The Museum of East Dorset (formerly the Priest’s House Museum) has one of the best collections of Victorian Valentine cards in existence and although the museum isn’t open at the moment, you have the chance to learn more about them – virtually.
There is to be a talk at 7pm on 11 February hosted by the museum’s collection officer Mark Neathey.
It will cover the Victorian’s contribution to the Valentine’s tradition of sending a card to a loved one. Over 350 Victorian Valentine cards are held at the Museum from beautiful and elaborate romantic cards, to mean-spirited and nasty ‘Vinegar Valentine’ cards designed to ridicule and offend the receiver.
Mark Neathey said, “The Valentine card collection is a very special part of our museum. There are some stunning cards on display with an amazing story to tell. And, of course, we’ve got the absurd and outrageous Vinegar Valentine cards which are absolutely hilarious – as long as you’re not receiving them.”
Over the course of the talk, which is being hosted on Zoom, attendees will learn why Valentine cards became so popular, the history of Valentine’s Day, and the different designs and symbolic meanings of cards produced by the Victorians.
The museum’s collection of Victorian Valentine cards originates from the unused stock of William Low’s stationer’s shop, which was in business from 1837 to 1872 and was based in the same building that the museum calls home on Wimborne High Street.
James Webb, museum director said, “Despite being closed, there’s no reason why we can’t continue sharing our collections and historical insights with the community. We have continued to hold online talks and Q&A sessions, design activities for children, and share interesting trivia on social media. With over 35,000 objects in our collection to choose from, it’s unlikely we’ll run out of material.”
Following the talk, there will be an opportunity to ask Mark Neathey any questions. To book tickets, visit the ‘virtual museum’ section on the Museum of East Dorset’s website: https://museumofeastdorset.co.uk/project/loves-gift-a-history-of-victorian-valentine-cards/
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