Along with mountains of paperwork, they have been cleaning and restoring donated items, preparing them for display.
One of the items donated is a wood-burning cookstove. If any of you ever decide you are nostalgic for the "old days", go out and find a wood-burning cookstove and clean it. The Bag Lady guarantees that will cure you of your longing for the good ol' days. (And if it doesn't, fire it up and try cooking with it, especially in the summer. That should definitely work.)
The Bag Lady took a few pictures of the process to share with you. They removed the top pieces of the stove after scrubbing them (with rust remover, wire brushes, steel wool pads and elbow grease). Then they shovelled ashes out of the fire box, and scraped and vacuumed soot, ash and grease from every interior surface.
With the top burners removed, you can see the firebox (foreground), the top of the oven and the opening for the water reservoir. Everything was coated with ash, soot, carbon and grease. The stove had been in a storage shed for many years and the water reservoir was full of leaves, dirt and the jawbone of a small creature!
The interior of the oven after a layer of soot and grease was removed to reveal a speckled enamel surface:
The Bag Lady painted the burners and top surface of the stove with a special paint for heated surfaces.
Here is the re-assembled stove, all shiny and clean. All that remains to be done is a light coat of wax on the cooking surface.
(The stove is a McClary Royal Jubliee, and the Bag Lady is in the process of researching to try to find out when it was manufactured.... which is part of her job as curator.)