Alabaster Gifts for Real!
By Jennifer Cousino, Curator of History ~
Visitors regularly ask if they can purchase the hand-carved pieces out of the Proctor Alabaster Shop exhibit in the History Gallery. Unfortunately, we have to say no! All of that alabaster is part of the Museum’s permanent historic collection. With the addition of the Alabaster Industry in Colorado exhibit opening in the Green Room through March 2016, we decided that it was time to stock a few related items in the Museum’s gift shop. Tegan Hollen (she coordinates the gift shop along with Kimber and our volunteer, Carole) and I had a terrific time discussing what we should offer.
Our first though was to stock up on some traditional alabaster lighthouses. The Sundell’s, a local carving family, will be providing us with modern lighthouses and also surprising us with some additional smaller items for our gift shop in the next couple of weeks. I, personally, am hoping for a small vase or a tiny box.
Tegan also found two sweatshirts that were created when we first opened the Proctor Alabaster Shop exhibit at the Museum. They are dark blue hoodies with a yellow road sign on the front. I thought it would be a cool vivid design, but they were not as popular as I had hoped. It seems that the hoods were too pointy, making the wearer look like a gnome if he/she chose to wear the hood!
Tegan was inspired to make some example buttons using her own button maker. We thought the natural grain of the alabaster would lend itself nicely to some sort of pin. I’m partial to the two shown here. I like the subtle color of the pale one, and the other looks like Jupiter minus its great red spot. In the end, we decided that they were just too labor intensive and expensive for us to sell in the shop. 🙁
We did order a few alabaster carving kits. These include a rasp, an assortment of sandpaper, and a 5-pound chunk of raw alabaster. Maybe I’ll get one and carve my own tiny box!
Jim, our Exhibits Preparator, thinks we should make t-shirts that say “ALABASTER ROCKS!” We will be exploring that idea to see what we need to do to make it happen. If you have any design thoughts, send them in!