Our vote for “strangest” artifact is a pair of Marshall’s hands. These were cast in plaster by American sculptor Bryant Baker in 1957. Baker was most famous for his bronze sculpture Pioneer Woman, located in Oklahoma. We know Marshall thought sitting for portraits was a waste of time, so staff have often wondered who convinced Marshall to have these casts done, was it his wife Katherine, or perhaps biographer Forrest Pogue?
Marshall was described as having “expressive” hands, and a sketch of his hands also exists in the archive. The hands do not belong the the Marshall Foundation Museum Collection, and have been on long-term loan from the Virginia Military Institute’s Museum System. These will be on public display for the first time as part of our Marshall in Thirty Objects exhibit opening in December.