Curator's Corner Blog

Category Archives: Eye on Exhibits

HMFM Burma Shave!

Anyone driven down Guardsman Lane lately? Curious to know about the new bright red signs adorning the edges of the road on your way to the museum?

Nothing like some Burma Shave Signs to celebrate the new Signs of the Times exhibit!

Why Burma-Shave?

Burma-Shave was first introduced in 1925 as a liniment made from ingredients found on the Malay Peninsula and inBurma. However sales were slow and the company wanted a product with greater appeal hence “Burma-Shave brushless shaving cream” was born. Burma-Shave became the second-highest selling brushless shaving cream in theUnited Statesat its peak.

The Burma-Shave signs were an early example of popular highway advertising that lasted into the 1960’s.  Generally a series of six sequential signs were placed at the edge of a road for passing motorists to read, the last sign in the series almost always had the name of the product. As motor vehicle travel expanded and speeds increased it became more and more difficult to attract the attention of drivers and the signs were eventually discontinued for safety’s sake. Interestingly, today several state highway departments use signs in the same style to dispense travel safety messages to motorists.

The signs were creative and used humorous puns and rhymes to sell their product. 1963 was the last year of the official advertising campaign. The final slogan, repeated from 1953 was,

“Our fortune / Is your / Shaven face / It’s our best / Advertising space /Burma-Shave”.

Historic Junk Food

Tis’ the Halloween season- full of scary costumes, haunts and spooks, and of course- lots of candy and junk food. The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula has decided to celebrate Halloween this year with a look back at historic junk food- and a few little known facts about some very popular brands. For instance- did you know that the term “junk food” was initially used in the 1960s but was popularized by the 1976 song “Junk Food Junkie”.

Historic Junk Food- A Window to the Museum Exhibit

There are lots of popular snack food brands to see in the exhibit, ranging from the 1930s to the 1990s, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, 7Up, Crush, Nabisco, Quaker Oats, Lipton, Cheerios, Eggos Waggles, Log Cabin Syrup, Jell-O and Whitman’s Chocolates only name a few.

Historic Junk Food- A Window to the Museum Exhibit

 We never want to give away too much of out exhibits- but here are a few of the fun facts about these brands!

Coca-Cola, RC Cola, Pepsi Cola and Crush OH MY!

Did you know that Alexander Samuelson of the Root Glass Company in Terre Haute, Indian, created the distinctive shape of the glass Coca-Cola bottle?

Did you know that it wasn’t until Walter Sharp stepped in as president of Whitman’s Chocolates that the well-known cross-stitch pattern on Whitman’s Chocolates Sampler boxes was first used? An actual sampler that hung in Sharp’s house inspired the design.

Did you know that Crush Soda is in over 14 countries world wide? This has resulted in a wide variety of flavors, including, Apple, Birch Beer, Chocolate, Ginger Beer, Grapefruit, Lemon, Peach, and Watermelon.

Did you know that a grade schooler as part of a contest to design the company’s brand icon in 1916 created the Mr. Peanut logo?

Eye On Exhibits

With the snow falling in the higher elevations, the leaves all but turned in color, and the temperatures plummeting wintertime has returned to the Missoula Valley with a vengeance. But the change in season means more than just frostbite and blisters acquired raking copious quantities of fallen leaves. It also means the time has come for the new annual holiday exhibit at the Historical Museum!

This year, the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula presents a one-of-a-kind, music-themed holiday exhibition entitled, Snowflake Sonata. The exhibition boasts the display of several loaned musical instruments, including: a guitar, xylophone, drums, harpsichord, recorder, accordion, and trombone, to name but a few. Drawing from the Museum’s permanent collections, the exhibition will also feature: musical Christmas ornaments, musical miniatures, figurines, sheet music, a rare photograph of the Italian ADC detainee orchestra, a roll-up music case, piano rolls for a player piano, a t-shirt from the International Chorale Festival, and much, much more!

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