Thursday, August 05, 2010
It has been my observation that people who grew up in Laurel remember, at the very least, two things from the Museum collection: the second-smallest basket in the world, and the suit of armor. The tiny basket is currently on display in the drawer full of miniature baskets in the Basket Gallery. The suit of armor, which was in the European Gallery when I arrived, has been moved to the Reading Room. (His sharp, spiky lance in close proximity to our European paintings made me nervous.)
Spike, the suit of armor, has been in the museum's collection for many decades, and is a relic of the time before the LRMA had a defined collections management policy. Today, we only collect items that fit into one of our five collecting areas, but when the museum was new, all sorts of things came into the collections from all over the world: Chinese snuff bottles, Baroque tapestries, Sevres porcelain, and, well, Spike. Although he doesn't really meet any of our collecting guidelines any more, we keep him on display because he is such a fond memory of so many Laurelites.
It's hard to get a good picture of him - he's both dark and reflective, and the Reading Room is a bit dim, but I did my best. Be sure and stop in the Reading Room and say hello to Spike next time you visit.