Category Archives: museum

Taking Care Of Business: Women At Work (Springfield Museums, Springfield, MA)

Date Of Visit:

Location: Lyman & Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History

Hours:

Monday–Saturday: 10 am–5 pm
Sunday:
 11 am–5 pm

Holidays

Closed: New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Open: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Patriots’ Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day.

Cost:

1 Ticket = 5 Museums

Adults: $25
Seniors (60+): $16.50
College Students: $16.50
Youth 3–17:
 $13
Children Under 3: Free

Springfield Residents (with valid ID): Free – youth included

Special exhibit fees may apply to all visitors.

 

Parking: Free parking is available in the main parking lot and an overflow lot is located across the street

Universally Acceptable:

  • All buildings are accessible and equipped with accessible restrooms.
  • Accessible parking is available.
  • Mobility devices are allowed.
  • A limited number of wheelchairs are available in the Welcome Center and the lobbies of the D’Amour Art Museum, Wood Museum of Springfield History and GWV Smith Art Museum.
  • Due to ongoing construction, please ask our Welcome Center staff in advance for assistance in accessing the GWV Smith Art Museum.
  • For other questions regarding accessibility, please contact our security office at security@springfieldmuseums.org or 413-779-2156.

Dog Friendly: No

Website: Taking Care Of Business

Summary: A collection of memorabilia which showcase the women’s labor movement.

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The Taking Care Of Business exhibit at the Springfield Museums in Springfield, MA, pays tribute to some of our unsung heroes.  The exhibit shows how women have played an integral role in the work we do and how their roles have changed over time.

One of the first exhibits at the museum has a collection of Girl Scout ribbons, patches and literature.

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The Girl Scouts patches, ribbons and other memorabilia are from a Connecticut Girl Scout the 1930s. One interesting thing about the Girl Scouts and their badges is how much they have changed over time.  Badges were once earned for sewing and domestic skills.  Now, Girl Scouts can earn badges in such areas as computer skills, robotics, entrepreneurship and outdoor activities.  The magazine is from 1967.

Since the museum is located in Springfield, MA, many of the items have a tie to the area.  These medical instruments and memorabilia from the school pictured below are from the Springfield Hospital School of Nursing.

 

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The items included in the display are a 1920s microscope, Springfield School of Nursing class rings from 1931, 1946, 1949 and 1959.  There are also bottled medicinal pills and alcohol, a cased thermometer, a nurse’s watch, cap and cap clips, a cased hypodermic needle, miniature balance scale for weighing medicines, ear irrigator, nursing school graduation pins dated 1895 and 1946, clamps, birthing scissors to cut umbilical cords, a Springfield Hospital School of Nursing handbook and a first aid guide.

The exhibit didn’t exclusively focus on the advancement of women in the workplace. The exhibit below displays the efforts of women during war time.  From helping to recruit people for the war effort, rationing supplies and working at the USO, women contributed greatly to support the war effort and the troops who served and came back.  In the display below there are rationing books, fundraising and recruitment literature and rationing stamps.

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Styles have also changed over the years.  The display below contains a variety of the headwear that women wore during the earlier part and middle part of the 1900s.

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Speaking of style, the styles of the women who served their country have also changed over time.  This uniform, a Pioneer Valley WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) uniform (circa 1944), was worn and gifted to the museum by Jean Fillion (Bates), Mailman Second Class U.S. Navy Reserve.  The purse was a nice touch.  At times, as I put this post together I had to keep reminding myself, “this was the 40s.”

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This uniform is the Springfield School of Nursing Cadet Corps uniform (circa 1945-48).

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Even before they were eligible to serve during wars, women have played a pivotal role in the military.  One of the groups of women who were mentioned in the placard at the museum were “The Sisters Of The Holy Cross” who were aboard the Confederate steam ship the “USS Red Rover.” Women also served as Navy Yeomen during World War I.

As you exit the exhibit, there is a blackboard for visitors to write the name of a woman who they are inspired by.  What name would you write on the board?

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The “Taking Care Of Business” exhibit is scheduled to be on display until August 25 of this year.


Baby Animals On The Shaker Village (Hancock Shaker Village,Pittsfield, MA)

Date Of Visit: April 13, 2019

Location: Hancock Shaker Village, 1843 West Housatonic St, Pittsfield MA

Cost: Adults    $20 ($18 for Seniors, AAA members, MTA cardholders, and active and retired U.S. Military)
Youth     $8 (ages 13-17)
Children (12 and under) are free

Hours:

Hours mid-April through late-June 10am-4pm

Summer and fall hours July through October 10am-5pm

Parking: There is one average sized parking lot with additional lots for overflow parking

Handicapped Accessible: The Visitor Center, restrooms, galleries, store, cafe, and all meeting spaces are wheelchair accessible. Compact-dirt pathways and boardwalks throughout the Village provide access to the gardens and grounds, as well as the mile-long Farm & Forest Trail, which also features interpretive signage. Some buildings in the historic Village are wheelchair accessible via ramp, including the Round Stone Barn and the Trustees’ Office & Store. Keep in mind, however, that most buildings in the historic Village are NOT wheelchair accessible. Wheelchairs are available free of charge with advance reservation

Pet Friendly: No, but service animals are allowed.

