Everyday Objects Exhibit

Everyday Objects Exhibit

This project explores the meaning of objects from multiple perspectives. As Michael Baxandall argues, museum exhibitions are a dialogue between three parties: the culture of origin, the exhibitors’ intentions, and the viewers’ experience. These three parties place their own ideas, values, and opinions upon exhibited objects.

We have all submitted objects from our own homes for consideration. The labels below reflect first, the curators’ interpretation, and second, the object owners’ perspective.

This embroidered linen suggests a celebration of the union between two families, as denoted by the Germanic surnames depicted. Grusscomes from the Middle High German word for grain, thus the name seems to reference an occupational nickname, “grain merchant.” The other surname depicted looks like Gott which comes from a more medieval last name and denotes a noble family for the word Gott can be translated to Good or God during Medieval times. An object like this being found in the United States would be predominate in northern states, such as the Northeastern Seaboard (Pennsylvania, New York, etc…) or the Old Northwest (Ohio, Wisconsin, etc…). The union of these families would have occurred during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when German immigration was relatively high in the United States. (Carlos Fernandez)

Personal Label

The item I chose to select for the class mock exhibit project is a Bavarian “Grüß Gott” door ribbon.In German Bavaria (and I am also told in some parts of Switzerland and Austria), a common greeting is “Grüß Gott.” It literally means “praise God,” “may God greet you,” or “God bless you.” It is not uncommon to hear this phrase when you enter into shops, or walk past strangers in the street. It used less often in major cities than in the country. In the country, it can even be considered rude to not acknowledge and return the phrase. Traditionally, Bavaria has been a very religious place and Catholicism is still widespread. In the 1800s, this greeting was made popular by clergymen. “Grüß Gott” is a shortened form of the original phrase (“Grüße dich Gott” or “Grüße euch Gott”) and is no longer considered a strictly religious phrase.  It is used even by non-believers as a form of “hello,” “good day,” or “goodbye.”  It can range in meaning from a hasty, traditional greeting to an earnest welcome.

It is popular to see handmade ribbons with “Grüß Gott” stitched on, adorning doorways of houses and apartments. This particular ribbon was handmade by my boyfriend’s mother as a gift to us to adorn our home in the United States. This past summer I spent three months in Bavarian Germany, nearly two months of which were spent in Bayerisch Gmain with his mother. She is a native German and my boyfriend was raised in Bavaria until he was five years old. This ribbon also includes Blue Gentian flowers, one of the many Bavarian wild flowers cherished (Alpine Rose, Edelweiss, and Blue Gentian), and two smaller ribbons in blue and white, representing the colors of Bavaria. It is important to me because it was not only a gift but it represents my time spent in Bavaria and is a constant reminder of culturally significant symbols. At the bottom, it reads “MB ’12,” which stands for “Monika Bruce, 2012,” his mother’s name and the year it was made. (Lacy Pline)

This small stuffed animal is the stylized figure of a pig. Many children have toys like these: soft, plush toys in bright colors that they cuddle with or carry around for security. Like this one, the animals depicted are more whimsical than is true to life to make them more friendly to younger children. People often keep a favorite stuffed animal from their childhood as a reminder of home or for sentimental reasons. (Lindsay Mahalak)

Personal Label

I got this little stuffed pig at a carnival in Massachusetts that my boyfriend and I stumbled upon. As we were walking I saw this little pig and I had to have it. We played this game where you had to throw darts at balloons pinned to a board and if you popped a certain amount then you won a prize. In all I think we spent almost twenty-five dollars to pop enough balloons, an outrageous amount for a cheap stuffed animal. To me it’s a reminder of all the fantastic memories I have of that weekend. (Allison Bonifay)

This is a diploma, also known as a certificate or deed, issued by an educational institution (Daytona State College) that testifies that the recipient (Jennifer L. Fontana) has successfully completed an academic degree (Associate of Arts.)  Normally diplomas are printed on plant-based parchment. However, diplomas have been known to be printed on a variety of other mediums, such as wood or sheepskin. Seals of credibility and authenticity are placed on the diploma to verify its legitimacy, and often take the form of the educational institution’s insignia. Signatures from the institution’s president, chairman of the board of trustees, and dean are also added to authenticate the document. One would obtain a diploma for career opportunities, as well as for a sense of personal achievement. (Emily Wertley)

Personal Label

Object: My AA Degree from DSC framed in white gold

Location: Nightstand in my bedroom (Daytona Beach, FL)

Material: White gold plated frame; Parchment Paper; ink; embossed emblems stamped

Description: A bold black scripted text on a rectangular off-white/beige, thick piece of parchment paper; the institution that issued the certification is the large heading depicted above the smaller text that shows my name, Jennifer L. Fontana, and the achievement awarded.  The frame was a graduation gift from a very good friend of many years.  It was earned through hard work and much dedication in May of 2011 and is a symbol of the importance of a higher education which leads to a more fruitful life.

