A couple of years ago, a fourth grader at the Children’s Workshop School, in the East Village, discovered something magical about a closet in his school. No, it wasn’t Narnia. Rather, young Bobby Scotto spotted some intriguing items inside of a crack in the closet’s floorboards. Before long, with his teacher’s help, he and his classmates were digging up items such as a circa 1912 baseball card (anyone remember the New York Highlanders?), a 1943 penny, and a 1921 Red Cross service pin. Miriam Sicherman, their teacher, made sure to turn these into teachable moments. For instance, when the kids uncovered an old box of snuff, they were no doubt fascinated to learn that there was a time before vaping.
Anyway, these excavations ended up being the subject of a New York Times story, which would be achievement enough for the amateur archeologists at the East 12th Street school. Now, their artifacts will be displayed at an exhibition at City Reliquary, the pint-sized repository of urban curiosities in Williamsburg.
“Closet Archaeology: An Accidental Time Capsule,” named after the Instagram account where Sicherman shared the class’s findings, opens June 3, with a 2pm reception featuring presentations from the teacher and her students as well as collectors like Peter Sugar of the Flushing Coin Club. Also presenting will be Robin Nagle, who literally wrote the book on trash. As the sanitation department’s “anthropologist in residence,” she’ll hopefully talk about Nelson Molina’s garbage gallery. A repository of the finds that the san man scavenged while making the rounds, it’s presumably the city’s most oderiferous art exhibition– if you don’t count Maurizio Cattelan’s toilet.
Speaking of (getting) trash(ed), Brooklyn Brewery will be pouring at the reception.
“Closet Archaeology: An Accidental Time Capsule” on view from May 25 to August 27 at City Reliquary, 370 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg; opening reception June 3, 2pm, admission $5.