Living History October 2004

Living History October 2004

Fall's best bets for celebrating your heritage and reliving history.

Shelburne, Vermont

Cruisin’ for Kids

Remember pedal cars? During the mid-1900s, American children craved kid-size cars just like their moms’ and dads’ — and keeping up with auto-industry trends, toy companies supplied them in all shapes and sizes. Through Oct. 31, you can see 70 of these vintage vehicles, dating from 1905 to 1970, at Shelburne Museum’s Pedal to the Metal: A History of Children’s Pedal Cars exhibition. Set your sights once again on the Steelcraft Supercharge, Kidillac and Good Humor trikes. The exhibit also will showcase dozens of old family photos. Interactive features such as a pedal-car riding area and mock garage for mixing and matching car parts will keep young visitors entertained. Admission costs $18 for adults and $9 for children ages 6 to 18 (tickets are valid for two consecutive days). Call (802) 985-3346 or visit <www.shelburnemuseum.org> for details.

Cleveland, Ohio

Flapper Wear

If Chicago’s femmes fatales have sparked your interest in all things flapper, check out the Western Reserve Historical Society’s nod to The Daring Decade: Women in the 1920s. Through Oct. 24, the History Museum will showcase 40 costumes influenced by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel and her contemporaries, including (gasp!) pants — previously worn only by men — suits, bathing suits and other garments reflecting women’s newfound independence. As you gaze at evening dresses adorned with beads, tassels and fringe, you’ll imagine your female ancestors dancing the Fox Trot and Charleston. Before you jet, be sure to visit other 1920s-focused displays — highlighting Cleveland sports and cars — in the society’s University Circle complex. Admission costs $7.50 for adults, $6.50 for seniors and $5.50 for students. Call (216) 721-5722 or visit <www.wrhs.org> for more information.

New York, New York

Hot on the Campaign Trail

As George W. Bush and John Kerry vie for your vote this fall, the New-York Historical Society will take a look at past presidential hopefuls’ campaign trails. The society’s exhibition If Elected: Campaigning for the Presidency, on display through Nov. 3, examines ephemera dating back to George Washington’s day. See posters, broadsides, buttons, banners, flags, mugs, kerchiefs, neckties, thimbles and even whiskey bottles bearing slogans. Interpretive texts describe the evolution of presidential campaigning and the issues that shaped past elections. Admission costs $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors; society members get in free. For details, call (212) 873-3400 or visit <www.nyhistory.org>.

Washington, DC

Packing a Lunch

What did you want on your lunch box? For the past 100 years, on-the-go kids and adults have transported their chow in Thermos lunch boxes and vacuum bottles. To celebrate its centennial, the company donated merchandise to the National Museum of American History’s Taking America to Lunch exhibit, a display of 136 bottles and boxes dating from the 1880s to the 1980s. Over the years, such cultural icons as the Beatles, Barbie, the Partridge Family, the Muppets and Fat Albert have lent their mugs to lunchtime merchandise, and you’ll see plenty of examples (from multiple manufacturers) here. The display also includes classic plaid bottles, as well as old-fashioned lunch pails from the era before Lassie and Timmy. Taking America to Lunch opened this spring. Admission is free. For details, call (202) 633-1000 or visit <americanhistory.si.edu>.

Massachusetts

Dig In!

Uncover ancient artifacts in your own backyard this October during Massachusetts Archaeology Month. Organized by the Massachusetts Historical Commission and the state archaeologist, this public program features nearly 100 lectures, tours, demonstrations, exhibits and storytelling sessions designed to make you feel a little like Indiana Jones — only without the risk of booby traps. Oct. 16, Historic Deerfield will host a free artifact-identification workshop and walking tours of the 335-year-old English village. Other program highlights include mini-digs at museums throughout the state and lectures by the chief archaeologist of the National Park Service (NPS) on the discovery of Kennewick Man, an 8,000-year-old skeleton. For a full list of events, call (617) 727-8470 or visit <www.state.ma.us/sec/mho.> If you don’t live near Massachusetts, check out the NPS Archeology and Ethnography Program’s Web site <www.cr.nps.gov/aad/public/statearc.htm> for events in your area. Michigan, Mississippi and several other states will sponsor their own Archaeology Month programs in October.

From the October 2004 Family Tree Magazine.

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