The Let’s Eat exhibit is curated by Chelsea Kuehler and Dr. Sarah Miller of CCHAPS. This exhibit is the product of the University of South Carolina Magellan Scholar Award granted to Chelsea for research and by the South Carolina Humanities Program. Opening night was help on July 16, 2019 at 5pm in the Bedon-Lucas house.
The purpose of this exhibit to highlight the artifacts donated to the society by the community of Walterboro when CCHAPS took ownership of the home in 1995. Many artifacts were given and not all of them are on display in home today. This research opportunity gave Chelsea the means to dive into the basement and categorize, restore, protect, and repair the artifacts. Through this process select artifact groups were chosenfor display in the final exhibit to be house in the Bedon-Lucas house. This exhibit aims to bring the community together and create an environment for education about the home and life in the low country of Walterboro.
This exhibit brought friendly faces who continually show their support for CCHAPS and all that they do for the community and we saw some new faces that were brought in by the curiosity of seeing artifacts that have never been on display before until this exhibit. Seeing these new faces brought the excitement back into the home! A lot of the visitors remarked on the age of the home and could not believe they were standing in a home that was almost 200 years old (next year to be exact)! Seeing the familiar faces reminded us that the light of curiosity never fades and the need to keep learning is ingrained in our being. The mixture of people that attended the opening night of Let’s Eat is the exact reason we wanted to create an exhibit. To bring all different people to the home who are all there for one reason, to celebrate history, education, and community outreach.
The exhibit showcased three tables that held three different collections of artifacts. One table showed different versions of cast iron cookware and showcased a 1904 cast iron waffle iron from Alfred Andressen of Detroit, Michigan. Cast iron has been a staple in kitchens as cookware and wood burning stoves in homes for centuries and this table tried to show how important this invention was and how it continued to develop through the ages. This development was shown by different patents from different eras. The patents were made available by Google. A second table was held in the middle of the room because it showed the biggest collection of artifacts and had the Austrian porcelain on display. Although the biggest collection there were still some pieces of the collection missing but with all the pieces CCHAPS had the curation of five place settings was generated for a semi-formal dinner table setting. This Austrian porcelain was dated to an Austrian porcelain maker in the years 1916-1918 and the company was named Hanusch und Bernhart and was based in the town of Schlaggenwald, Austria. The king of Poland, Augustus the Strong, had an obsession with all things porcelain and this obsession is what gave birth to Europe’s first porcelain factory in Meissen, Germany, which is still in operation today, making them the first in European history to crack the centuries old secret to making porcelain. A secret held only by the Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese. The third and final table showcased a collection of more pottery. This time in the form of a afternoon tea service. Afternoon tea started in England with the Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria Russell, who brought the tea from Spain, and used this time to have a mid afternoon snack to keep the her hunger at bay until dinner was served. The Duchess then introduced this small mid-day meal to Queen Victoria who used the time to gather and socialize with her ladies. From there the trend took off and soon arrived in America where it was embraced by the wealthy. The set on display was collection of Wedgwood in the “Willow” pattern. Wedgwood is a familiar name int he world of pottery and was made famous by Josiah Wedgwood who was the creator of the coveted collections. The collections made by Josiah Wedgwood were made so coveted because he made many sets on commission for the Queen of his time and his pottery was given the nickname, “Queenware.” This pottery was easy to identify by the mark of the potter but further research into the pottery mark revealed a secret to the pottery that now has its home with CCHAPS. A secret that you can only find out when you visit the exhibit in person!
Our next showing of the exhibit will be Monday, August, 5th 2019 at 5pm.
We hope to see you there and we cannot wait to expand your mind!