Website: Hancock Shaker Village

Highlights: historic homes, animals, educational tours, demonstrations

Summary: The baby animals have arrived at Hancock Shaker Village.  In addition to the baby animals, there are tours of the historic homes and educational opportunities for visitors at the village.

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Spring in New England can only mean one thing: baby animals at Shaker Village!

Each year, dozens of animals arrive at the museum for the new season. The animals are housed in the appropriately named Round Stone Barn.  The barn, which was built around 1839, was burned to the ground December 1, 1864.  One hundred tons of hay, ten bushels (roughly 93 gallons) of provender and two adjoining sheds went ablaze during this fire.  It was rebuilt during the mid 1870s.

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Sheep, goats, pigs, chicken and other animals were present during my visit.  People were encouraged to go into the pens with the animals and pet them or take photos.

But, there weren’t just babies at the village.  Older animals, in some cases the mom and dad of the babies, were also at the museum.

Being located so close to the mountains and countryside of New York (we actually drove through New York for a brief period of time), the views from the farm were beautiful.

The farm also includes historic homes.  The self guided tour has signs with information about each house with background about each place.

One of my favorite buildings is the Blacksmith’s shop.  The Shakers made all of the metalwork used for their buildings.  In the Blacksmith’s shop, which was built in 1874, a blacksmith conducts demonstrations of how they make the hardware they use.  He was the third generation blacksmith in his family and the last.  No one else in his family wanted to continue the blacksmith trade.

There is also a room with tanning vats, a cider press and a turbine.

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But my favorite buildings from that era were the homes, offices and stores.  The Trustees Office and store and family living quarters housed the souvenirs people would buy during their visits.  It was also the place where people on business trips could place orders for goods.

The buildings and sheds on the farm give the premises a very old time feel.

There was also a play area for children where they could play with toys from that era and play with other toys.  There was also face painting, horse rides and a balloon shaping artist.

The only really difficult part of the photography session, besides the animals moving when I took their photos, was photographing the blacksmith.  It had all of the elements of a challenging photo shoot: low light, motion when he used the tools to make the hardware and the fire which was in stark contrast to the low light in the room.  I wanted to show the flame on the stove and the light on the tool he was using.  So, I didn’t want to boost the ISO or aperture too much.  So, what did I do?

The hard part for me is when there is motion and low light.  You want to use a fast shutter speed to photograph motion (500 or higher).  But, when there’s not a lot of light you need to use a slower shutter speed.  I didn’t have my tripod with me (and the museum doesn’t allow tripods on their property).  So, I used a fast shutter speed (500) and lowered my aperture to the lowest setting (3.5).  To make up for the lack of light I boosted my ISO to 2000 which is pretty high.  I knew that I could add noise reduction to address the noise or grainy photo from the high ISO in the editing process (which isn’t without its drawback that I will address in a future post).

It was important to capture the motion without seeing any blur and I wanted to make sure the fire looked as realistic and was an accurate display of what I saw, so I went with a high ISO.  Even if I did have my tripod with me it wouldn’t have been very useful as I needed a fast shutter speed rather than a slow shutter speed to capture the motion of the blacksmith.  You can always adjust the image by using noise reduction and using a higher or lower contrast and exposure setting when you edit in LightRoom or PhotoShop, although you do want to get the best photo as possible in the camera to avoid having to edit it too much.  I did end up using a low exposure in LightRoom to show how dark the room was when I took the photographs and to highlight the light from the fire.

Below are some of the photos of the blacksmith which show how I had to adjust the settings to capture his motion and the light from the fire.  As you can see from the photo, the high ISO (2000) allowed me to capture both the motion of the blacksmith as he used the pulley to add oxygen to the fire to keep it going and you can see the sparks clearly from the fire.  The noise reduction tool unfortunately can take away some of the details.  But it was a give and take.  I used the noise reduction to get rid some of the grain from the high ISO knowing that some of the features (like the background) may be a little dull.

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2000 ISO, 18 mm, 3.5 aperture, 1/500 shutter speed.

