Doing research is fun, or at least the kind of research I’m doing this week is fun. I do a lot of research for my job, usually for upcoming exhibitions. Mostly, this has the feel of researching a long, somewhat unfocused essay. I enjoy that kind of work. What I enjoy even more is trying to figure stuff out, sleuthing out clues to object histories, and following tangents that might just pay off. This week, it’s been all this stuff and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.
The map I’ve posted here is from the French-Indian War and it isn’t what I was actually researching. I’m currently doing work around the War of 1812(-15) for an upcoming exhibition and I realised I didn’t actually know where “Fort Oswego” was and it was referenced a few times in a record I was looking through. I figured it was in New York State, somewhere near Lake Ontario, although I assumed it was where Oswego, NY, is now located, but other than that, I drew a blank since I’ve never, to my knowledge been to Oswego. I Googled it, as one does these days, and found this map which clearly indicates Fort Oswego North of the Eastern tip of the Finger Lakes region (which is very beautiful, by the way). Fort Oswego is indeed modern day Oswego.
And then I saw Lake George. When we lived in Brooklyn, the summer began when my mom packed us up at the beginning of July (after the 4th) and drove me and the cats up to the cottage in Quebec. It was only a 10 hour drive, but when you have a toddler and cats packed into a car full of two months of rustic cottage supplies, it makes sense to break the trip in two. The halfway point of the drive always came at Lake George, where we stayed overnight and which welcomed our cats. I can still remember our room - we had the same one every year - but I can’t actually remember which place we stayed. Maybe it was The Georgian, it’s of the right vintage.
Anyway, this is one of the side-side-side tangents I sometimes end up following when I’m doing fun research. Now it’s time to go back to the real work: looking at possible loan objects or images for the upcoming exhibition or alternately appraising the most recent acquisitions to the history collection.