Signs of Our Times

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April Bryan holds up one of the old time signs which is still a beacon atop the entryway to the Hide-A-Way in Vicksburg.

The Vicksburg Historical Society presents a special exhibition that examines more than a century of Vicksburg signage. Through a collection of signs, photographs, postcards, and other artifacts, visitors will discover a history of Vicksburg signage styles and stories beginning with early wood, window, and awning signs through more contemporary materials including plastic.

The exhibit is on display in the yellow township hall in the Historic Village at 300 N. Richardson Street. It has been curated by April Bryan. It is her first big exhibit since taking over the reins from long-time volunteer curator Maggie Snyder.

The exhibition takes a look local and national trends in four themes—early signs; the 1930s-1940s; 1950s-1960s; and 1970s and beyond. Sign highlights include two hand-painted metal signs from Robinson’s Bath House at Pickerel Lake; wood signboards by Vicksburg Lumber Co. and R.J. Haas Plumbing and Heating; a Weeks & Brumbaugh plastic sign; and a Masonite community event sign from the 1971-72 Vicksburg Centennial.

The changing signage landscape on display shows a move from awnings and flat, storefront signs to projecting neon to plastic and more. The exhibition focuses on commercial signage, but signs featured also include temporary and folk art signs.

Commercial signage attracts and advertises, informs and identifies, noted Bryan. Some signs become landmarks, others become memories. Vicksburg’s signage history reflects those changes and reflects local and national style influences, she said.

Children of all ages are welcome to design and color signs of their own and to add to a memory board a story of their favorite hometown signs.

The exhibition runs through Saturday, November 26, 2016 and patrons unable to visit on Saturdays may call 269-649-1733 or write to collections@vicksburghistory.org to schedule an appointment.

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