The doings began with a party for members. Just in time for Halloween, we got a preview of the annual October display about “Mourning Customs in Victorian Times.” Death then (especially infant death) was so prevalent, it was a huge part of family life. Queen Victoria, with her strict personal code of behavior, defined proper mourning conduct, even for those in Phoenix, AZ. The Rossons lost two babies while here–one lived one month and seven days in 1883, and the other was a stillborn daughter. At the time, it was customary to view the body in the family home, so the Rosson House shows a baby doll in a tiny white coffin in the parlor, mirrors draped in black, white flowers–everything just as it would have been back then. It may sound morbid, but it was actually very interesting and moving.
For supper, I took a break and had a Rueben sandwich with fries at the Rose and Crown Pub. This is an English restaurant on Heritage Square (where the Rosson House is) in the 1900 Silva House pictured here.
Then it was back to the Rosson House for a special presentation on “The Colorful History of Arizona’s Capitols.” Shown here is the state capitol building that still stands (as a museum) today. The lecture was given by Alice Duckworth, Outreach Coordinator of the museum, dressed in late-Victorian costume. Very enlightening.
Stepping out into the warm evening, the grand old Rosson House stood silhouetted against the modern, bright lights of downtown Phoenix and swaying palm trees. So much to do here. So much beauty. It’s exciting!