Interpretive Furnishing Plan for the Gallegos House
The Gallegos will be the site of our efforts in interpreting a typical
soldier's dwelling during the closing years of the first Spanish occupation of
St. Augustine. The house should provide the visitor with a view of the typical
economic situation faced by the majority of families in St. Augustine and an in-
sight into some of the broader aspects of daily life in the mid-18th century.
In addition, we are going to stress the culinary arts typical of this time
and place so that our interpretive efforts will be concentrated or focused on
this particular aspect. We will be using the historical data and 18th century
lifestyle as a supportive backdrop.
As stated in the historical profile for the Gallegos House, we are dealing
with the home of Juan Garcia and Martin Martinez Gallegos and his family. In
1750 Martinez Gallegos as an artilleryman, 35 years old, married to Victoria
Escalona, 26, and they have three children: a son, 2, and two daughters, ages
unknown but less than 8. Living with them is Juan Garcia, 66, an infantryman
and an invalid.
What follows is a material cultural inventory designed to conform to the
historical data and the style of the period. The number, occupation and char-
acter of the occupants of the building will, in many cases, dictate the quantity
and type of objects found in the dwelling. In each case, the rationale and
suggestions for interpretation will be offered to qualify the presence of the
objects in the building.
The west room of the house should strike the visitor as an open, sparsely
furnished room. The perimeter is lined with the articles of daily living and the
walls, almost bare, support a religious shrine and articles of clothing.
A straight-backed side chair and two small stools are the only seating in-
side the house. The chair is for guests or the priest and is otherwise used by
Juan Garcia as senior of the household. The stools allow the two males to enter-
tain a guest or the Gallegos adults to converse with Garcia. Senora Gallegos
will occasionally sit on one of the stools to sew, but the chair must remain as
a place of honor in the household.
This seating arrangement can be useful in illustrating the social organization
within the home and how when visitors are received this organization is realigned,
the visitor is seated in the chair and the males sit on the stools.
The sleeping arrangement consists of three mats and three straw ticks rolled
and stored against the wall by day and spread in the evening, and a cradle now
used by the youngest but passed down from the other children. One tick each is
allowed for Garcia, the Gallegos adults and for the two older children. Three
large woolen blankets for the ticks and a smaller lighter blanket for the cradle
should be present. The cradle blanket should be in the cradle; the other blankets
will be folded and stored with the rolled ticks. The other piece of sleeping equip-
ment necessary will be mosquito netting over the doors and windows of both rooms
pulled back for daytime. These nets are described in DeBrahm's Report pp. 226.
All of the sleeping equipment can be used to round out the interpretation
of the daily routine in the house by explaining how each item was used and by
Evidence of the personal effects of the family will include adult clothing,
principally a 1740 Spanish Artillery uniform coat, waistcoat and hat, leather
acoutrements and sword, plus any clothing not being worn by the female interpreter,
such as winter petticoat, shawls, etc. hanging on wall hooks placed high on the
wall. Hooks lower on the wall will support a winter petticoat and shawl for a
6-8 year old girl to reinforce the presence of children in the house. Two simple,
medium-size wooden chests with locks--one chest appearing to be older and more
worn than the other--will suggest storage for the adults' personal belongings.
The worn chest would have belonged to Garcia and will be used to conceal the
interpreter's personal belongings, such as a purse, jewelry or anything else
which should be away from the visitor's view. This chest should be kept locked
and the key worn by the interpreter on a cord from the waist. The other chest
will be unlocked and filled with dowry-type items and a sewing basket with needles,
pins, thread and scissors, plus a small amount of ribbon and replacement buttons
for the uniform and the female interpreter's clothing. This chest would have be-
longed to the Gallegos adults, and visitors should be permitted to open it if they
All of the personal items can be used as interpretive points to explain the
historical occupants of the buildings--their occupations, sex, age and role in
this living unit.
On the north wall opposite the loggia door is the family's religious shrine.
Such shrines were found in a greater or lesser degree of elaboration in every
Spanish home. A small shelf will support a crucifix and a painted board with
the image of Santiago, the assumed object of devotion for this particular family.
