Souvenir Spoons

QUESTION:  What was the first souvenir spoon ever produced in the United States, in 1890?
A)  Niagara Falls
B)  The Washington Monument
C)  George Washington
D)  The Golden Gate Bridge
ANSWER BELOW

Okay.  So.  You're at an amazing place somewhere in the world.  Say, the Seattle Space Needle, the Kremlin in Moscow, or Lake Como in Italy.  You want to take home a memento or bring back a present for a friend.  You could go with something conventional like a t-shirt or a wicker chair, but you don't know what size they wear and you don't have room in your luggage for the chair. So you hone in on the souvenir spoon.  It's compact, decorative and, in some cases, a work of exceptional craftsmanship.  You are not alone, because people have been collecting these little treasures for well over a century!

The United States has emulated the cultures and habits of European nations for a very long time, really since we became our own country.  During the mid-1800's, it became the thing to do for wealthy Americans to do the grand European tour.  While visiting the "Old Country," they would pick up souvenirs, including decorated spoons commemorating countries, towns and tourist destinations, and the idea traveled back to the States with them.  The first American tourist spot that sold spoons was Salem, Massachusetts.  In 1891, just shy of the two hundred year anniversary of the witch trials, they introduced their Witch Spoon.  That began in January.  By December, hundreds of places sold souvenir spoons, and the obsession continues to this day.

Our spoon collection is almost lost among the larger displays in the Toy Box.  Hanging near the photograph of Mariah Carey is a display containing a number of spoons, including the one honoring the lovely Lake Como in Italy.  As one of the deepest bodies of water in all of Europe, Lake Como's location near dramatic mountains has proven a destination for Europe's wealthiest since the times of Ancient Rome.  It remains an exclusive retreat for luminaries across the world, including George Clooney, John Kerry, and, of course, Madonna.

ANSWER:  C)  George Washington