Milford Museum Presents “Then, Now” Exhibit

Terry RogersCulture, Headlines

Permanent wave machine used by beauty parlors in the past, now on display at the Milford Museum

Claudia Leister, Executive Director of the Milford Museum, remained busy over the past few months while the museum was closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Leister has just finished installing the latest exhibit for the museum entitled “Then and Now.”

“We had many everyday items in our collection,” Leister said. “It is amazing to see how much technology has changed over the years. Then, I came across a beauty parlor permanent wave machine in our collection and knew we needed to find a way to exhibit this interesting gadget. I figured young people would be interested in seeing how things have changed over the years, from the way our grandparents used to iron to the strange looking machines we used to use to toast bread. As we looked through the collection, the exhibit just came to life.”

Milford Museum “Laundry Day Through the Years” display in the new “Then and Now” exhibit

The beauty parlor machine looks rather frightening and it is difficult to believe that women were comfortable while hooked up to something that looks like it came from a science fiction movie. There is a section in the exhibit that shows how “laundry day” has changed. One item that will make young people of today appreciate technology is an antique hand laundry plunger that was used to agitate clothes while they were being washed.

The front room of the museum contains telephones, radios, cameras and televisions while another display case holds toasters, vacuum cleaners and other items used in the home over the years. All objects in the display belonged to Milford residents and were donated either by the owner of the item or their family. Some of the items were actually manufactured in Milford, connecting the new exhibit with a previous one in the museum called “Made in Milford.”

Radios and other items demonstrating changes in technology over the years as part of the “Then and Now” exhibit at the Milford Museum

The Milford Museum, like many organizations, was closed throughout the spring of 2020. They reopened in June with COVID restrictions in place, including limited numbers of people in the museum at one time and a requirement that all visitors wear face coverings. There are also hand sanitizer stations throughout the museum. In December 2020, the museum closed again per orders of Governor John Carney to stop the surge in COVID cases in the state. They reopened February 2, 2021 with the same restrictions. Hours are 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM, Tuesday through Saturday.

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