Background Information: The owner of this object (Self) is originally from Brooklyn, NY and moved to Florida in 2008 for educational purposes.   This framed piece of parchment symbolizes years of working through school and through life striving to be a better person, and is a halfway marker to the primary goal of BA degree from Flagler. (Jennifer Fontana)

Printed photographs on photographic paper: These photographs are common, decorative objects often found in households. Photographs of family members or friends are usually used to preserve a memory, represent a special bond and relationship, or to freeze a specific moment in time. They serve as mementos of the past. (Juliana Anderson)

Personal Label

Wherever I go, I make sure this item comes along. Whether I am traveling to Australia to be a nanny, or moving to Florida to attend school, I am sure to bring, in some form, these three with me. Whenever I am gone I miss them terribly, and when I am home I try to spend the majority of my time with them. My nieces and nephews mean more to me than anything in the world, and we are extremely close. Since they cannot follow me on all my pursuits of my dreams, I must become content to at least bring a reminder of them when I leave. (Ashley Fairchild)

This object appears to be a small shot glass. This particular type of glass container is designed to hold approximately 1.25-1.5 fl. oz. of distilled beverage.  The front is painted with a scene from Paris, France, overlooking the Eiffel Tower and the River Seine. In the left corner is a name, presumably the artist. In modern cultures across the globe, these types of decorated glasses are mass produced, cheaply made, and typically bought in major cities by tourists as souvenirs to commemorate their trip. (Lacy Pline)

Personal Label

This is a shot glass with an image of the Eiffel Tower on it. I have a collection of shot glasses from different places that I have visited. This particular shot glass is special, because someone I am very close to brought this back from Paris, France as a gift  for me. Paris is a theme throughout my room, and the place that I want to travel to the most. (Merika Childers)

This small piece of art is watercolor and pen on paper. The style is very current and almost reminiscent of Asian pop culture icons, such as Pokémon. The main figure is a small animal with natural and fantastical qualities. The clean lines and bright colors are eye catching and whimsical. (Madeline Krouse)

Personal Label

The item I am choosing to display is a personal painting I had commissioned of my cat as Princess Leia. Katie Cook, who is one of my favorite artists, when it comes to comic book artists, did the painting. The reason I chose to have a painting of my cat as Princess Leia is because I love my cat a lot and I also love Star Wars a lot. Thus, my cat as Princess Leia in a painting combined two of my favorite things. I purchased the painting at the Star Wars Celebration VI convention and got to talk to Katie Cook personally and watch her paint the picture right in front of me! My painting is one of a kind and has a planned sister painting of my dog as Han Solo. The other fun fact is that Katie Cook asked me if my cat was grumpy all the time, because she looked very angry in her picture. I said yes, and thus Katie made my cat an angry Princess Leia. (Megan Brown)

Manufactured in Great Britain, this tin can is designed to resemble the iconic British post box. The letters E II R are the Latin initials of the reigning monarch, Elizabeth II. It is an everyday object used to store tea and is also a popular tourist souvenir. (Kimberly Gross)

Personal Label

During the 2012 History Study Abroad Trip to Ireland, Scotland, and England, we attended the Queen’s Jubilee.  I found this little tin can of tea at a little souvenir shop on the corner of the street where our hotel was.  It resembles the European Post Office boxes and came with a little sample of Earl grey tea, which, wasn’t very good.  Looking at this tin on my bookshelf makes me reminisce our time on the trip and how much fun I had.  The experience of attending the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was a life changing experience and one I will never forget. (Veronica Pietrucci)

A handmade pearl and glass necklace with an aged stainless steel clasp. The round pearls range from milky white, glossy white, and clear. The design is simplistic, intended for a female wearer as a symbolic representation of maturity. (Bianca Smith)

Personal Label

This is a necklace my father gave me after I graduated from Confirmation at my Episcopal church. It is very meaningful to me because my father is not a very emotional person, and typically my mother picks out and gives gifts to me. When he gave it to me I felt so special and he explained to me that the white pearls represented the purity of my heart. Ever since I have always kept the necklace with me and wear it on special occasions. Not only does it mean a lot to me personally, but culturally it represents the important rite of passage young men and women face when reaching maturity, whether religiously or spiritually. (Katie Snyder)

