Monthly Archives: August 2011

The Past Comes Home

In the museum world, provenance is essential.  Objects without a history are lost over time, orphaned by chance and lack of documentation.  Sometimes, the information embedded in the piece itself is enough to secure its protection as a cultural relic, despite the loss of human information.

Archeologists, curators, and other professionals bemoan such disconnects: Simply put, objects outlive their owners or become separated from them.  All too often, they float incognito in antique shops, resale stores, and yard sales, seldom rediscovered except by those who sense their significance and pursue it.

The ability to tie an object to its history is a connecting link between the past and present.  Whether it’s in a museum collection, the media, or someone’s home, what we as humans really want is a story.

Who made it?  How?  What was its purpose?  No matter what an object may be, it undeniably carries different meanings to different people:  One person’s passion for vintage  stoneware jugs equals another person’s love of first edition books or stamps.   The story below concerns sentimental objects within families and the occasional miracles surrounding them, and this writer saw it unfold.

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