Here are some select past exhibits & activities
at the museums in recent years...
MAPLE SYRUP DAY
Maple trees have been tapped early in the spring (or late winter!) at the Country Store site. You don't need to have sugar maples, and materials are inexpensive- a drill with 7/16 bit, some pails, kettles or pots, clean jars for storage- the cost is for the energy used to boil the sap into syrup (hours!).
Taps (spiles) holding pails for collecting sap.
Metal tap (without hook for pail).
Clear sap with a few tree specks before straining & boiling.
Sap boiling- right pot ready to skim.
Very fine strainer.
Finally, after hours of boiling, a pale syrup forms.
Hot, thickened syrup in cooling jar.
Frozen syrup (still fluid) will keep a long time.
Worked further, syrup condenses into sugar for molding.
FRUIT (CANNING) JARS, 2009
The sparkling glass shelves of our lighted display cases were the setting for showcasing a variety of glass, canning (fruit) jars. Flint colored, blue, green and clear colors were in the majority of half pints, pints, quarts and 2 quarts. Some were shoulder seal, some lip seal, many "Ball" jars, and some Canadian "Crown" jars. Various magazine graphics also showed women "putting up" or admiring their preserves, fruits & vegetables for the year's consumption.
A domestic goddess admiring her collection of preserved canned goods.
Bronco Banyon McKart was born March 20, 1971 in Monroe, MI. He turned professional boxer in 1992. He fought in the super welterweight division (154 lbs) and also in the middleweight (160 lbs) division. In 1996 he captured the World Boxing Organization Light Middleweight title by beating Santos Cardona by TKO, but lost the title in his first defense against Winky Ronald Wright in hometown Monroe on May 17, 1996.
To June, 2007 he had won 50 fights with 31 ko's; he lost 7 bouts, for a total of 57 fights. Many of his personal items were on display at the museum for 5 years and brought delight to youth from Monroe who recognized his name and marveled at the large championship belts in his collection.
As of 2011, he continues to meet the challenges of the boxing world. His select items are now placed among other notable Monroe-ites such as the Monroe Auto Equipment (MAECO) founding families and Kaye Lani Rafko Wilson, Monroe's Miss America from 1988. These displays are currently located in the elevator lobby located on the museum's main floor.
Above are some items previously on display.
UNITED WE STAND, Part II Remember the Ladies, 2008
In 2008 the museum received the second of 2 grants to reproduce 1812 era women's clothing. An often "live" exhibit, it involved having the student and women seamstresses working on the project during museum open hours in the back gallery. Visitors could see the process of producing a dress, from cutting out the pattern to sewing and attaching buttons or ribbon casings. A wide variety of gowns were produced in many colors and styles, and in an assortment of sizes. The completed garments were then hung as part of the display itself. Workers also learn to weave sashes and garters, plait cord and sew beading onto trade clothing.
With a finished dress at her side, a seamstress cuts out another dress.
Native women's trade outfit. Sash was hand-woven by participants.
A timeline of reproduction garments were also on display.
These show circa 1810 era images.
Some of the seamstresses modeling the dresses for a program.
LACE on EXHIBIT, 2008
A special lace and sewing exhibit opened in 2008 with the support of lace maker and staff person Pat Griem, who loaned several examples and tools such as bobbins and finished pieces. She often demonstrated at living history events and provided much of the history and identification of types of lace. Many pieces of lace were on display for the first time from the museum’s collection. This display shared space with sewing implements on display and the sewers of "United We Stand II."
A velvet cushion for working intricate patterns of lace with thread wound on bobbins.
One case held a display of contrast with white and natural lace on black backgrounds. Black lace often trimmed mourning clothing during the Victorian times. This contrast provided a look at the fine detail and design of the pieces.
MAECO INDY CAR EXHIBIT, 2007
The Museum hosted an unusual display for the summer of 2007- an authentic Indy 500 race car and associated artifacts. Know "Monroe" shock absorbers? Then you know Monroe Auto Equipment (MAECO), now part of TENNECO. On display were artifacts, memorabilia, the 1977 Lightning #51 race car and personnel, all about MAECO's Indy 500 type racing from the 1950s. The front museum entrance was also draped in black and white racing pennants to draw attention to this special exhibit, sponsored by MAECO & Dandelion Acre Productions. "Monroe" brand shock absorbers have been on more Indy race winners and set more records in the United States than with any other brand!
BASKETS, BASKETS, BASKETS
Another special exhibit of Fall, 2007 was a large number of the museum's array of woven baskets- wicker, rattan, grass, fancy, utilitarian, and more! Some of the baskets had a history of being over 150 years old. When featured on their own, their aged beauty and stability were interesting and noticeable. Some were sewing or mending containers, some for fruits and vegetables, some purse-like and some for storage and laundry.
Woven berry basket with a low container that wouldn't crush the berries.
Tiny trinket basket.
Native American sweetgrass baskets.
CRAZY about QUILTS
A special presentation to the Monroe Quilt Guild in 2005 featured some of our graphic, colorful quilts from the collection. Dating from the mid-1800s into the 1900s, many of the quilts caused a new appreciation for these textiles as graphic works of art. This was done by gently spreading the quilts open and viewed from a bit of a distance so the overall effect could be seen.
The colors and designs of the quilts take on new effect when viewed overall.