Just in time for holiday baking, a new exhibit, “Shakers & Bakers,” showcases unique and historical items found in everyday kitchens – specifically, aprons, salt and pepper shakers and measuring cups.
As Clayton Historical Society volunteer Mary Spryer realized, these simple items can carry surprising histories, and are an unassuming glimpse into our history and culture.
“At the museum, we love showcasing collections of local residents,” she said. “I realized that we had a nice collection of vintage aprons in our possession, Then I started looking at home, and I realized I had several that were passed down from my own grandmother.”
Some of the aprons in the collection are elaborate, some are whimsical. “There is even one decorated with artillery from World War I,” she says. “Each of the aprons are rich with personal history.”
Spryer says that the popularity of televised food shows have brought aprons back into vogue, but that the simple garment has been worn throughout history to protect clothing. “Aprons can be a personal statement, or just have personal significance, like my grandma’s aprons.”
But aprons aren’t just the property of kitchens, she says, as she will also feature historical aprons from trade, such as one worn by an old Clayton blacksmith.
The apron collection is just part of the exhibit. It will also feature Clayton resident Lorraine Henney’s extensive sets of salt and pepper shakers – not all vintage, but all entertaining, Spryer says.
Resident Sharon Barrington will also add her collection of vintage measuring cups, many made from Depression-era glass.
“Shakers & Bakers” will open on Saturday, Oct. 13. The museum is open on Wednesdays and Sundays from 2-4 p.m. and by appointment. For more information, visit the museum at 6101 Main St., call 925-672-0240, or visit claytonhistory.org.