the British Regulars shot a bullet into the ceiling.  The Munroe family preserved this evidence of the event and it is still visible today.  

The downstairs part of the Munroe Tavern is a museum dedicated to telling the story of the Battle of Lexington from a British viewpoint. This was a controversial move by the Lexington Historical Society several years ago.  The upstairs rooms tell the story of the Munroe family and their view of that day nearly 250 years ago. In the bedroom are many family artifacts. I blogged about the rebranding of the Munroe Tavern HERE

A colonial costume!  It was fun trying on different outfits at the Munroe Tavern.

Nana dressed as a "Redcoat"!

It was fun to bring my granddaughter to see these sights and to learn about her ancestors.  However, discussing war and death with an eight year old was interesting, too.  She had lots of questions. "Why did they fight?" and "Why did the Red Coats kill  John Raymond?" and "Why did the Red Coats fight the minutemen?" and the inevitable "Why do we have wars?".   If you bring young children to see battlefields and cemeteries, and if they see or read stories about war and oppression you must be prepared to answer these questions. And be prepared to answer the more philosphical questions about war with "Everyone has questions about that" or "I wish I knew that, too".  We weren't surprised at the questions, but tried to answer as truthfully as possible.  Not all history is easy. 

We placed pennies at the monument on Lexington Green where the slain minutemen are buried.

"This Monument is erected
By the inhabitants of Lexington,
Under the patronage & at the expense of
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
To the memory of their Fellow Citizens,
Ensign Robert Munroe, Messrs. Jonas Parker,
Samuel Hadley, Jonathan Harrington, Junr.
Isaac Muzzy, Caleb Harrington, and John Brown
of Lexington & Asahel Porter of Woburn,
Who fell on this field the first Victims to the 
Sword of British Tyranny & Oppression,
On the morning of the ever memorable
Nineteenth of April, An. Dom, 1775.
The Die was cast!!!"

On our way back walking from the Lexington Green we saw this house facing the battlefield.  We wondered if this was another member of our Munroe clan.  When I was home I looked up the names Marret and Nathan Munroe.  They were father and son.  Marrett Munroe (1713 - 1798) was married to Deliverance Parker, the sister to Captain  John Parker of the Lexington Minutemen, and cousin to Jonas Parker mentioned above.  Marret's son Nathan Munroe (1747 - 1829) served under Captain Parker's command on the day of the battle across the street from his house, with six other Munroe men. 

For the truly curious:

The Munroe Tavern at the Lexington Historical Society website:   https://www.lexingtonhistory.org/munroe-tavern   

The Munroe Tavern at Wikipedia:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munroe_Tavern_(Lexington,_Massachusetts)  

and several blog posts:

"Rebranding History" 26 September 2011  https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2011/09/rebranding-history.html  

"Surname Saturday - Munroe of Lexington, Massachusetts" 30 June 2012   https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2012/06/surname-saturday-munroe-of-lexington.html  

"Cousins at the Battle of Lexington" 15 April 2010    https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2010/04/cousins-at-battle-of-lexington.html  

"Read how a family history fib spread in 1889, and is still spreading today!" 29 January 2015 (about Washington's visit to the Munroe Tavern in 1789)   https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2015/01/read-how-family-history-fib-spread-in.html    


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Visiting Our Ancestors in Lexington, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 12, 2023, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2023/09/visiting-our-ancestors-in-lexington.html: accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Weathervanes in Switzerland for Weathervane Wednesday

 These weathervanes were photographed in Switzerland by Don Smith.

Vincent's friend and former co-worker Don Smith was travelling in Switzerland when he photographed these two weathervanes.  The first one was photographed at Monument Boussole in Geneva.  It is a simple arrow with a very elaborate tail!  

The second weathervane was photographed by Don Smith at the summit of the Matterhorn glacier at 12,747 feet elevation!  Don captured the photo from the Mirador Observation Deck, Glacier Paradise, Kein Matterhorn.  It is a weathercock with a colorful tail with the red and white Swiss cross, and an arrow with a red tail above yellow cardinal points.  This observation deck is at the end point of the highest cable car in Europe.  Perhaps this is the highest weathervane in Europe? 

