There’s no doubt technology has advanced a long way. In my time, I’ve seen phones go from attached to the wall with a cord, to a tiny computer in your pocket. The way we go about our daily lives has been streamlined over the years. Often you can see the path of evolution, how tools have changed over time to what they are today, and other times, two roads diverge in a yellow wood.
Here in our museum, we take utmost care in identifying and classifying the artifacts we take in; it’s our job, after all. But sometimes, we receive an item that isn’t readily identifiable or with very little information, and we have to make an educated guess. Take this thing, for example;
We’re told it’s a strainer. Okay. I suppose I can see that. One question, though. How? Compared to today’s strainers, this looks complicated. It’s not just a bowl with small holes in it. It has arms. Why does a strainer need arms? What does it strain? Museums are full of mystery and wonder for everyone involved, I assure you.
Other objects are completely different from what you’d think they are. Let’s take a minute to think about cupcakes. Tiny cakes in a little paper wrapper. A little paper wrapper that today, we buy pre-made at the store. What about the early 1900s? How did they do it then?
This thing here,
that looks more like a torture device than a kitchen utensil, was used to make baking cups! It would be heated and greased paper would be shaped around those spiky little end bits. I’m sure there’s more advanced terminology, but I only recently discovered the use of the thing. Discovery comes first, nomenclature comes later. For now, it’s a cupcake-paper-maker with spiky little end bits.
As for complete mysteries, we have a few. The one that intrigues me most is this little guy.
He’s so happy to see you! What is he? What does he do? He doesn’t know! We don’t know! But he’s just so happy to be here! If you don’t see the face, then I apologise for sounding like a lunatic.
So, yes. We do what we can with the knowledge we have, but some things will always be mysteries. If you know what or how any of these things work, please, let us know! Learning is a life-long affair. Come visit us and see what other interesting objects we have in store!
Summer Student Vanessa