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Museum Exhibit To Unveil ‘Backroom Curiosities’

April 18, 2012
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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Deep in the recesses of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum lies an assortment of items that rarely see the light of day.

These “Backroom Curiosities” will be dusted off and put on display as part of an exhibition beginning Tuesday (April 23) in the Katy and E. Don Walker Sr., Education Center Exhibit Gallery.

Museum“Most museums contain a great number of objects and collections that do not pertain necessarily to the museum’s mission,” said Casey Roon, SHMM curator of exhibits. “While we highlight the life and times of Gen. Sam Houston and his family, as well as early Texas, we house all sorts of other interesting items as well.

“I felt compelled to create an exhibit that could show the public some of the unusual items that are stored here at the museum; bring them out and let people see them.”

Among the items from the museum’s vault and other storage areas are artwork, furniture, clothing and “unusual pieces of history” that may have never been displayed but have been stored in the museum for many, many years.

“Pieces showcased in this exhibit have been found throughout the museum complex, tucked away for different reasons,” Roon said. “The museum has received over the years, and continues to receive, items donated or brought in by the public for safekeeping that do not always have a tie to the Houston family. Because of that, it is not often possible to display these types of curiosities unless it is in an exhibit such as this.”

Roon said she feels the large variety of “curious pieces” will appeal to a wide audience.

“In addition to artwork, we will be showcasing a vignette of period furniture; musical instruments; clothing; sculpture; as well as small, interesting objects such as a 19th century syringe and needles; ambrotypes; and so much more,” she said.

“While I’m quite attached to every piece in the show, one of my favorites is the ‘Crazy Quilt,’ a patchwork quilt found in the museum’s storeroom with no documentation to accompany it,” Roon said. “The quilt itself tells a marvelous story of the quilter and her loved ones, replete with names, initials, history and even dates, telling a vibrant story dating back as far as 1884. The beauty and detailed work in this quilt is astonishing, and I’m certain that the public will enjoy it as much as I do.”

To kick off the exhibit, which will be on display through Aug. 30, the museum will host a “preview reception” on Monday (April 22), from 4:30-6 p.m. in the Walker Education Center Exhibit Gallery.

“We decided to begin the exhibit and run it through the summer to give students, the Huntsville community, and visitors traveling over the summer a chance to view this unique exhibit,” Ron said. “The majority of the pieces in the ‘Backroom Curiosities’ show have not ever been seen by the public. This may be the only time that their stories are told.”

For more information, contact Megan Buro, museum marketing coordinator, at 936.294.3839 or "like" the museum on Facebook.



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