A new exhibit, “Ink to Paper: Exploring the Advancement of Letter Writing and its Uses,” has just opened at the Madison County Archival Library at 801 N. Main Street, Edwardsville. In the exhibit, Thompson explores something that is becoming a lost art: letters. The exhibit looks at the instruments used to write them, the various types of letters, and even the stamps that were used to send letters. Many items in the exhibit come from the recently donated Flagg Collection.
Although the museum building remains closed for renovation, the work of the museum continues with exhibits like this one, on-line exhibits and the collection and curation of artifacts that reflect Madison County history. This latest exhibit was created by David Thompson, a graduate student in Historical Studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville who was hired as an intern for the Madison County Historical Museum during the fall semester. He worked under the direction of County Museum curators.
Earlier this year, the Madison County Historical Society was able to obtain a grant from the SIUE Emeriti Faculty Association that made it possible to hire Thomson for the semester. Thompson’s master’s thesis focuses on the use of memory in the message of public art. He is also working on obtaining a certification in Museum Studies, and wants to examine heirloom collecting, and the oral history surrounding it.
The Madison County Archival Library is open to the public Wednesday-Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday 1-4 p.m. Numerous restrictions are in place due to COVID-19, including a mask requirement and limits on the number of visitors allowed in the building at one time. Due to the latter, it is strongly advised that patrons call 618-656-7569 for a reservation before visiting the Library. To browse on-line exhibits, visit https://madcohistory.org/online-exhibits/.a
Right (from the exhibit): This letter on the stationery of Illinois Representative Norman G. Flagg is far from official business. It was written by the representative’s son, James Smith Flagg, in 1916 (James is shown in 1912 at age 2).