Friday, August 26, 2016

Hoarder or Scientist?

What? You don't have a rhinoceros skull?

     The other day I was casting about for a venue for a day out with a friend. We began at Mt. Holyoke College’s art museum, but while charming, it was small and had several rooms closed while they were finishing an installation.

          Next on our list was the Joseph Skinner Museum, also owned by the college. Joseph was the son of William Skinner, a silk manufacturer instrumental in the industrialization of Holyoke, Massachusetts. Every time you turn around in the area there’s something named after a Skinner; not many families can boast an entire mountain named after them.

          When he wasn’t being treasurer of the family business and sitting on local boards, Joseph indulged his love of history and natural history by traveling and bringing home what he’d found.

          In the 1930s Boston needed water and the Massachusetts General Court decided that the best solution was to dam the Swift river and flood a number of small towns in the center of the state to create the Quabbin reservoir. Graveyards were moved, towns were disincorporated, and nothing remains except a few foundations on higher ground. I can’t even imagine a project like this being approved today. 

          When the town of Prescott was due to be flooded, William moved a church and a schoolhouse piece by piece to Hadley and rebuilt them to house his treasures. 

He continued collecting and depositing his acquisitions there until his death in 1946.

 As the college’s website states, “He left little record of his intentions,” and a stroll through the museum makes that abundantly clear. 

Buttons from the Civil War sit next to sand from the Sahara, and down the next aisle you'll find a whale sperm oil lamp.

How wonderful to have a curious mind and the ability to haul back whatever cool thing you see, and then pop it into your own personal museum. 


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Hung Up

Joan Crawford aside, I could use some more old-fashioned metal coat hangers. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Art Ownership

          Today’s morning visit to blog land left me thinking about the impact of art on our lives. Thank you, Steve, at Shadows and Light .

Monday, August 8, 2016

Where did the week go?

So we’re back from the shore. The sand is already vacuumed from the car – a land-speed record for us. I usually drive around for at least a week with my sandals nostalgically grinding over my transplanted portion of First Encounter Beach.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Leaving Reality Behind


We’re all settled in for the next week here in the brachiordiaradialis,
or then again, maybe the pronator teres of Cape Cod. Just above the elbow, anyway.

Saturday, July 30, 2016


We must be getting better at this because I haven’t woken up once thinking, Shampoo!