ARTEFACT OF THE WEEK: Today’s artefact depicts the Patea Volunteer Fire Brigade mascot doll, which was donated to the museum in 1999. This particular doll may have been made by Jean Fleet, who was a dressmaker and the wife of the Chief Fire Officer, Milton Fleet. The word ‘mascot’ comes from the French term ‘mascotte’ meaning lucky charm. The word was first recorded in 1867 and popularised by the opera ‘La Mascotte’, performed in December 1880. It then entered the English language in 1881. The French word comes from modern Provençal ‘mascoto’, meaning piece of witchcraft, charm, amulet – a feminine diminutive of ‘masco’, meaning witch. The word probably has its origin in late Latin ‘masca’. In olden days, the word mascot was associated with inanimate objects such as a lock of hair or the figurehead on a sailing ship. But from the start of the 19th century and up to the present day, the term is most often linked to a good luck animal. If you know more information about this artefact that would be useful for our catalogue, contact the museum on 0800 111 323 or email@example.com, Aotea Utanganui Museum of South Taranaki Heritage Collection, with reference to: 1999.077.1.