Recollecting Home – Cindy Baker
The Galt Museum & Archives’ new exhibit, Recollecting Home, features items selected by community members to represent different experiences of “home” in our community.
Cindy Baker was one of the participants in the exhibit. Baker selected two items that let her reflect on how women have experienced “home,” and how they used objects to subvert traditional expectations that may have been superimposed upon them. One of the items Baker chose was a vibrator that was donated to the Galt
Because the home is traditionally the domain of women, I wanted to select an item for this exhibition that is decidedly woman-focused. I chose a vibrator because it was a device designed by doctors to alleviate their own workload by allowing women to take care of their medical needs at home. Ironically, the ailment these devices were designed to treat, hysteria, was invented to explain away almost every possible female complaint. Everything from depression to anger, boredom, and even acts of independence and joy was classified as part of this disease, thus pathologizing any affect a woman might have that differed from society’s expectation of a docile and obedient creature. The treatment that doctors offered for hysteria was easily replaced by this simple invention, which has become a potent tool for women’s independence.
The experience of “home” is different for each individual. As part of the Recollecting Home exhibit, the Galt is inviting visitors to share what the concept of “home” means to them. The exhibit uses participant selected objects and stories to explore themes like nostalgia, landscape, sensory memory, displacement and emigration. Recollecting Home is open at the Galt Museum & Archives from February 1 to May 5.