My family celebrated Thanksgiving a day early this past week. We sometimes have our dinner on the actual day (Monday), while other years we have it the day before (Sunday); it just depends on everyone’s work schedules. We were all together for the first time in some years – a treat for me, because I love having my family at holidays. We were eleven at the dinner table; it was a bit of a squeeze, but we made it work. My nephew was a couple of hours late, but there was plenty of food left, so he didn’t miss out on having his meal.
My Mom, who lives with us, decided to cook, so that gave me the chance to prepare a little surprise for my guests. It's something I like to do on holidays for them. Some years, I create themed quizzes (about 10 or so questions worth), while other years I put together large posters (photos of past Christmases). This year, I channelled my inner curator. I looked over the documents and memorabilia I own and chose what I wanted to display. Next, I made little tags identifying each item. I then draped a tablecloth over a small cabinet and arranged the heirlooms on it. Finally, I printed a poster saying “Our Family Archives: Selected items from the 1920s to 1990s” and pinned it to the tablecloth. (I made a typo on the poster; it should have read "from the 1920s to the present".)
I’m fortunate to have a little something about everyone in my immediate family. I also have a few things that used to belong to my parents and grandparents. So what was on display? Starting at the back, left to right, there was my brother’s Confirmation certificate, my straw hat that I used to wear as a child, my paternal grandparents’ framed wedding photo, a doll that my sister and I used to play with as little girls, and a small painting done by my niece. At the front, there was my husband’s college student ID card, a newspaper article of my nephew as a baby, a drawing made by my great-nephew a couple of years ago, my father’s hip flask from the 1950s, and my maternal grandmother’s border crossing card in its original holder. After I took the picture, I added a few extra items, like my Mom's high school entrance certificate.
My family seemed to like what was on display; my brother even said “It’s very nice”. This was my first, modest attempt at curating an "exhibition", so I'm pleased with the results!
Copyright © 2012, Yvonne Demoskoff.