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“Greetings of the past” exhibit at Maidstone Museum displays cards from 1907-1980s


Maidstone Bicentennial Museum Curator Victoria Beaulieu displays some of the several hundred greeting and post cards currently on display as party of the “Greetings of the Past” exhibit.

by Sylene Argent

Volunteers and supporters of the Maidstone Bicentennial Museum are enjoying the attention its newest display, titled “Greetings from the Past” is receiving.

  Starting on Sunday, February 17, Museum representatives welcomed community members, who wanted a chance to look over, and learn from, the several hundred post cards and greeting cards in the exhibit. This unique display, featured what Museum Curator Victoria Beaulieu said was a “more personal means of communication.”

  For Beaulieu, it is neat to think that people actually took the time to send the cards, which was a way to keep connected with friends and loved ones.

  “It has really been interesting to see,” Beaulieu said of the cards in the exhibit. “It is kind of fun to go through them.”

  The Maidstone Bicentennial Museum received a donation of hundreds of post cards and greeting cards from Museum supporter, Wayne Bristow. Many of the cards, Beaulieu said, belonged to his mother, who marked the year on every card.

  When Beaulieu began going through the donation, she noticed that the cards didn’t just provide a glimpse at what, for many, has become a long-lost form of communication in the days of email and messaging, but, because they were dated, they created a timeline that highlighted social changes.

  “You could actually see history through a timeline,” she said.

  Other cards were added to the collection, including a set dedicated to the Coronation of King George VI, which belonged to Beaulieu’s grandfather.

  The oldest card in the collection dates back to 1907, Beaulieu said. They covered a variety of themes, including greetings for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, and Valentine’s Day.

  A 1950s Christmas card that stood out to Beaulieu included a picture of snowmen in military uniforms.

  In many instances, Beaulieu noted a pattern in many of the cards, where a little boy and a little girl were both depicted, the female was typically placed lower on the card. The older cards have a definite “Victorian theme,” she noted. While the eras progressed, it was interesting to notice the change in designs, colour, and the clothing drawn on the characters.  

  The majority of the cards had Canadian postmarks, while a few had American postmarks.

  The post and greeting cards will be on display until Saturday, February 23. The Museum will be open from 10-4 p.m. during the display days. Admission is by donation.

  Coming up, the Maidstone Bicentennial Museum will host its annual fundraising pasta dinner on Saturday, March 9, which will take place at the Essex Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 201). Doors will open at 5 p.m. The Hospice Wellness Band will perform. For more information, log onto www.maidstonemuseum.com.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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