You know you’re getting old when you stroll around the annual Vintage Fair and find yourself constantly exclaiming, “Wait! THAT’s not vintage!” – and then you realize, for a lot of people, that IS vintage.
For Vintage Fair 2020, I went all the way back to the Victorian era, which is vintage even for me, and made this museum display cabinet inspired by a visit last year to the Milwaukee Public Museum. Milwaukee’s natural history museum is a vast and delightful experience, made even more charming by their inclusion and maintenance of vintage exhibits that say a lot about the history of museums and the attitudes of the eras when displays were made. There is a dinosaur room with sound and light effects that is quite a treat for kids of a certain vintage! It has seen better days, but I hope they don’t phase it out.
One of the most fascinating parts, to me, was the Victorian era display. In those days, a museum of natural history showed the exotic, the curious, the beautiful – with no context and very little comment. Objects were often grouped in cabinets with no particular system. Perhaps they came from the same world-traveling donor, or represented the same type of thing (e.g. birds), or they simply looked impressive together. They still do.
Even the display furniture is interesting, though a bit massive and overwhelming in the eyes of the present era. My version is simplified down quite a lot for the sake of land impact and scaled more realistically for your virtual home, I hope.
I also hope Victorian furniture comes back into fashion by the time I’m ready to offload my real life collection…
Vintage Fair runs through June 22. Spyralle’s vintage is located here.