Photography Project Brings Museum Artifacts To Life

If a picture is worth a thousand words, it stands to reason that a thousand pictures must be worth a million words, right?

The Shelby County Museum & Archives might soon know the answer to that question thanks to help from members of the Shelby County Camera Club.

Camera Club President Ted Vodde and veteran photographer Hank Siegel joined me one morning in October to begin the fun (but tedious) process of photographing the museum’s collection.

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“Knuckle Duster” – The WWI Trench Knife

The Shelby County Museum & Archives is lucky to have in its collection two great examples of trench knives, also known as “knuckle dusters.”  Both dating from 1917 and made by the A.C.Co. (American Cutlery Company), they are on display in the Seales room at the museum.  With a unique three-sided blade, the “knuckle duster” was used in close combat situations.

The guard was designed to protect the hand with small metal points around the outer edge, which provided the knife’s nickname “knuckle duster”. The knives were used to punch using the guard, strike with downward force using the blunt handle of the knife, and stabbing. The devastating blade penetrated an enemy and sped blood loss due to the three separate incisions created by one thrust. Medics and other medical personnel were unable to close the three incision wounds with clotting agents or surgery easily, and many soldiers died from excessive blood loss.

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So Many Marriage Records, So Little Time

Visitors to the Shelby County Museum & Archives often say that they could spend days and days going through all the records we have.  Truly, we are so fortunate to have such a well curated collection.

Perhaps the most popular (and frequently used) collection is our Shelby County Marriage Records dating from 1824 to October 1981.  Genealogists come from near and far to look at these records.

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Pictures From The Past: C.W. & Ella Wade of Calera, Circa 1899

Quite frequently I come across pictures in the museum collection that fascinate me.  This picture of C.W. Wade and his daughter Ella Wade is one of them.

I love the expression on her sweet face as she sits on the back of what appears to be an early model Indian Motorcycle.

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“Do you have Prince Albert in a can?”

The question “Do you have Prince Albert in a Can?” has been the basis for practical jokes since the tobacco product hit the market in 1907. “Prince Albert” tobacco was produced by R.J. Reynolds Company and was their 2nd highest money maker in the 1930s.

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Medicine in the Good Ole’ Days

Fig Flavored Ex-Lax.  Citrate of Magnesia. Cream of Tartar lozenges.  Medicine has come a long way since the time you could find these remedies on the shelf of your local drug store.

The Shelby County Museum & Archives has a great collection of vintage medicine bottles and treatments.  Some claim to cure rheumatism.  Others promise relief to ailments we don’t wish to discuss! Continue reading “Medicine in the Good Ole’ Days”