Master bedroom, Manship House Museum.

During the nineteenth century, families prepared their homes to survive the oppressive heat, dirt and insects of the hot summer months.  Each spring, households received a very thorough cleaning.  Carpets were taken up, cleaned, aired, and stored for the summer.  Straw matting was generally used in the summer for coolness and comfort.  All upholstered furniture received light cotton or linen covers to protect them from sunlight and dust.  Fireplaces were cleaned and adorned for the summer.  Brass andirons were removed, cleaned, and stored until fall.  Mosquito netting or gauze was draped over beds to help deter insects.  Gauze, muslin, or tissue was used to cover gilded surfaces such as picture frames or parts of chandeliers to protect them from insect damage.  Shutters and blinds were often kept closed to discourage mosquitoes and flies, which were a constant problem.  Families adjusted their living arrangements to fit the weather, choosing to reside wherever it was cooler and more comfortable.  Chairs could be moved to windows and doorways to allow inhabitants to enjoy any slight breeze.  These changes would remain until the early fall, when another extensive house cleaning took place and the heavy winter furnishings were returned to the rooms.