Treasured: Contemporary Reflections of Arthurdale

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Our lives are filled with ordinary objects, commonplace and unassuming. Used day after day, handled year after year, some become forlorn, fractured, or forgotten. Other items are passed down generation to generation–mother to daughter, father to son. These treasures take on near mythical qualities, cherished and precious in the tapestry of our lives. Their value is rarely monetary, altogether sentimental, and universally understood.

Arthurdale possesses its own distinct trove of treasures. As the nation’s first New Deal homestead community, objects related to Arthurdale hold tremendous national significance. But to their original owners and makers, these items carry a special personal importance. Each piece is interwoven with memories and emotions–some fond, others bittersweet. 

Far from irrelevant, historic pieces force us to reflect upon the past, consider the present, and hope for the future. Every item from Arthurdale contributes to a shared patchwork of stories, families, and experiences. But these pieces also remind us of much more than individual places or moments in time. They symbolize decades of hardship overcome by perseverance, despair met with optimism, and ruin transformed by restoration. 

These objects now challenge us to press onward, imagining what we will achieve together.

Treasured was on view in historic Center Hall December 2022-January 2023. This exhibition is made possible by anonymous donors. We wish to thank them for their generosity and commitment to Arthurdale Heritage, Inc.