McNamara asked something else: Did many people touring the house
wonder what the trundle bed was? The answer: Yes, it was a common
question posed to tour guides.
“We decided to make a reproduction bed and mattress, and we came up
with some activities that would be fun and educational for kids,
especially around the age of fourth-graders,” McNamara said.
how the mattress and pillows would have been made, and we learned
different sewing techniques, and we made everything by hand.”
The result is a trundle bed that, unlike the original bed frame still
on display, is sturdy enough for youngsters to try out. They can
experience a mattress stuffed with straw and see how the trundle would
have fit under the larger bed. The frame itself, made of pine and
painted with two coats of milk paint, was built by volunteer Stephen
Hess, who says the reconstruction is as close to the original in
materials and design as possible.
The UD students also sewed three small pillows, stuffing each with a
different material (straw, feathers and modern-day polyester filling) so
that children touring the house can feel what each is like.
Meanwhile, Frydman and a second team of undergraduates spent the
semester adding another new attraction for Amstel House visitors. During
her tour, McNamara had spotted a tiny room at the top of a staircase in
the house and noticed that it was being used as a kind of storage
"I thought it could be cleaned out
and used for display space,” McNamara said. “Tess and her team took that
idea and ran with it.”
The result is a newly installed exhibit in the room. Students
researched items in the Amstel House’s collections, many of which are in
storage because of a lack of space, and came up with a theme for their
“Tools of Many Trades” showcases a variety of tools that would have
been used by those living in the house and by workers in the surrounding