Granite exhibit in the museum, including a man working on a block of granite.

Just as museum artifacts and stories leave their mark in our visitors’ minds, visitors in turn leave their mark on this space.

Are you a 32-40-year-old who grew up in Maine? Were you a troublemaker back in the day? It’s possible that you made a special contribution to the Maine State Museum on a field trip in the ‘90s. In recently preparing some long-standing exhibits for renovation, we found a few surprises in the pockets of “Floyd,” the red-headed mannequin in the museum’s granite display.

With long arms or some creative climbing, determined visitors apparently reached over the exhibit barrier and stuck things into the rear pocket of Floyd’s denim overalls. (Bent over to drive spikes into a block of granite, Floyd never seemed to notice!) There we discovered some loose change, the tag from a toy, a Maine State Library receipt from 1995, and a movie ticket from 1998.

 

The movie ticket, purchased on August 11, 1998 from Augusta’s Hoyt’s theater, cost $5.75. Close inspection and some internet searching proved this to be a ticket for “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later,” a slasher film starring Jamie Lee Curtis. It was released the week before to decent reviews. We can guess that a teenager likely bought the ticket to this R rated movie. Could it have been you?

The price tag is for a “Micro Flopsie,” a toy probably purchased at the Museum Store. The maker, Aurora, was established in 1981 and doesn’t make this model of toy anymore, which suggests the tag was likely dropped in Floyd’s pocket sometime between 10 and 30 years ago. Aurora is known for their cuddly stuffed animal toys. Based on the information on this tag, it likely belonged to a soft animal with a chain that you could clip on a backpack zipper or keychain.

The receipt memorializes a Maine State Library book that was hopefully returned on or before its May 18, 1995 due date. When you flip over the receipt you can see three handwritten codes scrawled in a child’s handwriting. A librarian at MSL hints that these look like Library of Congress call numbers, so it’s possible that a student field trip included notes on a bigger research project.

The bib overalls themselves were made by Snow and Baker Inc. in Whitefield, New Hampshire. They’re from around 1930 and may have belonged to George Files or one of his sons in Thorndike, Maine. In 1920 George was working for the Central Maine Railroad in Waterville. Snow and Baker was known for making railroad workers’ clothing, as well as general work clothes.

Mannequin wearing a hat, flannel shirt, and overalls. Bent over hammering into granite.Museum artifacts like these overalls have been on public display for decades. At this point, interactions with our visitors are a part of their story. We’re using our social media accounts to try to get to the “bottom” of these pocket mysteries, so we hope to see you there!

 

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Floyd Reynolds seldom sat still during his work as museum workshop foreman. In this 1980 photo, Floyd (at left) works with his colleagues to assemble a granite quarry boom for exhibit.

Follow-up: Who was the “Real” Floyd?

This story created a lot of buzz from former museum visitors, as well as Floyd’s family. So, who was Floyd and how did he end up in the granite exhibit?

Floyd Reynolds was one of many museum staff in the 1970s and 1980s who consented to have their head and torso wrapped, first in fabric and then a resin material, to create a life-like mannequin that was dressed in historical clothing and put in a museum exhibit. As “What’s in Floyd’s Pocket” noted, Floyd “lived” for many years in the museum’s granite exhibit, bent over a piece of granite and holding a hammer over an iron spike.

In real life, Floyd was the museum’s workshop foreman from the mid-1970s until he retired in 1985. Many of the museum’s major exhibits, including most notably, “Made in Maine,” would not have been possible without Floyd’s craftsmanship, knowledge, and good humor. Besides being a master of all trades, Floyd was an avid outdoorsman, Maine Guide, gardener, orchardist, and beekeeper. Museum visitors will certainly benefit from Floyd’s highly skilled work for years to come.

Maine State Museum