Thursday, January 17, 2013

Home and Away: The Museum

This is where I work: the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture in Spokane, WA. I usually don't write too much about the Museum because I don't necessarily want the blog to end up all over our Google Alerts at work (Hello, Becky!), but I decided to talk a little about it this week. If you follow me on instagram--@christinesuzanne--the Museum is probably not new to you...

Here in Spokane we have actual seasons; real snow, ice, and slush, through which I alternately trudge, slide, and squish my way to work all winter long. There's also quite a bit of wilderness in Spokane, and once in a while some of the inhabitants of that wilderness happen into our amphitheater to munch on whatever foliage they can find. Recently, we've been receiving a lot of deer visitors. I think it all started with this little buck (bottom of the picture) wandering through a couple weeks back. He's returned with some lady friends. 

Some of the most interesting areas of the Museum are, I think, the private spaces where we house collections. There's a vast network of climate-controlled storage, prep and crating rooms, and workshop spaces beneath our public buildings. Even though I don't regularly go through most of these areas, it's still really neat to be in such close proximity to our city's weird and wondrous treasures. 

Today I wandered over to our Library & Archives (which is open to the public) because I'm determined to make some amazing valentines this year, and I wanted a little vintage and, in several instances, antique inspiration.

Most vintage and antique valentines are amazingly intricate. The one above is from 1861. That's before the Lincoln assassination! Before the start of the Civil War, actually. Just think, someone selected this card and composed a thoughtful note and mailed it off. Someone else received and read the note, perhaps displayed the card or sent a reply, and then tucked it away in a scrapbook or box for safekeeping. And here it is today.

In the grand scheme, 1861 wasn't that long ago, and looking through the collection of old valentines, it became apparent that things haven't changed that much. Children still choose the gaudiest concoction and scrawl their name all over it; still draw funny little pictures with arrows to indicate that yes, this awful portrait is intended as a representation of your face, Charlie; and dare the recipient to guess the identity of the sender. To Josephine, From It's a secret???????

A large number of the valentines in our collection are from only a few families, and if the sheer volume of valentines is any indication, one young man by the name of Ned seems to have been quite popular with his female classmates. I have to imagine that he was a nice kid, because he also sent several sweet handmade valentines to his grandfather. Oh, Ned of 1912-18, I wonder what became of you? Maybe the Museum's Library & Archives holds the answer.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...