Collecting souvenir spoons became a popular hobby for Americans in the late 1800s. Wealthy tourists visiting Europe brought home these mementos marked with the names of foreign cities and famous landmarks they had seen. The Omaha Daily Bee on May 10, 1891, noted: “The season of summer traveling, so near at hand, will give a new impetus to the spoon fad.
In 1890 a young man named Carey Judson Warbington picked up a chair and began smashing a painting that hung in an Omaha gallery. The painting was Return of Spring by William Adolphe Bouguereau, in which Spring is personified by a nude woman surrounded by cherubs.
Return of Spring on exhibit at the Lininger Gallery in Omaha (Left). NSHS RG2163-03
Museum artifacts can be beautiful. Museum artifacts can be plain. Plain museum artifacts can sometimes represent ugly ideas. It is rare, however, to come across a museum artifact that is, in actuality, literally ugly. Ah, but we’ve found one! Thanks to staff member Dale Bacon, who is our go-to-guy for all things weird, spooky, or paranormal, and his sleuthing, the Society is now the proud owner of one of the ugliest artifacts I’ve ever seen.