This object on display is a decorative ring. Due to the delicate design of this particular piece of jewelry, it appears to have been made for a female. The band of the ring, which is divided into three connected strands with one overlapping the other two, is made from gold. The jewel connected to the center of the band of the ring appears to be a diamond, but could possibly be another type precious stone. This ring appears to have had a personal or symbolic significance, and could have been an engagement ring or a family heirloom. (Karen Baldwin)

Personal Label

The object that I chose for the mock exhibit was my mother’s wedding ring. My parents were married in 1984 and my mom had worn the ring until their 25thanniversary (when my father had given her an anniversary ring). When I got married in 2010, my mom had given me her original ring to wear. This ring means a lot to me because it not only symbolizes my mother’s love for me, but it also symbolizes my parent’s marriage as well as my own. Whenever I have children, and they get married, I hope to pass the ring onto them. (Emily Wertley)

This is a felt tricornered hat adorned with a clay pipe.  The hat, being of generic material and colour and lacking a cockade, undoubtedly would be worn by a civilian.  Though the tricorne’s origins are martial-the corners being pinned to accommodate musket manoeuvres-the fashion found great popularity with the common man of the 18th century.  Lastly, the pipe is largely decorative, just as a feather or ribbon in the same location might be. (Amanda LaPorta)

Personal Label

During the 17th and 18th century well-made hats were predominately made of wool felt and would be folded and molded to fit the needs of its owner.  I made this hat myself for my reenacting hobby, beginning by purchasing the felt blank from the Saint Augustine Textile Shop.  The felt blank was then exposed to several bursts of steam from an iron at which point it began to soften and bend, with a drafting compass I then measured the brim and removed approximately an inch of access off the brim to make a smooth and rounded brim and pinned the sides with black suede lace.  This hat is both very precious to me because I made it myself and because it is an exact historical reproduction of the type of hats worn during the American Revolution.  The reason the brim is folded in this manner is because individuals while carrying their musket often had to place it on their shoulder and their hats would often get in the way but the tricorn was then adopted as a fashion statement in the late 18th century.  However due to the recent cultural explosion of pirate themed apparel and entertainment, the tricorn has unfortunately been lumped together with this subgenre of historical goods.  Not a day goes by when I wear this hat out in public and I am called a pirate, to which I have grown so frustrated by such assessments that I often times stop and point out to these people that is not the case. (Lorenzo Deagle)

This artifact is clearly a piece of beaded jewelry that appears to be a personal item that would be worn consistently by the person who owns it.  This piece is clearly handcrafted most likely due to the woven nature of the beads and the type of knots made to hold the beads in place, which indicates that this item might be some kind of talisman.  The beads appear to be made of some kind of forged metal, which indicates this item was produced in a society where advancements in metal work has been successfully achieved.  There is not a single indication that would explain whether this object is gender specific or whether it would be worn either on the wrist or ankle but is an object that would be highly visible when worn. (Lorenzo Deagle)

Personal Label

Title: Handmade Bracelet

I wear this bracelet almost everyday, it was given and made by my maternal grandmother in celebration of starting her new company. Iso’s Design, which focuses on designing jewelry, baking pastries, planning events, and floral designs. This piece works as an inspiration to do what I love to do and be the best at it. To follow my dreams, wherever they make take me, and nothing is impossible as long as one has the ambition and drive to do so. What is a simplistic bracelet thus becomes a symbol of American enterprise and serves as an inspiration to express myself in creative ways. (Carlos Fernandez)

The object displayed here is key to playing one of America’s favorite sports, baseball. Baseball has been a part of American society for centuries. Baseballs typically feature a rubber or cork center, are wrapped in yarn, and covered in leather. They can be anywhere between 9 and 9 1⁄4 inches in circumference. Some are wrapped in a plastic-like cover, but most have a leather finish. A majority of baseballs have a white base, and feature red stitching. The baseball displayed is significant because it is from the 2008 World Series. It is a white ball with red stitching and showcases the 2008 World Series logo in gold. It is signed in blue ink by the Philadelphia Phillies’ catcher number fifty-one, Carlos Ruiz. The Phillies won the 2008 World Series, 4-1 against the Tampa Bay Rays. (Katie Snyder)

Personal Label


Category Sports Memorabilia and history

This ball is signed by the entire 2008 Philadelphia Phillies team. After winning the World Series in 2008 Sports Illustrated Magazine had every member sign the ball and created replica to distribute to fans. The Phillies attained the World Series title after beating the Tampa Bay Rays in 5 games. The series would end of a strike out by Phillies closer Brad Lidge. Notable names on the ball include Ryan Howard, Chase Utley Jimmy Rollins and Cole Hamels. (Bret Speicher)

This object is a painted ceramic toothpick holder, made in the shape the feline cartoon character Garfield. Garfield, a comic strip created by Jim Davis, was first published in 1978 and has reached immense popularity with its main character; an ornery cat named Garfield. It was made in Korea by the American gift-ware company ENESCO, most notable for its production of the Precious Moments collectible series. (Allison Bonifay)

Personal Label

This is a ceramic Garfield pencil holder. Garfield has been in my family for over 40 years. My father took Garfield to college with him as a pencil holder and I did the same when I went to college. Garfield has now lived in 6 different dorm rooms on 2 different college campuses. When I have children Garfield will be passed on to them to hold their pencils at college. (Carson Sailor)

The elephant is an essential part of Hinduism and a recognizable symbol for many countries, especially in South Asia. This small elephant statue is representing the Hindu deity Lord Ganesha, who also known as The Elephant God. The body is depicted in a graceful manner, showing religious importance, while it’s statuesque aspect shows how strong the animal is. This elephant symbolizes wisdom and is placed in rooms to bring good fortune to the owner, as it is usually worshipped and prayed to. (Lori Ann Forbus)

Personal Label

I selected the elephant sculpture because it belonged to my grandparents. They were avid travelers and their home was filled with objects they acquired from places they visited. They also loved telling stories and would often describe the places they visited not in physical description but of the culture and art. I have the elephant sculpture placed in a prominent place in my home according to Fung Shui and every time I look at it I am reminded of them. (Kimberly Gross)

This poster of a band named The Beatles, is mass produced worldwide for billions of fans is made out of poster paper and ink with text that introduces the band to the viewer. McCartney, Starr, Harrison, and Lennon signify music legends of pop culture during the 60′s onward and how they shaped fashion, culture, and became classical icons of the 20th century. (Jennifer Fontana)

Personal Label

This is a small screened canvas of the cover of a Beatles album. I keep it in my room, not because I am a massive Beatles fan, but because it was a gift from my best friends. My circle of friends has made a tradition of giving each other seemingly random gifts to make each other laugh, or as conversation pieces, or just because it reminded us of the recipient. This was given to me on one of the funniest birthday occasions and serves as a reminder of all of them so I take it with me to and from college. (Lindsay Mahalak)

This a Cutlass sword also know as a board saber. The Cutlass was a slashing weapon rather than a stabbing one although it has a sharpened end. Because of its curved design and weight the most affective way to cleave and slash and opponent rather than running through with the blade. (Carson Sailor)

Personal Label

This item is a replica of an original 18th century model from England.  Though crafted with the intent for frequent use, it is employed only as a symbol of authority and vocation.  Its value is both financially and sentimentally significant; the former for its craftsmanship and the latter for its past role as an initiation device for its owner.  The item was first used at Fort Mose Historic State Park, and has traveled consistently to other similar sites on a regular basis. (Amanda LaPorta)

This ring represents a symbol that was designed during the Aztec Empire. The ring is possibly sterling silver and moderately priced. This ring could be a keepsake from Northern Mexico, the region where the Aztecs occupied during the 14th-16th centuries. The symbol on the ring is a symbol from the Aztec calendar. The face of the Sun god Tonatiuh is in the center. There are four rectangles around the god that symbolize the four previous ages. The Aztecs believed they lived in the age of the last or the fifth sun, which would destroy humanity. (Merika Childers)

Personal Label

During my freshmen year, I was able to obtain a sterling silver ring. The engraving that covers the band is a replica of either a Mayan or Aztec calendar. With few dates on it, has the face of five suns which also are a part of the calendar. The ring does not represent the full calendar, but just a portion of it. I cannot read the dates on it myself, but I have come across the few of its numeric symbols in my essential of math class, and there are a set of bars and dots which represent specific years. There was a matching necklace that was showcased along with the ring, but the ring was more intriguing and I separated the two. (Kari Logan)

The key is made of brass and is coated with nickel plating to give it a look of silver. The origin of production is N. America. Specific details about the key include: three lines in the key’s bow. The key’s size indicates use for personal Victorian-era jewelry boxes because of the key’s barrel size. (Megan Brown)

Personal Label

Skeleton keys have always been a great interest to me, not only for their aesthetic quality, but also for their individual history. Skeleton keys have many functioning parts to them including the bow and handle which is of course unique to each key. This specific key was given to me in high school by a good friend. Along with the beauty of the key is the story and background to the key. This specific key originated from an old home in Memphis, Tennessee, in the yard of one of my favourite musicians house, Jeff Buckley, who tragically died in the 1990s. [Perhaps the key is actually from the house?] The exact origin is unknown. (Lori Ann Forbus)

