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Agriculture and Rural Life

Storytelling Through the Mail: Tall Tale Postcards

Click here to see samples from the exhibition.

"I did not realize this was such an extensive 'art form.' It was great to learn about this tall tale 'art' of the past."
"Love that Jackalope!"
"Nice exhibit! I really enjoyed the cut-outs and banners to go along with the cards."
"Very nice... Viewer/audience friendly... An exhibition you want to hang out in."
"Tall tales are such a big part of U.S. history and to see them documented in postcards is wonderful."
"Thanks for the laughs (loved it)!"
—Visitor comments, Michigan State University Museum
"The cards make me laugh. A very enjoyable exhibit."

Thank you. This was a great experience."
—Visitor comments, Rogers Historical Museum, Rogers, AR

Imagine a land... where corn grows to the size of tree trunks; where the lakes are so cold that the trout have fur coats; where deer have become hunters and men are their prey. These assorted oddities come vividly to life in "Storytelling through the Mail: Tall Tale Postcards." Tall tales are humorous stories of exaggeration, fictional accounts that are presented as the truth. Tall tale postcards, a popular visual form of telling these stories, are created often through photographic trickery. The exhibit features over 80 examples of postcards from around the United States, plus artifacts like taxidermy specimens, newspaper cartoons and magazine covers that also help to tell the story of the tall tale postcard.


No current bookings. This exhibit is available.

This exhibition has been displayed at the following sites: Art League of Bonita Springs, Bonita Springs, FL; Hartwick Pines State Park, Grayling, MI; Michigan State University Museum, East Lansing, MI; Port Huron Museum, Port Huron, MI; Rogers Historical Museum, Rogers, AR; South Dakota State Historical Society, Pierre, SD; Southwestern Michigan College Museum, Dowagiac, MI; Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Kalamazoo, MI, Arlington Heights Historical Society and Museum, Arlington Heights, IL; Museum of Culture and Environment, Ellensburg, WA; Museum of the Gulf Coast, Port Arthur, TX; and Lakeshore Museum Center, Muskegon, MI.

  Rental fee (8-week period): $2,000, plus shipping
  Number of pieces: 47
  Running feet required: 150 linear feet
  Insurance Value: $12,000
  Security requirement: Lockable, limited access display area; experienced or museum-trained persons supervising exhibition during hours open to the public; exhibition area locked during closed hours; experienced object handlers; temperature and light controls; fire protection according to local ordinances
  Additional materials available: Press materials

This traveling exhibition is a Michigan State University Museum, Michigan Traditional Arts Program activity supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the ANR Week Program Committee, and the Elizabeth Halsted Lifelong Education Endowment.

Photo of a postcard featuring the Jackalope.































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