Cockade Treasures at the Relic Room

Me busily photographing - Photo taken by my awesome dad
This week I got to take a fun trip to the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room & Military Museum. During the month of February, there are multiple commemorations of Sherman's burning of Columbia. The Relic Room and the State Museum are co-hosting a History Day on February 14. Since I'm going to be exhibiting there (yay!) I thought it would be cool to create a display showing off the beautiful secession cockades in the Relic Room's collection.
Rachel, the helpful registrar
Rachel, the wonderful registrar, was so friendly and helpful! Besides pulling the museum's cockades out of storage, she and her graduate assistants obliging took display cases apart so I could photograph cockades currently on display. It's rather amusing, not mention slightly unnerving, to stand in front of a display case and watch the back suddenly taken off to reveal museum personnel behind it!

One of my favorite Relic Room displays
This display in particular holds my favorite Relic Room cockade. It's so beautiful and flamboyant! The center is a SC militia button surrounded by intricately woven palmetto fronds. The outer layer was originally bright red. Although the front has faded over time to an orange color, the back of the cockade is still the original fire engine red.

Something particularly fun about this cockade is that the backing of the cockade is apparently pasteboard from a cigarette box by Goowin & Co., a New York tobacco firm! Well... I suppose you just use whatever materials are handiest, eh?

Kristie, the cheerful
graduate assisstant
As we carefully handled and photographed each cockade, I was struck with the amazing detail and intricacy. The Southern ladies of the 1860s were experts in creating palmetto works of art!

If you want to see enlarged photos of all the museum's cockades, come see me on History Day! Meanwhile, I'll leave you with the photos of the "star of the collection," as Rachel called it. Enjoy!

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