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Department finds small treasure in collectible furniture

August 27, 2014 1:30PM

Department finds small treasure in collectible furniture
FCS Chair Duane Whitbeck displays some of the Heywood-Wakefield furniture the department plans to sell.

Almost everyone’s had the “Antiques Roadshow” dream. That’s the one in which we discover Grandma’s old dresser is worth a small fortune.

Although no one in Pittsburg State University’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) is expecting riches, they do hope that several pieces of highly collectible furniture they’ve stored for decades will help furnish a room in their 10-year-old building.

Duane Whitbeck, FCS chair, said the department has placed several pieces of Heywood-Wakefield furniture up for sale. Proceeds from the sale of the mid-century modern pieces will go toward new furnishings in a student lounge and resource room in the FCS building.

Whitbeck said it is not certain when the furniture was originally purchased, but it is likely that the pieces were bought to furnish the old Home Management House. When that was torn down to make way for the old PSU Student Health Center it was moved to Chandler Hall in 1951. Chandler Hall was razed in 2002 and the new FCS building was opened on the same site in 2004.

“In the early years of the university,” Whitbeck said, “there was the Home Management House, just south of the stadium. Students were required to live there and demonstrate they could manage a house and work with a home budget.”

That house, acquired in 1926, was closed and torn down about 1950. Many of those home management lessons were modernized and continued in what became known as Chandler Hall, which was named after Sarah Preswick Chandler, the first student to graduate from Pittsburg State University in 1904 and the first director of Domestic Arts in 1911.

The renovated Chandler Hall included modern teaching kitchens and dining areas as well as the campus “living room,” for special events, Whitbeck said.

In more recent times, Home Economics has evolved and expanded into Family and Consumer Sciences. Today, students in FCS no longer focus on the “domestic arts,” like cooking, sewing and home management. Instead, FCS programs include community and family services, early childhood development, family and consumer sciences teaching, and fashion merchandising.

“The department hasn’t had a use for this furniture for some time,” Whitbeck said.

Whitbeck said bids for the furniture close on Sept. 12. The collection includes a drop-leaf table, a dining room table and seven chairs, a buffet, an end table and a corner table.

For more information, including bid documents and instructions and photographs, visit http://www.pittstate.edu/office/purchasing/bids.dot or call the Purchasing Office, 620-235-4155.

Students hang laundry outside the Home Management House, 1927

Students hang laundry outside the Home Management House, 1927

Home Economics students set a party table, 1963

Home Economics students set a party table in Chandler Hall, 1963.

©2014 Pittsburg State University

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