Thursday, August 18, 2011

Finishing the Frame!

The frame is finished!
 All of the arches and poles have now been put in place for the witchott's frame.
 The Re-Construction team's next objective is to secure the poles of the finished frame with screws to fortify the structure of the witchott.
The team ran into an obstacle, however, as the screws would not penetrate both the horizontal and verticle poles. Coby and Sam first experimented with lubricating the screws with soap then decided to drill holes through the poles first, then insert the screws.

 Once the screws were in place, they cut away the strings wch had previously held the frame together.
 When all the poles have been screwed together, the team can finally begin working on the interior and finishing touches to the exterior of the witchott.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Looking like a Long- House!

 The Witchott Re-Construction Project continues to progress toward a fully constructed witchott! With the additional horizontal poles, the ends of the witchott have been formed.
 4 doorways have been constructed around the structure, making the witchott look more like the long-house it will soon become.
 The team continues to finish creating the grid frame of the witchott, bending and tethering long poles aross the entire witchott.
 Sam and Nat negotiate the grid structure to secure all setions of the witchott's frame.
 Before tethering the poles together, the poles must be bent and pulled close together to mold the witchott into the correct shape.
 Through strenuous work, the witchott is finally taking shape! Follow our blog to stay updated on the progress of the Re-Construction Project as we reach our goal of building the new witchott!

Volunteer Day!

On August 13th, volunteers came out to the Woodland Indian Hamlet for our final Volunteer Day. Volunteers assisted the Re-Construction Crew in various aspects of the wichott's construction throughout the day namely tethering poles of the witchott's structure and sewing mats for the witchott's exterior.
 The team, with the help of our volunteers, continued to apply poles across the arches of the witchott.
 While several volunteers assisted Coby on site, others joined Cathy in the Visitor's Center Auditorium to sew mats.
The mats sewn were synthetic phragmite mats which will cover the frame of the witchott and later will be covered with natural phragmite mats. A sheet of plastic is sandwhiched between 2 of the synthetic mats to create a waterproof cover for the witchott.

 Once the structure of the witchott is completed, the team will attach the phragmite mats to the exterior.

The Final Steps in Forming the Frame

 Having started applying horizontal poles on each side of the witchott, the team decided to tether the tops of the arches to 2 long sapling poles. This will ensure a perfect allignment of the arches before the other horizontal poles are added, fixing the form of the witchott's frame.
 To create a structurally sound frame, the arches must be perfectly alligned.
 The team bends the arches toward the top pole, tethering them together to perfect the arches' placement and slope.

 Now that the basic structure of the witchott has been formed, the witchott can begin to take shape!

Taking Shape

 Once the arches had been fixed and re-positioned, the team began adding horizontal poles spanning the sides of the witchott.
Coby and his crew carefully calculated the positions of the horizontal poles and how to apply them to the existing structure.

The long sapling poles were tethered tightly to the vertical poles of the arches straightening and correcting the allignment of the arches.

 To ensure a sturdy structure, the crew used 2 sapling poles for each foot, creating a grid pattern frame.
Interns Chris and Nat test the sturdiness of the frame. Once the frame is finished, contruction can begin on the interior and exterior of the witchott.

The Great Arch Experiment Part 2

Following our first Volunteer Day at the Woodland Indian Hamlet at HSMC, the arches of the witchott's structure were erected. However, due to some initial miscalculations the arches refused to form the even slope the structure required. Coby and his team removed each arch from the foundation to correct their respective heights.
 Having packed the dirt and clay of the foundation to ensure the stability of the arches, each pole had to be removed individually and carefully so as not to damage the arches or foundation.

 The team then remeasured the depth of the foundation as well as the arches to calculate how much to cut off the ends of each pole.
 Once the poles were re-cut and replaced, the witchott began to take a more sloped shaped.

 However, the peaks of the arches remained too uneven to create the dome structure of the witchott's roof.
 The team measured each arch from top to bottom.
They then re-tethered the overlapping ends of the poles to correct the slope and height of the arches.

Once the arches have been perfectly alligned, the team can continue to build the rest of the witchott's frame.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

St. Mary's City Witchott Project Makes the Papers!

The Enterprise recently ran a story on Historic St. Mary's City Witchott Re-Construction Project! Team members Coby Treadway, Cathy Gallagher, Chris Pasch, and Nat Salzman are interviewed about the Re-Construction process and experience. Check out Susan Craton's article on pages B-5 and 10 of the August 10th paper and don't forget to come out for our last Volunteer Day this Saturday, August 13th!

Last Chance to Volunteer!

Come out and join the Witchott Re-Construction Crew for out last Volunteer Day this Saturday August 13!
Meet us at 9:30 am in the Visitor's Center at Historic St. Mary's City and become a part of the re-construction team. No special skills are needed, we'll teach you everything you need to know- and of course lunch will be provided.
For more information, contact HSMC Volunteer Coordinator Anne Forrest at 240-895-4977
We hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Volunteer Day This Saturday!

Come out and join the Witchott Re-Construction Crew this Saturday July 23!
Meet us at 9:30 am in the Visitor's Center at Historic St. Mary's City and become a part of the re-construction team. No special skills are needed, we'll teach you everything you need to know- and of course lunch will be provided.
For more information, contact HSMC Volunteer Coordinator Anne Forrest at 240-895-4977
We hope to see you there!

**The museum is also accepting donations of cedar trees between 2 1/4" and 5 1/4" in diameter and 18' to 30' in length as well as deer pelts**
Contact Coby Treadway at 240-895-4992 or if you have materials to share.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Woodland Indian Hamlet Volunteer Day!

On Saturday July 9, 2011 a number of volunteers came out to the Woodland Indian Hamlet at Historic St. Mary's City to assist in the witchott re-construction effort.
Coby and his team welcomed the additional help of the ten motivated volunteers as the construction of the witchott could finally begin.

Coby explains the construction of the witchott to volunteers and visitors using a model
Volunteers and the re-construction crew worked together to remove the arches from the frame and carry them to the site.

 The arches are then moved into place, set in the foundation replacing the original markers.
 The bases of the posts are buried 1 foot under the foundation, encased in pvc pipe and packed with dirt and gravel.
 As the team worked through the pre-prepared poles more volunteers stripped bark from additional cedar saplings to be used later as the construction progresses.
 Volunteers gather around to learn how to use their tools to strip away bark from the saplings.
Deputy Director Jennifer Legates works along side the re-construction crew and volunteers
 With hatchets, knives, and blades in hand, volunteers get to work preparing a pile of saplings.

 With the help of our volunteers, 12 "golden arches" were erected throughout the day and the framework of the witchott began to take shape.

Historic St. Mary's City and the Witchott Re-construction Crew would like to thank volunteers Lee Magnuson, Keith Perkins, David Rotman, Barbara Disenbacher, Bill Rush, Billy Rush, Carolyn Corbin, Regina Faden, Jennifer Legates, and Anne Forest for all their hard work.

Our next Woodland Indian Hamlet Volunteer Day will take place July 23, 2011. Come out and take part in the Re-construction Project!