Eiteljorg Musuem Blog
  • Gold Quartz Jewelry

    by James H. Nottage, Eiteljorg chief curatorial officer | May 13, 2015
    Brooch, 1860s

    Loan courtesy of Greg and Petra Martin
    Photography by Hadley Fruits

    Fine jewelers, along with gold- and silversmiths, were among the citizens who made up the new populations of gold rush California. Many of those who found wealth showed it off with watch chains, brooches, and other jewelry made with sections of gold-rich quartz. A number of firms rose to prominence by making this unique form of jewelry in San Francisco. They included J. W. Tucker & Co.; George Shreve & Co.; Barrett & Sherwood; and Braverman & Levy. Supposedly, even President Abraham Lincoln had an example of gold quartz jewelry. An elegant purse made of panels of gold and gold quartz, remarkable boxes, and even a model of the Parthenon were created for the wealthiest of clients. Watch fobs and brooches were often designed to hold loved ones’ pictures or locks of hair.


    Watch and Chain, 1860s
    Watch by American Waltham
    Gold quartz, gold, enameled face
    Loan courtesy of Greg and Petra Martin
    Photography by Hadley Fruits

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  • On the Banks of the Yukon Far Away

    by Johanna M. Blume, Eiteljorg assistant curator | May 11, 2015

    On my log cabin home beside the Yukon / Old aurora throws her bright and brilliant ray. / Thro’ her beams I see the snow clad mountains gleaming, / On the banks of the Yukon far away.

    —Lyrics from On the Banks of the Yukon Far Away, 1910, words and music by Martin T. Chester

    To Klondyke we’ve paid our fare / Our golden slippers we soon will wear / We’ll live on pig and polar bear /  And gather the nuggets we know are there.

    —Lyrics from To Klondyke We’ve Paid Our Fare, 1897, words and music by H. J. Dunham

    The allure of gold has captured the imagination of dreamers and adventurers throughout time. Gold rushes like the Klondike not only drew prospectors and speculators to the goldfields, they also inspired many creative works that influenced popular culture at the time, including novels, plays, songs, and even board games. Some of these works were created by people with firsthand knowledge of the gold rush, others by people who had never set foot in the Klondike region. The gold fields of the Far North figured prominently in the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, the 1909 World’s Fair held in Seattle, Washington. These creative endeavors allowed people from all over the world to vicariously experience the excitement and adventure of life in the Klondike.
    Klondike March of the Gold MinersThe Chilkoot March

    Sheet Music Covers
    Loan courtesy of Greg and Petra Martin.

    The Klondike Gold Rush inspired many composers. Alfred Roncovieri, who wrote The Chilkoot March, actually spent time in the Klondike gold camps.



    The Klondike Game, 1896–1902
    Parker Bros.
    Loan courtesy of the University of Alaska Museum of the North
    Photography by Hadley Fruits

    The famous game company Parker Brothers created and marketed this board game during the peak years of the Yukon-Klondike gold rush. The game play mimicked the actual journey to and from Dawson City, and the player who collected the most gold nuggets by the end of the game won.

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  • Eiteljorg Insider | Katherine Sergi, Social Media Intern

    by Katherine Sergi, Eiteljorg social media intern | May 07, 2015


    This past February I began my journey as the Social Media Intern under the direction of Hyacinth Rucker, New Media and Web Coordinator. As a 22 year old I was very familiar with social media and the many platforms offered to people today. I had no idea when I started how to exactly use social media to market an organization, especially a nonprofit. I learned quickly how important social media is for an organization and what does and doesn’t work. I never expected how much work was really put into getting every post out there, whether it be for an event, an exhibit opening, or just promoting the museum itself. 

    When I helped out with the opening party for Gold! Riches and Ruin I learned firsthand how to post an event as its happening. I never expected it to be so exhausting because I had to constantly run around getting the best shots while connecting to the people at the event. By the end of the night it was amazing to see my hard work on Facebook, Twitter, etc. and the reaction people had to it. It was worth it knowing that even people who couldn’t make it to the event feel like they were there just by my social media posts.
    wantedposterejgold2As a history major working in a museum was something I strived for and after working at the Eiteljorg I began knowing the inner workings of a museum. Not really sure what I wanted to do in museums, my time here has made me realize how much I love being able to use social media to market a little piece of history for everyone to enjoy as much as I enjoy the Eiteljorg. I am very thankful for the opportunity I have been given here and I have learned so much. I can’t wait to be able to use all I have learned for my journey after college and into the real world.

