Curator's Choice: Will You Be My Valentine?
with Christina Michelon
Looking for the perfect Valentine's Day gift? Make a valentine of your own! Using examples from the Athenæum's rich collection, Assistant Curator Dr. Christina Michelon will offer a brief history of the card, followed by a demonstration on how to make one using common materials. (A supply list will be circulated in advance.) "Fancy" valentines—replete with paper lace, glossy hearts, and chubby cherubim—have a long history in Massachusetts, with major producers Esther Howland, Louis Prang, and George C. Whitney headquartered in the state. Michelon will share how exchanging valentines grew in popularity in the US and why the tradition has endured. Material tokens of love and friendship, valentines continue to be cherished objects in an increasingly digital world.
Christina Michelon, PhD is Assistant Curator of Special Collections at the Boston Athenæum. She specializes in nineteenth-century American visual and material culture and received her PhD in Art History from the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining the Athenaeum, she completed a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society and a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. Her research has also been supported by the Smithsonian Institution, Henry Luce Foundation and American Council of Learned Societies, the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design, the Chipstone Foundation, and the Library Company of Philadelphia.