Traveling Trunks

Petite Exhibit: Traveling Trunks

Tuesday, May 11, 2021 - 10:00am to Sunday, July 11, 2021 - 4:00pm

After nearly a year and a half of pandemic induced restrictions, Americans are beginning to travel again domestically as vaccination rates against Covid increase, one is sure to dust off the luggage and decide when and where it is safe to visit first. 

On display as a group for the first time is a small trunk collection owned by the Historic Odessa Foundation along with a few labeled trunks from a private collection.  These are not the iconic “steamer trunks” of the early 20th century, but rather the smaller cases or document boxes from the early republic.

Traveling Trunks from the HOF Collection

On your way to the beach or other local destinations, stop by and make a day trip at historic Odessa to examine the trunk collection to see first-hand what the late 18th and early 19th century travelers used to carry their personal belongings in while traveling on stagecoaches and ships. 

Typically, the trunks of this period were made of light woods, covered with various animal hides, trimmed with leather strips, and all held in place with brass nails.  The insides were often lined with newspapers, wallpapers, or other miscellaneous scrap papers.  Depending on the size of the trunk, brass bail handles would be attached to the sides or the top for ease in transport.  Lastly a metal lock mechanism was affixed to the front so that the owner could safeguard the contents. 

The museum has dusted off their trunks so that visitors can check out this petite exhibit to discover how their modern luggage has advanced in design and usefulness since the early trunks of yesteryear.  Lastly, imagine what might have been packed into the little trunks compared to what is necessary for today’s travelers.

This petite Traveling Trunk exhibit is included with HOF admission.


*Pencil Drawing, 1829, London