Educators Blog

Explore the Lost Art of Handwriting

Friday, 1/31/14

In this day and age when the teaching of handwriting is being challenged, enjoy this look back at its history.  The Conservation Department's current display, prepared by Tara O'Brien,  is entitled "Penmanship."  After all, the forging of our nation only became literal with the writing and signing of the Founding Fathers, such as Timothy Matlack, who drafted a copy of the Declaration of Independence, and John Hancock.

The glass display case exhibits documents and information on penmanship and its particular role in history. The display provides a wonderful snapshot of the significance of script and penmanship as the only material means to communicate and record history. Way before the digital age of keyboards and even typewriters, people who knew script or cursive were always in a position to work. Training in penmanship was as detailed and important as apprenticeships in other crafts such as blacksmithing. This first floor display highlights prestigious signatures, book series on penmanship, illustrations and blurbs on script as both a historically valued skill and an occupation.

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