Odds and ends... and we do mean odd
When we receive collections for our archive or anniversary materials from churches, most of it is paper-based -- books, pamphlets, loose records in folders, manuscript sermons and correspondence, etc. From time to time, though, we get some truly unusual objects. Over the years, we've gotten everything from custom-printed napkins and balloons to full sets of communion dishes and altar crosses. We thought we'd highlight a couple of the more interesting items that have been sent to us in recent years for your enjoyment.
First up is a license plate commemorating a church's sesquicentennial. It's fun to know that there was enough demand among the congregation for the anniversary committee to have them printed, but we don't really have enough space for it among our local church history collections. We tend to photograph such physical objects and include those images with some notes in the collection instead. This especially applies to bulky items like commemorative mugs and baseball caps, or to materials that are prone to deterioration like napkins, balloons, and newspaper clippings.
Next is an item which we're fairly certain was given to us accidentally. A church that disbanded sent us their historical records, a practice we very much encourage. But tucked in amongst the ledgers of administrative records and Sunday school materials was a rusting blade from a circular saw. Our best guess is that it slipped in during some minor renovations at the church. (Pro tip: If you're doing construction on the room where your records are stored, move them someplace else for the duration.) Although we obviously removed it from the archival collection during processing, it has made a great conversation piece and an amusing example of what sorts of things donors should cull from their materials before sending them to us.