Cultural institutions in San Francisco continually search for new acquisitions. Alexis Coe brings you the most important, often wondrous, sometimes bizarre, and occasionally downright vexing finds every Friday.
Anonymous donations are pari passu at cultural institutions, so when Veda Silva and Rick Moss found a cardboard box outside the African American Museum and Library in Oakland (AAMLO), they brought it in. To be clear, expectations were low. These kinds of anonymous donations left in the dead of night are usually full of items the owner has tried and failed to place elsewhere.
“We opened it up, and the smell was overwhelming,” Silva, the museum project coordinator, recalled. When the odor subsided, they persevered, removing strips of old rags and ripped up newspapers until they felt something far more delicate: a woman's black and green lace dress.