Monday, January 28, 2013

Winter Garden Planning

It's winter garden planning time at Shelburne Museum! This is the time of year when I take a break and strum up the inspiration to plan the gardens for the upcoming season.

Today I have been looking for the perfect red geranium to plant in front of the Vermont House. In just 2 weeks I will be starting these from seed and growing them under grow lights in my office until March. Stay tuned, you can watch as I create life from just a tiny seed to what will become a beautiful garden in front of one of our many beautiful historic buildings on the grounds at Shelburne Museum!

Jess Gallas
Shelburne Museum Head Gardener

Friday, January 11, 2013

Sharing Memories

The allure of an object is not always its history or value; sometimes we are captivated by an item's power to expose a personal memory stowed away long ago.  These recall moments can be as small as a particular smell or as epic as an action that completely changed one's life; we simply cannot argue there is a certain magic to how objects can make us pause and reflect upon our own lives.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been revamping my friend Webby's Dive In cards. While  researching about Variety Unit's Doll section, my eyes floated to this picture:

Paris and Montreuil-sous-Bois, France
Probably Bru Jne. & Cie
About 1880
Chandler Collection, 1962-262.96

As I looked into the doll's wide, almost expectant eyes, I immediately started thinking about a specific instance with my doll when I was a little girl.  Unlike Shelburne Museum founder, Electra Havemeyer Webb, who preferred to carefully pack away her dolls at age 10, my doll was under strict orders to never leave my side.  After a year of being carted everywhere by a little girl, the doll's face was muddied, her arms and legs no longer fit in their sockets properly, the velcro of her dresses barely stayed together, and her hair was frizzed and falling out in clumps from constant, aggressive brushing.  I reminsced about the day when I felt sad and guilty about the condition of my doll.  In fact, I remember tearing up and whispering in the doll's ear as I hugged her close: "I'm sorry."  Looking at the picture above (particularly at the featured doll's hair), I realized how much I loved my own: physically and emotionally.

As an museum educator, it's my goal to use Shelburne Museum's collection to inspire discussion amongst visitors.  Since I started with my tale of guilt, it is now time for you to share your own toy story in the comments section of this post.  Check back often and compare your story to what others have shared.  Do their stories change the way you see doll above?    

Click here to view Webby's fun-filled and family-geared blog!