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Tavern sign

mh_sk_2006_638_inv_v1-cdm.jpg

American, Tavern sign
Photo Credit: 

 Petegorsky/Gipe 

Not On View
Unknown
American
Place made: 
North America; United States; Massachusetts; Granby
Tavern sign, early 19th century
Wood, paint, and iron
overall: 60 3/4 in x 28 1/2 in x 1 3/4 in; 154.3 cm x 72.4 cm x 4.4 cm
Joseph Allen Skinner Museum, Mount Holyoke College
MH SK 2006.638.INV

This sign—painted with identical imagery on both sides—once hung in Granby, Massachusetts, at the tavern of Levi Smith. The imagery used in early signs is often representative of the services a business offered, making the message accessible to individuals who were not literate. In this case, the beehive may represent the honey used in mead, a popular alcoholic beverage.