The Master’s Chair

A chair like the one cataloged at Assington

Cataloged in 1808, the master’s rush-bottomed armchair from the Assington Poorhouse would have been made of wood and either bulrush or cattail and would have likely been where the Master sat while he conducted official workhouse business.

One way to display the chair could be putting it in a lineup of other rush-bottomed chairs from the workhouse to show how similar the master’s chair was to that of the paupers. It could also be interesting to provide some more comfortable or opulent looking chairs and having visitors guess which one they think the masters was. These modes of display could support the idea of the commonness of the chair and help visitors realize that workhouse masters weren’t surrounded by the kingly luxury they are sometimes credited with.

One way to supplement this with digital tools could be providing an interface that would allow the visitors to go through a normal workday of the master while sitting in a replica of the chair. They could meet with paupers through video or look through shipping manifests on a screen in front of them, creating a physical experience that could emulate the life of the master, contributing to a better understanding about the reality of the situation the masters lived in.

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