A small ceramic cup for flowers, a rosary suspended from the shelf and blessed
palm frond behind the crucifix will complete the assemblage.
This religious group provides an interpretive opportunity to expand on the
Spanish-Catholic relationship in the colony, pointing out the devotion of the
populace and the importance of religion in their daily lives.
The final group of objects in this front room will enable the interpreter
to tell the visitor something about the multi-functional uses of this space. One
or two baskets, the cast net, gardening tools such as a shovel, axe, hoe and
dibble stick, and lighting devices such as a float lamp and lantern round out the
inventory of the room and help to expand its use as a secure storage area. These
items can be related back to other activities not shown by our living history
approach but are essential to a total interpretation of this family unit's subs-
istence activities. Fishing was certainly important, and the net together with
the line, hooks and paraphanelia belonging to the canoe can be explained as to
their use and the activity they represent even though their use cannot be demon-
strated. Gardening is similar, it will not always be possible for the visitor
to see the tools in use, but the interpreter can still discuss the routine of
gardening using the tools to help tell the story.
In summarizing, the material cultural assemblage in this room should be em-
ployed to arouse the curiosity of the viewer and promote questions about the use
of the various items by the historical occupants of the Gallegos House. Since
the focus of our interpretation will be culinary, this room should be used primarily
as a background and resource to expand some of the concepts put forward on cooking.
It should not be employed as a "tour of home furnishings" type of thing.
The kitchen is perhaps the most important area historically and interpre-
tively in the Gallegos House. This room is almost totally devoted to food and
its storage and preparation, the focal point of our interpretation.
A sturdy wooden table, unfinished, stands in the center of the room. Much
of the food preparation not done on the hearth will be performed on the table sur-
face, and it should be kept well scrubbed, allowing only the implements used in
preparing the food to remain on it for any length of time. With use, it should
quickly take on a patina which will cut the harshness of its fresh surface. Cer-
tain activities may dictate its relocation in the room. It is a working piece of
furniture and not a museum piece; move it if the need arises. The alacena will
be placed along the north wall and is the most elaborate piece of furniture in
the building. It too is a working member of the kitchen and its exposed upper
cupboard should not contain any extraneous articles to be seen by the visitor.
That type of item should be stored below within the closed compartment. The
alacena is a common kitchen furnishing appearing in many 18th-century kitchen
scenes and appropriate for this household. The better pieces of ceramic ware
and treen, along with spice containers and eating utensils, would probably be
put in the upper compartment or on top. Next to it a decorative wooden rack
with a sufficient number of holes to hold the hearth utensils will be present.
Again, this type of accessory is very often seen in 18th century paintings.
Ladles, the skimmer, fans and brushes should be kept here when not in use. The
hanging shelf suspended from the ceiling in the center of the room will support
some of the foodstuffs stored in the kitchen along with their containers, if any.
Generally anything on this shelf should be there so that rodents cannot get into
it. Cooking pots, utensils or other "rodent proof" items should be stored else-
where. Bunches of dried food, spice or meat can be hung directly from the ceiling,
again for rodent-free storage.
A mortar and pestle, heavy cooking pots and any other large items should be
set on the hearth bench. Trivets, pokers, spoons, flint and steel, and the
chocolatera would probably sit right on the hearth for easy access or hang from
the adjacent rack on the wall. The mano and metate are left on the floor, as
this is invariably where they are depicted in Spanish Colonial art.
Some Colonial baskets, water jars and oil jars will also be placed on the
floor against the wall to be out of the way. A wine skin or cask can be hung
or placed on the hearth bench. A glass bottle or two will be either on the bench
or on top of the alacena.
Two items which will not be used but should be in evidence are a pair of
stemware wine glasses used by the males on special occasions or for guests. The
Gallegos household, while near the bottom of the economic ladder, would have had
a few very nice pieces. Every family aspires to possess the finer things of life,
and these glasses can not only serve to fill this need but can be used to show
how few fine articles this family would have been likely to own.
