We’ve finished cleaning the main house and moved on to the bunk house. We’re continuing most of the cleaning techniques we used in the house, but we can keep our shoes on since the floors aren’t carpeted. (I got to keep my belt on and cover myself in 30% DEET bug spray cleaning the horse stalls. The horses are long gone, but the mosquitoes remain.)
Some of our techniques are even more important, as there are great differences between the items in the rooms the cowboys and ranch hands uses and those in the main house. One is age – most things in the house date to 1900 at the latest, used by the Kohrs. There are a few of Con Warren’s books in the shelves, but it’s mostly his grandparents’. The bunk house was used from Johnny Grant’s day in the 1860s through Con Warren’s management of the ranch in the 1930s. Most of the items are from that period. These items also feel and look older than the items in the house. The Kohrs spent most of their time in Helena after 1900, and their stature while alive lent importance to their items.
The kitchens – despite a chronological and class gap – share many items. Those in the bunk house show chronic use and a purpose. They show more of a sense of time and history. The Kohrs house is museum quality and has been for a long time. Not a bad thing, just not as visceral.
There are some items in the house that bring that sense of time and history to bear – the music sheets and magazines are more fragile than the books, so they appear more real and solid as historic evidence of Victorian life.