Visitors to the Finney County Historical Museum in Garden City can see over 100 vintage pieces of Fire King, Glasbake and Pyrex dinner and kitchenware in a colorful new exhibit entitled “What’s in Your Cabinet?”
Assembled by Museum Education Coordinator Johnetta Hebrlee, the display is located in the museum’s Front Door Gallery, a small space just inside the museum’s main entrance where exhibits change repeatedly throughout the year. Visitation hours run from 1 to 5 p.m. seven days weekly and admission is free.
Some visitors may recognize pieces like those from the kitchens of their mothers or grandmothers, as well as their own homes, in hues of blue, green, gold, yellow, red and additional colors, as well as clear and clear with baked-on images and patterns.
Dating back as far as the 1940s, the collection ranges from mixing bowls, cake and casserole dishes to storage containers, plates and platters, cups, pitchers, butter dishes, serving bowls, measuring cups, pepper and salt shakers, juice and syrup decanters, citrus juicers and a variety of other items for food preparation, serving and storage. The display even includes an all-glass rolling pin, double boiler and stovetop coffee pot, as well as Corningware miniatures and a nostalgic Tom and Jerry holiday cup and bowl set.
Hebrlee assembled pieces and sets in now-sought after collectible patterns such as “Forest Fancy,” “Green Dill,” “Homestead,” “Shenandoah,” “Snowflake,” “Pink Daisy,” “Golden Leaf,” “Modern Kitchen,” “Starburst,” “Spring Blossom,” “Meadow Green,” “Autumn Harvest” and additional titles, representing the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. There is one dish from a Currier and Ives-inspired series too. Museum Assistant Director and Research Librarian Laurie Oshel and Receptionist Synthia Preston assisted with the exhibit.
The display also outlines the history of Pyrex, a Corning product; Glasbake; and Fire King, produced by Anchor Hocking, as well as the creation and development of borosilicate glass by German chemist and glass technologist Friedrich Otto Schott, who lived from 1851 to 1935. Schott’s pioneering work, along with the later development of soda-lime glass, paved the way for the three leading American manufacturers, and their competitors, to create extensive arrays of now-familiar bakeware and glassware products popular throughout the mid and latter 20th Century.
Visitors can see approximately one dozen color and black-and-white magazine ads as well, showing how some of the products were touted to consumers during the 1950s and 1960s. Hebrlee noted that elements of the display were provided by Minnie Miller and Kim Brewer of Garden City.
The exhibit will remain in place through mid-Spring. Nearby are numerous longer-term exhibits, ranging from “True Crime” and “The Santa Fe Trail” to “Celebrate Kansas,” “Spirit of the Plains” and photo collections from community’s blizzard of 1957, flood of 1965 and tornado of 1967.
The Museum is located at 403 S. Fourth Street in Garden City’s Finnup Park, adjacent to the pedestrian entrance at Lee Richardson Zoo. In addition to the various displays, there is a gift shop stocking items representative of local and area history and culture, toys inspired by past times and items created by Western Kansas artists and artisans.
Information is available at 620-272-3664 and museum offices are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.