“Home Sweet Home,” a segment in the DAR Museum exhibition “By, For, and Of the People: Folk Art and Americana at the DAR Museum” (open until September 1) highlights everyday objects used in the early American home. The rare wooden butter stamps and tin-plated cheese coaster were practical and often-used 19th-century household items. These complementary forms illustrate the production and serving of dairy products, past and present staples of our diet.
A cow on one stamp reminds us of the source of butter, while the eagle on the companion stamp conveys patriotic sentiment. Such images were pressed on the top surface of molded butter both to decorate and identify the maker.
Cheese coasters held wheels of cheese. Elaborate wooden examples were often fitted with casters to roll the cheese down the dining table. The DAR Museum example has no casters, but the lightweight tin is decorated with leafy sprigs of delicate flowers.
The eagle butter stamp was a gift of Mary Vail Collier donated in 1940. The cow butter stamp was a gift of Lillian Stites Eshleman donated in 1940. The cheese coaster was a gift of the Albemarle Chapter, Charlottesville, Va., in memory of Mildred C. Brown in 1987. It’s one of more than 300 objects included in this gift, today known as the Mount Walla Collection, named for the historic home of Mrs. Brown.