At times, the museum inherits a work of art that isn’t in stable condition for exhibit. This could not have been more apparent when the museum acquired an untitled landscape oil painting, by Swiss painter Franz Knebel Jr. (1809-1877). The work was in a critical state: the frame was structurally unsound, the canvas was falling from the stretcher, the paint had become extremely dried & cracked resulting in some paint loss, the canvas had suffered from multiple tears, etc…
Objects often find their way to a museum in the most peculiar of ways. This aptly describes the Berretz watercolors that were recently donated to Florence Museum. The donor, a native of the Pee Dee, served in the military during the second World War. While the donor was serving in combat outside of Koslar, Germany during the winter of 1945, his commanding officer returned to camp with a series of watercolors. His sargent had discovered the watercolors in an evacuated artist’s studio overlooking the Roer River.
Accession records indicate that this 16mm film came into the Museum’s collection in the 1970’s during Dr. William Burns’ tenure as museum director. The film was donated by John Jebailey of Florence. Although we don’t know the specific details regarding the film’s origin, museum curatorial staff did learn that it was regularly shown at the old Colonial Theatre (located at 125 W. Evans St in what used to be the old City Hall building). The film highlights over 50 businesses, schools, & organizations in Florence during the year 1935. It is likely that each business paid a substantial fee to be featured in the film.
These fees were probably in turn used to help pay production costs. Regardless of the production’s original intent, the film now provides us with an interesting and rare technological glimpse into our town’s history during the early 20th century.