When we think of museums and their collections, our first thoughts are often of ancient cultural relics, glittering valuable treasures and wonders from far-flung exotic places. Often, it is the everyday items, those not created as a treasure or used by the elite of society, and may not be considered very old at all, that can hold strong connects with visitors.
Some of my favourite pieces in the Orange Regional Museum collection are those classed as ephemera: items that were designed for use or enjoyment for only a short time. Ticket stubs, advertising posters, packaging: these items often prompt strong memories, especially from the viewer’s childhood and teenage years.
A recent gift to the Museum’s collection from Millthorpe local, John Nicholson, included two paper packaging bags from well-known Orange music stores: The ‘Western Stores Record Centre’ and ‘Orange Sound Centre’, which was located in the Orange Arcade. While not what most people would consider typical museum content, these simple paper bags have already earnt their place in the collection. Those who have been lucky enough to see the bags have been transported back to younger days; remembering with pleasure the first album they bought or the first time they listened to their favourite song in what would become their regular local teenaged-haunt.
From a historical perspective, the information recorded on the packaging: telephone numbers and addresses, assists with drawing out further history of the store. Colours, illustrations, text font and decorative elements are often indicative of certain periods and can also help to date the items.
So the next time you sift through your shoebox of mementoes and keepsakes, take a closer look – you may just have a box of hidden treasure!
Should you have any such items that relate to the regions history that you would consider donating to the Museum please contact the Museum on 02 6393 8444 or email@example.com
Allison Campbell, Collections Officer, Orange Regional Museum
Images, top ORM 2017/10, bottom ORM 2017/11