FLINT — Where can you find the art deco golden statuette light from AutoWorld, the cross that sat atop St. Joseph’s Hospital, the last LeSabre made in Flint with all the signatures of the workers on the line who helped build it, James H. Whiting’s home doorknob from 1890, a 1920 elevator indicator from The Durant Hotel, William Crapo’s personal shaving chair, J. Dallas Dort’s humidor from 1900, or the staircase from Eli T. Smith’s home on Harrison and Fourth Street all in one building.
The Sloan Museum, of course.
Collecting Flint from A to Z opened on Nov. 1 and is slated to stay on display for community and visitor appreciation through 2016.
“This is the metaphorical key to the collection before you experience the notso dusty corners of our storage areas,” states the printed entry to the new exhibit, ushering visitors into sheer wonderment and waves of nostalgia.
Beneath the introduction there is a glass-enclosed Golden Key to the city of Flint, presented to each visitor as their way to unlock the past by way of personal memory, appreciation, and enlightenment as they traverse the large expanse of space set aside for a comprehensive sampling of the Sloan’s massive vault of artifacts.
“Normally our exhibits are on one subject. This was a way to bring out items that are interesting in their own right, but also have never quite fit into a former themed exhibit,” said Curator of Collections, Jeremy Dimick.
Sifting through the nearly 400,000 artifacts the Sloan possesses from generous donations, and a few sought out acquisitions for “the exhibit about everything,” was quite a task for Dimick and co-worker Heather Moore.
The journey was a joy for the duo; excited to finally have an opportunity to showcase some of the hidden gems in the vault.
“We are trying to tell a million stories. We are, with each item, representing some part of daily life at one point; for those living in this county,” said Dimick.
A to Z is comprised of over 800 relics depicting various facets of living, socializing, and creating in the county; from the 1800’s onward.
In regards to the record player collection, Dimick said, “It is amazing how we have all become so desensitized,” with the modern mode in which we listen to music, sans the warmth and full sound emitted out of electronics from the past.
Dimick’s favorite stop in the nostalgic journey he created is the mid-point Oddities showcase.
“I don’t know why it is my favorite. It is weird stuff. It is weird that these things not only survived, but weird that we even have them,” he said of the unique presentation enclosing among other rarities, a bear trap and a dental retainer.
Y is for Yard Sale is where old toys, relics, and various items are combined in a singular display of quirk.
“People may ask why we have Wrath of Khan on vinyl in this. Well, each item we selected somehow tells a larger story. Each one in the entire exhibit, does in its’ own unique way,” said Dimick.
Within this gift of experience, “There is something for everyone, ” said Dimick.