Spring Spookfest: Creepy Objects from the Bowers

Prisoner of War Guillotine Model, 1770-1825Maker UnknownBone and pigment; 15 1/2 x 14 x 5 3/4 in. 2011.25.73Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Burton W. FinkHalloween in MayWith the very possible exception of May gray, there is not much particularly unsettling about the spring months. In fact, they are stalwartly reputed to be upstanding months by most definitio...
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Whatsits and Whatnots: Bowers Permanent Collection Oddballs

Detail of 2003.50.37Gift of William R. Moran Weird and Just Downright WeirdAs part of an ongoing project to classify the Bowers Museum’s collections, our Collections team has reached many an oddball object that does not easily fall into standard categories. Many more have outlandish or wonderfully rare names. Today’s post is a celebration of t...
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Every Federal Employee Deserves Favor: Gifts of State in the Bowers’ Collections

Gold Bracelet, c. 1970JordanianGold and elephant hair; 1 1/8 x 2 1/2 in.77.4.8Gift of United States GovernmentThe Gift that Keeps on TakingIn the United States there is a price that can be put on changing someone’s mind. It exists in the form of an upper limit for the value of gifts that can be accepted from foreign dignitaries and, given that it i...
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J.L. Hubbell: Silver Tongue, Golden Heart and Wool Rugs

Rug, c. 1910Navajo; probably Ganado, ArizonaDyed wool; 65 x 105 in.2019.5.1Gift of Dennis J. AignerWhite HatThere is good cause for the romanticizing of the American West: it is a breathtaking part of this nation. Mesas rise from the red earth like monolithic and silent guardians; the skies are distilled blue, endless and not cloudy all day. More t...
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Forged in Fire Safety: The First Santa Ana Fire Department

Hook and Ladder Volunteer Firemen of Santa Ana, May 1, 1888Photo by B. F. Conaway; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 8.5 x 5 ¼ in. 2821Gift of John LuxembourgerSunny Santa Ana CaliforniaWilliam H. Spurgeon and his wife spent a few years in the early 1860s living in Los Angeles until she passed away. Heartbroken, he moved back to the East to ...
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Well Trained: The Bowers Museum’s Model Train Collection

Märklin SK800 Steam Locomotive, 1946Gebr. Märklin & Cie. GmbH; Göppingen, GermanyMetal; 7 in.80.78.21Gift of Mr. Richard D. LuschAll AboardThe winter holidays bring with them an array of traditions and customs, most of which date back hundreds and hundreds of years. The tradition featured in this post is a newer one, roughly 130 years of age, and i...
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Oh, Say Can You Scrimshaw

Scrimshaw of George Washington, early 19th CenturyUnknown artist (American); North AmericaSperm whale ivory and ink; 5 1/4 x 2 1/2 x 1 1/2 in.2011.25.56Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Burton W. FinkNew England, Old American CarvingsIndependence Day is the annual celebration of all things American. For most, revelries might include fireworks, barbeque, throwin...
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