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.
- Although the vacuum cleaner had been invented in the early 20th century, the mass production and sales of vacuum cleaners did not take off until the economic boom that followed the decade after the First World War (1914-1918). This Hoover vacuum model 700 was produced between 1926 and 1929 and was the first of its kind to feature an aluminum body, an on/off switch, and the agitator brushroll—an innovation that used metal beater strips to vibrate pieces of dirt from carpets. The vacuum was one of the many supposedly labor saving devices marketed in the 1920s that promised to liberate middle-class women, now managing their houses without live-in maids, from the drudgery of housework. Accordingly advertisements for the Hoover 700 depicted a chic flapper of the late 1920s using the vacuum. Although the vacuum did clean more thoroughly than the broom and dustpan, the popularization of such appliances created more exacting standards of cleanliness thus making the hope of simplified housework largely illusory.
- Currently not on view
- Date made
- Hoover Company
- ID Number
- catalog number
- nonaccession number
- catalog number
- 1990.3134.1 A,B
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center