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  • Community in Peril | Life in the gold camps

    by James H. Nottage, Eiteljorg chief curatorial officer | May 06, 2015
     Every alternate house was a gambling saloon, and each of them was carrying on a brisk business. In the middle of the street a little knot of men had gathered, and were holding a prayer meeting, which showed in sharp contrast to the bustling activity of wickedness surrounding it.

    —Leander P. Richardson, “A Trip to the Black Hills,” in Scribner’s Monthly, April 1877

    Life in the gold camps, and in the towns and cities that developed around them, attracted those who sought to separate the miners from their gold through crime, gambling, alcohol, drugs, prostitution, and other temptations. Saloons provided a place to socialize and relax, usually on Sundays, from the labors of mining and prospecting. Whiskey and beer were commonly served, but so were fruity mixed drinks. The food served ranged from basic fare to the finest cuisine, including fresh oysters from the East.

    Although conflicts ran through Deadwood because of crime and violence, many communities within the town formed and prospered. Strong populations of Chinese, Jewish, and other groups were an important part of daily life.  They could even band together in the event of fire, which could threaten them all.

    The Burnt District
    , Deadwood, 1879
    Image courtesy of Deadwood History, Inc., Adams Museum Collection; 0070.233.001

    Interior Deadwood Saloon. Image courtesy of Deadwood History, Inc., Adams Museum Collection; 0001.044.001
    Chinese fire department - SMALLER

    Chinese Fire Department—July 4, 1888
    Image courtesy of Deadwood History, Inc., Adams Museum Collection; 56-6-1924



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  • FANTASTIC, AMAZING, MARVELOUS | What visitors are saying about GOLD

    by Eiteljorg Gold! Riches and Ruin Visitors | May 05, 2015

    2001.142.12.14-gold media
    Scene of Hydraulic Mining in Alaska, ca. 1899
    Image courtesy of the Washington State Historical Society; 2001.142.12.14

    The Eiteljorg's Gold! Riches and Ruin exhibit explores stories of greed, innovation, success and failure in the quest for gold and the world’s continuing fascination with this rare and valuable mineral. Here's what some of our visitors have shared after experiencing the show:

    "This is a most educational and fantastic exhibition. Very well presented. Thank you."

    "Marvelous exhibit — rich detail, displayed beautifully. I live in the DC area and this is on par with anything in the Smithsonian!"

    DSC_8968"The neatness of the area and variety of exhibits was not only impressive, but so well explained and exhibited."

    "It was absolutely amazing. I loved the show by Belinda Mulrooney (pictured - Local actress Jamison Fisher*). The artifacts were unbelievable. It was the most fascinating museum experience ever!!"

    "Wonderful exhibit of history and the westward exploration. Sad to see it cost so many cultures and people their lives."

    "I was really impressed. Nice diversity of religion, race, gender and socioeconomic class. Really well done."

    "Great gold exhibit — very complete time-wise, culturally. The large photos added greatly to sense of being there. Exhibit much more than I anticipated. Excellent! Thanks, congrats to the curator of the exhibit."

    "Very interesting. A lot of things you heard about in history class didn’t provide all these details. Learned a lot."

    Visit this show to witness captivating accounts from gold rush experiences, spanningEiteljorg gold hair comb cup ring nuggets the 1840s to the 1910s, told through art and artifacts. The show comes alive through comprehensive programs, interactive media and hands-on S.T.E.M. (Science Technology Engineering and Math) activities. Gold! closes Aug. 9.

    Pictured: Gold hair comb, cup, ring, and nuggets, Loan: Courtesy of Greg and Petra Martin, Photography by Hadley Fruits

    Storytelling every Saturday and Sunday

    Meet Storyteller Belinda Mulrooney! 
    Saturdays & Sundays through AUG 9
    12:30 p.m., 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.

    Meet Belinda Mulrooney, one of the richest women in the Klondike at the turn of the 20th century, and hear about her adventures during the Yukon Klondike Gold Rush. Local actress Jamison Fisher, will portray Mulrooney in the Gold! Riches and Ruin gallery throughout the run of the exhibition.

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