The other fine pieces prevalent in St. Augustine and abundant in the
archaeology, are the ceramics. Decorative tin-glazed pieces known as Majolica
would have certainly figured in the Gallegos's inventory. All of these items,
however, were utilitarian in form: plates, cups, bowls and serving dishes rather
than candleholders, inkwells or other non-utilitarian forms. There would be
enough, say, for the three adults and a guest--four services. The children and
adults would probably have used treen bowls for the most part. Majolica was not
easily acquired nor regarded lightly by anyone who had to labor as hard as this
family to acquire them.
The ceramic ensemble is rounded out with pieces of green or red-glazed
earthenware and several pieces of native Indian earthenware executed in the local
tradition. These ceramics would be very utilitarian in form and function and
typify pottery in everyday use in the Spanish colonial home.
The kitchen should have the appearance of daily use; consequently there should
not be any decorative or atmospheric paraphernalia present. The activities in the
kitchen and the utensils needed to perform those activities will be sufficient
to achieve this appearance. The daily routine of preparing ingredients, cooking
the meal, serving it and cleaning the area will create a self-maintaining area
which should require little in the way of extra care or maintenance.
The exterior of the building, the loggia, yard and garden should again show
evidence of daily activity. The loggia will contain a bench, the large wooden
mortar and pestle, firewood stacked to keep it dry, and any tools, implements or
containers which are in use for part of the day to prepare garden produce or food
for the kitchen. Presumably this area will be more active during certain times
of the day and certain seasons of the year. The evidence of this activity can
remain in place throughout the day and be taken in or put away in the evening.
The look of use is most easily achieved by actually using the area, and this can
be extended by leaving the evidence of completed work for the remainder of the day.
It shouldn't be necessary to artificially "enhance" the area. If it isn't used
on a particular day, there is a reason and that reason is a good interpretive
The yard should be maintained grassless and swept daily when the rest of
the house is swept down. The canoe will be in the yard along with the well,
garden, large cooking pot and outside tools. A wooden washing basin, which should
be on the loggia or near the well, can be occasionally used to wash clothing
and be employed interpretively to explain personal cleanliness, household routine
and the woman's overall work role.
The care of the garden will be set out in the food preparation section of
the manual and won't be dealt with here. Generally, however, it is another area
of use and a large part of the culinary interpretive story. It again should look
used because it is used.
To summarize, the kitchen, loggia and yard of the Gallegos House are the
primary areas in our living-history, culinary approach. These areas, unlike the
front, or west room, are in use according to their original functions so that the
appearance they take on and the story they tell are a natural result of the
activities performed there. Spanish colonial cuisine and its preparation are the
plot, theme and main events in our story, and the setting, space and utensils are
there to help the interpreter tell it. No more and no less than is necessary to
put this point across will be included in these areas. There is no need for win-
dow dressing or elaboration. If it isn't used, it won't look used and it won't
look right, so it needn't be included. These areas are one of the best oppor-
tunities we have in our Interpretive Program to effectively impress upon our visi-
tors the routine, the effort and the hardship required to survive in Spanish
Colonial St. Augustine in the 18th Century.
Care and Maintenance of the Building and Contents
In the proceeding account we have tried to develop an atmosphere and
provide the necessary accessories to interpret the Gallegos house effectively
for our visitors. Every item included or excluded has been considered from a
historical and stylistic viewpoint derived from the available historical and
archaeological research. We do not consider this the ultimate solution or a de-
finitive material-culture outline; rather, it is a working guide to be used and
modified as the state of our research dictates.
Functionally we are dealing with two interpretively different areas. The
front room is, for the most part, a static exhibit, which for various reasons we
are not able to fully utilize for active living history demonstrations. The ticks
won't be rolled out and slept on, the blankets seldom used, the fishing equipment
may never even get wet. This isn't to say they couldn't be. They are authentic
reproductions, not props, and so lend themselves to realistic interpretation.
The scene of household activity is elsewhere in the home and the room and its
contents will probably not realize many of the functions and uses which are
suggested or implied by the arrangement.
