Thursday, December 31, 2009

‘Cause I’m Leaving, On a Je…No, Wait, Wrong Century

By: John Hart, Assistant Cuator of Collections
Ah the holidays, the joy of seeing family (or going abroad and avoiding them entirely), delicious food (at least in my family), and travelling. There are three main ways of getting somewhere nowadays for the holidays, planes, train, and automobiles.

Imagine if you will, a time when automobiles didn’t exist and the closest thing to a plane was a wood-working plane. Your land travel consisted of a train, wagon, carriage, or sleigh. You might be able to travel by canal or sea if the canal isn’t iced over and the weather holds. The 19th-century is certainly different in many ways when it comes to travelling, but one thing remains the same: the need for clothing and other odds and ends.
When I travel, I try to go as light as I can and try to only pack one bag and maybe my backpack. One of our newest objects is perfect for this task. This small suitcase has two separate sections for different pieces of clothing, and even has some pockets inside for small things. It even locks in case someone thought they wanted to play dress-up in the owners’ clothes!

Not big enough you say? Have to pack for yourself and maybe your spouse or kids? Or maybe you tend to pack too much to begin with? Well then, what about a trunk? This trunk was used by Harold Hollis to hold his World War II service uniforms, but is certainly large enough for at least an adult or two or a combination of adults and kids. You could probably fit a kid in it to be honest. It even has an area where you can keep clothing hung on a hanger and pull out drawers for other articles of clothing!

No matter how you get where you’re going for the holidays, one thing is for sure, a suitcase will likely be at your side.

Happy Holidays and Safe Travels to All!
top: “Suitcase,” Made in the shop of George Story, Cooperstown, New York, H 12 ½” x W 20" x D 11", F0010.2009. The Farmers’ Museum, Cooperstown, New York.
bottom: “Trunk,” Unknown maker, 20th century, H 21 ¼” x L 40 ¼” N0001.2001(01). New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown, New York.

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