Aprons and ashes… not your mother’s kitchen


by Sheila Fawcett

A retro look at kitchens in the days before modern equipment, the Home for Dinner exhibit, Kitchens Before Convenience − 1890 to 1945, is coming to the Spencerville Mill & Museum from July 5 to 31.

Over the last two years, the Spencerville Mill has hosted two popular retro-exhibits, Quiltessence, and Toys of Yesteryear, which highlighted the design talent and unique craftmanship of things created before mass production. Both exhibits required short-term loans of treasures from local collectors. This year’s exhibit, Home for Dinner, will feature household kitchens, women’s house wares, and the evolution of kitchen “conveniences” over 50 years; pre-electrification, pre-refrigeration and pre-convenience food − no TV dinners in this era!

Although the challenge may be greater, once again the Mill is putting out the call for loans of artifacts. Exhibit organizers hope to find items from 1890 to 1945, including the kitchen sink – and hopefully an old stove or two as well.

How many people inherit or keep essential items from the past, such as a butter churns, apple corers, dough bowls, irons, and other cast iron tools, a hosier or an icebox from the 1890s? The Spencerville Mill wants to find out, and is asking as many people as possible to delve into attics, barns, basements and other storage places to see what they could lend for a month. The search is on for rolls of old wallpaper, women’s attire, and appliances from the 1900s up to 1945 − keeping in mind that the first refrigerator for home use was created in 1911, and at-home refrigerators didn’t really catch on until 1927. At a cost that was more than a Model T Ford, few households could afford the luxury.

Interested lenders can go to the Mill website www.spencervillemill.ca, for more information and access to an on-line artifact loan form, or call lead organizer Sheila Fawcett at 613 658-5290. All donations will be carefully protected and returned at exhibit end. Some assistance can be provided to pick-up larger artifacts. Everyone is invited to come Home for Dinner at the Mill this July.

Exhibit admission $2 per person, which goes to Mill maintenance and exhibit development.


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