Although we had the wrong map for Winterthur on Friday, we did manage to get there on Sunday, the last day of the quilt exhibit. We were disappointed to learn that the exhibit was sold out when we arrived twenty minutes after they opened. It was also the Garden Faire, so the place was packed. We decided just to tour the house and then check out the fair.
Because of the special event, the house was open without tour guides. Each room had a docent, and you could spend as much time in each room as you wanted (unlike on the tour). DD is a curious soul and she comes up with lots of great questions. When we were in the Empire Room talking to a docent, an older woman (mid-sixties) picked up a piece of china that was on display to check out the mark on the bottom. In a museum! She touched something! Everyone noticed and when the docent saw the looks on our faces, her head practically spun off her neck, "Ma'am, ma'am, you cannot touch that!" The woman puts the place setting down and with a flick of her wrist says, "I know." Apparently, you do not!
Later, in the dining room, we were asking the docent about the china (okay, it was all DD). "Is there any American china?" "Why yes," the docent tells us. "Tucker porcelain was made in Philadelphia with Pennsylvania clay for about ten years in the early nineteenth century. We have some in the Empire Room--it's laid out for tea service." "Oh that's the one that woman picked up!" "Someone touched it? I have never touched anything in the museum! That is going to be all the talk in the lounge." No kidding.
When we were disappointed that the quilt exhibit was sold out, they told us that there were over 40 quilts we could see in the exhibit hall. They gave us some convoluted instructions, so we sent the dude upstairs to see if he could find them; "up here," he calls. So we walk through looking at quilts; admiring them all; explaining to the dude the difference between piecing and quilting, how a quilt is made, what a whole cloth quilt is, etc. I kept thinking, "this is more than 40 quilts." Well, it turns out, we snuck into the quilt exhibit! But I don't feel very bad about it at all: we didn't touch anything! You'd think I'd just be talking about the woman in the Empire Room, but no. We also witnessed a pair of women flip up one of the quilts that was displayed on a bed and rub their grubby hands all over it. It was like they wanted to leave their DNA. They were really going to town! What is the matter with people? Has the whole world gone crazy? Am I the only one around here who gives a shit about the rules? You can tell the stitchers, though; they want to get real close, to point with their hands millimeters away from the fabric, but they do. not. touch. Not at all. No greasy finger gets near other people's fabric--even when the other people have been dead for years.