Tag Archives: Springfield Museum

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

Date Of Visit:

Location: Lyman & Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History


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


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.


1 Ticket = 5 Museums

Adults: $25
Seniors (60+): $16.50
College Students: $16.50
Youth 3–17:
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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.”


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


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?


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

Gingerbread In Space (Springfield, MA)

Date Of Visit: December 27, 2017 (the annual display is up during the last week of each year)

Location: Springfield Museums, 21 Edwin St, Springfield, MA

Parking: There is free parking in the main parking area for about 50 cars and an overflow lot across the street

Website: Gingerbread In Space

Highlights: Gingerbread houses with a twist


  • Today, December 31, 2017, is the last day to view these mouth watering homes


Gingerbread and sci-fi.  Sounds like a pretty good combination to me.

Gingerbread houses, a staple of the holiday season in New England, were mixed with sci-fi themes to put a new twist on holiday decor.

The gingerbread competition was broken up into three categories: Professional Division: Bake Shops, Caterers, Restaurants, or Professional Bakers, Adult Division: Individual or group adult, age 18 & up and Youth Division: Individual or group youth, age 8-17.  Although the artists could use non-food items in their displays, all of the exteriors of the displays were made entirely out of gingerbread or some other food or food substance.

Christmas trees and sci-fi themed murals lined the walls of the room where the gingerbread houses were kept.

The gingerbread house competition is an annual event the museum holds.  They will be on display until December 31.  Although there  are a few displays that were created by participants outside of the area,  almost all of the displays were created by people in the western MA area from places such as Wilbraham, Springfield and Feeding Hills.

One thing I noticed about the displays were how hard it would be able to tell the adult and youth displays apart.  The youth division participants (perhaps with a little help from mom and dad) did a great job!

The first group of gingerbread houses on display are the gingerbread houses from the youth division .


“The Gingerbread in Space” depicts a gingerbread rice krispies moon with a gingerbread rocket and a floating gingerbread man with a star background.  The artist used crispies, wafers, gum drops, peach rings, Nerds, Smarties, M&M’s, candy corn, sugar, rice, cinnamon sticks, life savers and candy canes.


“Moonwalk” is an astronomy themed display.  The American flag is made out of Twizzlers with a pretzel stick holding up the flag.  The planet Earth is held up by a pretzel stick and is made out of Airheads.

The moon and its base are made out of gingerbread cake mix.  A home made gingerbread house is on the moon with a glass-dome covering over the gingerbread house.  Outside the house, the gingerbread man is taking his god for a walk and the gingerbread son is in the space car.


“Imagine” was inspired by the magic of imagination and the power of literature to evoke it.

The gingerbread planets were made by using globe pans.  Cotton candy, food coloring, frosting with food coloring were used as paint, gum paste and modeling chocolate were used for decorating.  The tower is made of gingerbread.


“Blast Off” was inspired by the artist’s love of space.  The main body of the rocket is made of gingerbread with fondant accents and red hots rivets.  The top of the rocket has a peach ring and two gummy candies.  The smoke from the blast off is made from cotton candy and the rocket is flying in a universe full of giant Jawbreaker planets and candy stars.  The universe is made of fondant.


“Somewhere Out There” was inspired, in part, by the movie Avatar.

The display is mostly made of gingerbread or royal icing coated with silver edible food coloring.  Modeling chocolate and Rice Krispies treats were used to make the mountains.  Fondant was used to create some of the colorful alien forms.  Isomalt and modeling chocolate were used to create waterways and tubes.  Special icing was used to create the flowers.  Silver sprinkles and candies were used to accent the buildings.


As you might expect, “The Star Destroyer” was largely inspired by the movie Star Wars

The planet was made from spherical section of fondant, covered in a gingerbread shell and painted in frosting.  triangular sections of gingerbread, glued together with frosting, make up the ships.


