Furnishing Plan for the Casa de Gomez
The Casa de Gomez will be the site of a craft demonstration illus-
trating colonial Spanish blacksmithing. While our efforts will be concen-
trated on the craft areas and the production of eighteenth-century Spanish
ironwork, it is necessary to provide the visitor an image of the craftsman
away from his work. The present structure will serve as the domestic
aspect of interpretation and the following description will outline the criteria
and material culture necessary for the successful portrayal of domestic life.
We will assume that the blacksmith is one of the many single males in
St. Augustine during the First Spanish Period. From a practical standpoint,
this interpretation will explain the absence of a female interpreter, which we
are unable to provide in the immediate future. The time span should coincide
with the Casa de Gallegos, ca. 1750, as they are compounded together for the
visitor. The structure itself is small and limits the area available for domes-
tic interpretation, therefore a single male fits properly in this format.
Using the criteria--single male craftsman ca. 1750, and a small
dwelling--we evolve a very simplified set of material culture to interpret
this situation. Since no staff member will occupy the space we are interpre-
ting or maintain any effective visual control over the contents of the Casa de
Gomez, security will present a problem. It will be an unmanned interpretive
station. Therefore many small domestic items which would ordinarily be left
out or visible by a historic occupant will be deleted or considered expendable
out of necessity. This will preclude the use of any historical artifact being
displayed in this structure.
The general character of the building interior should reflect its occupant,
a single male craftsman. There will be no female to keep it part icularly tidy
or lend a gentle touch to the scene. There will be no evidence of any domestic
elaboration associated with females such as sewing, embroidery or the many
types of special food preparation. The room will portray the area where the
blacksmith eats, sleeps and keeps company with his friends.
A small shelf with a religious picture and a candle will be fixed to the
east wall. The wall should be whitewashed along with the other interior walls
and the ceiling.
The north wall will have several shelves set on pegs over a wooden
table. Several eating vessels and bottles will be fixed to the shelves as well
as a rag or two. A rush lamp, made by the blacksmith can be fixed to the
table as well as a checker board and pottery disc checkers. As viewed from
t he door, a bedding roll will be stacked to the right of the table in the corner
and clothing pegs on the wall above it for a coat and tricorne felt hat, both
plain. There should be two simple stools at the table, one for the smith and
one for a guest. To the left of the table there is a peg and broom hanging from
it with a split oak basket of charcoal on the floor beneath it.
The west wall has a flush mounted reja in the window for privacy and
a mosquito netting curtain to cover the window. In the southwest corner are
several tools including a hoe, axe and fish net, all secured. The south wall will
have a small wooden chest on a low stand for the smith's personal effects which
will be kept locked. Above this will be two clothing hooks with a blanket
hanging from them. A betty lamp suspended from a chain, made by the black-
smith, will hang from the ceiling near the chest.
Out on the floor will be a straw mat and a sto\e brasero for heat and
cooking. A volcanic stone tripod vessel or ceramic vessel will serve. A
sack of grain and a large demijohn stand against a wall and herbs or peppers
are suspended from the ceiling.
By arranging smaller items in a very casual manner and weathering
the interior slightly the visitors should come away convinced that they have
seen the smith's quarters as he left them to go into his shop. There will be
no effort to use this interior for living history so routine cleaning should
be carried out on a weekly basis to maintain a live d-in appearance.