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VCU Archaeology

Clues in the Attic: Scanning Artifacts for the Fairfield Foundation

By: Victoria Garcia, Virtual Curation Laboratory Intern

Victoria Garcia (far right) and Virginia Adams watch as a fragment of a coatrack from the Ware Neck Store is scanned.

On Wednesday, September 4, I had the opportunity to sit down with Virginia Adams of the Fairfield Foundation to discuss their collection of items from the Ware Neck Store. The Ware Neck Store, located in Gloucester, Virginia, is still in use as a general store and is currently named Nuttall Country Store. The store was built in 1877 and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Virginia brought artifacts from the Ware Neck Store for the Virtual Curation Laboratory at Virginia Commonwealth University to scan and create 3D images. These forgotten artifacts were recovered from the attic of the general store. The collection was nominated to be among the top ten endangered artifacts in Virginia. Some pieces in the collection include a portion of a coat rack, glass bottles, cotton spool boxes, a hat, and thirty years worth of receipts. Dates of these artifacts range from 1880’s to 1910’s.

Crystal Castelberry holds the bundle of receipts from the Ware Neck Store steady as it is scanned.

The receipts prove to be a good representation of what was actually being sold through the years in the rural area. Shipping receipts from Baltimore exhibit postbellum Virginia trade networks; shipped items include meats, produce, and dry goods. All of this information could possibly be used to study the rural economy in Gloucester.

The future of the Ware Neck Store collection relies on conserving what was found. “The initial goal of the project was to stabilize it, as it’s in an extremely unstable condition right now,” Virginia said. The team hopes to create digital files of paperwork by scanning the documents to make them available to the public.

The Virtual Curation Laboratory greatly appreciated the opportunity to scan artifacts from the Fairfield Foundation.

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