Hidden Treasures in Washington's Museums
Space restrictions allow most museums to display only about 10 percent of their holdings. However, there are also surprising political, philosophical, artistic, environmental and historic reasons why museums keep objects from view. Journalist Harriet Baskas will present a fast-paced, photo-filled and, at times, somewhat offbeat tour of Washington history through the stories of museum artifacts that are rarely – or never – shown to the public. Examples include Bing Crosby’s toupees in Spokane, a quilt made of Ku Klux Klan robes in Yakima and Native American spirit boards in Tacoma. We will explore how those objects came to be in the local collections and who makes decisions about what is displayed or kept from view.
Washington Icons: 50 (or So) Objects That Tell the Story of our State
Taking a cue from the popular BBC series A History of the World in 100 Objects, this fast-paced, slide-show presentation will explore the state’s history and its place in the world through 50 (or so) objects, spaces and events. The core of the program will draw from journalist Harriet Baskas’ book Washington Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Evergreen State and include fresh items suggested by experts from HistoryLink, the Washington State History Museum and audiences in each location. On the menu: everything from Washington state apples and cherries to Boeing’s Red Barn, the Grand Coulee Dam to Walla Walla sweet onions. The program content will develop over time as each community suggests a local entry. For example, at a Speakers Bureau event in Entiat, attendees declared Numeral Mountain – the nearby cliff where high school seniors have been painting their graduating year numbers since 1923 – the community’s most iconic item.
About Harriet Baskas
Harriet Baskas writes about airports, museums and a wide variety of other topics for msnbc.com, USATODAY.com, AAA Journey and other outlets. She also maintains two blogs:StuckatTheAirport.com and MuseumMysteries.com. She produced a major radio series on hidden museum artifacts that aired on National Public Radio, with Smithsonian-based historians as her advisers. Baskas has a master’s in communication from the University of Washington and served as general manager for three community radio stations in Oregon and Washington. Baskas is the author of a half dozen books, including Washington Curiosities,Washington Iconsand Oregon Curiosities, and is finishing a book about hidden treasures in museums.
Baskas currently lives in Seattle.
For more information on how to book a speaker, please contact Zaki Abdelhamid at (206) 682-1770 x102 or by email.