So retro

The fifties are history now, aren’t they? Well, at least by some standards, so these images, then, count as history: Plan 59: The Museum & Shop of Mid-Century Illustration.

My students are intrigued by the thoughts of ephemera and advertising as history, whether it be campaign buttons that declare “I Like Ike”, posters for a sixties rock concert or brochures for a pre-WWI rail trip. It’s a cliche, but these “throw-away” parts of the past bring history alive for many. A few years back I supervised a student’s senior project on children in Victorian advertising (it was quite a stretch for me but I took inspiration from the work of a grad school colleague of mine) that ended up sprawling out impossibly for a while, there, as we contemplated a never-ending possibility of sources to tackle (we eventually narrowed it down by time and scope and it made a fine project). There’s an awful lot of stuff out there just waiting to be studied!

What I like is how useful the internet has become as an archival source for this type of material. It’s both preserving and educational while being a lot of fun for many. Professional history could do a lot worse!

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