For the truly curious:

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise website in English:   https://www.matterhornparadise.ch/en/Experience/Peaks/Matterhorn-glacier-paradise     

A YouTube video featuring the cable car, views of the Matterhorn, and the weathervane (4:05) at the observation deck:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vxpX_V7SY0   

Click here to see over 500 weathervanes featured on Weathervane Wednesday:   https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/search/label/Weathervane%20Wednesday  


To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervanes in Switzerland for Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 6, 2023, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2023/09/weathervanes-in-switzerland-for.html: accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Madrid, Spain Air Museum for Weathervane Wednesday

 Today's weathervane was photographed at the Madrid Air Museum in Spain. 

The Madrid Air Museum, also known as the Museum of Aeronautics and Astronautics, is near Madrid at the Cuatro Vientos Air Base.  The museum was founded in 1975, and inaugurated in 1981.  There are over 200 aircraft on display with 7 hangars.  

My husband went to visit this museum with his cousin and took a photo of the weathervane atop one of the hangars.  It is an unusual two dimensional weathervane of two military aircraft in silhouette.  There are no cardinal points on the weathervane.  It is a very tiny weathervane, and difficult to see from the ground. 

For the truly curious:

Madrid Air Museum website in English:  https://ejercitodelaire.defensa.gob.es/EA/museodelaire/en.html   

Wikipedia article on the Madrid Air Museum:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Museum_of_Aeronautics_and_Astronautics_(Madrid)  

Click here to see 500 more Weathervane Wednesday posts:


To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Madrid, Spain Air Museum for Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted August 30, 2023, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2023/08/madrid-spain-air-museum-for-weathervane.html: accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Angel Gabriel in Sturbridge, Massachusetts for Weathervane Wednesday

This weathervane was photographed at the Publick House, in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. 

The Publick House Historic Inn and Country Motor Lodge is located in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.  There are 128 guestrooms, two restaurants, and a coffee shop.  There is also conference and event space.  There are always weddings being held in the garden and inside, since it is such a popular destination. The original inn building dates from 1771, when it was built by Ebenezer Crafts on the Boston Post Road for weary travelers. 

The weathervane is the figure of the Angel Gabriel blowing his horn. This two dimensional cut metal weathervane is very primitive.  It is difficult to see the wing of the angel next to the post. The figure has a white patina, so it might be made of lead. The only cardinal points are East and West. 

In Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the archangel Gabriel announces God's messages to men.  For example, in the New Testament Gabriel announces the birth of Jesus to Mary, and in the Hebrew bible Gabriel appears to the prophet Daniel.  In Islam, Gabriel revealed the 96th chapter of the Quran to Muhammad.  The Angel Gabriel is a well known subject of many artists often showing him with a trumpet. 

For the truly curious:

The Publick House Historic Inn website:   https://www.hotelsone.com/sturbridge-hotels-us/publick-house-historic-inn-and-country-motor-lodge.html  

Click here to see 500 more weathervanes featured at Weathervane Wednesday:



To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Angel Gabriel in Sturbridge, Massachusetts for Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted August 23, 2023, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2023/08/angel-gabriel-in-sturbridge.html: accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

A Whale of a Car Wash! For Weathervane Wednesday

 This weathervane was photographed in Lunenburg, Massachusetts

The Whalom Wash is a car wash business located on Route 13 in Lunenburg, Massachusetts.  We have driven past this whale weathervane for many years, but this is the first time we stopped to take a photograph!  This is a two dimensional weathervane, the silhouette of a right whale above the cardinal points.  This business is near Lake Whalom, and across the street from the former "Whalom Park" (an amusement park that operated from 1893 to 2000).  The park lay abandoned for many years, but the last structures, including the huge Flying Comet rollercoaster was demolished in 2006. 

