Our exhibition of POSTCARDS examines an unusual form of visual humor across time beginning during the late 1800s. Visitors will be treated to a whimsical and occasionally thought-provoking presentation that is smart but accessible, visually appealing and-most importantly-fun.
Imagine a land... where corn grows to the size of tree trunks; where the lakes are so cold that the trout have fur coats; where deer have become hunters and men are their prey. These assorted oddities come vividly to life in Storytelling through the Mail: Tall Tale Postcards.
Storytelling through the Mail is a traveling exhibition developed at the Michigan State University Museum. It features over 80 examples of "tall tale" postcards from around the United States, which demonstrate a unique form of popular humor dating back to the early 20th century. Other items in the exhibit include newspaper cartoons and magazine covers, all of which help to tell the story of the tall tale postcard.
Displayed in complement with this exhibition will be vintage postcards from the Silver City Museum collection. These cards and images, evocative of the exotic Wild West landscape of southwestern New Mexico, are examples of what folks would send through the mail to distant family and friends. They include popular scenes of Silver City as it appeared in the early 1900s. Vintage Valentines from the Museum's collection will also be presented in celebration of Valentine's Day.
Tall tales are humorous stories of exaggeration, fictional accounts that are presented as the truth. They often involve ludicrous or absurd imagery. Tall tales are passed on in oral, written, and visual forms, including the postcards, cartoons and other artifacts included in this exhibit. Artists easily create tall tale scenes on postcards by piecing together regular-size images with enlargements or by juxtaposing two images that would not normally go together. Although illustrated tall tale postcards were common, it is the trickery of photography that characterizes much of the genre. People sometimes assume that "the camera doesn't lie," but tall tale postcard creators have the last laugh, teasing us into believing their lies. [ Press Release