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Rowan Museum exhibit opens Sunday

On Sunday afternoon,  Rowan Museum will open a 10-week exhibit entitled Off the Shelf. From the storage rooms in the museum and right off their shelves, artifacts have been brought out and unwrapped that have never been shown before, including a large and myriad assortment of collections from the community.

This exhibit will open at 1 p.m. Come and meet museum staffers, volunteers and the collectors.

The exhibit includes (but is not limited to) salt and pepper shakers, bottles, jars, advertising (much of it local), stamps, local distillery jugs, woodworking tools, medical equipment, thimbles, mechanical banks, clocks, bottle caps, pipes, men’s items, Victorian fairing boxes, Staffordshire figurines, pie birds, forcing glasses, finger vases, egg cups, funnels, shells, and a collection of bed pans.

“Some might think it’s an eclectic exhibit,” says Kaye Brown Hirst, executive director of Rowan Museum. “And it is,” she says of Terry Holt’s vision to bring so much out of storage and out of other folks’ homes. Holt is the museum’s Board President and exhibit designer and builder. He, along with Elliott Mathis and Grady Hall and other museum volunteers have enjoyed building this exhibit.

Holt says, “We have enjoyed meeting our different collectors and hearing their stories and listening to their excitement about their collections.” Hall was rather taken aback when handed 14 bedpans to clean recently. He says “I got them clean. They look real good.” A medical corner was built to accommodate the bedpans, including the late Dr. Frederick Spencer’s vintage examining table from the early 20th century.

Collecting is often called an obsession or an illness. Seasoned collectors say that nothing beats the adrenaline rush of walking into a collection and seeing what someone has amassed. The first rule of thumb is to find something to collect that makes you happy. Once you start, you will enter a new universe, filled with history, literature, collecting clubs and shows, experts and obsessions.

The museum staff will give you a sheet with guidelines for collecting. See what others have amassed. Tell them about your collections.

This exhibit will close in late July.

The Rowan Museum is at 202 N. Main St., Salisbury. It is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 1 to 4 p.m. Group tours by appointment.   704-633-5946  or  rowanmuseum@fibrant.com

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