“Forest Moon Of Endor (Yub Nub!)” is a nod to the Ewoks home from Return Of The Jedi.  Subtitled as, “Yub nub, eboka chu toota!” (roughly translated in Ewok to “This is the home of the Ewoks”), this display is made of Mentos, gingerbread, chocolate Teddy Grahams, Twizzlers, fondant, icing, pretzel rods.


“Hopper And Eleven;s Cabin” was inspired by the hit Netflix show, Stranger Things. (I’m so glad the names and descriptions on this displays explained where some of these phrases came from)  This display is made of gingerbread, pretzels, ice cream cones, royal icing, green sprinkles, Wilton spray icing, licorice, mini Shredded Wheats.


“Santa’s Elves” is a display based on a holiday scene featuring Santa’s elves in their workshop.

The display is made of gingerbread, pretzel sticks, Sour Patch Kids, Nerds, Tootsie Pops and royal icing.


“Silver 6” is based on a novel about a giant robot attack.

This display is made of gingerbread, fondant, licorice, Hershey bars, Sour Patch Kids, marshmallow and Royal icing.


“Main Street, Mars Christmas Morning” depicts a Mars town on Christmas day.  Since no one has been to Mars, the creators of this display imagined what Christmas would look like on Mars.

This display, which was a group youth effort by the Girl Scout Troop 11248 in Feeding Hills, MA, is made of gingerbread, royal icing, Jolly Rancher’s and leftover Halloween candy.  The alien residents are made of Rice Krispie treats.  The ground cover is made of flour.  The roads are paved with Starlight mints.


“The Battle Of Endoe” was inspired by the movie, Return Of The Jedi.

The shelter and the trees are made of gingerbread.  The tops of the trees are made of chocolate covered with fruit stems and green colored Rice Krispies, modeling chocolate, gum paste and assorted candies.  The platforms and roof are made from fondant.  The vines are made of green candy apple licorice.

IMG_8521 “Stary Seuss Night By Grinch Van Gogh” was inspired by astronomy, art, the stars and sky and of course, Springfield native, Dr. Seuss.

This display is made of gingerbread, frosting, fondant, fudge and other food ingredients.


“My Life As A Teenage Robot” was based on a science fiction story, XJ-9.

This display is made of fondant, gingerbread, purple Nerds, Mike And Ikes and Royal icing.


“Empire Strikes NASA” was created by eight members of Girl Scout Troop 20559 from Feeding Hills, MA.  The back story to this display is that the Empire has learned of water bears, which NASA has created.  These “water bears” are able to exist in space.  Will NASA be able to defend these creatures?  Or, will they fall into the evil clutches of the Empire?

The buildings are made out of gingerbread using various cookie cutters for gingerbread decorations.  Darth Vader is made out of fondant.  Various candies and frosting were used to create the parking lot and the decorations.  Marshmallow Stormtroopers were decorated with an edible decorating pen.


“Yoda’s Hut” was inspired by the Star Wars series of films, particularly The Empire Strikes Back, and by some friends of the artist who had submitted a display last year.

This display is made out of gingerbread, fondant, poured sugar, candy canes, brownie brittle, caramel bits and Rice Krispie treats.

“Elf Of The North” was inspired by a fantasy movie.

The display is made out of candy canes, taffy, maple syrup, sugar, pretzels, gumdrops, ice cream cones, fondant and other candy.

Adult division:


“UFO Rest Stop” is made of a gingerbread UFO that was painted with a colored sugar glaze.  The leg supports are made out of Cow Tales candy.  The asteroid landscape is hand-sculpted gingerbread.  The aliens were made out of fondant.  In the cockpit are computers made out of Chicklit gum.

The artist of this gingerbread house said, “UFO sightings have always been a part of science fiction culture.”


“Wall-E and Eve” is made out of structural gingerbread.  Frosting, fondant and various candies were used for details and coloring.

The artist said the idea of this gingerbread house display was inspired by the movie WALL-E but more importantly by the theme of WALL-E and EVE looking out for each other and that, “taking care of each other is the most important thing we can do.”


