Findings in the Basement

Posted on February 24, 2012 by

A blog post by Outreach Coordinator Rachael Binning.

For some of you the title of my blog post may be surprising. After all, I’m part of the education team and the education staff rarely makes it down to the basement, where most of our collection is stored.  In fact, I feel confident in saying that it’s probably for the best that we don’t go down there too often. Unlike the collection staff, who are trained in handling the objects in our collection, I feel more comfortable interacting with people. That’s not to say that I don’t love having the opportunity to go downstairs and visiting all of the crazy objects in our collection that are not currently on display in our exhibits.

A few weeks ago much of the museum staff was on a necessary kick to clean out the basement. Among the shelves in the basement outside of our collections is a storage area for education material. Learning about this secret stash of education material was a surprise to me, so when I heard that we needed to clean it out I was excited to do so. Over the course of two days Rachel Cylus, Elena Rosemond-Hoerr, and I went through boxes of “lost” education props and material including a Purim puppet show, a box of about 50 bright yellow t-shirts, and more tinsel that you can imagine.

Below are some pictures of my favorite findings. Since I’ve only been working at the JMM for a year or so it was hard for me to imagine what all of these props were used for. If you know the origin of some of these objects, please let know because I’m really really curious!

A box full of Holga Cameras.

We found a box of Holga cameras along with some beautiful pictures mounted on foam core. I imagine that at some point an education staff member did a project with a local school or community group. The photos that were developed are beautiful. I’m hoping that we can use these cameras for a project I’m dreaming up that documents life in the Lombard Street neighborhood as it stands today.

A handful of unpainted wooden dreidels.

My (very intelligent) guess is that these dreidels were used for a Hanukkah program. This past December during “Esther Fest” Elena and I were looking for dreidels and these would have been perfect. For next year’s program we will definitely be incorporating these. Personally I’m really looking forward to bedazzling my very own dreidel.

A box of cocktail umbrellas.

My desk-gnome relaxing under the umbrellas.

I’m not sure what to say about the hundreds of umbrellas that we found except that I like them. Look forward to a Brews & Schmooze with these in your future.

Painted Russian nesting dolls.

I’m fascinated by these Russian nesting dolls and the way that they were decorated. I have no idea why, but at some point in time the JMM had a program or event where people decorated the dolls using tissue paper and magazine cut outs. I find them to be adorable and a tad bit creepy. Luckily there were a few blank dolls left so I plan on painting mine soon.

I hope that these random pictures have entertained you as much as they have entertained me. Until next time!

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