MARQUETTE — The influence Queen Victoria had on literature, technology, and other ways of life during mid to late 1800’s is explored in a new Marquette Regional History Center exhibit.
Victorianism in Upper Michigan shows what life was like in the Upper Peninsula over a century ago. The exhibit highlights artifacts the history center has in its collection that don’t regularly get on display, including crafts made during the Victorian Era.
“Middle class women were staying at home for the first time, they were living in the city, living in Marquette and a lot of items were made,” MRHC curator Jo Wittler said. “There’s a wonderful wood-burned chest that was made by a man, but there’s a lot of handcrafted things that are really wonderful and (on display we have) a crazy quilt that was made with silks and velvets and hand embroidered a lot of little details added, so those are some really wonderful items from that time.”
There was a lot of money in the U.P. in the late Victorian Era. Marquette had an opera house that was called the “Finest in the North”, and even the middle class could afford things that we would now consider expensive.
“You still wanted to have these nice things to show that ‘Hey, I’m middle class too, I’m not poor. I can afford some nice things’,” Wittler said. “A lot of those things were very affordable. We think of them as very fancy and they are to us today, but silver-you could by plated silver instead of sterling silver and china that wasn’t outrageously expensive, so it’s much more formal than we’re accustomed to but it was actually very affordable at that time.”
Victorianism in Upper Michigan opens Monday and is on display through January 3. Members of the MRHC can take a special tour of the exhibit and ask Wittler questions September 25 at 6:30 p.m.
More information on the MRHC and its upcoming events can be found by clicking here.