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Treasure chest opened

A helmet purportedly belonging to explorer Ferdinand Magellan is displayed by the Museum Collections Manager. You don’t need to go to the bottom of the ocean to participate in a treasure hunt. The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center is providing the thrill of discovering relics from the past with its newest exhibit Hidden Treasures of the Hayes Museum. The exhibit is made possible through funding from the Randolph J. & Estelle M. Dorn Foundation .

Opening August 17, 2010, and continuing through February 2011, Hidden Treasures of the Hayes Museum invites visitors in for a peek at rarely seen items from the Center’s collections vault. From the unique to the unusual, these are artifacts that have indirect connections to the Museum's collection focus, yet merit preservation. On display will be items as diverse as a suit of armor purportedly used by Ferdinand Magellan during his worldly travels to early design proposals for the Washington Monument.

Local missionaries brought back this Chinese incense burner that dates to 1850.Perhaps more fascinating than the objects themselves are the stories and, in some cases, mysteries associated with them. A case in point is the endearing portrait of two wealthy boys painted on slats of wood. The mastery of the painting stands in contrast to the predicament of the artist, who offered the work to a Hayes family member as collateral for a cash loan – promising to return to claim his work but never doing so.

Like any treasure trove, oddities have their place as well. Among those included in the exhibit are a woman’s purse made from an armadillo, a walrus tusk meticulously carved into a cribbage board, and what at first appears to be some sort of torture device, but in actuality was used to remove the top of soft-boiled eggs.

Additional funding for Hidden Treasures of the Hayes Museum is provided by Mosser Construction, Inc.

PARENTS & KIDS: Check out the latest edition of Past Times . It's all about the Hidden Treasures exhibit. click here.