Fascinating new displays

The new Boy Scout exhibit at the Blount County Memorial Museum features items donated by Stanley Patterson of Cleveland. Some items date back to the 1950s.

The new Boy Scout exhibit at the Blount County Memorial Museum features items donated by Stanley Patterson of Cleveland. Some items date back to the 1950s.

The Blount County Memorial Museum has some new displays of vintage items that any history buff will want to see.

One is dedicated to the Alabama Power Cooking Schools, which began in 1922 as a way to “introduce” electric appliances to women, the primary cooks of the day. Adelia Gaboury was the first home economist hired by the company. She traveled the state and held cooking classes in local Alabama Power offices. In Laura Borgman Pitts’ history book about the company, Developed for the Service of Alabama, Gaboury said many women were scared to cook with electricity, preferring cooking over open flames. Most switched, however, when they attended her class and learned they could prepare more consistent meals “scientifically using time and temperature.” Gaboury and other home economists would also go door-to-door visiting residences that did not have electricity to explain what having electrical appliances could do. The cooking schools were taught up until the 1950s. On display at the museum is an early toaster, an old one-eye countertop burner, an electric tea pot and other sundry cooking items.

In addition, there are new exhibits of vintage toys and books; a sewing, quilting and embroidery exhibition; L & N railroad memorabilia; and vintage women’s hats, purses and shoes. Finally, there is a new Boy Scout exhibit with items dating back at least to the 1950s, but probably nothing that a young scout today would not recognize. Stanley Patterson of Cleveland donated about half of the Scouting pieces, according to museum curator Amy Rhudy.

The Blount County Quilters Guild gave the Blount County Historical Society a quilt commemorating the county’s 200th year. It features covered bridges and is displayed prominently in the museum.

Regular visitors to the museum will note the Horton Mill display is unchanged.

Rhudy said she and Laura Roberson are currently working on the Bicentennial Edition of the Blount County Heritage Book, an enormous undertaking. The last one was published in 1999 and this one will have around 200 more pages. It will be available by the end of the year at a cost of $75. Pre-orders are now being taken. Anyone can purchase a feature page for the Heritage Book at a cost of $1,000. It can be a business advertisement, family photographs, a poem, a written history about family or any combination that can fit on one page. Less expensive submissions are available. Up to 250 words will cost $25, 250-500 words will cost $50, and a submission of 500-750 words (maximum) will cost $75. Submissions will be accepted until July 1.

To help defer the cost of the Heritage Book, the museum is having a used book sale. There are hundreds to choose from thanks to a bequest from an estate library. The books can be purchased for $2 each. Books are on sale now at the museum.

Contact Amy Rhudy by calling 205- 625-6905 or email her at arhudy@blountcountyal. gov to ask about the Heritage Book pre-orders or submissions. For additional information about the museum or the Historical Society, visit their webpage at www.blountmuseum.org or check out their Facebook page by searching for the Blount County Memorial Museum and Historical Society.

To become a member of the Society, contact the museum at the same number. Dues are $10 per year for an individual and $25 for a family membership.