Recently there have been several new discoveries centering on the Clementine Hunter collection at Melrose. It all began with the stove in the Clementine Hunter house. For the last 35 years, items have remained in the stove undiscovered and unexplored. When these items were discovered, our staff quickly contacted Dustin Fuqua with the National Park Service to assist with an assessment, inventory, and documentation of the pieces.
The items dated between 1972-1977 and included an Avon product box, a St. Augustine Church raffle ticket from October 7-8, 1972, paper documents including a receipt from Roque's auto garage, newspaper sections, a Natchitoches Parish water bill and even an empty pack of Pall Mall cigarettes. (According to historian Tommy Whitehead, Clementine did not smoke but her daughter did.)
The second big discovery is more of a “re-discovery”. While inspecting broken glass doors in the Melrose Library, staff uncovered a large blue binder with a full inventory of items received by APHN from the Hunter family after her death. Once this re-discovery was fully realized, we began working to identify and find the items listed. One such item was an “artist box.” This box was found and to our delight, Clementine’s paints and brushes were still inside.
Every day is an opportunity for a new discovery at Melrose.