Past Treasure of the Month – March 2006
"Treasure of the Month" Program
In March 2006, the Galveston Daily News officially began to run a special feature highlighting the “Treasure of the Month” from the Rosenberg Library. In this way, the Library was able to share some of its hidden treasures with the people of Galveston for whom these objects are preserved. The selected “Treasure of the Month” was initially on display on the fourth floor of Rosenberg Library in the Hutchings Gallery. (Current Treasures can now be viewed on the second floor.)
The Rosenberg Library has been acquiring exotic artifacts for the museum collection for more than a century. From its beginnings in 1904, the library has functioned as more than a book repository. The library accepted its first museum piece — an enlarged photograph of the ruins at the Parthenon — shortly after the building opened in 1904. Since then, thousands of rare and interesting objects have been added. For decades, generous Galvestonians have donated valuable works of art and historical artifacts, and as a result, Rosenberg Library holds an impressive and diverse museum collection in addition to its book and archival collections.
The museum collection at Rosenberg Library consists of thousands of objects. These range from early Texas relics — such as Santa Anna’s smoking cap and Sam Houston’s dueling pistols — to European paintings from the 1700s. There are firearms and sabers used during the Civil War as well as Victorian wedding dresses. The collection contains artifacts from around the world, including Egypt, Japan, Australia, and the Middle East. Today the library focuses on collecting items that are relevant to Galveston and Texas history. Paintings by Julius Stockfleth, Paul Schumann, Boyer Gonzales, and other Galveston artists comprise a significant portion of the collection.
The selected treasures for the month of March 2006 were a silver coin from Israel from 142 B.C., an Italian dagger used by Mussolini’s fascist militia, and French cameo glass designed by Emile Galle.
1. Coin: Silver shekel from Israel. Dates to the time of Simon Maccabeus, High Priest in Jerusalem, 142 B.C. – 135 B.C.
2. Dagger: Weapon issued to members of the Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazional in Italy. The MVSN was the fascist militia under Benito Mussolini’s dictatorship (1922 – 1943).
3. Art Glass: French Cameo glass designed by Emile Galle, ca. 1889 – 1904. Galle was a leader in the Art Nouveau movement during the late 19th century.