Everlasting Ephemera

June 13, 2017 – January 13, 2018

Henry Sheldon, a Vermont farmer’s son, born in 1821, chartered the oldest community history museum in the country in 1882 and amassed a rich collection of ephemera. Until a recent partnership between the Henry Sheldon Museum and Historic New England, the ephemera collection was unexplored.

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Just what are ephemera? “Ephemera” are paper items intended for short-term use, and then often discarded. They have been inexpensively mass produced for everyday consumption since the 19th century. The term stems from the Greek “ephémeros,” meaning lasting a day, and suggests their fleeting and sometime quickly forgotten nature.

But now much of the collection is available for viewing? For the last two years, Sheldon archivist Eva Garcelon-Hart and volunteer Lucinda Cockerel, herself a curator and archivist who worked at the Center for Popular Music archives in Tennessee, studied the collection and have curated a “pop –up” exhibit featuring a selection from  the more than 5,000 objects of ephemera.  The exhibit will be on display through January 13, 2018.

Baseball trade card copyFortunate for art and history enthusiasts, the museum has kept and catalogued the ephemera.  The subject matter, primarily relating to  Vermont, deals with entertainment, sports, politics, medicine, advertising, farming, religious and temperance meetings.