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January 9, 2018

Tips for the At-Home Archivist

By Anna Cueto Prior to becoming the curator for the Miller House Museum, I trained at the University of Pittsburgh to become an archivist. It’s one of the top archives programs in the country, and I say this not to completely toot my own horn, but because attending the program taught me some extremely valuable information about handling items like film, photographs, and documents. And I like sharing that information with people, but with one large change: I like to teach people how to archive on a budget. The holidays are a perfect time to think about archiving or preserving your family photographs, movies, and other memories, because often, you already are planning on seeing the people who hold most of the information that you need! So with the holidays in mind, here is a short guide to gathering, organizing, and storing your family photographs like an archivist. The first and most important thing is to evaluate what you have, what you would like to save, and how you are currently storing it. Artifacts are like people – they do not like to be too hot or cold, too wet or too dry, and they really do not like being […]
January 9, 2018

The World’s Smallest Wedding Becomes a Hagerstown Tradition

Until the late 1960s, Hagerstown was home to an unusual sight: lavish wedding ceremonies where the heads of the participants barely reached above the tops of the pews. In a popular fundraising tradition that would span most of the 20th century, Hagerstown was the site of many mock marriages between children, colloquially called “Tom Thumb weddings.” The earliest records of local Tom Thumb weddings date back to the early 1910s, when a small advertisement appeared in the Morning Herald inviting the public to Trinity Lutheran for the wedding of Mr. Tom Thumb to Miss Jennie June. Other groups continued the tradition until the 1960s, and the weddings helped to raise funds for everything from the Y.M.C.A. Camp at Big Pool to the purchase of choir robes for St. Mark’s Young People’s Choir. These were not simple ceremonies, either, but lavish fetes with dozens of young participants. The brides and grooms were attended by large wedding parties, and often another child was dressed up as a miniature minister. The earlier weddings included elaborate handmade costumes for each child, including full tiny tuxedos for each of the boys, and long gowns and veils for the girls which highlighted the wedding fashions of […]