I spent a recent afternoon at the Monona County Historical Society Museum. It was their Christmas Open House, in Onawa, Iowa, and they’re open tomorrow and next weekend, too. Otherwise they’re mainly closed in the winter.
Click on any of these pictures and they get larger. I didn’t do that because I’m a computer genius. It does it on its own. I have no idea why, but I’m glad.
Possibly the most interesting
thing in the Monona County Museum, to me, was a Hair Wreath
. I’d never seen anything like this before.
I got this info about Hair Wreaths from HERE. I just couldn’t hardly stare at it long enough. It’s amazing, intricate, true artwork, done with human hair.
From 1850 to 1875, one of the most popular forms of fancywork was the hair wreath.
Appealing to the tendency among Victorian women to incorporate the importance of friends and family into their work, hair served as a tangible remembrance of someone. Often, close companions exchanged hair as tokens of friendship. Hair was also sometimes taken after a person’s death as a means of honor and remembrance. For a woman whose local supply fell short, hair swatches could even be purchased from catalogs and stores. Hair wreaths were constructed almost entirely of human hair, which was manipulated to resemble a variety of flowers, floral sprigs, and leaves. The flowers placed together in a horseshoe-shaped wreath represent a common Victorian symbol for good luck displayed with the open ends up so as to “hold the luck inside.”
Here’s what I went in to look at—a doctor’s bag. A doctor’s bag figures prominently in my work in progress, which won’t be out for a while so I won’t bother to talk about it, except to say, I need to know exactly what a 1880 doctor bag looked like and what would be in it.
I loved this. I think you can tell I’m a writer because I found the stuff WRITTEN DOWN almost more interesting than the STUFF. I just love words. 🙂 This is a recipe for soap.
And this??? A list of rules for the behavior and duties of teachers. Yikes. Definitely click on the Rules for Teachers and read them. Pretty strict. Where was the UNION??? Starting at rule #4 they get very personal. I especially love the one that says if a woman teacher gets married or engages in unseemly conduct, she’ll be dismissed. Like Marriage is on a par with unseemly conduct. My mother-in-law says this is absolutely true. NO MARRIED WOMEN WORKED. It wasn’t punitive, it was just the way things were. Getting married was the same as resigning. My mil says it’s because once you were married, you had a man to support you and keeping your job kept it away from someone who needed it. It was simple good manners. A woman could sell eggs and butter though. So there were ways to make money.
Onawa, Iowa is the home of the Eskimo Pie…and you thought it was Nome, didn’t you?
It’s a really interesting exhibit and lots to read so I’m happy.
Did you know Russell Stover got involved in the creation of Eskimo Pies?
He made the chocolate coating work.
The day I was there, it was the annual Christmas open house
and they had hot cider and cookies and music. A nice day.
A saddle dated 1880 so my hero would have one JUST LIKE IT.
Except without the decorated tree beside it, probably…unless he’s a wussy cowboy. Or wait, maybe I should say…extremely sentimental. And what cowboys are like that, huh?
And here is a replica of the keelboat Lewis and Clark pulled up the Missouri River.
For some reason this doesn’t get bigger when I click on it. I have no idea why. But look close. Those toy men standing on the front…they help you to realize how SMALL the keel boat was.
And they dragged that thing against the current from St. Louis??
Of course the Missouri wasn’t so deep and fast moving as it is now so maybe it was easy, huh?
I’m haunting museums these days, searching for a doctor’s bag. So who knows what else I’ll come up with to blog about?
Tell me about the seasonal fun in your area. Is any of it for Thanksgiving or have we totally by-passed
that to start Christmas right after Halloween?
I live in a small town and we have a community Thanksgiving Dinner, put on by the ministerial association, five churches in our small town. Then the library has a festival of trees. There is a Christmas Cantata with choirs from all five churches.
Every organization in town has a chili feed or bake sale, or both. Christmas programs at all the churches. The school will have a music concert. There is a tour of homes, to allow us to snoop in the most beautifully decorated houses in town.
But of course, this is all Christmas isn’t it? Oops. I skipped over Thanksgiving, too.
News flash…I don’t let them come to my place.
Tell me about your thanksgiving traditions.
And, in honor of my niece, who is currently on active duty in Iraq, and all the brave men and women who sacrifice to keep us free, click HERE
to see a tribute to our service men and women at Thanksgiving.
Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series