Cabinet of Curiosities, Ep. 3: Plaster Fruits and Vegetables

Education artifacts recall legacy of WPA project

Poke around in the esoterica of our collection long enough, and you’ll find something you probably never saw before. Our Collections staff recently pulled out some hand-painted, plaster fruits and vegetables. It turns out these were educational tools that date back to the 1930s. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as part of his wide-ranging response to the Great Depression, put a lot of people back to work through a new agency, the Works Progress Administration. The WPA’s Museum Extension Project in Pennsylvania paid artists and other workers to create these plaster pieces for teachers to use in classrooms. This third installment of the Cabinet of Curiosities video series tells more of how these pieces came to be, and what it takes to care for them.

Episode 3: Plaster Fruits and Vegetables

Episode 2: Ebony and Ivory Elephants

Episode 1The Colobus Monkey Fur Cape

About the series

With close to 90,000 artifacts in our collection, the York County History Center has many items that are seldom or never on public display. In this new video series, Cabinets of Curiosities, we introduce you to some of the oddities in our vast collection.

Watch the video here.

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