07 February 2012

A Trip Back in Time: East Linn Museum

Have you ever wondered how your ancestors lived? What they wore? How they accomplished their daily chores? What kind of things they had in their homes? Sometimes, if we are lucky, we get a picture of our ancestors lives through journals, photos and possessions that have been passed on down through the generations. We may also learn more about them and their lives through local histories, newspapers of the day or old books. And then, of course, there are other records: church, civil and family. But another, very tangible way of finding out more about our ancestors is to tour historical museums in the area they lived...

Would you like to come with me as I learn more about how our family lived? The sign above the door to the museum says it all---"that those to come may know". I want to know so let's go!

Behind the beautiful model of a covered bridge are some very old photos of people who used to live here. I recognize some of the names...but where have I seen them before? Was it on a census, in the local cemetery or elsewhere? Some families have been here for a very, very long time--I don't blame them, it's a beautiful location--no wonder the name of this town, Sweet Home.

Just in time for Valentine's Day...old wedding dresses. The fabric and the details are beautiful! What do you think? Can you see yourself wearing one of these or do you prefer a more modern look? Do you have any ancestral wedding photos or perhaps some vintage clothing?

Shall we tour the kitchen? The so called heart of the home?

Put yourself in your ancestor's shoes--imagine baking and cooking without modern appliances.
I bet we could do it, don't you (even though I have been complaining about my broken dishwasher)? But what would it be like? How many extra hours would it add to your day?
What about this outfit? Do you like it? I have a Pioneer costume; for awhile I was a docent in a historical setting--it was fun, but really hot. I suppose it would take time to get used to wearing a long dress with long sleeves; an apron and bonnet, but I think there is something very, very special about old clothing.

I have a little cast iron stove a bit like this one...it was my grandma's; perhaps she bought it because it reminded her of times past? I would try cooking on an earthstove if I had one--not for everything but defintely for some things. After all, if you are using one to heat your home, why not let it serve dual purposes?

I inherited my grandma's old sewing machine but it isn't this old. This is pretty neat! Can you imagine the excitement in the family when they were able to purchase a sewing machine? It reminds me of that scene in Yentl--hum I hope that is spelled right. Think of how every new invention truly did make our forefathers lives easier.

Oh look! Those quilts against the wall? Beautiful!

Now I LOVE these old clothespins and the items hanging from the clothesline.
This is something a lot of bloggers still do---I know that items line dried smell fabulous;
we just don't have a real good area for it right now and with the PNW weather it would be a bit of a challenge...still it is obviously something that can (and was) done.

Ahh! A baby carriage (or would they call it a tram)? And look at the cute baby crib...I bet that would not pass safety inspections today and yet hundreds of babies slept in one similar to this.
Wonder what it would be like to be a child at this time? What type of toys would you play with? What kind of games would you play? Most likely you would have a bigger family than you probably grew up with? It was quite common in my ancestral families to have large families of 12 or so children; even my mother had 5 siblings. Of course some of my ancestors had smaller families, but it was not the norm. I sometimes wish I could have had that experience, but since I married into a larger family, in a way I do:)

And then along came the phone--wonderful invention which has made it possible for families and friends to keep in touch. Oh, oh---I feel the urge to 'age' myself...do you remember 'party lines'? How about rotary phones? And what about the first 'mobile' phones?
Yep, taking trips back in time can be a lot of fun as you learn more about your ancestors' lives and even recall how much things have changed in your lifetime.
For those with family roots in the Linn county area,
or those passing through the area who are curious about local history:
East Linn Museum
746 Long Street, Sweet Home

And for those of you that have an interest in family history,
I highly recommend visiting local historical and cultural museums, attending heritage festivals...it is another way to learn more about the people you call your ancestors.

Note: a BIG thank you to the East Linn Museum volunteer who gave me permission to photograph their collections (not all posted here) and to blog about it! I truly feel blessed by this privilege and appreciate your kindness very much! Hope to be back this year and tour the museum and your beautiful area again!

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