Unidentified designer and manufacturer, Solar System Child’sHandkerchief (detail), date unknown. Printed cotton, 9 x 8 1/2 in. Collection ofShelburne Museum, gift of Nancy Mladenoff and J.J. Murphy. 2020-9.2751.Photography by Andy Duback.

Right Under Your Nose features selections from the collection of J. J. Murphy and Nancy Mladenoff, a compendium of more than 3,200 children’s printed handkerchiefs and related ephemera gifted to Shelburne Museum in 2020. Usually carried close to the user’s body, these intimate, everyday objects taught lessons, instilled predominant social and cultural standards, and sometimes even inspired a giggle or happy memory while providing soothing relief for a runny nose. Close examination of these objects reveals technological innovations in manufacturing, shifts in understandings of children and the idea of childhood, the development of ideas like nationalism and cultural identity, the evolution of gender norms and racial stereotypes, and more.

The Dana-Spencer Textile Galleries at Hat and Fragrance


May 13, 2023 - Opening

Oct 22, 2023 - Closing