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Exhibit highlights everyday tools of the past

Christy Howell-Hoots, The Ledger Independent

A new exhibit highlighting teacups and tool sets used in the 1800s and early 1900s is on display at the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center.

On the second floor of the Wormald Gallery are several items that give guests a glimpse of how life used to be. The pieces include tea sets, farm equipment, medical equipment and much more.

Special Exhibits Curator Marla Toncray said the exhibit is about showing what men and women would use in their daily lives.

“The concept is — these are a collection of everyday tools that men and women would use at home, at the office, at the workplace and on the farm,” Toncray said. “It’s a blend of everything for men and women. There are items from the mid-1800s all the way up to the early 1900s. We blended in rough rudimentary, masculine type tools.”

One item Toncray pointed out was a fireplace toaster that would have been used for toasting bread over a fireplace.

“One minute, the lady of the house would be toasting bread with this and then later in the day, she would sit down and have her tea,” Toncray said.

On the panels between cases are farm equipment.

“That brings about the starkness between the delicacy of a silver tea service and the tools they would use to bring that food into the home,” she said.

There is a working Singer sewing machine in one of the cases that was made for young girls, according to Toncray.

“This was made for little girls so they could learn to make their doll clothes. The idea was that the skill would transfer as they got older so they could make their own clothing. Of course, if you were a woman of great wealth, you probably weren’t using the sewing machine. You most likely had a seamstress in the household.”

Decorative fans are also included in the exhibit.

According to Toncray, the fans were used for more than just cooling ones self. They were often used in courtship to let men know if a woman was interested, depending on how the woman held her fan.

A chamber set can also be seen inside the cabinets. The set includes a water pitcher, chamber pot, shaving instruments and other items that would be needed.

“This was given to a couple here in Maysville in 1912,” Toncray said. “It’s got everything a family would have needed.”

Some of the other items included in the exhibit are funeral home fans, soaps, stove polish, broaches, curling irons, button hooks, pocket watches, nail buffers.

Toncray said she wants to encourage everyone to stop by and see the exhibit.

“It’s a cool exhibit and I like it,” she said. “These items came from our collection at the museum and it’s just a fun glimpse into the everyday life.”

The exhibit will be on display for months, according to Toncray.

The KYGMC is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $2 for students.

The Ledger Independent is online at: http://maysville-online.com