Monday, September 19, 2011

The Museum I call Home

Kerry on the Cluewagon blog recently wrote on "How to incorporate your family history into your home decor" and gave some great tips and examples of economical decorating. I reflected on my home while reading this post and thought that I didn't have many such items around my house....but then I did a mental walkaround and I was surprised at how many things we actually had. Thanks, Kerry, I now have fodder for more blog posts.

Following is a summary of what I have found today, as time goes by I will blog about some of these items and their stories.

Standing in the corner of our entrance foyer is a longcase clock made  in the 1840s by Scotsman, James Gowans, my husband's ancestor. I have previously blogged about our eight year search for the clock, its purchase and journey to Australia (No photo - it's at the restorers). On the walls are some historic photos of the Waverley Council area in Sydney, they are reminders of our courtship as Mr Geniaus and I met while working for Waverley Council. Shoved in the coat cupboard is my great-great-grandfather's shillelagh, I don't quite now how to display Denis's stick.

Nanna's Dining Table and Chairs
In our front room/parlor/room we don't use/sitting room is my grandmother's dining room suite that my Dad purchased from the estate after her death in 1977. The acquisition of this setting started our obsession with collecting early 20th century reproduction Jacobean furniture. Jesus watches over this from his place on the wall in a tapestry made by Hannah Steward in 1853. China cabinets and sideboards in this room house some family treasures. Sadly we do not know the stories behind these cups, crystal and curiosities. Over in the corner is a collection of framed items waiting to be rehung after last year's paint job on the walls. This includes some mugshots of the ancestors plus prize certificates for wins at The Royal Easter Show by my husband's grandfather, Ernest Gillespie.

Scots College painting by Tony Crago
There are more treasures in our family/casual living room. My husband's grandparents' sideboard takes pride of place. Above the fireplace is a painting of The Scots' College by Tony Crago that I won in a school raffle; as my boys were educated at this school this painting evokes many memories for us.

Mr Geniaus' study is chock full of memorabilia as is mine. We need to get in and catalogue some of this: more photos and accompanying stories are needed so that, when we drop off our perches, our children understand the significance and value of some of these items. There are also postcards, letters, invitations, thankyou notes, should I digitise then pitch these?

Hiding in the corner of one of our guestrooms is a quaint little corner wardrobe that  belonged to my mother-in-law as a girl. Her collection of clothes must have been sparse to be accommodated in that little cupboard. The remainder of the bedrooms and all of the bathrooms are not in the museum zone.

Daughter's sampler
Catching dust and wearing cobwebs on top of my kitchen cupboards is a collection of kitchen gear that previously belonged to earlier generations. There are scales from a grocery store, an original mixmaster, a soda siphon and some weird looking implements. A newer heirloom hanging on the wall is a sampler worked by my daughter when she was at school.

On the bookshelves are family bibles and books written by or carrying mentions of family members as well as books on ancestral cities, towns and churches and 100+ family photo albums.

Having done this rough inventory of our exhibits I am wondering if I should charge admission.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful array of heirlooms so successfully incorporated into your daily life.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful array of heirlooms so successfully incorporated into your daily life.

Anonymous said...

sorry about the other unintended duplicate. By all means digitise the letters postcards etc but don't ditch them....holding the real item has a value all its own I think.

Kerry Scott said...

I think this reflects the best way to incorporate your history into your should be done in such a way that you don't even notice it. It's just part of your home.

(I absolutely LOVE your daughter's sampler too)

GeniAus said...

Pauleen, I only posed that qn to see if anyone would be outraged. There's no way I'd ditch those things. :-)


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