Choosing among over 400,000 ethnographic, physical
anthropology, and archaeological objects from around the world to showcase in
our latest exhibit, From the Vault,was
not an easy task. Many of the pieces
that ended up in the exhibit are favorites of the staff or pieces that have not been
on display in a long time, if ever. Here are a few pieces
that we didn’t include but thought were too interesting to keep to ourselves. 

We have very little in the way of historic turn-of-the-century pieces of Americana, so this doctor’s bag is an unusual piece for us to
have collected. This bag was
donated to SDMoM in 1959 and is originally from Texas, circa 1900.  Inside there are 51 glass vials,
many of which still have the original medications inside, as well as a collection of prescription cards. Several of the
medications were removed at one point to prevent future damage to the bag (or to the
staff). 

Another item that did not make the cut is the pair of
shoes, also known as mukluks. Mukluks
are typically made from animal hide like seal or reindeer and are sometimes
lined with fur. Used as cold weather
shoes, this type of footwear allows air exchange, decreasing the
chances of frostbite in the freezing temperatures of the artic. This particular pair of mukluks is for an infant or
small child, measuring about 4 inches in length. They are made of walrus hide, circa 1915
from Seward, Alaska. 

This last object is a sword and sheath.  Although very interesting, this didn’t make the cut simply because we
don’t know a lot about it. It
was collected in 1953, originally from China. Both the sword and the sheath are made up of
a combination of wood and metal, with complementary engravings.

Karen Lacy, Collections Manager