The Museum’s Nude

A post about the Pink Palace’s naked lady:

The Pink Palace Family of Museums

For four decades, a large plaster statue of a nude woman greeted visitors to the Pink Palace Museum. The sculpture was created by Memphian Marie Craig. Craig was born in 1908 to Charles “Charlie” and Lillian Craig. Her father worked as the vice president of First National Bank and recalled that his daughter “preferred to mold pretty little things like flowers and figures from…sticky mud” instead of making mud pies. Marie took her first art classes at Central High School before enrolling at the James Lee Memorial Art Academy to continue her studies. She created the plaster “fountain piece” as part of her application to the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts, which offered her admission and a scholarship. After she was offered admission, Mrs. Burr Chapman, the president of the Art Academy, offered to loan the plaster sculpture to the museum in April 1935. Burton Callicott, the artist who…

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Plein Air Paintings

A new (very short) post on the Pink Palace blog:

The Pink Palace Family of Museums

The institutions that make up the Memphis Pink Palace Family of Museums are among the most architecturally interesting structures in the city, which makes them frequent subjects of works of art. Bill Branch is one artist who has captured some of our buildings in his chosen medium. Branch is a watercolor artist who prefers to paint in the open air (en plein air). He says, “I am led to subjects to paint that are architectural and manmade, or the great subjects of nature itself. My other passion is history, or local history. Since moving to Memphis, I have recorded some of the more recognizable sites of the city.”

Grand Old Lady-Mallory Neely painting

Pink Palace Museum painting

These images are published with the permission of the artist. For more information about Bill Branch and to see his other works, please visit Paintings by Bill Branch.

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I started listening to WKNO-fm, NPR for the MidSouth, a couple of years ago. I realized that I didn’t get the newspaper, I don’t like watching TV news, and I wasn’t reading about current events online. Basically, I was unaware of what was going on in the U.S. and the wider world. And, for a citizen in a democracy, that is frankly unacceptable. I started listening to be more informed, but I quickly found that there were human interest stories that I enjoyed. Recently, podcasts have become my “adult conversation” during afternoons with the baby when I need a break from narrating my every move to fill the silence. Pop Culture Happy Hour and Planet Money are two of my favorites. I downloaded the NPR One app a few months ago and have been using it to listen to Ask Me Another and This American Life. NPR entertains me, and WKNO brings them to me daily.

The fact that I started listening roughly two years ago means that I’ve listened to multiple on-air pledge drives. Despite hearing the pleas of the WKNO staff and volunteers, this week was my first time to pledge. It was easy, and it was the right thing to do. I support public radio because it adds value to my daily life. I also got a NPR pint glass out of the deal, which is pretty freaking sweet.

NPR pint glass from the WKNO FM website:
NPR pint glass from the WKNO FM website: 

Dirt Therapy

It’s another dreary, overcast day, which, as always, put me in a funk. This general funkiness was compounded by the fact that I was tired, the kid was screaming for lunch, and the dog was whining incessantly for whatever he didn’t have right then. I was about ready to mentally shut down and throw a blanket over my head. Not that that would have solved any problems, but it would have felt nice to disappear for a moment. Then the baby finally fell asleep, and the dog had gone in and out enough times to satisfy whatever canine imperative he was feeling.

For a moment there was silence, and yet the funk persisted. So I went outside and planted pansies in my front flower bed. I have no idea what I’m doing when I plant flowers. I never remember to water them, and I never seem to plant them in the right location. Basically, it’s by sheer evolutionary design that any pretty plant is able to survive living in my yard. It’s a personal goal to get better at growing flowers, but for today, the simple act of putting them in the ground made me feel better. I eschewed my gloves and went for the soggy earth with my fingernails. I dug holes, loosened roots and firmed them into the ground. Then I hit the raised bed and pulled out the cherry tomato plants. I planted kale seeds a few weeks ago so I thinned those seedlings and also replanted the areas where none had sprouted. Where the tomatoes were, I planted collard greens. The basil is still going strong, so I am going to leave it in the bed until I make pizza or the first frost, whichever happens first.

It’s still dreary outside, but I smell slightly loamy and feel much happier.

A Verse for the Pink Palace

Mark Doty (and his publisher) were incredibly nice to let me put his poem on the Pink Palace blog:

The Pink Palace Family of Museums

The Pink Palace serves many functions —a place to collect and care for objects related to the MidSouth, an educational facility, a venue to get married and a motivation for creative works. Mark Doty is one person whose visit to the museum inspired a personal interpretation. Doty is a well-respected contemporary poet who currently teaches at Rochester University in addition to writing. His poems and prose works won the 2008 National Book Award for Poetry, a T.S. Eliot Prize in the United Kingdom and many other commendations. He included the poem “The Pink Palace” in his first published book titled Turtle. Swan.
Youth Department 6

The Pink Palace

My father would take me, Saturdays,
to an unfinished mansion: a rich eccentric
had built a few rooms and a facade
of pink granite before the money ran out
and the fragments became property of the state,
a museum for children. Of what
I’m not…

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It’s dreary today, and I’m under the weather in the literal and figurative senses of the phrase. I have whatever stomach bug the baby had earlier this week, and the rainy day has me feeling extra tired.

But there is tea and Swamplandia! by Karen Russell. And Greg got chili going this morning and has taken over the baby wrangling. So it is dreary but
with some hefty rays of sunshine.


Disaster Planning—The Undead Protocol

I am ridiculously proud of my latest post on the Pink Palace blog. Just ridiculously:

The Pink Palace Family of Museums

A disaster preparedness and emergency response plan is considered to be a core document for professional museum operations. The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) states that a good disaster plan needs to be specific to a museum’s facilities, cover all relevant risks, include evacuation plans and state how the collections will be protected during a catastrophe. It also should delegate responsibilities for staff members. As an accredited museum, the Pink Palace has a disaster plan that clearly establishes what should be done in the event of natural disasters, manmade problems and uprisings of the undead.

Zombie palace

In the event of a zombie apocalypse, all museum personnel will be notified by the administration that the undead protocol will be going into effect. While the staff moves to their assigned locations, the security guards will alert visitors via the speaker system that they should move in an orderly fashion towards the CTI 3D…

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I want to capture and hold the absolute peace I feel when I rock my baby at bedtime. After his bath, after the lotion, after the pajamas are on, after the breastfeeding, after the story. When I hold him against my chest and use my right hand to rub the back of his head and sing him his lullaby, the world makes sense. For a moment, there is nothing else. There is me and my baby. There is our chair and our song. There are small murmurs and snuggles in. There is peace.