Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Great Question: Which objects belonged to the Baldizzis?

Questions posed by our visitors lead to great conversations. Occasionally, we'll post a great question that's frequently asked, along with the answer, to give you a bit of back story on our exhibits.

Which objects in the Baldizzi apartment actually belonged to the family?

Some of the most precious objects in our collection are displayed in the Baldizzi apartment. Unlike other families we talk about, we were lucky to have a first-person link to the Baldizzi family through former resident Josephine Baldizzi. Josephine shared her family's story with us, giving a detailed account of her life in our tenement.

The Baldizzis were generous with objects as well as stories, so among the period-appropriate housewares that we've gathered from other sources, we also have family heirlooms on display in the Baldizzi home.

Among these precious objects are three monogrammed dishtowels--you can see them hanging from an improvised laundry line in the Baldizzi apartment below.

The Baldizzi kitchen

Baldizzi family heirlooms on display

These towels once belonged to Josephine's mother, Rosaria, who emigrated from her native Sicily as a very young woman in the 1920's. The embroidered monogram "R.M." stands for Rosaria Mutolo, her maiden name. They were precious possessions, among the few things that Rosaria was able to carry with her across the ocean on the long journey to her new life.

We're also fortunate to have a handful of other objects that once belonged to the Baldizzis, including some other textiles, cookware, and a box of Linit laundry starch. On our Hard Times tour, visitors hear an audio clip of Josephine recalling her mother's use of Linit to starch their clothes when she was a little girl.

Take our "Hard Times" tour to get a firsthand look at these objects in the Baldizzi apartment!

-- Posted by Kira Garcia

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