AUSTIN, Texas—More than 60 handmade objects associated with individuals and families from the south central Texas region of Fayette, Washington, Austin and Colorado counties will be on display in a new exhibit scheduled to open Oct. 30 at The University of Texas at Austin’s Center for American History. The exhibit and a related lecture are free and open to the public.
“Handmade for Texas: Selections from the Winedale Decorative Arts Collection” will be displayed in the center’s Research and Collections division in Sid Richardson Hall Unit 2 on the university’s main campus. The exhibit will remain on view through Aug. 31, 2003.
Exhibit opening activities will include a reception from 5:30-7 p.m. on Oct. 30 featuring a lecture by Austin folklorist and museum consultant Dr. Suzanne Seriff. Her presentation, “Interpreting Texas’s Past: Treasures from the Winedale Decorative Arts Collection,” will begin at 6 p.m.
A significant characteristic historically of the Fayette, Washington, Austin and Colorado County region was the strong presence of German settlers. Many objects in “Handmade for Texas” have a German cultural connection. Some were made by German immigrants who settled in south central Texas. Others were made specifically for these new Texans by family members who remained in the homeland.
Objects on display will include toy figures carved in 1880 by Emil Schuhmann of Waldeck, Texas; an 1860 food safe featuring punched tin door panels; a beaded gown worn by Ida Jaeger in 1917 at her wedding in the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Round Top; tools made and used by furniture maker Carl Steinhagen of Anderson, Texas; a spool quilt from the 1860s sewn by Mary McLean of Austin County; and a painted tin deer target made in Round Top around 1885.
“Some of the objects reflect a high level of craftsmanship and artistry,” said Kate Adams, associate director of the Center for American History and curator of the “Handmade for Texas” exhibit. “Others reveal ingenuity, imaginative self-expression and even religious piety. Still others are traditional utilitarian objects whose handmade quality lends charm, even beauty, to their functional form and purpose.”
All of the objects in “Handmade for Texas” are from the Winedale Decorative Arts Collection that includes about 4,400 textiles, carved toys, pieces of handmade furniture, folk art, clothing and accessories, housewares, ceramics and glass, and commemorative objects. The collection also features cabinetmaking, agricultural and blacksmith tools that reflect the material culture of south central Texas between 1850 and 1950. These objects are available for research at Winedale, where many are regularly on display as period furnishings in Winedale’s historic structures.
Winedale is a complex of historic structures and modern conference facilities in rural Fayette County. It is a division of the university’s Center for American History, a special collections library, archives and museum at The University of Texas as Austin.
For more information contact: Kate Adams, Center for American History, 512-495-4515.