Meet Celestina

Hello! My name is Jessica and I am one of the new collections interns at Historic Huguenot Street. I am a junior at SUNY New Paltz, majoring in Art History and minoring in Studio Art and Religious Studies. For this object of the week, I have chosen the beautiful Celestina music box currently in collections storage.

This box functions just like little metal music boxes, only bigger. Scrolls with paper cut-outs are fed into the mechanism within the box, which then tips a needle and causes the machine to play a variety of notes. These notes become a melody when the handle on the side is turned, causing the scrolls to rotate. This box has nine scrolls in its storage drawer.



Made in 1870 by the Mechanical Organ Co. in New York, this music box is wooden, has painted designs, metal hinges and a handle. This box is also in the color of its original wood, stained and polished to a shine. A hinged frontal section flips up to reveal the mechanism so that the scroll can be changed. It also has a separate base upon which the actual body of the box sits. The top of the box reads “Celestina” and the sides, top, front, and back have floral and geometric designs. It is in beautiful condition, and still works!

The box was used in the New Hurley Church by Mr. Hendrix, who later gave it to Byron Terwilliger. Mr. Terwilliger gifted it to Historic Huguenot Street. The box has yet to be used in any of the house displays, so this is a unique opportunity to show it off to everyone who wouldn’t get to see it otherwise!



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