Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Kept at Room Temperature...

An apparently empty plastic bag with a paper label declaring it to hold snow from the world's largest snowman.The 100th anniversary of Winter Carnival, the impending major winter storm, and the building of the snow sculpture on the Green has us thinking about snow. We toyed with an entry on the Blizzard of 1888, but learned it wasn't so bad here in Hanover compared to the rest of the country (just 25 inches of snow and light winds). We also thought of Wilson Bentley, a Jericho, Vt, farmer who set out to prove that no two snowflakes are alike, but then we learned he had no Dartmouth connection. Then it came to us, one of our favorite non-items in the collection: a bit of snow from the world's largest snowman from 1987.

For Winter Carnival in 1987, Dartmouth students decided to break the Guinness world record for largest snowman. After the snowman was confirmed to be the largest ever, bits of it were packaged up and sold as souvenirs. We have one, but the artifact has lost some of its luster over the years. "Kept at room temperature," as our catalog record so helpfully notes, and stored in a non-airtight container, our bit melted and evaporated years ago. What is left is the container, an air-filled bag with only a few stray water molecules left of the once grand snowman.

Come see it--or see what it was, by asking for Realia 151.

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