Springfield, Massachusetts has an entire block in the downtown area devoted to museums--Natural History, Fine Arts, Oriental Arts, Modern Arts, and Dr. Seuss.
Dr. Seuss was why I stopped here but I found a lot of other stuff to occupy my afternoon.
So, who is stalking whom?
When I saw all these stuffed wild animals I had to find out how they got here.
Were they trophies? Pets?
"From the Zoo,"said the Docent.
"They all died of old age or illness" Hmm, I hope I can believe him.
Maybe he was right. He apologized for the condition of these two scraggily fellows. He explained they were old and rather tattered when they died.
The Docent's attitude about stuffing animals led me to thinking about our attitudes about our own demise. What if the Egyptian culture for preserving the deceased had continued into today.
Hmm, 1000 years from now, I want to be glued up on a board and displayed in a museum next to King Tut. (I'm wondering if I am beginning to lose it--perhaps I've been on the road too long.)
Time for some more traditional conservative culture....
From the Currier and Ives Collection:
George Washington (Date unknown)
By the time the country celebrated the centennial of George Washington's birth in 1832, the man had become an important symbol of freedom, courage and the potential of a still young nation. This print draws on a famous rendering by Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828) which was also used on the one dollar bill.
From the Currier and Ives Collection:
Martha Washington, (Date unknown)
Martha maintained a cheerful disposition, fulfilling her expected duties as the First Lady. (UGH!) She learned to read and write in an era when most women were not expected to do so. She burned nearly all of her husband's correspondence before her death but one remaining letter from George to Martha indicates a happy and loving partnership. In the letter he writes to Martha, "...more real happiness and felicity in one month with you at home, than I have the most recent prospect of reaping abroad."
The next stop was the Modern Art Museum...
Seventy Two Legs, 2010 by Thomas Shields
The Museum commissioned this artist to create this unique bench for the Contemporary Gallery. The whimsical bench seats 8 to 10 people and it is the artist's hope that visitors will sit on the sculpture to contemplate the artwork. (If 10 people sit on these chairs 1/2 of them are going to have their legs in their neighbors laps)
John Grillo used color and light to realize this large-scale abstracted painting. Typical of his style,
4 Odalisques is a composition of female figures and animals painted in bright yellows, pinks and oranges. The women in the painting were all acquaintances of Grillo and the fluffy dog in the work was the artist's own pet.
An Alexander Calder mobile--Does this man have something in every modern art museum in the country?
But this garden was my favorite.
"Theodor Seuss Geisel, known to the world as the beloved children's author and illustrator, Dr. Seuss, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1904 and drew much of his early inspiration from his hometown. May this memorial serve to spark creativity in future generations."
The Dr. Seuss garden is surrounded by the other museums...
Yes, that's a cement bench.
I loved reading Dr. Seuss to my kids--not so much for their enjoyment as for my own.
The Whimsey of the characters...
The lilt of the verse...
The silliness of the plot that somehow imparted a moral.
and Upside down."
"And today the great Yertle, that Marvelous he,
Is King of the Mud, that is all he can see.
And the turtles, of course..All the turtles are free,
As turtles and, maybe, all the creatures should be.
(Ironically, this live turtle was in a small glass case inside the Natural History Museum)
I think I am going to invest in a new copy of "The Cat in the Hat" or perhaps "Oh, The Places You Will Go", just to read to myself--out loud--and with great emotion.
Thank you, Dr. Seuss.
But I will look for a secluded place to park.