Archival Follies, Our Glorious National Heritage

We the Snuggies

In Order To Form A More Perfect … Blanket-Like-Thing

The cafeteria / break room in the basement of the main National Archives in downtown Washington is decorated with a mural of sorts, very similar to the wall paintings seen in Barnes & Noble caf├ęs. Except this one isn’t caricatures of famous authors drinking coffee and looking intellectual; it’s of the founding fathers wearing Snuggies (or slankets, if you prefer)

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

And here’s the context (depicting the mural on the other side of the room, because the light was better):

As you see, not everyone is wearing Snuggies. A lot of people are carrying naked swords, though. Perhaps to make a snuggie?

Turns out the murals are ersatz versions of the giant paintings that decorate the Rotunda that houses the “Charters of Freedom” (Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights; I’ve not yet clambered up topside to genuflect yet, hence my initial confusion).

Entitled “The Declaration” and “The Constitution” they were commissioned of artist Barry Faulkner during the Depression (completed in 1934 and 1936, respectively). Generic Romanesque depictions of events that never actually happened (at least like that), they traffic in a level of historical inaccuracy and middlebrow muddle-headedness rather appropriate for a monument dedicated to the worship of the sacred paper vessels of our polity rather than the practice of the ideas contained within them.

But anyway: the founders were snuggie chic! In the 1930s.

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