The Main Street Museum] forces one to contemplate the nature of museums and curating. Why do we save what we save? How do we decide what to discard, what to display, what to hide away, and what to destroy.” —Joe Citro, Weird New England, 2004
The Main Street Museum is a small repository for artifacts in White River Junction, Vermont. Resembling older, established cabinets of wonder, the Museum also utilizes new technology for communication, and storing information about our holdings.
The Main Street Museum opened on South Main Street in 1992 and immediately attracted a broad cross-section of citizenry. Here then was the first site for the museum. It had been the former home of a renown local restaurant, “Lena’s Lunch”. It was a narrow storefront space which had been a public space for over 100 years—a silent picture theater, indoor miniature golf, and a bowling alley, also a restaurant with transvestite waitresses—yes, there ought to be a plaque. Here Elvis impersonators and High-Art all enjoyed equal admiration. (or, High-Art claimed as much admiration as it can, when competing with Elvis impersonators.) Our home was directly across the street from an American Legion Hall; and there are no better critics.
The Main Street Museum's Catawiki is a unique digital initiative in material culture studies utilizing open-source code to describe the artifacts in our collections and to create a completely fluid, adaptive taxonomic structure for their interpretation. The Catawiki uses the same "wiki" code utilized by "Wikipedia" and is able to be modified by users from any internet access point. The categoies currently acting as a organizational foundation for these structures are:
- Objects as Evidence of Human Culture, for instance: Pet Toys; Geographically or Historically Significant Items (Relics); Manuscripts; Art; Military History; Textiles and Clothing; Shoes; and "Things, or Fragments of Things Once Owned by, or Associated with, Notable People—Particularly Notable Vermonters".
- Biology: Living, or Apparently Once Living, Objects, including
- Flora: "The Invasive and Native Species of Windsor County" for instance, or "Dried roses from Robert Todd Lincolns House in Manchester, Vermont" and "Roses from the Varina Davis Memorial in Vicksburg, Mississippi".
- Fauna includes: Homo-sapiens; White-tailed Deer and Other Mammalia; Reptiles; Birds; Entomology (Insects); Corals; Flocked Pets; Other, or Unidentified Species; etc.
- Inanimate, or Apparently Inanimate Objects, including Minerals, Man-made Minerals, Silt from the 1927 Flood, Round and/or Rusted Things.
- And, of course, Miscellaneous or Other Things.
- Vinculum (or Overlapping) Categories can be accessed from the sidebar to the left and include: Carbon; Color as a Hysterical Reaction; Cute Things; Flocking; Objects Chewed by Pets; Teeth, More Teeth, Things with Nail-holes; "Things Made from Animals or Parts of Animals" and Tramps and Hobos.
“The Main Street Museum—White River Junction’s answer to the Library of Congress.”
—Peter Welch, U. S. House of Representatives, 2007.
“It is only due to organizations such as yours that the important works of our Country are brought to the attention of the public.”
—Marie Reilly, Museum of Bad Art, Dedham, 1998.
The (Virtual) RestroomEdit
The Virtual Restroom of the Main Street Museum was begun in the mid-1990's as an interactive digital resource for the creation and storage of online grafitti. Now that we have our own, actual, restroom in the fire station building, the restroom of the Museum has a both virtual and physical presence. Visitors may add to both. Please remember however, that only one blackboard coated wall in the actual museum is suitable for writing (in chalk only please) and that general standards of civic-mindedness, and decency should guide your musings and observations. —The Management.
As a culture, we have only just begun to really think about things, and our relationships to things. fully functioning blog features discursions on material culture studies, miscellanea and other topics. Our wiki is designed to initiate trains of thought that delineate objects and how we think of them, and tentatively, through material culture study, explore objects perceptions of us as well.
A German critic, W. Bürger [writes] "Our Museums...are veritable graveyard-yards in which have been heaped up, with a tumulour-like promiscuousness, the remains which have been carried thither...all are hung pell-mell upon the walls of some noncommittal gallery—a kind of posthumous asylum, where a people, no longer capable of producing...come to admire this magnificent gallery of débris.”
- —G. Brown Goode, Museums of the Future, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C., 1891: p. 427
"History is false. It has to be." —Jules David Prown
- "As in totemism, we participate in each other as we participate in the object." —Sartre, Les jeux sont faits, 1943, and Norman O. Brown, Love's Body, 1966.
The Main Street Museum, 58 Bridge Street, White River Junction, Vermont, 05001-1909, firstname.lastname@example.org, 802.356.2776
See also Edit
Joe Citro Weird New England, 2004.