This Belongs in a Museum

Once called the "Stephen Fry of Museum Blogging," this tumblog, written by a frustrated museologist, is dedicated to the small, random museums and weird attractions of the world. Always informative, usually funny, sometimes offensive.

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Happy May Day! No, I’m not talking about the celebration of spring, like in the film Wicker Man, today is about honoring the international labor and left-wing movements from around the world. It all started in Chicago on May 1, 1886 when unionists, reformers, socialists, anarchists and workers got together to fight for the eight-hour work day. The Haymarket Massacre, which occurred after an unknown person threw a bomb at police as they dispersed a public assembly during a general strike and eight of the unionists were found guilty, has been remembered ever since as a day to honor those fighting for the rights of all workers.

The Chicago History Museum has a great collection of items related to the events, including this cabinet card photograph, published by the David Bradley Manufacturing Company a year or two after the riot. Many portraits were made during and after the trial. This one is a composite showing the views of the three buildings near Haymarket Square: Grief’s Hall, Crane’s Manufacturing Company and David Bradley (the company who made the card). Along with the portraits of the men convicted in the trial (from left to right: August Spies, Louis Lingg, Samuel Fielden, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, Oscar Neebe, Michael Schwab, and A. R. Parsons) there is also a view of a Haymarket alley with a label: “place where the bomb was thrown.”

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