Out of the Museum

Two messages this week

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Where: Beermann Plaza at 640 5th St.

When: Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays

Free: Donations always accepted

This Saturday is an especially great time to visit the Lincoln Area Archives Museum as docents will have extended hours, due to the annual downtown holiday events (see front page story on events). The holiday craft and vendor fair, parade and tree lighting are just steps away from the museum.

In the meantime, please send your answers of what this week’s mystery item is by Tuesday to

Hope to see you downtown and also at the museum this Saturday.


Last week’s mystery item

Marilyn Comstock: “My guess is an antique oil lamp from the 1800s, similar to one I remember in my great grandparents’ home.”

Larry Lynn: “For this week, I’m going with an antique brass whale oil lamp.”

The small brass oil-burning lamp comes with an attached snuffer to quickly extinguish the light. Lincoln Area Archives Museum docents at first thought that the featured lamp was from the Victorian age. It was soon discovered by a docent to be a nice reproduction. We included the lamp as a mystery item, however, to share two messages.  

The first message is about light. Light has numerous implications, often based in religious  content and central to various holidays. Light can be used in celebrations and festivals as a civic activity to inspire tourism.

Light is celebrated for positive thinking, kindness and friendship. It is also shared throughout the world to celebrate kindness, hope and charity. Light is part of celebrations  of giving thanks.

Festivals have been created with, light, as the basic concept. Festivals of Light include the Jewish Hanukkah; Japan’s Aomori Nebuta Matsuri, Spain’s Las Fallas, Buddhist Festival of Lanterns, Hindu’s Diwali (Deep Oavali or Dipavali) and Kwanza. Taiwan’s Lantern Festival is stunning, according to museum docents, and Texas and Louisiana celebrate the Holiday Trail of Lights.

Additionally, celebrations of light are found in Sweden’s St. Lucia’s Day; Holland has St. Martin’s Day; India’s Diwali Day has as a theme, Light over Darkness; and Canada has Cavalcade of Lights.

Do you have a favorite Festival of Light Day? If you do, please share with us at

The second message learned through this particular lamp, especially by the docent who brought the lamp to the museum, is that of caution, especially during this time of year. Be watchful, know what you are buying, take a second look, be cautious and do your research.

The lamp is small, a reproduction, but packs strong messages.

By the way, thanks to Susan Schutte for a comment she sent in last week about the Nov. 15 mystery item that was too good not to include this week: “I am almost 72 now and I enjoyed many a walk with my grandmother, Mormor, as we walked to the city for groceries. It’s a cart you pulled to put all your shopping goodies in. Great memories!”


- Carol Feineman