Washboards, armchairs, lamps, and pots and pans may not seem to be museum pieces. But they are invaluable evidence of how most people lived day to day, last week or three centuries ago. The Museum's collections of domestic furnishings comprise more than 40,000 artifacts from American households. Large and small, they include four houses, roughly 800 pieces of furniture, fireplace equipment, spinning wheels, ceramics and glass, family portraits, and much more.
The Arthur and Edna Greenwood Collection contains more than 2,000 objects from New England households from colonial times to mid-1800s. From kitchens of the past, the collections hold some 3,300 artifacts, ranging from refrigerators to spatulas. The lighting devices alone number roughly 3,000 lamps, candleholders, and lanterns.
"Domestic Furnishings - Overview" showing 1 items.
- This is one of two matching appliqued pillowcases and a bedcover that were made in China in the 1920s. Rev. Alexander Cunningham, a Presbyterian minister in China at the time, sent them to the United States on the birth of his nephew, James Cunningham, in 1926. Both pillowcases are white with a single blue square at each end. On either side of each blue square is a figure of a boy with a ball, a bird, a cat, and a dog; all are made of overlapping blue circles.
- Alexander Cunningham was born March 13, 1861, in Murrayville, Illinois. He graduated from Illinois State Normal University in 1887 and McCormick Theological Seminary in 1890. In that same year he married Mary E. Neely, and they left for China to become missionaries. Assigned to the Presbyterian North China Mission, they were active missionaries in China from 1890 to 1933, and after retirement continued to live in China until 1940. After fifty years as missionaries, they returned to California on the eve of World War II. Alexander Cunningham died in Los Angeles, California, on September 20, 1943. This appliquéd pillowcase with the matching bedcover may be the product of a mission where Rev. Alexander Cunningham served.
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- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center