Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Immigrant Trunk Exhibit - Hillsboro, Kans., Museums

Hillsboro (Kansas) Museums, where I am museum coordinator, will be having an exhibit of immigrant and traveling trunks running July - September 2017.  Our grand opening will be on 1 July at 10am.  We would love to have you join us.

We have 14 immigrant trunks from the 1870s in our collection - most of them Mennonite in origin.  They range from simple freight trunks built for the voyage to America all the way to heirloom dowry chests passed down for many generations.


  1. Thanks, Steve.

    I've always wondered about these trunks. It is wonderful to have these in one's family, but it must have been tough traveling with the trunks. It would have been much easier to travel with lighter baggage, so I wonder what the motivation was to bring such heavy trunks with them.

    I suppose that the trunk was more than just a container for the immigrants' possessions, but was a valuable possession itself.

    1. Peter, the trunks were often valuable possessions that were handed down from generation to generation, so it was important to take them along to the new country. Of course, many others were just boxes for shipping their belongings that were made just for the journey. They were shipped as freight, however, so it wasn't such a burden to carry them. And I don't know that there was anything lighter than a wooden box in use at that time.