“Papa, Please Get The Moon For Me” is made of frosting, edible paint, glitter, pretzels, mints, M&M’s, sprinkles, Frosted Mini Wheat cereal, peppermint and cookies.


“Alien Spaceship” was inspired by the artists’ overall love of anything sci-fi and the show The Orville.  This display was created by a mother and son team.

The spaceship is made of gingerbread over Rice Krispies treats which were coated with vanilla frosting and silver cake gems.  The windows striping on the ship and the sky were all made with icing and food coloring.  The candies on the ship are Skittles, Sixlets, Mini Starbursts and Gobstoppers.  The lights on the ship are made of citrus gummies and the aliens are Sour Patch Kids.  Edible cake decorations were used for the stars and Necco Wafers with Pixie Stick powder comprise the comets.


“WALL-E and EVE’s First Christmas Together.”  WALL-E is constructed from gingerbread, icing, fondant and sugar work.  Eve is made out of Rice Krispy treats and fondant.


The name of this display, “Don’t Panic”, came from the Douglas Adams book The Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Universe.  The characters are made of gum paste.  The roofs are made of black licorice.  Gingerbread, candy canes, rock candy,   fabric, edible paper, sour apple strings, colored sprinkles, decogel, Starlight candies, gum drops, ice cream cones and other foods make up the rest of the display.


“Signs Of Christmas” is largely based on the movie Signs and a science fiction story with a holiday twist.

The ingredients used to make the display are Graham Crackers, Royal icing, fondant, buttercream frosting, coconut flakes, gumdrops, spiral mints and sugar sprinkles.


“The Time Machine” is based on the book and film(s) of the same name.

The display is made of gingerbread, pasta, fondant, Rice Krispy treats, coconut, gum paste, gumballs, sprinkles and Mike And Ikes.


The vision of “Magical Moments” was to create “stained glass” windows and shining sugar creations.

This display is made of sugar, corn syrup, marshmallows, candy corn, candy canes, Halloween chocolates, lollipops, sprinkles, Tootsie Rolls and gingerbread.

“When Worlds Collide” is an homage to Star Wars and the famous parody of Star Wars, Space Balls.  In an attempt to evade the evil Dark Helmet, The Eagle 5 Space RV hyper spaced to the wrong destination and ended up in the atmosphere of Tatooine where C3PO, R2D2 and BB8 were there to greet them.

The display is made of gingerbread and an assortment of candies.


“Merry Droidmas” is a homage to the Star Wars characters R2D2 and BBB8.

This display was made out of sugar sheets, modeling chocolate, royal icing, licorice and chocolate candies.

Professional division:


“Baking Up Galactic Fun” was created by Chef Janice Desmarais.  It is made of fondant, crushed, candies, crackers, cereals, royal icing and gingerbread.   And, yes, as the photos suggest, the lights do blink.  Janice is the head chef at Japonaise Bakery in Brookline, MA.


“Out Of This World Magical Christmas” is a message of joy and peace and love.  The monster and friends are shining light of Christmas on the world.

This display is made of gingerbread, frosting, candies and lights.

“Winter Wizards Magic Corn Farm They Came From Outer Space” is the creme de la cream (pun very much intended) of the competition.

The artist said he was inspired the movies The Day The Earth Stood Still and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  He wanted to included a farm setting, replete with a crop circle which was left behind by the spaceship in the display.

lThis display was made by a participant who creates gingerbread displays every year for the competition.  One of the staff workers at the museum told me it took several people to carry it carefully to the room (up a flight of stairs  mind you).  The artist, Eric Hirsh from Mystic, CT, makes the general shape of the gingerbread display.  Then, when the museum tells him the particular theme each year, he tailors his display to the particular theme.

The display is made out of Mike And Ikes, Twizzlers, Kit-Kat, black sesame seed, Skittles, black licorice, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, gummy bears, candy corn, Harvest Mix, Mini Oreos, gumballs, candy canes, Hershey bars, Jolly Rancher lollipops, ice cream cones, frosting and gingerbread.

