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Grandma's Apron exhibit extended until Sunday, Nov. 4

August 28, 2007

Gramma's Apron, the exhibit created to complement the Smithsonian's Key Ingredients - America by Food, has proven so popular that it is being extended until Nov. 4.

On display at the Washington County Rural Heritage Museum, the apron display provides a brief look at the history and uses of aprons.

Since opening in June, several new aprons have been added. Most recently three, feed bag aprons have been included. These were fashioned by the late Esther Shaferr Beckley, a lifelong resident of Washington County.

The use of feedbags for clothing is a piece of our American heritage. After the Civil War, cotton sacks for flour, sugar, meal, grain, salt and feed became more common, replacing barrels, boxes, tins and pottery.

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During the depression, as housewives discovered they could reuse and recycle bags, the demand for them escalated. The peak of their popularity was during the 1930s-'50s. It was then manufacturers added figured and dress prints to their bags. Bags were popular for dresses, aprons, children's underwear and household linens (like dish towels, curtains and pillowcases). After World War II, family budgets increased and the demand for "free" material lessened and the importance of feed sacks as clothing.

According to the museum's Dorry Norris, "Our grandmothers would have been stunned to find feedbags selling on eBay for between nine and 20 dollars!"

The museum is in the Washington County Ag Center at 7313 Sharpsburg Pike - Md. 65. The museum is open Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 1 to 4 p.m. - other times by appointment.

For additional information, call the the museum at 240-313-2839.

The museum is a member of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau: www,marylandmemories.com.

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