Friday we went to Stellafane, one of the largest gathering of amateur telescope makers and amateur astronomers. We went first to Hartness House where they directed us up Breezy Hill to the Stellafane clubhouse. We talked to the president of Stellafane along with the curator of the museum at Hartness House. There were lots of amateur astronomers there with their hand built telescopes. I will admit that I did not understand any of the technical stuff they told us, but we were mainly there to find out more about Russell Porter, arctic explorer turned telescope maker. Porter was quite an interesting man. It wasn’t the most exciting day, but we had a good time.
Category Archives: Travel
Stellafane. Your first question is probably: what the hell is Stellafane? Stellafane (Latin for shrine to the stars) is the name of the clubhouse built by the Springfield Telescope Makers club of Springfield, Vermont in the early 1920s, and has since come to refer to the club’s land and buildings on the summit of Breezy Hill. It also refers to the Stellafane Convention, a gathering of amateur telescope makers and amateur astronomers (star party) held every year at that location. The Springfield Telescope Makers grew out of a class on how to make telescopes that was started by Russell W. Porter in Springfield, Vermont in August 12, 1920. The members of this small group decided to form a club and held their first meeting on December 7, 1923.
The reason I mention Stellafane is because I am going to the convention today. Porter was an alumni of the university that I work for. They are the curators of some Porter material that my Museum would like to borrow. Porter built some great telescopes such as the Hale Telescope at the Palomar Observatory in California. Porter was a pretty fascinating guy as an artist, an Artic explorer, and a telescope builder. So I’m going to Stellafane to help borrow some of the artifacts they have about Porter. It should be an interesting day.
I read so many old letters yesterday that by the end of the day, my eyes were crossed. People had such bad handwriting. Some had beautiful handwriting but most did not. Today, is going to be no different. I will still be reading letters, hopefully though the later they are in time, the more often they are typed. Hopefully more will be typed than not. We also haven’t found what we are looking for, but maybe something will turn up.
Today will be a day of research. Thankfully, I won’t have to drive far. Traffic was horrible yesterday. At one point I had two cars merging into my lane where I was occupying said lane. Luckily, I squeezed on through and managed to avoid a wreck. With so much traffic plus the rain, and accident would have been a major disaster. All I have to do today is drive into Providence (11 minutes from the hotel). Hopefully traffic will be better.
Unless something changes in the morning, I will be spending the next few days in Rhode Island. It seems that my boss needs an extra pair of eyes to help with research at the historical society in Providence. So, I will be spending the next two days plowing through old letters and documents, and essentially looking for a needle in a haystack.
I fly back to Vermont today. It’s been good to be home, and to be honest, I’m not looking forward to returning to Vermont. However, I am looking forward to seeing Isabella. I’ve had a coworker taking care of her, but I’m ready to have her back. Otherwise, it will be back to the same old routine at work.
Yesterday, Daddy and I were out riding on the boat when we came across a kid, he was probably 18, whose jet ski had broken down. Daddy offered to pull him back to his friends. There’s a sandbar where they all congregate. The kid was tall, very tan, with dark hair and very handsome. He had a nice butt too. Anyway, his friends showed up to help pull him back so we didn’t take him very far. His friends were cute too.
By the time this blog posts this morning, I will in the air on my way home. My parents know I am coming home, but the rest of my family doesn’t know. It’s going to be a big surprise. July 4th has always been a big holiday for my family and we will have a big BBQ on that day. I’m really looking forward to it.
Being home also means that I have limited internet access. I will do my best to post, but if I don’t, don’t worry. It just means that I didn’t have internet access.
Two museums in one day is a lot when the first museum is an hour and a half away and the second is another hour and a half away. The first museum was the Vermont Folklife Center where we listened to some oral histories about the Colonial Dames. It was interesting how the oral histories were presented. They were presented by having a number you call on your cell phone and listening to the oral histories clips. The second museum was Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home. The house was beautiful as were the grounds. Then we headed home. It was a long day.