Inventory of a historic home

The Hormel Historic Home recently began a complete inventory project.  Last December we were awarded a grant to conduct a formal inventory that will allow us to gain a better understanding of the objects we hold in trust for the public.  The project is being financed in part with funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society.

Although the work has just begun, we have already identified objects that will add to the history we share and that will be of interest to the community.  There is a science to cataloging a museum’s collection and I am grateful to have the funding to hire personnel who will ensure that our project is done in a professional manner.  The artifacts in our possession fall into a variety of categories. Some are special because they at one time belonged to a Hormel family member.  Some items reflect architecture or interior design that is appropriate to the era the Hormel family was in residence here. Other items relate to the period that the YWCA functioned in the space.

And then there are items that have been here for so many years that they have become important to us for no historic reason-like the fake white cat that resides mainly in the Home’s library.

On a recent work day inventory staff came across a book titled “Parties That Are Different” by Ethel Owen published in 1926 by The Abingdon Press.  A handwritten note inside the cover indicates that the book belonged to Mrs. Buell, who was instrumental in the operation of the YWCA for many years.  I couldn’t find much about the author but there are copies of the book online ranging in price between $6 and $20.

The table of contents lists 12 themed parties, including an Old-Fashioned Party, a Circus Party, and a Box Party.  Each chapter gives ideas for everything from invitation wording to decorations, games and menu suggestions.

The suggested invite for the Old-Fashioned Party reads in part:

“Go up in your garret and look all around

Till costumes of Grandma and Grandpa are found.

For to an old-fashioned party I invite you to-day,

And old-fashioned clothes will have full sway …”

The menu for this party includes Sandwiches of Cream Cheese and Jelly and Preserved and Crystallized Fruits.  The activities suggested for the Circus Party include a balloon blowing game and a pantomime game.

Don’t be surprised if you see some of these entertainment options added to the HHH calendar.  And don’t be surprised when you read about the other interesting things we expect to find in our many closets, boxes, and drawers as we continue the inventory project.

Harris Music Concert @ the Paramount

4 p.m., Saturday, March 7


History Happy Hour: Schoolhouse Memories, presented by Doug Ohman

5:30 p.m. social, 6 p.m., presentation., March 9, 2020

Free for members of the HHH, Mower County Historical Society and Friends of the Library, $5 for non-members.