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2000 ISO 18 mm 3.5 aperture 1/500 shutter speed

I had to use a fast shutter speed (500) to capture the motion of the tool he was using without getting any blur and I sacrificed my ISO (technically I probably could have used a lower ISO, and I do have some photos of the blacksmith with an ISO of 1250).  I think I was playing it a little too safe with the high ISO

I ran into the same situation photographing the animals.  The barn was not well lit and the animals move around a lot.  I just had to use a high shutter speed (500 or 1000) and a low aperture (3.5 for most shots) and I was able to keep the ISO relatively low (around 400 for most shots) .  Again, I was able to use the settings in LightRoom to add color and bring out some contrast in the photos.

Shooting outside was not too hard, especially since I had some cloud cover which prevented sun glare and other issues you can run into when the sun is bright.  However, I have to fess up that I did have a 640 ISO (I should have bumped it down to 100 or so) because I forgot to adjust it after photographing the animals i the barn.  So, always check your settings when you’re changing locations at a photo shoot!

 


Museum Of Dog (North Adams, MA)

Date Of Visit: May 5, 2018

Location: 55 Union Street, North Adams, MA (about an hour and a half northwest of Springfield, MA, and hour and 15 minutes northeast of Albany, NY)

Hours: Mon – Sat : 10am to 7pm, Sun : 12pm – 6pm

Cost: $5 for adults, $1 for children

Parking: There is parking available both across the street from the museum and next to the museum (look for the stretch limos with the long dog painted on its side)

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Of course

Website: Museum Of Dog

Highlights: Art, collectibles and other memorabilia; all dog related!

Tips:

  • The Museum Of Dog offers a “Dancing Dog Evening Tour” performed by “in house talent” with some tours
  • Admission includes an optional guided tour of the museum by a knowledgeable staff member
  • If you have the time, make sure to stop by MASS MOCA which is only a mile or two away from the Museum Of Dog

Fun Facts:

  • Daisy, the dog of the founder and owner of the Museum Of Dog David York, has a exhibit dedicated to her
  • The Museum Of Dog holds the distinction of being the first of its kind in The Bay State

 

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As summer approaches, what better place too whittle away the long dog days of summer than the Museum Of Dog?

The brainchild of dog lover and frequent Massachusetts vacationer David York, The Museum Of Dog has all things dog related that any dog aficionado is sure to appreciate.

The museum, which occupies what was formerly the Quinn’s Paint & Wallpaper Co, has works of art, collectibles and an assortment of other canine related items.

Statues of dogs line the shelves and floor of the museum.

This statue is a replica of Nipper, the dog used for the old logo for RCA.

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But, the museum does not just limit itself to statues of dogs.  There are also  books, paintings,

The prized piece of art must be the portrait of Sophie; David York’s dog who he rescued many years ago.

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In keeping with their roots to the area, there is an exhibit dedicated tot eh former tenants of the building, Quinn’s Paint and Wallpaper Co.

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There is also an annex to the museum.  The Daisy Exhibit features some of Daisy’s “art work.”

Daisy’s work is comically best described as “totale en doge.”  She certainly puts all of herself into her art!

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You can see her work for yourself in the”Sophie Annex.”

The annex houses many items associated with dogs such as tennis balls.  There are also flowers and other types of decor in the rooms.

There are also ads for people looking to adopt dogs and art work from some of the visitors to the museum.

The rest of the annex includes an area for visitors to contribute to an exhibit of their own.  Each visitor is encouraged to write their dog’s name and his or her biggest talent.  The forms are then posted on a wall in the annex.  Eating, sleeping, kissing, snuggling and sleeping are some of the more popular talents posted on the forms.  Hey, I’m pretty good at those things too!

Parking is plentiful at the lot across from the museum, next to the museum and at the lots on Union St.  There are limos located at the two main parking areas.

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Somewhat ironically, there were no dogs present at the Museum Of Dog during my visit.  But, they are welcome at the museum.  So, make sure to take pooch along with you when you do visit!


MASS MoCA (North Adams, MA) Part I

Dates Of Visit: July 8, 2017 & July 15, 2017

Location: 1040 MASS MoCA WAY, North Adams, MA

Hours:

Fall/Winter/Spring Hours

11am–5pm, closed Tuesdays

Open January 1, 2018

Fall/Winter/Spring Tours

Wed.-Mon.: Two museum highlights tours: B6: The Robert W. Wilson Building and Buildings 4, 5, and 7 at 2pm
Summer Hours (begin June 2018)
10am—6pm Sundays—Wednesdays
10am—7pm Thursdays—Saturdays

Cost:

Admission

Adults $20
Seniors / Veterans $18
Students with ID $12
Kids (6–16) $8
EBT/WIC Cardholder $2

They also offer 2 day and 3 day admission tickets

Parking: There are four parking lots in the museum parking area

MASS MoCA Parking Map

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Website: MASS MoCA

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As I was looking through my photos from last year, I came across some photos I took at MASS MoCA last summer.  Since there are so many photos of many different exhibits, I am planning on posting my photos in several parts.  I hope you enjoy this trip through the many art works and creative exhibits at this very unique museum.

