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Each week on the Junior Curators blog, we travel back in time to a different place in Tennessee history. Stories may be about a famous person, place or event from Tennessee’s past. They will include things like priceless artifacts, pictures, videos, and even some games. Be sure to better understand the story by answering the questions at the end of each post.
After learning the story, be sure to share what you've learned with your parents, family, or friends. Try making your own exhibit about it, shooting a movie, or writing a story about it. Let your creativity run wild!
by Emilee Dehmer
This painting, titled James O. Shackelford Jr., and Gertrude Shackelford was painted in 1857 by William Stamms Shackelford.
This painting depicts two children, James and Gertrude, who were probably the artist’s niece and nephew. While we do not know how old the children were, we can estimate by looking at census records from 1860 that James is ten and Gertrude is six. Sometime historians might not know much about a painting because the artist did not leave notes about it. When that happens, historians can take what they do know and research more about the artist and their life. When they do that, they discover clues that might tells us more about an artist’s painting and what, or who, they were painting.
The artist, William Stamm Shackelford, was born in Kentucky. He later moved to Clarksville, Tennessee in the 1850s or 1860s. He frequently painted family members who lived in Clarksville but painted for other people too.
Now, take a closer look at these paintings. You’ll notice there are some differences between them. See if you can spot all 5! If you get stuck, don’t worry- the answers are at the bottom of the page.
1. There is a canoe with two men on the stream in upper right corner.
2. The girl’s bow is pink.
3. The girl's shoe is missing.
4. The boy is holding three arrows instead of one.
5. The dog has an extra spot, near the top of his head.
Emilee Dehmer is an Educator at the Tennessee State Museum.