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.
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 Icons and Oregon Curiosities, and is finishing a book about hidden treasures in museums.
Funded project of Humanities Washington. Humanities Washington is a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.