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Tiny dolls and other Indian collectibles in new Farm Museum exhibit Couple's miniatures now at Farmhouse


WESTMINSTER -- An extensive collection of miniature American Indian collectibles owned by Gail and Oden Kemp of Hampstead is the focus of a new exhibit now on display at the Carroll County Farm Museum.

"The Painted West," which opened yesterday, will be on display in the Farmhouse from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and noon to 5 p.m. on weekends through Sept. 6.

The exhibit features pottery, jewelry and tiny Hopi dolls that the Kemps collected over the last decade during their annual visits with Mrs. Kemp's parents.

"My parents have lived in Tucson, Arizona, for 35 years. While visiting them, we have had the opportunity to visit the reservations," Mrs. Kemp said. "Since my husband retired six years ago, we have driven out there. Most of our collecting has been done over the last six years, since we have more room to bring things back."

During their visits to Arizona and New Mexico, the Kemps have acquired over 200 beautiful crafts made by Indians from such tribes as the Acomas, Santa Claras, Santa Domingos, Jemezes, Hopis and Navajos.

"The Acoma do more pottery than most tribes," said Mrs. Kemp. "We have been to Acoma, which is in northern New Mexico. It seems like once you've been there you really develop an interest."

While much of their collection consists of pottery, Mrs. Kemp admits that her favorite acquisitions are the Kachina dolls made by the Hopis. "It was the background of the Kachina dolls that caught my attention in the beginning," Mrs. Kemp said. "I like the characters and all the interesting things they do with the dolls."

The Kachina dolls are a reflection of the Hopis' history and their multi-faceted religion, which links plants, animals and man, and believes that they are one. Their beliefs have led the Hopis to pair all things in nature with the visual and the spiritual.

The dolls represent the spiritual side of all that makes up the real world -- things we can feel and touch.

"The Painted West" is just one exhibit that will be on display this season at the Carroll County Farm Museum.

Dottie Freeman, the facility's administrative marketing assistant, says these exhibits are a new attraction at the museum, which began last April.

"We are trying to put a diversity of collections on display which we feel will interest the public and keep them coming back," Ms. Freeman said. "It's something new, something different. We will have a new exhibit each month, and they will continue throughout the season, which ends in December."

For more information on "The Painted West" and other exhibits, call 848-7775 or 876-2667.

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