There are a lot of people that shudder when they hear the words “teenager” and “museum” in the same sentence. Two weeks ago, we held our annual Junior Historian training camp. During that week, I went to get my hair cut and my guy asked me what I had been up to lately. I said “Well, this is Junior Historian week. So I’ve been outside with a bunch of teenagers.” His shocked response: “Whatever possessed you to do that?” Confession time: this is one of my very favorite programs. But maybe I am a little crazy. For many, many years (no one is exactly sure how long, but we’re talking about decades), Dallas Heritage Village has had a Junior Historian program for teens. The basic format hasn’t changed too much: ..
Thursday, June 2 was an explosive day at Dallas Heritage Village. For the first time ever, the Curatorial department disposed of an antique from our collection by blowing it up, with the help of the Dallas Police Department’s bomb squad. There was no act of terrorism or other criminal threat, just a dangerous chemical legacy from the past. The artifact was a brown glass bottle that once contained liquid picric acid. Doctors and dentists used this around 1900 for medical purposes, particularly to treat burns. Liquid picric acid is poisonous, but that would not be enough to scare a history curator. Collections of historic artifacts can contain many dangerous things, including medical artifacts. Many early medicines were substances that, technically speaking, were poisons, ..