Made possible by
 

Log in

Bringing Up Baby

HighChairConvertible Highchair, ca. 1900


CradleHooded Cradle, 1780-1820

 condensedmilkTrade Card Image, 1897

Bringing Up Baby features highlights of Historic Richmond Town's furniture collection, presenting new scholarship on the meaning and use of things like carriages, cradles, and potty chairs. 

Imagine bringing up baby without running water, an automatic washing machine, or, dismay -- no disposable diapers! Our ancestors did just that. They may have even welcomed the advice from a naive (and apparently, childless) physician in Philadelphia in the 1820s to urge parents to "Begin potty training at one month of age."

Many of these objects are world class 19th century artifacts. 

But, our parents' great-great-grandparents were not without the same kinds of concerns we have for our children today. They worried about their safety, what they ate, how they behaved and, yes, if they washed behind their ears. Objects of childhood tell a great deal about family life.

More than 30 historic furnishings are displayed including highchairs, cradles, and baby carriages, along with other childhood artifacts and photographs. Today's parents get a unique opportunity to look at the family life of their ancestors with this exhibit.  Many of these objects are world class 19th century artifacts.

See how furniture changed as childrearing practices and parental aspirations evolved through the centuries. The solid sides and paneled hood of a cradle from 1780-1820 reflect parents' concern with shielding their infants from drafts and protecting their eyes from light. As ventilation emerged as a greater concern, cradles made later in the 19th century were given slatted or spindled sides. By the end of the 19th century, fears that the rocking motion was harmful to infants rendered cradles nearly obsolete.

A ladderback highchair made 1780-1820 is essentially a child-sized version of an adult chair, but with long legs so its tiny user could reach the table. Its tall stiles angle inward for increased stability. In contrast, an innovative convertible highchair made 1876-1890 is specialized and complex, intended to safely contain and entertain the child. A patented mechanism allows it to convert to a rocking chair or a stroller.

Seen together, the display of children's furniture has visual impact that comes from the petite scale of the objects and also from the legacies of the original owners.

 

 

Upcoming Events

  • Dinner at Bennett Café
    Fri - Nov 17, 2017 6:00PM
    Enjoy a delightful evening at our quaint café. Delicious!
  • Breakfast with Santa
    Sat - Nov 25, 2017 10:00AM
    Children, enjoy a delicious breakfast with Santa!
  • Thanksgiving Kitchen Tour
    Sat - Nov 25, 2017 1:00PM
    Tour the kitchens on the site and discover recipes and the sources of Thanksgiving meals we enjoy today.
  • Thanksgiving Kitchen Tour
    Sun - Nov 26, 2017 1:00PM
    Tour the kitchens on the site and discover recipes and the sources of Thanksgiving meals we enjoy today.
  • Bennett Cafe Breakfast
    Sun - Dec 3, 2017 10:00AM
    Homestyle breakfast at Bennett Cafe!
  • Christmas in Richmond Town & Traditional Tree Lighting
    Sun - Dec 3, 2017 11:00AM
    Experience nostalgia all through the Historic Village.
  • Candlelight Tours
    Sat - Dec 9, 2017 5:00PM
    Visitors of all ages take a journey through three-hundred years of tradition as they discover how America's most festive season came to be.
  • Dinner at Bennett Café
    Sat - Dec 9, 2017 6:00PM
    Enjoy a delightful evening at our quaint café. Delicious!
  • Candlelight Tours
    Sat - Dec 16, 2017 5:00PM
    Visitors of all ages take a journey through three-hundred years of tradition as they discover how America's most festive season came to be.
  • Victorian Valentine Workshop
    Sat - Feb 3, 2018 1:00PM
    Make your own!
  • Easter Egg Hunt
    Sat - Mar 31, 2018 10:00AM
    Bring an egg carton to decorate in high Victorian style!
  • NYC BBQ Cookoff 2018
    Sat - Apr 7, 2018 12:00PM
    NYC's only KCBS sanctioned cookoff for the whole family. Sample, stroll, quench and enjoy fun stuff with the kids.

718 • 351 • 1611

Historic Richmond Town
441 Clarke Avenue

Staten Island, NY   10306


Newsroom

Skip the leftovers and enjoy open-hearth fire-cooked Thanksgiving samplings

Thanksgiving TableThe meal that many American families enjoy on Thanksgiving has deep roots in the earliest American food traditions. Historic Richmond Town’s three historic kitchens will be crackling with hardwood fires and open-hearth cooking on Saturday November 25 and Sunday November 26. Historic Interpreters will serve food samples that feature original old-world recipes that include food items that the colonists learned about from Native American culture, and then infused with the spices used in Europe. 

Rosemarie Mangano Cavanagh joins Historic Richmond Town Board

Rosemarie Mangano Cavanagh 300x411July 1, 2017 - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has named Rosemarie Mangano Cavanagh as the Mayor’s representative on the Board of Directors of the Staten Island Historical Society at Historic Richmond Town.

Save our Roofs!

Basketmaker House Resized

Keep history safe and dry!

Online Ticket Sales

Online tickets are available up until 3pm, two weekdays before the event. For  Saturday and Sunday events, tickets are available online until 3 pm Thursday.

Volunteer

VOLUNTEER 200px

Help us share the American experience!


Follow us on Twitter

Share the Stories!

Third County Courthouse Rendered Painted columns

Your support helps us tell the stories of ordinary people working together to build an extraordinary country.  Let's share these stories together. Go ahead, click and donate!!

Donate!