I walk into the Kearny Museum's attic
(always very cautious because that place is so terrifying not even
spiders want to live there), looking for somewhere to store a Scottish
kilt that was recently donated. The shelving units have been newly
labelled by the Museum Committee. Sports Memorabilia, Lighting, Local
Artists, Faux Greenery, Victorian Dresses...Victorian Dresses??
there on the "Victorian Dresses" shelving unit were indeed boxes
labeled all sorts of crazy things like "Fur Capelet," "Chef's Hat and
Utensils," and "Black Tafata[sic] Gown."
Uh-oh. I had
never seen any of these boxes or their supposed treasures. At once I
felt both ecstatic and panicked. What would I find in these mystery
I pulled out one of the smallest boxes and
carefully opened the lid, revealing a jumble of hot-pink tulle (which
would be a recurring theme for the rest of the mystery boxes), yellowed
napkins and dirty plastic bags. More digging and...ooooh, shiny!
what do you know, crammed inside a sandwhich bread bag (also a
recurring theme for the mystery boxes, including bags of buns) was a
pair of glittering, silver metallic 1920s evening shoes!
They are accompanied by a faded display card, and were at one point in time displayed with the beaded 1920s dress. The 1920s dress was also donated by Mrs. William Schreiber.
Indeed, the strap has an interesting mechanism wherein a metal hook is
latched over the buckle. This fastening technique is still in use and I
own a pair of modern heels that fasten this way.
Unfortunately, the shoes are in very poor condition. They must have been
truly loved because the heel cap has been worn all the way through to
the nail! The sole is peeling back at the front and heel, and the
metallic leather is flaking and cracked. There are several slices in the
leather, the largest being on the inner left side of the right shoe.
The rhinestoned buckles are also missing one or two stones, and the
insoles have begun to detach.
The shoes were stored and likely displayed without the necessary
support. The lack of foot-shaped support to hold out the shoe possibly
led to the irreparable splits in the leather. I will be making
muslin-shaped "feet" stuffed with polyfill to support the shoe and its
straps. The shoes will then be displayed alongside the beaded 1920s dress in its glass case.
tuned for dozens of more Museum goodies, including an 1867 mourning
dress, an enormous tatted lace collar, children's button-up boots, a fur
capelet, a fur muff of exaggerated Edwardian proportions, 19th century
drawers, a taxidermied bird, an unusual piece of embroidery, beaded
gloves, and much more!
Also, the inexplicable and widespread use of bread bags and hot pink tulle for storing antique pieces will be explored.