As a small town that's constantly growing, Laurel has lost many of its tangible structures and buildings over the years, along with the interior knick-knacks and larger pieces that rekindle those places in our memories.
The Laurel Museum's new exhibit, "Lost & Found Laurel," successfully uses bits and pieces from familiar places and events during the last 50 years in Laurel to trigger memories of what life was like in the not-too-distant past. Using items collected from now-gone shops, schools and restaurants, together with souvenirs from celebrations and events, the exhibit designers successfully created the story of where Laurel's been, where it's going.
Once-familiar places such as Tastee Freez, Gavriles and the Irish Pizza Pub may have packed up and left, but seeing a paper cup, menu or matchbook cover with a logo from one of Laurel's defunct restaurants can be a ticket back in time.
At the Laurel Museum's exhibit opening last Sunday, the tiny two-room museum was crowded and noisy. Lindsey Baker, executive director of the Laurel Historical Society, said the noise was a great thing to hear; it meant people were sharing their reactions with each other as they discovered shared memories. Visitors were also pulling out smartphones to take photos of exhibit items, likely to share on social media platforms.
Laurel High yearbooks gave one part of the exhibit the feeling of a class reunion, and a chalkboard allowed visitors to leave their name and what school they attended, allowing their words to become part of the exhibit.
The Laurel Museum hit new ground with "Lost & Found Laurel." The exhibit presents the chance to discover that what is lost can tell you a great deal about who you are, and how you feel about the place you live.