Whalom is pronounce WHALE-um, and the amusement park used a whale as its mascot. The TV advertising for the park had a jingle I still remember from my childhood "Whalom Paaaark...for a whale of a time!"  Lake Whalom covers 103 acres.  The Native Americans in this area called it Uncacchewalunk, which was shortened and corrupted to Walun or Whalom.  

For the truly curious:

Whalom Wash, 380 Electric Avenue, Lunenburg, Massachusetts:   https://whalomwash.mywashclub.com/portal/default.aspx  

Click here to see over 500 weathervanes featured at "Weathervane Wednesday":   https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/search/label/Weathervane%20Wednesday   


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "A Whale of a Car Wash! For Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted August 16, 2023, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2023/08/a-whale-of-car-wash-for-weathervane.html: accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

A Church in Madrid for Weathervane Wednesday

This church was photographed at 93 Calle de Bravo Murillo in Madrid, Spain.


This is the weathervane above the bell tower of the Parroquia Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles (Our Lady of the Angels) in Madrid, Spain.  It is a short walk from Cuatro Caminos.  This church was built in 1892, and the interior has 8 chapels.  The weathervane is a banner style, very traditional, with a fancy scrolled finial shaped like a Christian cross. It looks like there is a grounding wire running from the top of the finial down to the church, making this also a lightning rod.  (Can anyone confirm this?)

For the truly curious:

Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles: La historia parroquia de Cuatro Caminos, from the ABC Madrid newspaper website, published 19 March 2022:  https://www.abc.es/espana/madrid/abci-nuestra-senora-angeles-historica-parroquia-cuatro-caminos-202203190005_noticia.html  

Click here to see over 500 more weathervanes featured at "Weathervane Wednesday":  https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/search/label/Weathervane%20Wednesday  


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "A Church in Madrid for Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted August 9, 2023, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2023/08/a-church-in-madrid-for-weathervane.html: accessed [access date]).  

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Londonderry Old Home Days August 16 - 19, 2023

The first Old Home Day was proclaimed by New Hampshire's Governor Frank Rollins in 1899 to bring family and friends back to New Hampshire.  The state had a declining population as people moved west, but Old Home Day was a time to visit the old homestead and old hometowns. 

Londonderry's Old Home Days stretch over several days and attracts about 12,000 people annually.  There is a concert and picnic for seniors on the 16th, Battle of the Bands on the 17th, fireworks and the Police vs Firefighters softball games on the 18th, and a Christian concert on Sunday the 20th, but the biggest day is Saturday August 19th with concerts, fireworks, parade, a 5K road race, children's games, food trucks, a fair on the common, beer festival, and a large historical encampment at the Londonderry Historical Society's museum complex a few yards down the road from the common. 

At the Morrison House on Saturday the 19th you will find a blacksmith, corn husk doll demonstrations, a colonial surgeon, a colonial washerwoman, a gunsmith, a horn smith (animal horns), a tinsmith, flax workers, spinners, weavers, country music, a genealogist (Sandy Dahlfred from the Historical Society), and cannon firings at 12, 1 and 2.  

If you have never seen the interior of the historic buildings at the Londonderry Historical Society Museum complex, they are all open to the public at Old Home Day including the Morrison House, the Parmenter Barn, the blacksmith shop and the carriage house.  

For the truly curious:

Londonderry Old Home Day at the town website:    https://www.londonderrynh.gov/londonderry-old-home-day  

Londonderry Old Home Day on Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/TownofLondonderryOldHomeDay/   

Derry News article "Old Home Day plans underway", July 13, 2023   https://www.derrynews.com/news/londonderry/old-home-day-plans-underway/article_c13e8a08-1f22-11ee-9153-8ba2e2a1df7b.html   

The Londonderry Historical Society website:  https://www.londonderryhistory.org/  


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Londonderry Old Home Days August 16 - 19, 2023", Nutfield Genealogy, posted August 3, 2023, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2023/08/londonderry-old-home-days-august-16-19.html: accessed [access date]).