Staff at Hutchings Museum have tackled the task of cataloging and displaying John Hutchings’ extensive collection of pretty much everything. From the time John began the collection in his home, to the time he donated it to the people of Lehi, his collection grew exponentially. From minerals and fossils to pioneer dresses and antique toys, the museum’s collection is so extensive that many items have been tucked away in storage waiting to be rediscovered.
As museum staff continues cataloging, cleaning, and preparing items for display, the Lehi Free Press will be highlighting some of the “new” items that can be seen by museum visitors.
“Context is King” – Noteworthy Newspaper Exhibit
From a relationship built on a trek to Mount Everest Basecamp and a suitcase filled with old newspapers, Hutchings Museums’ newest display is real-life history from the far corners of the world to Lehi’s backyard.
Nine-year-old Zack Newman was gifted a suitcase filled with antique newspapers from around the country. Collected for their noteworthy front pages, history plays out in pages of publications from New York City to the Deseret News. Zack’s father, Chris Newman, hiked to Basecamp on Mount Everest with a group of people and met Daniela Larsen, Executive Director of Hutchings Museum. Hoping to find the best way to use this gift given to his son, Newman reached out and found help from Larsen in cataloging and displaying the antique newspapers.
At about the same time, staff at the Hutchings Museum were in the process of clearing out boxes and cataloging the collections that had been tucked away in storage. Staffers happened upon boxes of antique newspapers, an antique copy press, and tintype letters. Newman’s historic newspapers and the press related artifacts are now part of the museum’s newest exhibit.
The collection has newspaper articles reporting the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the sinking of the Titanic, Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, and Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight, to name a few. The press on display is said to be the first one owned and used by the Lehi Banner, later the Lehi Free Press.
According to Larsen, “Calling the exhibit ‘Context is King’ is a reference to the way historic events are sometimes studied and viewed in isolation, but that true understanding comes from learning about what else was happening at the same time. When we study history, there’s a tendency to see just the events and dates. But dates and places don’t change people, stories change people. Seeing articles on the same event reported by different newspapers around the country shows the impact of the press from a local perspective. Even the old advertisements are enlightening, such as the ad for corsets that ‘relieve women of hysteria’ or pairs of pants priced at two for $5. Seeing the context of these events through people’s lives is key.”
Museum staff member Camilla Larsen spent hours organizing the collection, cataloging, and framing the fragile papers. Camilla Larsen said “It’s so fascinating to see what else was happening around the same time as these other big events in history. A lot of these papers are from the same date, and have front page articles on the moon landing, for example. But you can see a difference in the way it’s reported and what else is happening around the county.”
The newspapers on loan from Zack Newman, along with Hutchings Museum’s own antique newspapers and related artifacts, are now on display at the museum.