Once the site of a factory building complex, MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) is now home to a variety of art from a variety of artists and styles.

Formerly the Arnold Print Building which operated there from 1860 to 1942 and the Sprague Electric Company, MASS MoCA consists of several buildings, some of which are connected by bridges and walk ways.

MASS MoCA has both permanent exhibits (or at least semi permanent exhibits) as well as many temporary exhibits.

Decorated walls are a constant theme at the museum.  One of the permanent exhibits on display at the museum are these walls with stylized designs on them.

 

This work of art by Barbara Takenaga called Nebraska (2015) is composed of acrylic on digitally printed wallpaper.  The wallpaper was translated from her handcrafted easel work.  The 120 foot mural represents the open plain of Nebraska, Takenaga’s home state.  The design is meant to represent the corn and stars that are evident on an evening in her home state.  The work of art is meant to show the “blue hour” when the earth and sky begin to merge.

On the second floor of the museum, there are several walls with different designs painted on them.

The following art is part of Sol Lewitt’s A Wall Drawing Retro-spective exhibit.

This exhibit comprises 105 of LeWitt’s large-scale wall drawings, spanning the artist’s career from 1969 to 2007. These works of art take up nearly an acre of specially built interior walls that have been installed, per LeWitt’s own specification.  They span over three stories of a historic mill building situated at the heart of MASS MoCA’s campus. The 27,000-square-foot structure, known as Building #7, has been fully restored for the exhibition by Bruner/Cott & Associates architects.

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“Wall Drawing 439” – May, 1985, asymmetrical pyramid with color ink washes superimposed.  Color ink wash.

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“Wall Drawing 527” – April, 1987, two flat-topped pyramids with color ink washes superimposed.  Color ink wash.

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From left to right: “Wall Drawing 583H” : rectangles with color ink washes superimposed.  Each is bordered by a 10-inch band with color ink washes superimposed, a 1/2 inch white band and a 4 inch black band – color ink wash, December, 1988

Center: “Wall Drawing 584 H”: squares, divided horizontally and vertically into four equal parts.  Within each part, color ink washes superimposed.  The squares are bordered by a 1/2 inch white band and a 4 inch black band – color ink wash, January, 1989

Right: “Wall Drawing 583F”” rectangles, with color ink washes superimposed.  Each is bordered by a 10 inch band with color ink washes superimposed, a 1/2 inch white band and a 4 inch black band – color ink wash, December, 1988

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In the far right corner of this display by itself is “Wall Drawing 725” – On a blue wall, a black square within a white border.  India ink, color ink wash, gouache.  April, 1993.

“Wall Drawing 343 A-F”: On a black wall, nine geometric figures (including right triangle, cross, X) in squares. The backgrounds are filled in solid white.

December 1980

White crayon on black wall

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“Wall Drawing 340”

Six-part drawing. The wall is divided horizontally and vertically into six equal parts. 1st part: On red, blue horizontal parallel lines, and in the center, a circle within which are yellow vertical parallel lines; 2nd part: On yellow, red horizontal parallel lines, and in the center, a square within which are blue vertical parallel lines; 3rd part: On blue, yellow horizontal parallel lines, and in the center, a triangle within which are red vertical parallel lines; 4th part: On red, yellow horizontal parallel lines, and in the center, a rectangle within which are blue vertical parallel lines; 5th part: On yellow, blue horizontal parallel lines, and in the center, a trapezoid within which are red vertical parallel lines; 6th part: On blue, red horizontal parallel lines, and in the center, a parallelogram within which are yellow vertical parallel lines. The horizontal lines do not enter the figures.

July 1980

Red, yellow, blue crayon on red, yellow and blue wall

“Wall Drawing 335”:

On four black walls, white vertical parallel lines, and in the center of the walls, eight geometric figures (including cross, X) within which are white horizontal parallel lines. The vertical lines do not enter the figures.

May 1980

White crayon on black wall

I found myself mesmerized by these works of art.  It seemed like the colors and shapes were busy, as if staring at some of them too long can give you a headache.  Yet, I couldn’t stop looking at them.  Some of them, especially the lines on the wall with the circles and rectangles on the grey wall seemed to change shapes and direction based on which direction you looked at it from.

