Most Americans think of April 15 as tax day; the date has another, more obscure designation, however.
April 15 is also National Laundry Day, a time to reflect on the mundane task of doing laundry, to teach someone how to do laundry, and to review our choice of detergents.
On Saturday, April 16, Old Fort Niagara will show visitors how laundry was processed in the 18th century, long before the invention of the automatic washer and dryer. Living history interpreters will demonstrate laundry techniques over an open fire and discuss textiles and their production. Visitors will learn how clothing was repaired and how military tailors ensured that uniforms fit the soldiers in the garrison. The program will also explore Native American clothing and how it differed from garments worn by Europeans.
Other activities include:
√ Stain removal science – Explaining what actually happens when a stain is removed and demonstrating some real 18th century techniques for removing various stains from different kinds of fabrics.
√ Fiber science – An in-depth look at why certain fibers are used for certain things, how they work, and what their various properties are.
√ Getting dressed in the 18th century – With two models, visitors will see how all the pieces of 18th century clothing fit together for men and women.
√ How does soap work? – This program looks at how soap is made and how it works in the past and the present.
Laundry day at the fort will also feature the usual musket and artillery demonstrations. More information and a schedule of activities can be found at www.oldfortniagara.org.