It follows that this area will not be as self maintaining as the kitchen
area, so attention should be paid to dusting, sweeping and a weekly "housecleaning"
operation in order to maintain the room's suggestive appearance. Sweeping will
be a natural daily chore and continuous throughout the house and yard. Dusting
and a fairly thorough clean-up should be maintained on a weekly basis. This will
help to control pests and keep the room fresh. Because their placement is appro-
priate and convincing, the furnishings should be maintained in their proper places
at all times except when they are pulled aside for cleaning. There are items
which will be moved from time to time, such as the gardening tools, a sewing kit,
a stool and some of the storage baskets, but they should be replaced in their
original positions when they are no longer needed. The mats on the floor will
undoubtedly bear hanging outside and beating every so often but this would be
appropriate and well within our interpretive scope. Senora Gallegos would have
undoubtedly taken some time to perform these tasks and so they reinforce our inter-
pretation rather than detract from it.
The kitchen and other areas will be kept crisp through daily use and a periodic
clean-up should not be necessary. The utensils will be scrubbed along with the
working surfaces, and the floor will be swept as a matter of course every day.
These activities fall within the daily culinary routine in the house. Any items
periodically used in the kitchen, on the loggia or out in the yard would be atten-
ded to as soon as that particular activity is completed. Knock the dirt from the
garden tools, clean the soapmaking equipment, wash off the work table in the yard.
Put yourself into the historic character's place; you will need to use all of this
equipment and these areas again and they are all you have. It should become ob-
vious that you would spend time to maintain them. These activities, again, are
very much in keeping with the interpretation of domestic life and can be used
effectively as interpretive tools when explaining to the visitor just what it is
you are doing.
One additional point should be mentioned. The canoe will be kept in the yard.
Unfortunately, it can only be used for special projects at present, but in order
to preserve it, the hull must be kept full of water almost up to the gunwales in
order to prevent drying, which may damage it. This should be attended to weekly
during the dry season and checked occasionally in the rainy season.
To conclude, this plan is an attempt to provide the interpreter of the Gallegos
House with everything necessary to actively pursue living history at this site.
Experience may prove that certain items are lacking or not necessary. We expect
feed-back from the interpreter to make us aware of these shortcomings so that we
can remedy the problem. The intelligent use and interpretation of this site and
its accoutrements is essential; the site must live and breath for the visitor.
It falls squarely on the interpreters to perform their tasks, to use the mat-
erial culture properly and to maintain it so that our visitors may hopefully
come away from Gallegos House with some real impression of the historic occupants
of the house and the manner in which they sought to support their daily lives in
Interpretive Costume Plan for the Gallegos House
The Gallegos House is a mid-eighteenth century dwelling of a Spanish
soldier and his family. The clothing selected for the house will conform to
the prevalent style of the 1750 period and should reflect the status and role
of the occupants of this house.
Martin Martinez Gallegos is an artilleryman of the Castillo de San Marcos
garrison and his clothing is fairly well defined by Spanish military style.
Details of the uniform can be derived from the situados of the period. The
entire uniform will be reproduced should an occasion arise where it might be
worn, however, only the hat, coat and accoutrements will be displayed in the
house. The uniform coat is French cut with a very full skirt and will be
indigo blue wool with red collar and cuffs. Indigo blue flannel will be used
to line the coat and make up the waistcoat. All buttons are pewter. The hat
is black felt with a white tape binding and a red wool cockade. A waist belt
and sword hanger were issued in buff or natural leather. The sword and leather
scabbard will be attached to the belt. These uniform elements are hung in the
front room on the hooks while the remainder of the costume will be held in re-
serve at the wardrobe room. This clothing consists of a white linen shirt and
breeches, a white cravat, blue flannel waistcoat, red wool stockings and black
shoes with red heels.
This is the typical Spanish military uniform worn in St. Augustine from
1740 to 1763. It was probably worn by the infantry here as well as the artillery
since there is no indication of other uniform materials coming into St. Augustine
during this period. This clothing should be used by the interpreter to help ex-
plain Sr. Gallegos's role in St. Augustine and to tie the house into the military
garrison theme. Each soldier received enough cloth, thread and buttons to make
a shirt, waistcoat, cravat and regimental coat, and this was presumably done in
the home. In addition he was given a hat and a pair of breeches which were
ready to wear and evidently made in Mexico. Shoes were probably made up locally
by a cobbler since only hides and sole leather were brought in and shoe making
was beyond the capability of a household.
