It ‘s #MuseumWeek on Twitter this week and that seemed like a great excuse to talk about my favorite museum in the Twin Cities: Hennepin History Museum. Museum Week is a fun celebration of museums behind the scenes. Yesterday the theme was “behind the scenes secrets” and today the theme is “souvenirs”. And I have some great souvenirs from HHM!
I visited the museum a few weeks ago and brought along my camera. HHM is housed in a turn-of-the-century mansion that is full of beautiful details. When I was there taking photos, an exhibition of hand fans had just opened to coincide with a “Fireside Chat“, an afternoon lecture by a local fan collector. HHM holds these chats every other week and they feature local authors and history experts talking about everything from beekeeping to baseball.
I was really enamoured with this painted feather fan. It is made from white goose feathers which are painted with a floral spray and tipped with peacock plumes. Since I have been designing skirts non-stop the last few months, I looked at this and saw a skirt (naturally). My wrap skirt design is a 3/4 circle, which is a tough shape to work from, but a fan is already a 1/3 circle shape. It was a natural fit!
I love those peacock feathers around the hem! The museum staff was so excited that I was making things inspired by the collection that they invited me to have this skirt on display along with the fans. It was neat for me to see the two side-by-side and you can see them too if you stop by.
I also took some photos of the woodwork details in the Fireside Room. This helix patterned trim is featured throughout the room.
And that also inspired a design. I haven’t stitched up the sample of this one yet, but you can see the sketch. I used this bit of woodwork trim to make radiating stripes from the waist to hem. I also designed a basic stripe based on this woodwork pattern, which I will hopefully be printing to make silk scarves for the HHM shop a little later in the spring.
One visit and two pretty awesome designs! I feel like I found buried treasure. I can’t wait to go back and see what else I find.
I had never actually heard of Hennepin History Museum before a year or so ago, even though it has been around since the 50s. My friend Cedar is their new Executive Director and I think she has some pretty awesome ideas and the enthusiasm to bring their knowledge and collections more into the community. In fact, I joined the Board of Directors in January, so I can help her out with that project. If you are in the Twin Cities area, I hope you will stop by and visit or come for a Fireside Chat.