You Say Worthless Junk, I Say Historical Artifact

I was at the library in Bay Village last night, looking for a specific translation of Dante's Inferno (not because I plan to read it or anything — I just need to make some photocopies and apply for permission to reprint about thirty-four lines from Canto IV in a new book we're doing at work). In the display case by the front door, they had about a dozen vintage telephones. It looked like an assortment of home and office phones from the 1950s through the 1980s to me, but I'm not an expert. I liked the Snoopy and Woodstock one, and there was a one with Mickey Mouse in a similar pose. I asked the librarian where they were from (it's not like they helpfully placed a sign within the case or anything) and I guess it's just some guy from the area who has a collection and wanted to display it. Okay: random.

Anyhow, I came across Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian this morning. It's an online exhibit that's a companion to the new book of the same name from the Smithsonian Press. You can check out nifty pop-culture stuff like the Improved Veg-O-Matic II, Lunch boxes from the 1950s to the 1980s , or the 60 Minutes stopwatch. Sweet! I remember seeing Archie Bunker's chair, Fonzie's jacket, and Kermit the Frog on my last visit to the Smithsonian, which must have been in the summer of 1989.

Of course, they also have real historical artifacts, but you'll have to discover those on your own because I've already goofed off enough this morning finding cover art for all the music in my iTunes library.

1 comment:

  1. Most of these great things are all from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, which is currently closed for renovation until next summer.

    The Treasures of American History are currently on display at the Air and Space Museum.

    I too, remember a school trip in 6th grade to Washington DC, and have the photos to prove it. Now that I live here, I still want to go all the time.

    But then again, that's what I do for a living now, working at the National Archives.