Library adds antique kitchen utensils to display exhibit


LEESBURG, Va. (WDVM) — The Thomas Balch Library in Leesburg has a new exhibit featuring items they hope everyone can connect with. “Granny’s Cooking: Meals at 21 West Loudoun Street” features antique silverware from local history.

Laura Christiansen, the curator of manuscripts and archives, said, “We all, I think, have that family member, maybe it’s a grandmother, maybe it’s a parent who was the cook and who created these things that we all associate with certain times in our lives.”

This exhibit is an extension off of an existing collection from a local man. His grandmother, S.J. Johnston, cooked for his family for years, and he brought together antiques, replicas, and recipes from her collection.

Nora Schneider, the library genealogy associate, said, “Granny’s Cooking exhibit is a perfect exhibit for the holidays. It really sparks what everyone thinks about with the holidays, which is family and cooking and recipes.”

This collection is only a part of the whole thing. Visitors can participate in a walking tour through Leesburg that points out historic buildings and landmarks associated with items from this collection.

Christiansen said she hopes that this collection can help bring people back together for the holidays despite being far apart during COVID.

“It’s really important I think especially with people being separated at the holidays, for us to have shared experiences still, and we can still talk about food – I can always talk about food – but we can make the same recipes even if we’re geographically separate,” she said.

The library is currently open by appointment only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. More information can be found on their website.

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