You could vote for a display from each division and there was a sheet for children, or anyone really I suppose, to look for and check off different aspects from all of the displays.  For instance, one of the questions asks how many WALL-E’s are in the exhibit.  It’s a great way to get children more involved and make the exhibit even more fun!


2017 has been a great year blogging!  I have met some very interesting and amazing people, and, of course, dogs!  I wanted to thank everyone who has read my posts, allowed me to photograph them and their dogs and for all of the support this year!  I look forward to sharing many more of my adventures and experiences in the upcoming year!  Here’s to a happy, healthy and successful 2018!

A great way to start of the new year would be to check out my Facebook page and consider joining my page!



History On The Homefront: The Power Of The Poster (Springfield, MA)

Date Of Visit: September 5, 2017

Location: Springfield Museums, 21 Edwin St, Springfield, MA

Parking: There is free parking in the main parking area for about 50 cars and an overflow lot across the street

Website: History On The Homefront

Highlights: posters from the World War I era


  • The exhibit is no longer on display (it ran during the summer of 2017


War and propaganda have gone together for as far back as America itself.   In fact, the currently prevalent “Don’t Tread On Me” flags you may often notice at rallies and on bumper stickers was originally a propaganda piece created by Benjamin Franklin and adopted by the Continental some 240 years.

Propaganda, as a weapon, may be just as an important tool as any bomb or bullet.

Springfield (MA) Museum’s “History On The Homefront” exhibit, on display during the summer of this year are evidence of the importance and the effect of propaganda.

The posters, on loan from some museum patrons, do not just to promote America’s efforts in the war, they were also meant to promote helping the soldiers abroad.

What struck me most while I researched this post was just how connected people were at this time with not only the military but also the government.  Not only did just about every fit male of service age serve, if they did not serve, everyone seemed to know someone who was serving.  And those that could not or would not serve often volunteered in other ways.  Their service, “voluntary rationing” and volunteerism for the war effort is very impressive.

The posters were created by such artists as James Montgomery Flagg, Marie D. Page and, in the photo below, Charles Buckles Falls.


Book Wanted For Our Men In Camp And Over There by Charles Buckles Falls.


Hey Fellows by John E Sheridan.

The call to donate books was met by the public.  According to the literature from the exhibit, the American Library Association (ALA) distributed 7 to 10 million books and magazines that were generously donated by the public to more than 500 locations including military hospitals.

You can still donate books to soldiers by visiting the aptly named website, Books For Soldiers.  Or at the website Operation Paperback.



Food Is Ammunition by John E Sheridan.


Save…, Wheat… by Frederic G. Cooper


With many of the people who would have worked on farms away overseas and food shortages becoming prevalent, it was evident that people needed to cut back on their food intake. In what is for many of us a “world of plenty”, it is often hard to realize just how much a food shortage could affect a country.  We often take this way too much for granted.

Instead of implementing food rationing, which President Roosevelt thought would lower morale, President Roosevelt decided to work with the Division of Pictorial Publicity to encourage people to voluntarily cut back to help with food shortages.  Themes like “Meatless Monday” (some of us still do this) and “Wheatless Wednesdays” (yum) were announced.  People were also encouraged to eat local and even grow their own food.  Many people followed this suggestion and created their own “Victory Garden.”  One of the rallying cries from the effort was “Food Will Win The War.”


Eat More Corn, Oats and Rye Products by L.E. Britton


He Can Win by Dan Smith.

This poster by Dan Smith was a tribute to the Red Cross.  Looking for a way to help those fighting overseas, people turned to the Red Cross to make donations and volunteer.  President Wilson appointed a War Council to help raise funds and expand the organization and people responded.  It is estimated that at its height 22 million women joined the American Red Cross during the war.  The most popular means for helping the red Cross was by knitting goods.

The American Red Cross still helps people in the military and military families to this day.


Building For Health by Marie D Page


At the Sign of the red Triangle – the YMCA keeps the home ties from breaking by John F. Butler.


