NEW ULM – The Brown County Historical Society (BCHS) has a new exhibit courtesy of guest curator Marcy Muchow.
Muchow volunteers with the BCHS tracking genealogy, but recently she loaned two of her collections to an exhibition on the second floor.
The first collection contains dozens of hand mirrors that Muchow has collected over the years. Muchow said pocket mirrors existed before the 1900s, but only became popular during the Great Depression. Salespeople would take the mirrors on sales trips and leave them for customers because small gifts are advertisements. Over the years, hand mirrors have been used to advertise a variety of items.
The back of the mirror served as advertising space.
Muchow even has a few mirrors with celebrity faces on it. Shirley Temple, Elvis, John Wayne, James Dean and The Beatles all appear on the back of a mirror.
Muchow started collecting pocket mirrors 50 years ago. She and her husband Dennis loved going to antique shops. Once, while attending an antiques exhibit at the Mankato Armory, she found her first pocket mirror.
The first mirror entered her purse. She kept finding new pocket mirrors and soon realized that she preferred to display them.
Muchow said some of the mirrors are relatively inexpensive. Round pocket mirrors tend to be the most expensive because they are rarer. Most of its mirrors are decades old. The Beatles mirror may be the most recent.
Muchow said pocket mirrors are hard to come by these days. The last one she found was a year and a half ago at the State Fair Antique Show.
The second part of the exhibition presents decorative porcelain figurines of Spanish manufacture called “Lladró”. The figurines were made by the Lladró company founded by the Lladró brothers.
Muchow bought his first Lladró figure while hiking through Europe. The sculpture represented a cat with a mouse on its tail. This figurine is still in his collection and can be seen in the display case. She has found larger Lladró figurines over the years. The three largest figurines on display are those of the bride and groom, three nuns and Father Time.
Muchow said the Father Time figurine is possibly the most valuable. The three nuns are the last figurine in his collection. The bride and groom figurines are among her most expensive figurines as they were a birthday present from her husband.
Muchow’s two collections will remain on display at the Historical Society Museum for the rest of the year. Visitors will be able to view the collections during museum opening hours.
BCHS will be hosting a free open house from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, November 26.