Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pulling Strings Reference Library: Susan Fohr

At the heart of the Pulling Strings project is a hunger to explore the stories that textiles tell us about our culture and how we relate to each other.  This book shared by Susan Fohr, Education Programs Coordinator at the TMC does exactly that.  We'll keep posting more of these mini reviews to mark the launch of our reference library throughout April - stay tuned!

The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Toronto: Random House Canada

My favourite textile book is The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. As a museum educator, I am fascinated by the power of objects to communicate the stories of those once associated with them. Each chapter of The Age of Homespun features an object from a New England museum or historic site – including a native basket, two spinning wheels and a niddy-noddy – and outlines the role textiles played in shaping narratives related to nationhood, industrialization and gender in New England from the late seventeenth century through the early nineteenth century. I was particularly fascinated by the ways in which textiles, and the furniture that housed them, served as a means to build relationships and lineages over time, ensuring the preservation of a female line. Having begun my museum career as an historic interpreter (in fact my “textile education” happened while working at Black Creek Pioneer Village), this book reinforced my belief that we study history to do more than remember the past; we study history to discover how we can live better today and tomorrow.

Susan Fohr
Education Programs Coordinator
Textile Museum of Canada

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