Artifacts of Domestic Past Life

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Leslie Madsen-Brooks


For most historians there exists a minimal understanding of women’s domestic life in the past; this project explores the tools used for washing clothing and will provide insight into the lives of the individuals who used them, and how the evolution of these tools changed their way of life. I will use a method based on the works of Jules David Prown, to complete an interpretive analysis for multiple artifacts selected from the Idaho State Historical Society’s collection. The steps of this method include a description of the artifact, making deductions based on description, creating and testing hypotheses about what the artifact signifies; this will then culminate in a completed analysis. This analysis will help to address such questions as how was class status affected by these changes, were women comfortable using this newer technology, and where did the time saved with these advanced tools get reallocated? I will also create a blueprint to determine how best to showcase the selected pieces, while maintaining the integrity of the artifacts. My hope is that this research can ignite an interest in the history of these particular women, as well as promote the preservation of artifacts they used on a regular basis.

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