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The curious case of the note in the sewing box

February 21, 2010 Hidden Stories 2 Comments

As ever with this project, each visit to the stores reveals a new conundrum!  This time it is to do with the sewing box.

sewing box

I have looked at this box before and in some detail but never noticed the small slip of paper concealed in one of the trays.

tray with note

Alex picked it out on this occasion, unfurled it and read

January 21st, 1948

the curious note

Nothing unusual at first glance but increasingly curious when you remember that the box was accessioned in 1922 when it came into the collection.  The note couldn’t have been there prior to this date.  So presumably the note was put there once the box was in the collection .  But who put it there?  A curator (is this normal curatorial practice)?  There are some initials written after the date, but it’s impossible to make them out.  And even more curious, why?  What prompted the placing of a note in the box on this particular day?  And why has it been left there all these years?  Is this another example of curatorial angst, in that once placed in the box the note cannot now be removed because of some unknown, potential narrative?  Oh, somebody has to make up a story for the note – it’s a gift!!

To start you off, January 21st, 1948 was a Wednesday, Dinah Shore’s “Buttons and Bows” might have been playing on the radio and George Foreman’s mother was probably in labour!        Sharon  .

Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. hazel says:

    I would love to read it.

  2. Heather Leach says:

    What an interesting challenge!

    So I’ve had a go at a first draft of a short story based on the 1948 note – which took me into some interesting places both in terms of historical and personal research. It’s probably quite inaccurate in relation to the gallery and the way curators work and worked in the past . . . although I don’t think it necessarily has to be factual. Would be very interested in feedback and comment. I’d like to have a go at writing something more experimental next. Not sure how these might link to your project. If you’d like to read the story let me know how/where to send it!

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