*Post written by James Wethington, senior library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.
The crowds are going crazy! Pure pandemonium! Arch Madness is back and we have some stiff competition. The University Archives and Special Collections (UASC) is competing against the following seven historic institutions:
- Evansville Museum of Arts, History, & Science,
- John James Audubon Museum,
- John M. Lawrence ’73 Library,
- Newburgh Museum,
- University of Evansville (UE)’s University Archives,
- USI Archaeology Lab, and
- Working Men’s Institute.
You can vote online at amusingartifacts.org or in-person at Rice Library 3021. Voting begins on March 16 through April 12, 2020.
Let’s look at this year’s competition!
Beaver Top Hat (Newburgh Museum)
From the late 16th to mid-19th centuries, beaver top hats were an essential aspect of men’s fashion across much of Europe. By the late 17th century, beavers were nearly extinct in Europe; however, North America was an alternate supply source for beaver, causing another high demand for beaver hats. One reason for their popularity is beaver pelt were water-repellent. This hat is from the collection of Janet Stout.
Marijuana and the Bible Pamphlet (UASC)
Published by the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church, giving the public an opportunity to study the church and its doctrine. The Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church revered ganja, or marijuana, as their “holy” Eucharist and “spiritual intensifier” with Biblical, historical, and divine associations for its use.
Roman Red Ware Terra Sigillata Jug (John M. Lawrence ’73 Library)
This terra sigillata jug is said to have been found in North Africa. These jugs originated in the Roman Empire around BCE 100. They were constructed from terra sigillata, a bright red, polished pottery. Terra sigillata clay was found in Gaul, modern-day France, but largely exported to the far reaches of the Roman Empire. It was excavated in North Africa.
Lord Byron’s Dueling Pistols (Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science)
These pistols were made for the famous English poet and politician Lord George Gordon Byron (1788-1824). Among Byron’s best-known works are Don Juan and Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. Lord Byron had several controversial relationships before he married Annabella Milbanke in 1815, who left him a year later because of his infidelity. The pistols are engraved with Lord Byron’s coronet and a “B” and were crafted by H. W. Mortimer and Company of London circa 1809.
*Defending 2019 Arch Madness champion.
Audubon Print of Raccoon (John James Audubon Museum)
Framed lithographic print titled, “Procyon Lotor, Cuvier” or “Raccoon” by John James Audubon for Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America. Shown is a large male raccoon crouched on a tree limb. The print number is 13 and the plate number is LXI, or 61.
Golden Theatre Troupe Boots (Working Men’s Institute)
These red leather boots were worn by a member of the Golden Theatre Troupe, probably Grace Golden. When they were not on tour, the Golden Theatre Troupe lived in New Harmony, Indiana. Grace Golden graduated from New Harmony High School in 1883.
Cast Iron Coffee Roaster (Working Men’s Institute)
This is a cast iron coffee roaster, designed to be used on a wood fired stove. This roaster was made by Roys and Wilcox Company in East Berlin, Connecticut. It dates from a period when almost all coffee was roasted at home. It was not until the 1900’s that more coffee was commercially roasted than was roasted at home.
USS Navy LST Cartoon (UE’s University Archives)
This cartoon depicts one of the 167 landing ship tanks built at the Evansville shipyard between 1942 and 1945.
Native American Knife (USI Archaeology Lab)
This knife was made circa AD 500 and from the Kuester Site in Vanderburgh County, Indiana. When making the knife, the flintknapper encountered a naturally occurring hole in the stone and decided to flake around it and incorporate the hole into the finished piece. A unique piece likely made to show off the talent of the person who made it.
Silk Tapestry (University of Evansville’s University Archives)
Embroidered with dark and light blue thread in the shape of a dragon, pink emblem embroidered beside it. It is an artifact from a missionary’s collection of objects with unknown country of origin but possibly from China.
Ancient Egyptian Faience Shabti (Evansville Museum of Arts, History, & Science)
Affluent ancient Egyptians would often be buried with a number of these figurines called shabtis. It was believed that they would come to life in the afterlife and serve their master. This faience shabti is found in a tomb in Sakkara, Egypt.
Membership Certificate in the Audubon Society (John James Audubon Museum)
This is a blank certificate for membership in the Audubon Society for the Protection of Birds. The certificate shows the image of Henry Inman’s portrait of Audubon off-center in the certificate and image of Audubon’s Cedar Bird painting to the left. This is certificate number 38877 as printed in red ink and pledge number “3981” is written in at the upper right.
“Soup Nazi” Autographed Photograph (Newburgh Museum)
Based on Al Yeganeh, who owned and operated the Soup Kitchen International in New York City, the “Soup Nazi” character on the hit NBC sitcom, Seinfeld, (1989-1998) was portrayed by Larry Thomas.
Aztec Snake Sculpture (USI Archaeology Lab)
The sculpture was made of basalt with traces of red pigment on the surface. It was made in Mexico, circa AD 1400.
Surgical Amputation Kit (UASC)
The amputation kit was originally a part of a traveling exhibit by Mead Johnson Company used at medical conferences. The exhibit was donated to New Harmony and used for an 1850 doctor’s office exhibit. The kit consists of a bone saw, sutures, clamps, and many other medical instruments.
“FRED” Woodcut (John M. Lawrence ’73 Library)
This woodcut print is a portrait of every child’s friend, Mr. Fred Rogers, famously known on the PBS television show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968-2001). It was created circa 2015 by Valerie Wallace.