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BCHS Museum has two new exhibits on loan from Muchow

Marcy Muchow stands with the two collections lent to the Brown County Historical Society; pocket mirrors, in the case below, and Lladró figurines.

NEW ULM — The Brown County Historical Society (BCHS) has a new display courtesy of guest curator Marcy Muchow.

Muchow volunteers with the BCHS tracking genealogy, but recently she lent two of her collections to a display on the second floor.

The first collection contains dozens of hand mirrors Muchow has collected over the years. Muchow said pocket mirrors were around since before the 1900s, but they did not become popular until the Great Depression. Salesmen would take the mirrors on sales trips and leave them with clients as small gifts are advertisements. Over the years the hand mirrors would be used to advertise a variety of items.

The backside of the mirror served as ad space.

Muchow even has a few mirrors with faces of celebrities. Shirley Temple, Elvis, John Wayne, James Dean and the Beatles all appear on mirror backs.

The Lladró figurines on display at the museum include Father Time, left, three nuns, and a wedding couple.

Muchow started collecting the pocket mirrors 50 years ago. She and her husband Dennis liked to go antiquing. Once when attending an antique show at the Mankato armory she found her first pocket mirror.

The first mirror went into her purse. She kept finding new pocket mirrors and soon realized she would rather display them.

Muchow said some of the mirrors are relatively inexpensive. The round pocket mirrors tend to cost the most because they are rarer. Most of her mirrors are decades old. The Beatles mirror could be the newest.

Muchow said pocket mirrors are hard to find these days. The last one she found was a year and a half ago at the State Fair antique show.

The second part of the display features Spanish-made decorative porcelain figures called “Lladró”. The figures were manufactured by the Lladró company founded by the Lladró brothers.

Muchow purchased her first Lladró figurine while backpacking through Europe. The sculpture was of a cat with a mouse on its tail. This figurine is still in her collection and can be seen in the display case. She found larger Lladró figurines over the years. The three largest figurines in the display are of bride and groom, three nuns and Father Time.

Muchow said the Father Time figurine is likely the most valuable. The three nuns are the newest figurine in her collection. The bride and groom figures are among her most cherished figurines because they were an anniversary present from her husband.

Muchow’s two collections will remain on display at the historical society museum through the rest of the year. Visitors will be able to see the collections during museum hours.

BCHS will host a free open house event from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26.

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