From the Curator: Fall 2010

Gazette Column by Katie Macica, Curator
Appeared in the Gazette: Fall 2010

Curatorial Nitty Gritty
Thanks to the hard work of our intrepid summer interns, Caroline Whitcomb and Jack Grasso, the majority of the Burnham collection is finally processed!  When WHS acquired the Schmidt-Burnham Log House from the Burnham family in 2003, we also obtained a large collection of the family’s artifacts.  This collection includes everything from Anita’s famous wheeled suitcase, to Mexican pottery, to zinc printing blocks.  Ever since WHS moved into 411 Linden, the Burnham collection has sat in the south room upstairs.

Several inventories of the collection had been made, but no one had the determination to take on the enormous task of actually processing and cataloging all those items, that is, until Caroline and Jack came along!  Processing this collection was not without its perils.  The interns and I encountered much dust and dirt and spent hours upon hours numbering, measuring, and writing detailed descriptions of every item we processed.  Now the majority of the items are cleaned and cataloged and sitting in nice new boxes, just waiting until we can put them in an exhibit!

Crow Island School at MoMA?
Earlier this year, WHS was contacted by Aidan O’Connor, a curatorial assistant at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, who is interested in including Crow Island School in an upcoming exhibit.  When O’Connor travelled to Chicago in May to research the exhibit, she came up to Winnetka to tour the school and use the archives and research files at our museum.  She was very impressed with Crow Island and how well it continues to serve the needs of children and educators.  _Century of the Child_ is scheduled to open at MoMA in 2012 and will offer a look at twentieth century design for children throughout the world.  Watch for news in the Spring Gazette to see if Crow Island will indeed be included in this exhibit.

Naturally Artistic Artifacts
People are always interested in what types of artifacts we’ve gotten recently.  We get all kinds of items, from maps to clothing to family photographs.  One of the most interesting donations was a set of two watercolor drawings by Chicago Tribune cartoonist Joseph Parrish, who lived in Winnetka.  Beginning in 1964, Parrish wrote and illustrated “Nature’s Notes,” a cartoon with beautiful drawings of animals along with interesting facts about their “habits and habitats.”  The two drawings now in our collection were donated by Grace Welter.  The drawings are signed by Parrish to Victor Hlavacek, Grace’s father.  These are great artifacts to have in our collection, as they illustrate (literally) the talent and interesting range of experiences of Winnetka residents over the years.

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