The Skunks’ Saga

Another museum blog post. This time it’s the saga of the museum’s pet skunks.

The Pink Palace Family of Museums

In October 1955, a de-scented skunk was donated to the museum for use in educational children’s programs. Mrs. Bush, the museum director, held a contest at the first children’s program of the season to name the skunk. The Museum Advisory Board chose Holmes Ryan’s suggestion of Rosebud as the winner, and he was given a copy of The Golden Treasury of Natural History as his prize.

Rosebud lived in a cage on the museum yard, but she escaped in March 1956. A story and picture ran in the Press-Scimitar newspaper that Charley Scott found a tame skunk in his East Memphis backyard. When Raymond Gray, the superintendent of the Memphis Zoo, saw the skunk’s picture in the paper, he  said it was probably a pet and told Mrs. Bush about the animal. She went to Scott’s house to pick up Rosebud “by the scruff of the neck and head back…

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My last semester of college I started making it a point to eat intimidating vegetables. I started with artichokes because at the time nothing seemed weirder than that spiked veggie. Over the next few years, Greg and I worked our way through the foods neither one of us had ever cooked. We mastered the winter squashes, radishes (delicious roasted), odd field peas, beets, turnips and others. One of my friends from work knew about my obsession with trying new produce and gave me a cookbook about how to cook just about every vegetable out there for a wedding present.

All of this preamble is to say, I’ve tried a lot of stuff the past four years. By far the oddest of those is kohlrabi. It is an odd mix of cabbage, turnip and radish flavors. I saw it at the farmers’ market on the tail end of my intimidating food adventure. I immediately asked the farmer how to cook it, took it home and excitedly proclaimed that I had found a new weird one to try.

I found kohlrabi seeds this year and impulsively bought them. Because my garden motto is: why not?


Putting our money where our hearts are

Greg and I love Memphis. We actively choose to make this city our home. We didn’t land here by accident or decide to stay out of a misguided sense of anything. We are here for many reasons–family, friends, work, opportunities, and combinations of the aforementioned reasons that are only possible here.

Part of living here is seeing the potential for what might be. This place is full of movers and shakers, some of whom are dear friends of ours. There are people building up neighborhoods, tearing down stereotypes and teaching others all kinds of things about our shared experiences.

In Memphis, we can hike in an Old Forest in the middle of the city. We can garden our huge community garden plot. We can actively participate in CBU’s alumni association. We can push our preconceived boundaries, reimagine how we want to live and do something about it. We could design our lives anywhere we chose, but I feel empowered to do so here.

Because we love where we live, we are making a planned effort to give monetarily to the local causes we believe in. We can never do as much as we want, but we can put our money where our hearts are and contribute to making this home of ours the place we want it to be. I don’t think Memphis is perfect, but I do believe that it is the place where I want my family to grow. I love Memphis, and I want to make it better–one targeted donation and volunteer project at a time.


I’m teaching the first half of US history at Mid-South Community College in West Memphis, AR this fall. Here’s my game plan:

Step one, read book. (I’m one chapter into Eric Foner’s Give Me Liberty textbook. ) Step two, shamelessly borrow from the syllabi of those who have gone before me. Step three, reread book and hope that it all turns out fine.

By the way, it’s amazing that it is July and I can do this:


Memphis’ First Museum

Another post on the Pink Palace blog. This one is about the Cossitt Museum Room. Check it out!

The Pink Palace Family of Museums

The first museum in Memphis was a room on the second floor of the tower over the entrance to the Cossitt Library. The Cossitt Library was completed in 1893 and was funded though the bequest of Frederick Cossitt. Cossitt was a Connecticut born entrepreneur who maintained a wholesale dry goods business in Memphis until the Civil War. He promised his friend Carrington Mason that he would make a gift of a public library to the city. When he died in 1887, his will did not include the Memphis library, but his heirs decided to give money for the building anyway.

Cossitt Library 1893
The library’s statement of purpose specified that the Cossitt Library was “To establish and maintain a free public Museum…” As part of this objective, after the 1897 Tennessee Centennial celebration, the elite Memphis women who had composed the city’s Centennial Board and the wives of the library’s board of directors…

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