Collection of ‘curiosities’ on display in Library Gallery through July 28

“I Am the Vine, Ye Are the Branches,” Mennonite, oils and glitter, unknown artist, Fulton Co., Ohio, c.1900.

Art exhibit: A Cabinet of Curiosities II
Reception date and time: Sunday, March 26, 3-5 p.m. (exhibit open March 26 through July 28, 2017)
Location: Goshen College’s Harold and Wilma Good Library Gallery
Cost: Free and open to the public
Sponsor: The Mennonite-Amish Museum Committee

A collection of “mixed oddities,” including miscellaneous historical artifacts, will be on display in the Harold and Wilma Good Library basement gallery at Goshen College from March 26 through July 28, 2017. A reception will take place on Sunday, March 26, 3-5 p.m., in the Good Library Gallery, and is free and open to the public.

The title of the exhibit is the English name for the earliest museums, which in the 16th century were designated rooms, or “cabinets,” in wealthy households that contained a miscellaneous collection of artifacts, whether of artistic, scientific or archaeological interest.

This umbrella title gives the exhibit’s sponsor, the Mennonite-Amish Museum Committee, the opportunity to present to the public a variety of recent and earlier acquisitions that have not yet fit into themed exhibits.

Among the most “curious” items are a Belgian pistol found in Armenia, painted wood dancing shoes from India, a toy hobby horse, and a wood mold for adobe bricks from a Mennonite immigrant house in Kansas.

The exhibit will be dominated by four fine antique Amish and Mennonite quilts, recently acquired, along with the 150th anniversary quilt by Shirley Shenk for Forks Mennonite Church, Middlebury, which recently closed.

Among other folk arts are a glass painting of Pike’s Peak, fraktur and revival fraktur, a faceless Amish doll, and monogrammed linens.

Commercial arts include a Goshen Brewing Company T-shirt, a Blue Gate Theater poster and ceramics from Langnau, Switzerland.

From churches come theology teaching charts, a flannelgraph, hand puppets, and seasonal murals by Arthur Sprunger from the Eighth Street Church.

Items in the display come from the more than 3000 museum artifacts owned by the Mennonite Historical Library at Goshen College. Curator is Faye Peterson of Goshen, who also mounted the first Cabinet of Curiosities exhibit in 2009.

The exhibit is sponsored by the Mennonite-Amish Museum Committee. The exhibit is open during library hours, which vary throughout the school year. See the Good Library website for current hours.