In the event a male interpreter is used in the building, he should wear
the small clothes of the uniform: white linen shirt and breeches, red stockings
and lachet shoes with red heels. In cool weather the waistcoat may be worn and
he should put on the hat when he goes out on the street. The regimental coat
and accoutrements should only be worn when a military function requires it to
save daily wear and tear on these items.
There will be a few garments to suggest the presence of the children in
the household. A linen shift to fit a girl about 7 years old and a small shawl
or wrap will be provided and hung from the lower hooks in the west room.
All of these items, the uniform and the children's clothing, while not
actually worn on a regular basis, are essential interpretive tools. They
accurately reflect the style and fashion of the mid-eighteenth century and
suggest the occupation and economic status of the hypothetical wearers.
The other group of clothing which will be essential to the interpretation
of the building is the wardrobe of the female interpreter. The clothing should
be a functioning assemblage, adaptable to the different household tasks and
seasons of the year. It will be a complete ensemble with everything which
Senora Gallegos would have owned at any one time.
The basic garment was a linen shift or chemise with a drawstring neck
and reached almost to the knee. Except to change to a clean or new shift, this
was never taken off. It was slept in, worn all through the day and large
enough to accommodate a full term pregnancy. The drawstring neck was made to
be lowered to allow the mother to nurse conveniently. The shift was a basic
female garment from the early seventeenth century lasting into the nine-
teenth century and invariably appears in costume prints of the period.
Daytime apparel consisted of a petticoat, waistcoat or bodice, apron,
head covering or rebozo and shoes. These are the basic items but a necker-
chief, woolen shawl or wrap, stockings and jewelry would certainly have been
found in the wardrobe of the lady of the house for cooler weather or special
The petticoat was worn during the day, has a drawstring at the waist
and is hemmed above the ankles. The material is dependent on what was avail-
able but would range from a light linen in summer to wool for winter. Color
is also determined by availability but there was a great variety of dyes used
in the eighteenth century which can provide some guidelines. The basic petti-
coat will be linen of medium weight worn on warm days. It should not be de-
corated to any extent as it is a work-type garment. In addition the Gallegos
interpreter will have a heavier petticoat of linen or wool which may be worn
over the summer petticoat in cool weather. This petticoat may bear a little
decoration comparable with the period and status of the house, hemmed a little
above the ankle and worn with the drawstring waist. While the lighter petticoat
will be worn year round, the heavy petticoat will often not be desirable and
should be hung from the high pegs in the west room when not in use.
Aprons were a highly practical item used not only to protect the petticoat
beneath from being soiled, but as a pot holder, garden basket and towel as the
need dictated. Again they are worn on a drawstring from the waist and are
long enough to cover the petticoat. There should be enough material in it so
that the apron wraps almost completely around the waist. Of course occasions
will arise when it will be more useful gathered to the front and the interpreter
should adapt the apron to suit her needs. Aprons were made of sturdy material--
a tight linen for example--to withstand hard daily use.
The bodice is an external foundation garment and when properly cut and
worn is comfortable and provides all of the support of a modern foundation gar-
ment. It is quite likely that most women did not wear a bodice around the house
but it would have been worn abroad and should be worn while in the interpretive
area by our personnel. It would have been made of a heavy wool and in Gallegos
it could be cut from "scraps" left over from the regimental coat an indigo blue.
Head coverings are almost universally worn during the eighteenth century
by all social and economic classes because it was practical to keep the hair
from getting too dirty, there being few opportunities to wash it. There are a
great variety of head coverings and methods of wearing them available. With the
exception of the mob cap which we haven't been able to sufficiently document for
Spanish women, all of the types of headgear can be suited to the taste and con-
venience of the interpreter. It will have to be worn all day so it might as
well be comfortable.
One particular type of head covering which is commonly seen in portraits
and paintings of the period is the rebozo. This is a rectangular shawl usually
cotton, wool or silk striped in bright colors. All social classes wore them and
the quality of the weaving and material vary accordingly. A colonial woman wore
a rebozo from the time of her birth, when she was carried on her mother's back
in one,until she died, when she was carefully wrapped in the garment which she
was seldom without in her life.
