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Make Do: Washington State History Museum

The Make-Do exhibit at the WA State History Museum tells the story of creative re-use in the Northwest.

Like quilts make form opera dresses, commemorative ribbons, even license plates and necklaces made from eyeglass lenses - or a nearly 100-year-old eagle made of stamps.

“There is a ton of stuff to see in this exhibit, over 130 objects," said Gwen Whiting with the museum. "We have everything from dresses that were made of flour sacks, chairs made out of horns and one of my favorites is a diving bell made from a hot water tank."

Whiting says recycled runways items, like wedding dresses, were relatively popular in the 1940s, and their white silk fabric came from an unlikely source: silk parachutes used during the World War II.

Yup, there's a chance that in Great Grandma's wedding photos - she's wearing a parachute.

And then there's Mack the Giant Red Robot, who came from an artist in Bellingham named Graham Shada.

“He’s got camera lenses for eyes, tool box arms, he’s got toasters on his feet," said Whiting. "And he’s got a best friend Jack, made out of a vacuum cleaner.”

A dry cleaner bag basket, film vase, tire wallet...everything is extraordinary.

Well, almost. There seems to be what looks like...a stack of bricks? But not just any bricks! Bricks made from recycled drywall.

“Washington State University has come up with a machine where you take all that extra drywall and put it in and out come these bricks," said Whiting. "It's lighter, it's durable and the hope is they'll have these machines at job sites so instead of throwing all that drywall in a dumpster you can make your building materials on site as you go.”

Whiting says she hopes visitors have fun checking out Make-Do.

"Get a sense of 'Hey! What could I be doing with my every day life - do I really need to throw this out or could I re-use it?'" she said.

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