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“Wall Drawing 681C”: a wall divided vertically into four equal squares separated and bordered by black bands.  Within each square bands in one of four bands in one of four directions each with color ink superimposed.  Color ink wash, August, 1993

“Wall Drawing 414”

Drawing Series IV (A) with India ink washes. (24 Drawings.)

March 1984

India ink wash

“Wall Drawing 391”

Two-part drawing. The two walls are each divided horizontally and vertically into four equal parts. First wall: 12-inch (30 cm) bands of lines in four directions, one direction in each part, drawn in black India ink. Second wall: Same, but with four colors drawn in India ink and color ink washes.

April 1983

India ink and color ink wash

I especially liked how the walls were displayed throughout the room.  The aisles between the walls made for good photo opportunities.

Across from “Wall Drawing 414” was the color version of the same work of art

“Wall Drawing 413”

Drawing Series IV (A) with color ink washes. (24 drawings.)

March 1984

Color ink wash

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“Wall Drawing 692”

Continuous forms with color ink washes superimposed.

October 1991

Color ink wash

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“Wall Drawing 610”

Isometric figure with color ink washes superimposed.

June 1989

Color ink wash

“Wall Drawing 422”

The room (or wall) is divided vertically into fifteen parts. All one-, two-, three-, and four-part combinations of four colors, using color ink washes.

November 1984

Color ink wash

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“Wall Drawing 614”

Rectangles formed by 3-inch (8 cm) wide India ink bands, meeting at right angles.

July 1989

India ink

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“Wall Drawing 684A”

Squares bordered and divided horizontally and vertically into four equal squares, each with bands in one of four directions.

June 1999

Color ink wash

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“Wall Drawing 630” & “Wall Drawing 631”

“Wall Drawing 630”

A wall is divided horizontally into two equal parts. Top: alternating horizontal black and white 8-inch (20 cm) bands. Bottom: alternating vertical black and white 8-inch (20 cm) bands.

January 1990

India ink

“Wall Drawing 631”

A wall is divided into two equal parts by a line drawn from corner to corner. Left: alternating diagonal black and white 8-inch (20 cm) bands from the lower left. Right: alternating diagonal black and white 8-inch (20 cm) bands from the upper right.

January 1990

India ink

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“Wall Drawing 766”

Twenty-one isometric cubes of varying sizes, each with color ink washes superimposed.

September 1994

Color ink wash

“Wall Drawing 415D”

Double Drawing. Right: Isometric Figure (Cube) with progressively darker graduations of gray on each of three planes; Left: Isometric figure with red, yellow, and blue superimposed progressively on each of the three planes. The background is gray.

March 1993

Color ink wash

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“Wall Drawing 522D” (to the right in the photo)

Tilted forms with color ink washes superimposed.

December 1987

Color ink wash

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“Wall Drawing 793B”

Irregular wavy color bands.

January 1996

Color ink wash

“Wall Drawing 792”

Black rectangles and squares.

June 1995

Dispersion paint

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“Wall Drawing 579”

Three concentric arches. The outside one is blue; the middle red; and the inside one is yellow.

November 1988

Color ink wash

“Wall Drawing 766”

Twenty-one isometric cubes of varying sizes, each with color ink washes superimposed.

September 1994

Color ink wash

 

 

“Wall Drawing 386”

Stars with three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine points, drawn with a light tone India ink wash inside, an India ink wash outside, separated by a 6-inch (15 cm) white band.

January 1983

India ink wash

Based on the museum’s website, there appears to be many more walls with Lewitt’s work on them in the building, many of which seem to have been added since my visit.

Cosmic Latte is an exhibit designed by famed artist Seymour Finch.  The 350 lights are meant to represent a constellation.  The name Cosmic Latte refers to the official name given to the color of our universe.  A 2009 study of the light emitted by 200,000 galaxies proved the light of our universe is more of a beige color than the blue color it is usually described.  The spacing of the fixtures is meant to model the atomic of powdered pigments that Finch used to emulate the specific Cosmic Latte color.  He used the following colors to achieve this Cosmic Latte hue: titanium white, Mars Yellow, chrome  yellow and cadium red.

The fixtures are arranged in a similar pattern to that of the Milky Way as it is observed in the Northern Hemisphere in March.  The undulating swathe of the lights relates to the nearby Hoosic River which is visible through the windows.

Art is everywhere at MASS MoCA.  These benches with cubby hole storage were located just outside of Kidland, where the Cavernous display was located.

