I’d guess that when most people think about an art museum, paintings or objects on display come to mind. That’s certainly true for me, but then, for nearly half of my forty-year career, I was employed looking after musical instruments and working with lots of curators and art conservators at the MFA, Boston. As true as it is that museums hold grand collections in trust for the public, the vital force that enlivens all museums is the people associated with them. The lifeblood of today’s museums is the many dedicated and passionate people, whether they be curators or educators, volunteers or paid employees, security monitors or financial wizards, art handlers or communications specialists and many others. Without these devoted, delightful, and sometimes enigmatic people tending to our cultural heritage, the material manifestation of human creation, museums would be merely neglected treasure stockpiles or airy warehouses. [Read more…]
Since I last wrote in late March, Spring has come to the hills and dales of the Lyman Allyn Art Museum. They are cloaked in green, freshened by the April showers, and warming up toward the time when the Museum can welcome back our visitors and members. You are, after all, the reason the Lyman Allyn exists!
If you didn’t realize that or had forgotten, I wanted to remind you because it is literally the truth. The Museum came into existence almost 90 years ago because Harriet Upson Allyn, a widow without heirs, decided to create a museum and park for the people of New London in memory of her father, Lyman Allyn. The property lost some acreage to highway and bridge construction back in the early 70s, but there are still 12 acres of beautiful lawns, woods and rambles. And let me not forget slopes…ask any of the children and former children of the generations since 1932 who sledded down the big hill in front of the Museum. [Read more…]
I remember first learning of the word “existential” when my older brother was enrolled in a college philosophy class. Back then, it was such an exotic, sophisticated word that I was just proud to know about it, even though I never had an occasion to use it – I was only 8 or 9, after all. I never dreamed that someday I would hear it used on a daily basis, as in, “weathering this existential crisis,” or “the existential challenge in which we are now engaged.” Its usage has morphed from philosophical theory to daily reality. It seems now to be a synonym for survival, as if the natural selection of Darwinism, and likened to economic survival of the fittest. Buried in that well-known phrase is a scary possibility, one that has more relevance to us today than many would care to acknowledge. [Read more…]