Friday, March 23, 2018

Antique Shops: Museums of Personal History

I like going to antiques shops because they are like mini free museums of domestic history. You get these beautiful little glimpses into the lives of people most likely no longer alive. They left behind their brooch or book or chair. The very brooch they wore when they met their husband. The very book they read aloud to their grandfather as he lay in bed, weakened by old age. The very chair they sat in to write letters to their sister.

Here are some interesting things one might find at an antique store:

Globes: The world changes a lot. At one time all the continents were one, but that was before globes had been invented. Globes now often have names of countries that no longer exist or show borders that no longer apply.

A long time ago, someone had this globe in their house. They spun it around and let their fingers drag along the surface of the globe as it spun. They kept their eyes closed. When they opened their eyes, the globe was still and their finger was pointing at the exact location where they would travel next.

Small replicas of larger things: At antique stores you can find miniature replicas of much bigger things such as doll houses or tin trucks. Below is a cardboard replica of what I am guessing is a cathedral and a little sail boat.

That little boat was probably once owned by a little boy who took the boat with him to the lake every summer. The same lake he fed the ducks at and that he swam in, pretending he was a merman or a shark.

Natural Curiosities: A long time ago a widow walked along the beach collecting shells that reminded her of her husband. When she got home, she made two shadow boxes with her collected shells. Maybe these two shadow boxes below are the ones the widow made, or maybe these were made by someone else and the widow's shadow boxes are sitting in an antique store in Maine or North Carolina or Texas or Oregon.

Tapestries: This tapestry most certainly was created by one of the court artisans for the king to display in his library. The woman was his wife and the girl his daughter. Since he had no way to take their photograph, instead he had this tapestry that he could look at when they were away.

Books: It is especially fun to see old books at antique shops that did not stand the test of time, such as the book below 'Lovers are Losers.' I also love how the fortune telling books entices people to buy/ read it by blatantly claiming it will make you popular! Maybe though it did make someone popular once.

Art: Both thrift stores and antique stores often have beautiful, ugly, strange, thought provoking, sad, hilarious, skillful and amazing art!

This lady below looks like the actress Kathryn Hahn to me!

I bet this was made for a play. It is an awesome paper mache vampire head. 

I don't know what to think about this. It is pretty frightening, yet there is something loving about the painting. The dog seriously could lurk your nightmares with its little face, but the painting probably depicts someone's once loved dog, and you can still kind of see what they loved about their dog under the scary, tiny face.

In a hundred of years, maybe some of the things you and I hold dear will be on the shelves of antique shops, being admired or analyzed or disdained or inspiring the folks of the future!

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