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Why does the Curator Have a Freezer?

Is there ice cream in there? I want some ice cream….Alas there is no ice cream in my freezer only artifacts. This freezer can be a useful tool to help with the preservation of some of the artifacts that come to the museum. Mold and insects can eat away and destroy some artifacts if they are allowed to infest a collection. Paper and textile items are at particular risk. Such items can be frozen to help treat against such dangers. Freezing an item will kill insects and active mold. (It will not kill inactive mold but as long as the item is not exposed to high humidity the mold should remain inactive and not spread) Currently I am in the process of freezing some paper material from the Emporium Lumber Company. These items had been stored in an area that wasn’t climate controlled and that could have been exposed to insects. Prior to being placed into the freezer they are wrapped in freezer paper to keep out moisture. These items then frozen as a precaution before they are moved into the main storage area.

A couple of ledgers from the Emporium Lumber Company that where frozen before they were placed into the archive storage.
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Smokey Bear Posters

To Help celebrate Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday this post highlights a new donation for two posters featuring everyone’s favorite Forest Fire preventing bear. These two posters, donated by the Brownawell Family, are 84 inches tall, making them by far the largest in our collection. These posters are so large they come in two pieces, known as 2-sheet posters.

The first poster (LM2019.14.1A-B) is from 1956.

The second poster is from 1963.

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Barnes Foot Power Former

Gift: Mr. and Mrs. A.W. deRoos (L71.11.3)
Image from a late 19th century W.F. & John Barnes Catalog

Before electric power tools there were human powered tools. This late 19th century wood working tool uses foot operated using pedals. They would have been an improvement over hand tools and used by carpenters working in and around Pennsylvania’s Lumber towns.

This bicycle like Wood Former/ Shaper was made by the W.F. & John Barnes Company  and was used for molding edges and scroll work. This particular machine was given to William Chastain while he was a carpenter’s apprentice to his Uncle, Theodore Grabe, in Coudersport in the 1890’s. Mr. Chastain was born in Roulette, PA in 1875. In addition to working as a carpenter’s apprentice, he worked in local logging camps, often as a teamster, using his father’s horses. He moved with his family to Rochester, NY in 1909, where he spent the next 50 years working as a carpenter.

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Small Changes

Our main exhibit doesn’t change very often but we do try to limit how long some of our more sensitive artifacts, such as paper or fabric objects, are on display. This week we rotated some of the artifacts in our exhibit. One item was the BLOT Tobacco Package (OM77.152) which was rotated with the FRISHMUTH’S Tobacco Package (LM2011.3.55).

Stop on by and see if you can spot the other artifacts that where rotated.

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A Gift for Mother

“Sweetheart” or “Mother” pillow covers were a popular souvenir for young men to send home to their loved ones from around the time of WWI through WWII. Pillow covers, such as this one, were marketed to soldiers, sailors and Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees. They often contained sentimental messages or with idealized images of camp life, either military or CCC. This cover is stamped with the words to the song “Mother,” copyrighted in 1915 with lyrics by Howard Johnson and music by Theodore Morse, a song which had quite well known. The cover also stamped with, “Happy Days in the C.C.C.”, which may also be a reference to the popular Depression era song “Happy Days Are Here Again”. “Happy Days” was also the name of a privately owned, national CCC newspaper.