Friday, September 18, 2009

A Tour of the Itawamba Historical Society Facilities in Mantachie: Part 5

Editor's Note: Terry Thornton, a member of the society's board of directors, has been giving a tour of the society's facilities in Mantachie over the past few days through text and photographs. Below is the fifth and final part of his tour.

In one of the areas of the museum still to be developed is stored part of an auditorium's canvas stage cloth or a theatrical backdrop of painted cloth (pictured above) --- with many of the local hand-painted advertising signs on the canvas still as bright and as colorful as ever. I was charmed by the painted ads --- and hope that the museum will determine a way to display this large piece so that others may enjoy it. The theatrical backdrop was done after 1922 if information from the ad pictured above is correct and once hung on the stage in the Mantachie School auditorium.

No museum with a collection of artifacts from early rural America would be complete without a spinning wheel. The Bonds House Museum has a spinning wheel upon which no doubt countless hours of spinning produced countless miles of yard. These devices so necessary to households just a few generations ago have always fascinated me.

Large metal pots for outside and fireplace use are displayed at the Museum. The small cooking pot on the bottom shelf far left is commonly called a "spider" and was used for hearth cooking over many decades in the history of the nation. The little three-legged pot could be used in the fireplace for cooking everything from stews and soups to chickens and dumplings or even used for baking. One of the items on my "bucket list" is to bake biscuits on the hearth using a spider. First I've got to get a hearth.

The artistry in this quilt is both pleasing to the eye and inspiring. That so many small pieces of fabric could be cut and assembled by hand-piecing into all these various elements and then combined into a quilt top was a labor of love for someone years ago. Then the quilter(s) took over and fashioned a quilt from that top using thousands of small quilting stitches to join the top, the batting, and the lining together --- and those lines of stitches added even more to the overall pattern and geometry of the work. This quilt is charming.

At the Museum are displayed a variety of tools and metal artifacts --- from broad axes to horseshoes to a set of scales and the peas used to measure weights as well as dozens of other items. The object at the top right of this pictures is commonly called a set of "cotton scales" and was used to weight cotton as it was picked and collected for ginning. The scale had two surfaces upon which to measure weights --- one side of the scale required a small "pea" (shown hanging from the scale) to determine fairly light objects. The opposite side of the scale required a larger "pea" (shown just below the scale) to measure heavier loads. The scale had a top hook which could be attached to a secure limb or timber and the object to be weighed could be attached to the scale's bottom hook. Both are visible in this picture.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am old enough to remember the ladies born in the 1870's/1880's who had much experience at quilting, if only I could remember the name of the lady who set the standard (in my opinion as I remember this discussion)of a "good quilter". She said she didn't want anyone quilting on a quilt of hers that couldn't put at least 12 stitches onto the needle before pulling the threaded needle through the quilt backing, batting and the quilt top - people!, that is some tiny stitches! and I assure you that we will not find such finely quilted beauties today.bettye