The last evidence that anybody cares by John F. Butler

To maintain morale and keep the men serving overseas mentally and emotionally stable, the Department of War asked 7 community organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, the YWCA and the YMCA to provide social, health and welfare services to the people serving overseas.

During World War I, the YMCA provided 90 percent of all welfare work to the troops of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe.  They operated rest and recreation leave  centers.  They also served 8,000 troop trains, provided 4,000 huts for recreation and 1,500 canteens and post exchanges.  At their centers, the YMCA volunteers offered religious support, entertainment and miscellaneous items such as trading cards and books.


The Soldiers by Harold J Rabinovitz


The World Cannot Live Half Slave, Half Free by an unknown artist.

This poster (above) was made by the Committee of Public Information which was headed by (in)famous muckraker George Creel.  The committee was tasked with “selling” the war.  The committee created posters and other propaganda related items to portray the kaiser as a barbarian and spread sensational stories of German soldiers committing atrocities against innocent civilians.  These stories of atrocities would later be discredited.  Yet, the committee proved to be effective in their efforts.



I want you for U.S. Army – Nearest recruiting station by James Montgomery Flagg.

While this image may be the most recognizable image of Uncle Sam, it is not the first.  In fact, legend has it the first use of the Uncle Sam personality was during the War Of 1812 and the first use of Uncle Sam in formal literature was in a book written by Frederick Augustus Fidfaddy, Esq in 1816.  Nevertheless, this remains the most popular use of the Uncle Sam character.


He is Getting Our Country’s Signal – Are You?  Join The Navy by an unknown artist


And they thought we couldn’t fight – Victory Liberty Loan by Vic Forsythe.

There was also a display of items from World War I


The helmet in the photo is a U.S. Army Helmet Model 1917.  This helmbet was modeled after the British Army Helmet (called a “soup bowl” helmet).  The binoculars to the right in the photo were used by the Troops of the 104th during World War I.  In the middle of the photo are a prayer book, personal information card and holy medal which were carried by Francis Lynch.  Lynch is the man shown in the photo to the left.  Lynch’s photos may have been chosen because he was a Springfield (MA) native (the same city as the museum’s location).  Francis lied about his age and joined the U.S. Army in 1917 at the age of 16 using his older brother Daniel’s name.





Indian Motorcycle Day 2017 (Springfield, MA)



Date Of Event: July 23, 2017

Location: Springfield Museum, 21 Edwards St, Springfield, MA

Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for children

Parking: There is free parking at the museum parking lot and overflow parking at the parking lot across the street

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: classic Indian motorcycles on display


  • the festival is usually held the second Sunday of July
  • refer to the museum’s web site for the schedule of events which includes an award ceremony for the event
  • Don’t forget to visit the Lyman Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield Museum where there are additional pieces to the Indian Motorcycle collection which is displayed there year round.


A mainstay of the Western Massachusetts and still one of the leaders in motorcycle sales, Indian Motorcycles still remains an icon of the Western MA area.  And, many of these motorcycles and bikes were on display at the annual Indian Motorcycle Day on the grounds of the Springfield Museum Springfield, MA.

Indian Motorcycle, founded in 1901, first began as an endeavor to produce a gas powered bicycle.  However, after Oscar Hedstrom produced the gas powered bicycle, they soon began producing motorcycles in Springfield, Massachusetts, the very same city the museum is located in.

The motorcycles ranged from newer models to older, classic styles.  But most of the motorcycles were older  models.  The craftsmanship and style of these motorcycles are very impressive.

Most of the motorcycles or bikes did not have the model year or model name on them.  But, this motorcycle was one of the few that did.

1948 Indian Chief

This motorcycle was actually used during World War II in Europe, according to its owner.

Some of the artwork and logos stood out to me.

There are additional Indian Motorcycles in the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum across the street from the main building at the museum.  Most of these motorcycles and bikes are located in this museum year round and they tend to focus on the much older models.

There is also a display of Indian novelty items.

Below is a video of some of the collectibles displayed at the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum.