Monday, February 23, 2015

Mid Century Modern and Antiques on Display at the Museum of Science and History


It's fun to travel to exotic locations, but sometimes the things right in your own back yard offer just as many surprises. I live 8 minutes away from The Museum of Science and History (MOSH) and haven't been back to explore it for years. AJ and I explored the large space to escape Thursday's icy breeze and will have much more to look at with the next visit, there was so much to read and see.


It was painful but I left my SLR camera at home to give myself a "break" from it. I take product photos for clients, photos of my own merchandise, and photos for blog posts/personal use -every- single day. I've considered to share Project 365 on the blog because I definitely take photos every day, but it would be hard to choose which photo to pick for each day! I need a bigger challenge! Besides, does anyone else find that it can take you out of the moment to constantly, perfectly document your life with a big camera?


Our favorite exhibit was the walk through time showing the history of Jacksonville, Florida from the Timucuan Indians to the modern area. With gorgeous props, real antiques/artifacts and music and sound affects it did a beautiful job setting the tone. I spent the longest while looking at the artifacts from the early and mid 1900s, of course! The goodies I've bought and sold for years. It was the next-best thing to a time machine.

All photos were swiftly snapped with my smart phone while exiting. The workers found us going through the proverbial labyrinth and told us the space was already closed! We'll definitely be back ASAP to explore and read all the data in detail.

Question for anyone who lived through the era. In many re-creations (museums, photos, movie sets) a 1950s-60s era home is often shown in perfect, new, atomic-style mid century modern wares. I doubt the authenticity there, since this would imply there were no conflicting antique hand-me-downs thrown in the mix and the house was only assembled with newest furniture pieces. Just something this mid-century-lover has been curious about. I feel like this type of house is more American-fantasy than reality.

That's why I appreciate shows like Mad Men, the main character's upper middle class early 1960s home looks like this and this; because even monied people didn't up and change their whole asthetic to something trendy immediately. And others stayed rooted in tradition. Just food for thought, I think way too deeply about details all day every day...
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20 comments:

  1. How neat - a time capsule of 1950s goodness.

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  2. Wow, what a time capsule! Love the signage and lettering especially.

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    1. The whole thing was beautiful, will have to go back for photos of it. The early 1900s one had many different little shops recreated from photos of the area.

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  3. There's a house here that's been "frozen in time" . The house was built in the 1890s but the inside is set up with goodies from the 40s-60s. It kind of sucks but it's better than nothing, I guess.

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    1. That sounds AMAZING! I love seeing time capsule anything. Too bad about the obvious anachronisms therein, though.

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  4. I heart MCM! Is this at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago? We're planning on heading up there at some point this year, and I would love to see this exhibit in person.

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    1. Nope, this is the Museum of Science and History here where I live in Jacksonville, Florida.

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    1. It really was. We're going to go back and explore it more in-depth tomorrow :)

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  6. Can I just live in this museum?? :DD

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    1. I thought the same. I'll take that "house" exactly as it is and live in it :D

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  7. Sure, there were houses that were a mix, but this isn't a total fantasy. They're just showing you a house that had all the modern amenities. Just like now and just like in every decade (my grandparents' house was one for the 70s), someone, somewhere had the new house with the new stuff. It was real, for sure.

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    1. I figured, but it's fun to know first-hand from someone who saw it first-hand in the 70s. Our houses were always a bit of a thrift store mix-and-match growing up.

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  8. Ok sure! Let’s jump in my time machine and go back to the days of my childhood.

    I was born in 1957, so I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. You’re right, our home and everybody else’s that I knew were furnished with a mix of old and new. My parents had a Danish modern bedroom set, but my sister and I had (fake) colonial-style furniture in our bedrooms. I think that colonial style stuff must have been pretty popular at the time.

    We had deep royal blue curtains with pom-pom fringe in the itty-bitty windows of our tiny Chicago apartment kitchen. There’s something about those blue curtains that feel very 60’s to me. Sometime in the middle of the decade my mom got a spectacularly luxurious new appliance – a dishwasher! It was a mobile, box-shaped thing on wheels that you hooked up to the kitchen faucet with a long hose when it was time to do the dishes.

    We used my grandmother’s china from the 30’s for our everyday dishes. It was Bohemian white porcelain with delicate blue irises that gradually faded away in the dishwasher. My mom still has her set of brown Pyrex mixing bowls from that time, and you can tell which one she uses the most (the second smallest) because that’s the one that’s all faded from dishwasher use, as well. We did have a set of 60’s glasses: tumblers with a pattern of blue and green rectangles, with gold trim. We also ate our macaroni and cheese out of what I later learned were Fire King peach lustre handled bowls.

    (Of course let’s not forget the phones, those wonderful, heavy, solid Ma Bell phones with the rotary dials. You could drop them on the floor and while they might dent the floorboards, the phone itself would never break. Those things were tough! There was no area code as we know it now. There was a two-letter prefix and then the five-digit number, like RO3-5296, for example. You know you’re talking the olden days when the phone numbers had letters in them.)

    Our dining room furniture was a traditional style, not at all that nice sleek “midcentury modern” stuff everybody loves getting nostalgic about today, but the finish of the wood was a weird light grayish tone that also has a kind of a 60’s vibe to me.

    The living room of course had the huge TV in a giant wooden box. There were two Danish modern chairs with black leather – or were they vinyl? – cushions, deep and slanty and sleek and comfortable. The rest of the furniture was traditional and not memorable. But the coolest thing we had in the living room were the shoji screens. Floor to ceiling, wall to wall, white fiberglass sliding screens with black frames that went across the whole front end of the room behind the sofa. I don’t know where my dad got them. We’re not of Japanese background. I never saw anything like them in anybody else’s house. My parents just liked them. And so did we.

    In 1971 we moved to a house in the suburbs and wallpapered everything up the wazoo. The kitchen wallpaper was very 70’s: a white background criss-crossed with a heavy, zig-zag bamboo trellis and yellow, green and orange flowers. It was probably the thing most of its era that we put into that house.

    The only other sort of 70’s touches I can think of were a pair of olive green low, round, very comfy swiveling velvet-covered chairs in the living room. Also there was the very small entryway: it had incredibly rich-looking, gold-background floral wallpaper, and petite Spanish ceramic tiles on the floor that my dad put in himself. And a super heavy wooden Spanish-style etegere in the living room. Yeah, that was pretty 70’s too. Maybe not the vision of the 70’s that first springs to your mind, but trust me, it was the 70’s at the time.

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    1. Aw, thanks for sharing this. I really appreciate it. I love the sound of those shoji screens!

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