These two pieces of metal are identification tags used by the military. More commonly known as dog tags these pieces aided military personal in identifying soldiers if found K.I.A. These tags can also contain medical information to aid on the field medics. Identification tags go back to The American Civil War, The modern metal tag though was instilled in World War II. (Bret Speicher)

Personal Label

In the event of a casualty soldiers fighting in the front lines wanted a way to identify their bodies.  Tags, as they are called, were first introduced during the American Civil War on both Union and Confederate sides to preserve the identity of the soldier.  Soldiers who died in combat before the Civil War were buried as “Unknown”.  By World War II dog tags became standard issue to all soldiers in all branches of the military.  Compared to the Civil War tags, the WWII tags were stamped with more information then just a soldiers name (see figure 1.2).    The tags presented on display belonged to Army Air force Engineer Leo C. Amaral.  He served on U.S. airbases in North Africa doing maintenance on fighter aircraft and combat preparations.  His tag also states his military service number that can be used to look up service records.  His blood type O-POS (Positive) is listed in case he was to be unresponsive while receiving treatment in a medical hospital.  The ‘C’ on the bottom right is where the soldier’s religious affiliation is stamped so proper burials are preformed based on religion.  The last addition is an indention on the upper left side of the tag, which was used to measure the canine tooth to identify the body if facial structure is damaged beyond visual recognition. (Walter Flanagan)

This lighter is manufactured by Zippo Lighters and has a chrome finish. It is a demonstration of modern culture and the interest society places on celebrity icons. The Beatles took the world by storm in the 1960s and attracted legions of fans. Their fan base is still extremely huge to this day, which is evident by the amount of Beatles merchandise available for purchase. (Ashley Fairchild)

Personal Label

This zippo was one of the most recent additions to my collection of similar lighters. It, along with its Beatles and Let It Be partners, constitute a category of Zippos dedicated to what I feel is the greatest band ever to exist. Not only does this zippo work flawlessly for me, as all my Zippos do, but it is emblazoned with the album cover of my favorite album ever produced. It is the crowning jewel of my collection. (Cody Kirchner)

Made in the 21st century, this hard shell suitcase has traveled around the world numerous times.  The pattern on the suitcase is a black and white checkered design that encompasses the entire shape.  Suitcases are used in travel and are packed with clothing, necessities, and memorable souvenirs to remember one’s journey to a distant place. (Veronica Pietrucci)

Personal Label

This is a Heys hard case suitcase. It is kept in the corner or my room. It is always useful when I travel because of its size and is very distinct when it is either tucked in the over-head compartment on a plane or waiting for me at the baggage claim. It has gone many places with me since high school. My mom gave it to me for Christmas on eyear so when I use this suitcase, I think of her. A suitcase is a useful item to have, but each person’s suitcase shows a little of their personality. (Madeline Krouse)

This necklace has a beautiful jade charm, which is the main focus of this piece of jewelry. The small jade figure seems to represent Buddha and may have a sense of luck to its holder. At the base of the charm is a golden ball with crystals covering the service. It is held together by a metal chain, and shows off a golden color. Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha was a spiritual teacher, and this necklace seems to remind its holder of the value of his teachings.(Kari Logan)

Personal Label

This green Buddha necklace has been with me for the past five years and holds a very special place in my heart. I found it years ago at a small flea market outside of a Save-a-Lot in Interlachen, Florida. This small, beautiful necklace was the only thing that stood out to me among all of the junk, so I bought it for $2.00. I have kept it close ever since then. I rarely wear jewelry, but can be found wearing this necklace at least once a week.

The reason I love this piece of (probably cheap) jewelry is the circumstances of its discovery. In the backwoods, Christian dominated town of Interlachen, I never expected to find a necklace that was a colorful symbol of a different religion (crosses can be found everywhere). This necklace represented an alien religion and school of thought that I was unfamiliar with. I began researching Buddhism and eastern religion and became fascinated with its teachings. It opened my eyes to a diverse world of beliefs, thoughts, and knowledge. It made me want to learn more about other regions of the world.

This necklace represents enlightenment to me. It represents my breaking of tradition, and embracing new ways of thinking (different from my parents and upbringing). It symbolizes my quest for knowledge and happiness. I love this necklace dearly because I feel like I found it in an unlikely place for a reason. It’s like it is a part of me. (Juliana Anderson)


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