Through the Spokes of a Spinning Wheel: A Tale of Rescue and Restoration from the History of Estonian Ethnography


Mathilde Frances Lind (Indiana University)

In 1940, Estonian ethnographers embarked on an emergency collecting expedition to the Pakri islands. The islanders were part of the Coastal Swedish minority and had lived there for nearly 600 years, but the USSR had forced a government agreement to expel the population and build a military base. This paper tells the story of one spinning wheel collected during this expedition and how it survived two dramatic rescues during WWII. It shows us the importance of ethnographic work during times of crisis and how we can trace social changes and disciplinary history through cultural biographies of museum artifacts.

Part of 34-06 Preserving and Presenting Folklore Throughout History, Wednesday, October 20, 2:15 pm–3:45 pm