Check out this teapot. It looks like any other: short, stout. Here is its handle. Here is its spout. But what you can't see is the story of this vessel. This teapot, made of pewter and wood in the mid-1700s in either England or Boston, Massachusetts, was owned by an enslaved man, Crispus Attucks, who was killed during the Boston Massacre in 1770. His owners preserved it as a patriotic relic. And that kind of insight is what Cherished Possessions: A New England Legacy is all about.
The exhibit, on view through August 22 at Fort Worth's Amon Carter Museum, features selections from the 94-year-old Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. Each of the 175 items was chosen for its story in addition to its beauty and quality. And they're stories of everyday people, not just the famous and historic, such as two brothers who fought on opposite sides in the Civil War, shown here through their family portraits, and a merchant and politician whose tall wooden clock kept him company under house arrest because of his loyalty to England. Through paintings, clocks, quilts, pieces of furniture, needlework and even a 1906 teddy bear, 300 years of New England history are told through private and ordinary objects turned public and historical. Sometimes a teapot is more than just a teapot.