The passengers aboard the S.S. Spokane cruising through Alaskan waters in 1903 probably didn’t give their lunch menu much thought beyond what they would have to eat. Granted, its totem-pole shape was interesting – a clever play by cruise company marketers to remind them of where they were sailing and maybe to buy a miniature souvenir while on shore.
Most of those menus would have been ignored, though – left on tables or thrown away. But one made it back from turn-of-the-century Alaska to wind up in Washington State University’s Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections.
The menu and other bits of the printed detritus from MASC’s collections are showcased in a new exhibit, “Ephemera: Yesterday’s Trash, Today’s Archive,” opening this month and running through March. An opening reception is set for 3-4:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, in the MASC main lobby.
“Ephemera” is part of WSU common reading events for the book written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Edward Humes. For more about the book and other events, visit http://commonreading.wsu.edu/.
Trevor Bond, head of MASC, said he hopes the exhibit will impress on viewers the ubiquitousness of ephemera – the minor, transient documents of everyday life. Those paper scraps go unnoticed most of the time.
“Most printed ephemera are intended for short-term use, to be consumed and then discarded,” he said. “We all have ephemera: the receipt in your pocket, the flier handed to you on Terrell Mall that you accepted out of politeness, or perhaps a bookmark for this very exhibit.”
For details about the exhibit, read the full story at https://news.wsu.edu/2014/12/11/jan-22-reception-ephemera-exhibit-detail….