We decided at our meeting yesterday to proceed with editing our "kitchen" display area. We've got a corner that's got miscellaneous kitchen-related items: a Hoosier cabinet chock full of various gadgets, old cookbooks, old spice and baking powder tins, etc. There's a wood-burning Monarch kitchen range, an old ice box, an ancient refrigerator (from the 1920s; it still works), and a lot of other stuff. It's all neatly arranged, but it's basically just a collection of old stuff -- there isn't much of an attempt at formal interpretation. Depending on who the docent is on any particular day, conversations with visitors can range from explaining how a woodstove actually worked to listening to people reminisce about the Jewell Tea dishes their grandmother had.
The display also includes a farmhouse-style table that had four or five place settings on it, but it was't really set up for an particular meal. It was more like the last person to work with that area decided that it made more sense to have the table looking like it was set for a meal than to leave it empty. Well, at yesterday's meeting we decided to edit the exhibit. When we open for the tourist season in the spring, the kitchen area will have four place settings on it, each one representing a different era. One will, of course, be the pioneer days. The dishes will be basic whiteware and there will be a sample menu -- what people would have been likely (or able) to eat back around the time Baraga County was established in the 1870s. Another will be the 1930s, the Jewell Tea dishes era, also with a sample menu and maybe a recipe or two. One will be the present (or close to it). (I will fight the temptation to just do a couple crumpled napkins and an empty Burger King bag.) And one will be the melamine years.
I guess we'll muddle along with the full-page color ads from Woman's Day or Good Housekeeping, but, holy wah, I wish our budget was big enough to buy a fake Jello salad.