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During my visit, there was a special, temporary exhibit on display for children.  Inspired by the Hoosac Tunnel which, in 1974, was built to be part of a rail system that connects Albany NY to Boston, MA, Cavernous: The Inner Life of Courage  is an interactive work of art in which visitors can walk inside and play inside.  The exhibit is meant to teach visitors what it takes to be courageous and persevere in the face of mountain-sized obstacles. Visitors are invited to play in a tunnel-like structure built specifically for the museum.  Designs and words are written on the floors and walls.  There are also cushioned seating for children to sit on inside the work of art.  Good luck getting the kiddies to leave!

 

Children and other visitors were encouraged to leave little notes in the cavern.

The tunnel system that was built was meant to be a metaphor for courage.

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This exhibit was part of the Kidspace area of the museum.

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This is part one of a multiple series post.  I am not sure how many posts will be involved in the MASS MoCA serries.  But, stayed tuned for more creative works of art!

Below are some videos of the work involved in creating some of the art at MASS MoCA

 


Barker Character, Comic And Cartoon Museum (Cheshire, CT)

 

Date Of Visit: August 12, 2017

Location: 1188 Highland Avenue, Cheshire, CT

Cost:

  • Toddlers (3 & Under): Free
  • Children (4 – 17):  $3.00
  • Adults (18+):  $5.00

Hours:

Sunday CLOSED
Monday CLOSED
Tuesday CLOSED
Wednesday 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Thursday 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Friday 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Saturday 12:00pm – 4:00pm

Parking: The main parking area has room for only about half a dozen cars.  But, there is a parking area behind the museum you can park at.

Website: Barker Museum

Highlights: collection of toys, dolls, figurines, lunch boxes and many other memorabilia and collectibles.

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Memories and nostalgia fill the aisles of Barker Character, Comic an Cartoon Museum in Cheshire, CT.

You’re bound to find something among the nearly 80,000 items in the two floors at Barker museum. Whether it is an action figure (and there are tons of them there to view)

dolls

or board games (you know before they had video games)

you’re bound to find something that catches your eye or reminds you of your youth.

There are even old Wheaties and other types of cereal boxes, Pez candy and dispensers and other candy.

The oldest item at the museum is a cast iron elephant ramp walker manufactured by the Ives Company in 1873.  The value of this toy is estimated between $225 and $250.

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There were some other unusual toys and collectibles at Barker.

I had a ton of these while I was growing up.  I remember saving up my allowance each week and saving so I could buy the new figures. It was quite a smurfy collection.

I also recognized this lunch box from my younger days.

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There are many other lunch boxes on display at the museum.

The deceivingly looking main building that looks like any other residency has art available for purchase from many of the most popular movies, cartoons and other types of entertainment.

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There are also sculptures of Dr. Seuss characters and other toys and figurines in the main building.

Outside of the buildings there are murals, statues and signs with drawings of famous cartoon characters on them.

As you can see, Barker’s is a fun for people of all ages!

Below is a video of some of the fun things to see at Barkers.


Mystic Seaport – Part I (Mystic, CT)

 

Date Of Visit: September 2, 2017

Location: 75 Greenmanville Ave. Mystic, CT

Hours: Open daily, 9:00 – 5:00 (hours may vary depending on the season)

Cost:

Adult – $28.95
Senior (ages 65+) – $26.95
Youth (ages 4-14) – $18.95
Children (3 and younger) – Free

Parking: there is a free parking lot across the street from the Seaport Museum.  There is also additional parking across the street from the parking lot for overflow

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, but not all of the buildings are accessible to the handicapped.  Approximately one-third of our buildings have wheelchair-accessible entrances; interior access varies. The village’s unpaved roads are generally firm and stable suitable for wheelchairs and strollers. All roads are basically level with a few slight inclines located near the Children’s Museum, Treworgy Planetarium and Membership Building.  (see link below for more info)

Mystic Seaport Accessibility Guide

Dog Friendly: Yes, but they are not allowed in the buildings

Website: Mystic Seaport

Highlights: living museum with character actors, boats, replicas of historic homes, figureheads, lighthouse replica, play area for children

Tips:

  • For an after museum viewing treat, Mystik Village, an open area shopping mall is a mere.9 miles away on Coogan Blvd
  • the museum’s main parking lot can fill up quickly if you don’t get there early.  Additional parking can be found in the lots off Rossie St on the other side of the main parking lot

 

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Once a major seaport, Mystic Seaport no longer functions as the busy hub of commerce and fishing or transportation.  But, they have preserved some of the historical atmosphere while still incorporating modern technology.

Since Mystic Seaport is such a big attraction, I am posting my blog posts in three or possibly four installments.  My first installment deals with the Viking ship display which was being featured at the museum as well as the figureheads, decorations and other sculptures at the museum.

During my visit, there was a Viking ship docked at the museum.  Tours were being provided for a small charge.