Shoes, when they were worn, were of three basic types: the cut away pump
with a short heel and lachets, a rope soled sandal and the wooden clog. One of
these types will be recommended for the interpreter and should be worn unless
a particular daily chore, like washing clothes, might suggest going barefooted.
Bare feet, however, do not appear to have been in fashion and if any foot wear
was available it would have been worn.
The proceeding items form a basic group of clothing of which every piece
is essential to properly portray a female of the eighteenth century in a domes-
tic situation. There are other items however, which will be necessary for the
convenience of the interpreter and the accuracy of interpretation.
A neckerchief, sometimes called a Fichu, is a triangular piece of light
weight linen which is worn about the neck and covers the neck and breast. It
can be used for modesty, for warmth and to protect against sunburn. There are
several variations in how it was worn but basically the tails are tucked into
the bodice from around the neck. The neckerchief can often be elaborately em-
broideried and laced, however the Gallegos House doesn't warrant such elaborate
treatment and this garment should be kept very simple.
In the winter a woolen shawl or cotton rebozo will be very useful. Both
types of garment are depicted in contemporary art and the rebozo in particular
seems to be worn much of the time by colonial women. Should these garments not
be worn they should hang with any other unused items on the clothing hooks.
Stockings may also be worn when the weather dictates and they should be made of
light wool. These should come to just above the knee and be rolled down to just
below the knee to keep them up. Anytime these aren't worn they may be kept in
the front room in the Gallegos chest.
There are few luxury accessories which would be appropriate in the Gallegos
House, however a piece of jewelry or two would be well within the possibilities
of this site. A small silver cross worn on a chord around the neck and pierced
earrings for interpreters with pierced ears should be sufficient to get the point
across that while the Gallegos House was in an economically disadvantageous
position, there would have been a few more elaborate things about. It follows
that no other jewelry will be permitted during working hours except wedding rings
and bands and storage in a locked box in the west room will be provided for any-
thing which might be worn to work, like a watch.
The interpreter should not wear any make-up while at work in the Gallegos
House. Hair should be set up or braided and if it is long always covered.
Nail polish should also be avoided. While make-up and nail polishes were used
in the eighteenth century they were expensive luxury items confined to use at
court among the very wealthy.
This clothing, properly worn and used, will be of inestimable value in in-
terpreting the Gallegos House. It will accurately reflect the status and role
of the historical occupants and provide another opportunity for the visitor to
seek answers for their questions.
Care and Cleaning of the Wardrobe
There are a few words which should be said about the care of this clothing.
The uniform and children's clothing should be shaken out once a week and inspec-
ted for mildew or moth damage. The heavy winter garments will need to be dry-
cleaned only once or twice a season barring any accidents. However, the daily
wardrobe will need more frequent attention.
The linen items may all be machine washed in warm water with the washer
set to the gentle cycle if available and removed before the spin dry cycle. It
should then be air dried either on the line or spread out over whatever is avail-
able. Linen should never be dried in a mechanical dryer, and if the material is
drawn out fairly tight while wet, it will pick up few wrinkles as it drys.
Linen must never be pressed or ironed, pressing gives the linen an unrealistic
appearance and shouldn't be necessary if the garment was dried properly.
All woolens may be washed in cold water with or without Woolite depending
on how soiled the garment becomes. After rinsing in cold water it should be
gently squeezed to remove excess water and laid out on a towel to dry. Never
use hot or warm water and never wring a woolen garment. If there isn't time
or the inclination to do this hand washing, drycleaning is a good alternative.
However, remind the cleaner that the garment is not to be pressed.
With these few precautions, the interpreter should be able to maintain
her clothing to minimize wear and keep the garments in good condition.
Over and above keeping a wardrobe in good condition, the interpreter
in the Gallegos House has the advantage of actually washing the clothing as an
interpretive activity. The same rules apply even more so because mechanical
devices will not be present. We do not feel at present that the Spanish were
boiling clothing as the English did so cold water will be used throughout the
operation. It will give the public an opportunity to see how washing was done
and it can be profitably compared to how it is accomplished today. A little
laundry hanging out in the yard will enhance the feeling of use and activity
necessary for successful interpretation as well. The entire activity will be
more convincing because you aren't play acting, you're trying to keeping your