Out of the Museum

Check out the Lincoln Area Archives Museum gifts

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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

When you’re downtown this week doing your holiday shopping, why not stop by the Lincoln Area Archives Museum and see what gifts are for sale there? You’ll find the perfect gift for someone on your list, from books, cups to tiles.

And then check out the various historical exhibits and artifacts that depict earlier times in Lincoln. You’ll be fascinated with the amount of knowledge at the museum, which is at Beermann’s Plaza.

If you know or have a guess on what this week’s mystery item is, please send answers by Dec. 11 to


Last week’s mystery item

Larry Lynn: “My first guess for this week is an antique shaving kit. If I get a second

guess, it would be a spice press. I should have stopped in to the museum to

look at it up close.”

Good guess, Larry, but this is the first time you missed. See the last paragraph for more on this subject.

Victor Jew: “The mystery item pictured in page A5 of the Lincoln News Messenger , Nov. 29 edition is a battery water holder with bulb dispenser for water and battery hydrometer tester. This was used at automotive repair shops and service stations to add water to batteries and also to test the battery acid strength.”

Dale Cates: “The mystery item for the week ending Nov. 30 is an automobile battery fill and hydrometer. It was an item a full serve gas station would have. The black box was filled with distilled water. One turkey baster filled the battery with distilled water if it was low and the other turkey baster was a hydrometer, taking a sample of water from the battery to check the level of charge..”

Paul Long: “This week’s mystery item is a vintage gas station service kit for automobile batteries.”

Bill Knoblauch: “I don’t know the exact name but it’s a battery water container with suction bulbs used for adding water to car batteries. When I was a kid, it was my job when dad and I went to the gas station for me to always check the water level in the battery. Batteries in those days weren’t nearly as good as batteries today and they always needed their water level checked, because many times the level would be low. The suction bulbs sucked the water out of the container and then the water would be carefully squeezed into the battery cells.”

Since the readers did such a great job explaining the mystery item, museum docents didn’t add anything to the description other than the following: Mike and Kathy Pote brought the battery kit to the museum several months ago. The kit was used in a full-service gas station to check vehicle batteries.

Hope to see you at your local museum, the Lincoln Area Archives Museum. We bet that Larry, who usually is the first to know the mystery item, will be at the museum this week doing his homework.

- Carol Feineman