By far, my favorite part of the museum is the figurehead museum.  The dimly lit room, which made photography challenging, in the Wendel Building added to the mystique of these treasured works of art.

This scroll billethead figurehead is the oldest one in the museum.  Many ships used these billetheads in lieu of figureheads because they were easier to carve and less expensive than the full sized figureheads.

There are several other figureheads in the museum which stood out to me.

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This scary cat timber was used while lifting the anchor and keep it away from the ship so it would not damage the vessel.

Most of the figureheads are of people, though.

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This figure titles Woman With A Comb.  Although it’s hard to tell when some of these figureheads were made, it appears this figurehead was made during the 1820’s.  This figurehead shows a hairstyle and clothing style that was popular during the 1820’s.  Unlike some of the figureheads you may have seen previously where the figurehead leans forward and under the bowspirit, this figurehead stands upright, which was common until the 1840’s when they changed to the design that leans forward.

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Woman With Roses has an interesting historical background.  This figureheads, which resembles a portrait more than an actual figurehead, was originally called Belva Lockwood when it first came to the seaport museum.  Belva Ann Bennet Lockwood, who this figurehead resembles, was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement during the late 1800’s.  She was nominated for President of the United States in 1884 and 1888.  Despite her historical significance and the likelihood that a ship would have been named after her, there are no records that show her name on any vessel.

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Donald McKay  is a figurehead made for the 1855 clipper ship Donald McKay.  Named and designed after the famous ship builder and designer Donald McKay, this figurehead was broken off its vessel and stood unprotected, outdoors in the Cape Verdes islands off the coast of Africa.  It was restored and repainted but it still shows the effects of being exposed to the conditions.  The first figurehead for the vessel was lost at sea and this figurehead which replaced the original one was believed to have been carved by the ship’s carpenter while the ship was out at sea.

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Seminole decorated the ship vessel of the same name for over 40 years.  The figurehead, which was built by Maxon Fish & Co in 1865  in Mystic, CT, is believed to have been carved by James N. Colby and James Campbell.  Colby and Campbell were prominent ship and sign carvers and decorators in the Mystic area from the 1850’s until 1877.  Seminolean offshoot of the Creek Confederation, means “separatist” or “runaway.”

Seminole carried cargo from New York to San Francisco and vice versa for over 20 years.  It was captained by another Mystic, CT, native Joseph Warren Holmes.  Holmes would go on to make 84 passes by Cape Horn, a record among captains at that time.  Eventually, the Seminole ended up in the  west coast lumber trade and was finally broken up at Port Adelaide, Australia, in 1904.  The figurehead was salvaged and, 50 years later, Mystic Seaport acquired it.

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Magdalena is the largest figure of the collection.  Magdalena once adorned the bow of the 421 feet long British Royal Mail steam packet Magdalena which launched in 1889 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Iolanda is considered the second figurehead for the steam yacht of the same name.  The industrialist Morton F. Plant of New York and Groton, Connecticut, had this figurehead adorned to his yacht when he made his 33,000 mile voyage to India, China, Japan and the Mediterranean.

After Plant, the figurehead had many more owners including a Russian Princess and the British Navy where she saw service in both World Wars.

The figured pictured above called Aleppo could not be identified since there are no records or photographs to match it to any vessel.  I find this makes the figureheads even more mysterious and interesting.

This figurehead once adorned the Rhine shipping vessel which was built in Scotland in 1886.  The harp and caduceus necklace are said to portray her as a classical figure rather than a portrait or national symbol.  It is typical of the British sail and steam vessels of the late 19th century.

The Rhine transported laborers from India and China, jute from Calcutta and lumber from Boston.  After being damaged by a fire after World War I, she was sold to a junk dealer for $925.  Shen then became a barge in New York.

This ghost-like carving called White Lady is not a figurehead, despite its strikingly similarities to other figureheads.  One of the reasons the museum was able to determine it is more likely a decoration or sign are because the posture is too erect.  Figureheads were carved to fit the curving shape of the vessel’s bow.  Another reason this was not a figurehead is that her outstretched arm would have been particularly vulnerable to damage at sea.  Also, her elaborate scrollwork base is very unusual for a figurehead.  Lastly, there is no evidence of the wooden or iron fastenings that would typically have held the carving to a ship’s bow.  You know, the obvious reasons.

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Cover your eyes!  This unidentified figurehead which has been named Women With Goblet by the museum is said to have been the victim of well intentioned but overdone restoration.  The flowers around the bae were reconstructed and the outstretched right arm with the goblet is not original.  Typically, carvers made the arms close to the body because it reduced the possibility of  damage by the sea.

