PLATTSBURGH — “Compliments of the Season,” a new winter exhibit, is a trip down memory lane or a discovery for others at the Clinton County Historical Association Museum.
“We have all kinds of things from the Clinton County community to commemorate our winter season here,” said Melissa Peck, director/curator. “We have a lot of antique toys. We also have a lot of photographs. We have some textiles and some really early examples of winter clothing. It’s an exhibit to really kind of show there are still differences but there are similarities in how we celebrate the season.”
The exhibit includes vintage sleds, snowshoes and a mid-century Betsy Wetsy.
“A temporary exhibit like this gives us a chance to bring things out and switch things up, things that have been in storage awhile,” Peck said. “It will be a short exhibit. It’s only up until Feb. 15.”
A view of Lombardino’s Fruit Store on Clinton Street is on a wall of early scenes of Plattsburgh.
“These are from our glass-plate negative collection,” Peck said. “There are over 15,000 negatives that we are digitizing. These are from the early photography studios in Plattsburgh. George Brewer donated them to us. We have portraits and scenes. It’s amazing to see the portraits because people got so dressed up because this was such a huge occasion. So we have some of that on display.”
On view is Virginia Mason Burdick’s doll house. She is a descendant of the Keese family from the Quaker Union in Peru.
“It’s all handmade,” Peck said. “It has everything inside. It’s very detailed, so a lot of the kids like to come inside and peer through it.”
There is an assortment of hats including a faux-Dalmatian fur hat.
“We have some really cool hats,” Peck said. “It’s supposed to be really fun.”
There are two quilts on display. One is a silk-and-velvet crazy quilt, and the other was stitched from coat sections backed by Pillsbury flour sacks.
“So, it’s all recycled materials,” Peck said. “You can see the buttonholes from the jackets. This is really a contrast. You can see something really elegant, and you can see something else that was thrown together with what people had.”
There are two wool coats lined with fur and a sampling of Christmas-themed Golden Books.
“We had a ball looking into the collection and coming up with all of these things,” Peck said. “There’s a lot of really neat stuff that we are really excited to have out. Julie Dowd over here, she’s on our exhibit committee. She was instrumental in putting all of this together. It’s all from the community.”
A winter exhibit would not be complete without dolls.
“This is the Sonja Henie from the 1931 Olympics,” Dowd said. “This Kewpie doll is the best Kewpie doll you will find in the world. She’s a bride doll. She was made by 1915 or so.”
Nearby is a Singer Sewhandy, which was made in Canada.
“This is the most popular sewing machine that was made for little girls,” Dowd said. “It’s so cute. Banks were popular for boys. That’s the Dionne quintuplets right there, whom Melissa is related to. She’s the 10th cousin of the Dionne quintuplets.”
Dowd’s favorite piece is a commode.
“In the olden days, they used to crochet edges for the top of commode, so you wouldn’t wake people up in the middle of the night,” she said. “So, it’s called a husher. I think that’s so funny. That’s definitely what it is all right, a husher.”
The exhibit includes an assortment of hair jewelry.
“That bracelet is made out of hair, the one on the hand right there and inside that little locket right there is also hair,” Dowd said. “It’s so neat. Of course, this is a snuff box. I’ve never seen a snuff box before. These are garters. That’s a common present that was made. It’s really a lot of neat old stuff.”
A pocket watch is among the donations of Bernie Amell.
“This is also hair, that black right there, so if you didn’t have enough money to make a present you had your hair and you would make presents out of your hair,” Dowd said. “Isn’t it something?”
Though rooted in the past, the exhibit is collecting new memories.
“As part of celebrating this winter-time tradition, we have a North Country Family Interview Series,” Peck said. “We originally pioneered it in the summer but we’re asking everyone to come in now and talk about their winter traditions, the things they do with their families to celebrate the holidays and the season. That is something we’re doing along with this exhibit.”
Email Robin Caudell:email@example.com
IF YOU GO
WHAT: "Compliments of the Season," a new winter exhibit.
WHEN: Through Feb. 15. WHERE: Clinton County Historical Association, 98 Ohio Ave. (Old Base), Plattsburgh.
HOURS: The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
ADMISSION: $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and $2 for students. Members enjoy free admission.
WEBSITE: visit www.clintoncountyhistorical.org.
WHAT: Clinton County Family Heritage Interview, a program that will allow children to interview a member of their family or friend, and have the session recorded and added to CCHA's collection.
CCHA's Education Committee is pioneering the interview series as part of a larger oral history project underway at the museum.
The program first presented throughout the summer months is taking on a winter spin. The museum is asking families to come out to talk about their seasonal traditions and pastimes living in Clinton County.
Participants can arrange to pick up a copy of the interview at a later date for their personal collection.
Interviews can be set up at the museum, by appointment only, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday through February 2014. An interview generally takes 30 to 45 minutes.