This figured, The Great Admiral, was craved in the honor of and dedicated to Admiral David G. Farragut.  Farragut was an Admiral in the United States Navy during the Civil War.  In 1869, a new clipper ship, The Great Admiral, was commissioned in his honor with this figured on the bow.

The figurehead was eventually salvaged after the ship was wrecked off the coast of Oregon in 1906 and it eventually made its way all the way to Mystic.

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Woman With Beads was carved in the classical British figurehead style.  It is said to represent one of Victorian England’s literary or historic characters.

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Abigail is believed to have been carved for the vessel of the same name which was named after the ship’s owner’s wide, Abigail Chandler.  The figurehead was found after the ship crashed along the coast of Massachusetts in 1817.

Great Republic once adorned the largest American ship of its day, if only for a few weeks.  This figurehead was once on Donald McKay’s clipper ship The Great Republic.  Built in 1853, the 335 feet long The Great Republic is the largest cargo ship ever built in the United States.

The eagle, which was carved by S.W. Gleason & Sons of Boston, was on the ship for a few weeks when the ship was damaged by a fire.  The eagle was then removed and kept by Captain Nathaniel Palmer of Stonington, CT.  Captain Palmer had the burned out hull of The Great Republic removed and built into a smaller ship.  A new bow carving was replaced on The Great Republic when it was repaired.

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This bust of a woman is believed to be from the mid 19th century.  Although it is not clear who the woman is portrayed in this bust, it is most likely a wife, girlfriend or relative of a captain or ship builder.

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The Gray Man is a bust of a man from around the 1830’s.  It really isn’t a bust.  It was originally a figurehead on a ship.  However, after it was removed from its original vessel, it was painted blue-gray and the base was altered which makes it look more like a marble statue than a figureheadIMG_0151

This carved gold leafed pine eagle pictured above is believed to be carved by William Rush but this claim  has yet to be verified.  IMG_0161

While this eagle with its arms extended may have been originally intended to be posted on the flat transom at the stern of the ship, it is also very similar to the décor on public buildings during the 1800’s.  It is something that looks familiar to me as I have noticed decorations and sculptures like this on or inside older  buildings while visiting the historic homes and area of New England.

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This carving of a mountain sunrise, Mt Washington Lunette once adorned the steamship The Mount Washington, a steamship on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.  This fan-shaped panel, called a lunette, was located at the center of one of the boxes that covered the steamboat’s paddle wheels.  The half round paddle boxes served two purposes.  They helped to protect the wheels from damage while shielding passengers from the turning wheels as well as the water that was thrown up by their blades.

There are other statues and decorations scattered through out the living museum.

These sculptures above, I believe of a sea mammal, were located outside one of the buildings.

This horsehead, located outside one of the historical homes, may have been used to tie the reigns of your horse.

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This outdated statue was located outside a cigar and supply shop.  It is displayed, I am sure, simply to give an accurate display of what the shops at that time looked like.  The craftsmanship is impressive regardless.

The Carver’s Shop is one of the shops replicated to show how statues and other carvings were made and sold.  The carving in the last photo (bottom right) may look similar to the cat carving at the figurehead museum.

These are two other cute decorations I noticed at the museum during my visit.

There were several dogs at the museum.  Who knew dogs were so fond of the sea?

Since I am posting these blog posts as a series, I will post one set of photos for each dog or group of dogs I saw there.

I saw Brandi (On the left) and Colby (on the right) sitting by a bench with their guardian before I entered the museum.  They are both 6 year old Chihuahua and Japanese Chin mix breeds.

See you soon with the next installment from my visit here!

Below is a short video of the figureheads and the restoration of figureheads from Mystic Seaport’s website.

 


American Clock And Watch Museum (Bristol, CT)

Date Of Visit: July 1, 2017

Location: 199 Maple St, Bristol, CT

Hours: April 1st through Nov 30th

10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Closed Easter and Thanksgiving. Winter months by chance or by appointment.

Cost:

Adults $5.00
Seniors/AAA $4.00
Children (8-15) $2.00
Under 8 Free
Group tours available by appointment.

Parking: There is room for about 15 to 20 cars in the parking lot

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: clocks, watches and other time measuring devices from various eras and places, outdoor garden with a sundial

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Storing more than 5,500 clocks, watches and other timepieces, the American Clock And Watch Museum has one of the largest collections of watches and clocks in the country.  They generally switch out their clocks seasonally which makes it a great place to visit continually throughout the year.  I had been clocking the place for a while but it was my first time visiting.

While their total collection of clocks and watches numbers over 5,500, thy only display about 1,500 at a time.  They switch some of the clocks and watches every few months.  I’m sure they do it in a very timely manner.

The collection of clocks range from the beautiful to the bizarre.  I wonder how many times people have stared at these clocks and watches.