Still

A lot of life has happened since I wrote last. My immobile baby is a powerhouse crawler who turns one next month. My inquisitive son is still questioning the world and has added doing construction on pieces of leftover drywall to his long list of pastimes. My husband passed the test he studied so hard to pass. I officially took on the full time position at the museum that I wanted so badly to fill.

I cycled through a months-long bout of not being able to read outside of work, and I started to learn hand embroidery to fill those nights when I cannot read because my hands cannot be still. I have tried to learn how to be still. It’s a work in progress. I started doing basic yoga. It’s a work in progress too.

These past months have been full of life within my family, and I am mentally balancing that everyday joy with other emotions. These other emotions include fear over what our larger national conversations are becoming. I struggle to balance saying what I believe with not being baited into pointless arguments that change no one’s mind. I am trying to conquer my personal fear of not offending anyone. I called my senator for the first time ever. I’ve written postcards; I’ve sent emails. I smile at my neighbors. I remember that we are more than our politics. I remember that words matter and that there is such a thing as objective truth.

And then I mentally walk it back and play with “pludo” (Play-Doh) and crawl on the floor and get covered in open-mouth toddler kisses and endure toddler “tickles” which are really jabs in the neck. And I find balance. And I practice being still.

Mural Move at the Pink Palace

I did this yesterday:

The Pink Palace

Recently, the Pink Palace Collections and Exhibits departments moved three of the museum’s largest artifacts. The Burton Callicott murals have hung over the grand staircase in the mansion lobby since 1934 when Callicott was commissioned as part of the Public Works of Art Project. The museum’s advisory board wanted the option of removing the paintings if they did not like them, so Callicott painted the three scenes on canvas instead of directly to the wall. The murals hung until 1995 when they were removed for extensive conservation. After the restoration, the conservators returned the murals to the museum rolled, and staff restretched the canvases and added frames on the floor of the lobby before rehanging them.

Construction for the new mansion exhibits is scheduled to begin in January 2017, and the murals needed to be moved out of the mansion for their protection. The 2016 mural move was the first…

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Pink Palace Mansion 3.0

New post for the museum (finally).

The Pink Palace

Plans are moving ahead for our renovation of the Pink Palace mansion. The Mansion was built in the 1920s and has undergone a series of re-imaginings in its long life. It started as Clarence Saunders’ palatial home that was meant to be a Southern showplace. Saunders lost his house before it was completed, and it was deeded to the City of Memphis to be used as a museum. The Memphis Museum of Natural History and Industrial Artsopened in 1930 with exhibits throughout the rooms. The early museum directors lived in the mansion, and by the 1970s offices, education classrooms, live animals, exhibits and collections storage crowded the space. The mansion closed to the public when the new exhibition building opened in the late 1970s. It reopened in the 1990s with exhibits about the changing roles of women, Cotton Carnival, Memphis immigrants and museum treasures.

Earlier this month the…

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Words

I love the way Noah talks. He replaces f’s in the middle of words with p’s, which makes Mickey Mouse’s friend Goopy and Emily Elizabeth’s big red dog Clippord. He calls himself a goopball when he does something silly. 

He calls a kiss ‘kips’ and refers to himself as ‘my,’ as in “my want that.” He goes through this list a lot, “My love daddy. My love mommy. Mommy love daddy. My love Louise.”

These things

Noah showed me a picture of us at the beach. He said, “This is my flamly. I love my flamly. This is daddy, mommy, me and Louise. My flamly.”

Louise learned that you can splash in the bathtub. This is hysterical. Her laughter is infectious.

Noah goes down the slide on his belly. Six months ago he was afraid to go down it any way.

Louise likes to play “ghost” with Noah. It’s like peekaboo, but Noah is a ghost. There might be more to it, but I haven’t figured it out yet.

Noah is so happy that we have been going on family walks again.

Louise discovered that the outside swing is fun to be in.

Noah does yoga with us. Correction–Noah does five minutes of yoga and then climbs on us the rest of the time. There is a lot of laughing.

Louise sits and reaches for toys. If she would stay on her belly for any length of time, I think she’d be scooting.

Search Our Collection!

New post for the museum. Seriously, try searching for birds.

The Pink Palace

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The Memphis Pink Palace Museum has roughly 84,000 objects in our collection, of which 10-15% are on display. That means that there are tens of thousands of objects that regular visitors could not access. Tammy Braithwaite, our collections registrar, is in charge of keeping track of all of these artifacts. Over the past year, she has worked to get our collections database available online so that all our visitors can view the objects that we preserve. You can visit our website to look through our collection. New items are frequently being added as we continue photographing the collection. If you click on a specific record, you will be able to see other pictures of many of the objects.

Here’s some ideas to get you started:

In the cultural history collection, try searching for sports, World War II, Cotton Carnival or silk.

For the natural history collection, look for birds.

Please…

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Why?

A look at my recent conversations:
Put your toys in the box please.

Why?

Because I keep tripping on them. 

Why?

Because I can’t see them when I’m holding Louise. 

Why?

Because I said so. 

We always say hi to our neighbors. 

Why?

Because it lets them know that we care 

Why?

Because those are the rules of human social interaction. 

Why?

Because I said so. 

Don’t step on your sister. 

Why?

BECAUSE I SAID SO!

Our Panel Boot Victoria

I wrote this post for the Pink Palace’s blog as an excuse to get one of my favorite old photographs of the museum released onto the internet.

The Pink Palace

Pink Palace carriage 1970 (3)In 1967, Patterson Transfer Co. donated the panel boot Victoria carriage displayed at the exit of the Memphis history gallery. The Brewster Carriage Company built the vehicle in 1902, and sold it new for $1,300 ( roughly $30,000 in today’s currency). Our panel boot Victoria was owned by Robert E. Galloway, the president of Patterson Transfer.

Don Berkebile from the Smithsonian Institution came to Memphis in November 1967 to examine the Victoria and the wagonette and stagecoach that Patterson Transfer Co. also donated. He noted that the panel boot Victoria was “an excellent example of its type in sound condition and certainly worth of restoration.” Gordon Elston, the museum preparator, directed the restoration, which included stripping the paint, applying original type finish, reupholstering the broadcloth, replacing the leather convertible top, replacing the patent leather dash, seat railing and trim, and constructing new fenders. In total, it took over two…

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The Golf Courses of Clarence Saunders

A new post for the museum’s blog based on some research I’ve been doing for a historical marker.

The Pink Palace

lnc golfClarence Saunders was a golf enthusiast. When he made his first fortune by founding the Piggly Wiggly self-service grocery store, Saunders joined the Memphis Country Club. He would bet on games and tip his caddies well. Part of the plans for his palatial Cla-Le-Clare (Pink Palace) estate included an eighteen-hole golf course with a curving lake. One of the holes was to be on an island that required players to take a boat across the water. Of course, Saunders lost the property in his battle with Wall Street speculators which left him bankrupt. His golf course eventually became Chickasaw Gardens subdivision with the lake as a public park.

Never one to be out for long, Saunders made a second fortune with his “Clarence Saunders, Sole Owner of My Name” grocery stores. With his new money in hand, he set out to build a second millionaire’s playground. He purchased three hundred…

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Decade

It doesn’t feel like ten years. But how else could we have fit in a first dance under the stars, a first kiss in a dorm room, a first trip to Nashville to meet your parents, a first hike in Gatlinburg where we were going to walk until the end before we realized we were on the Appalacian Trail, a first Broadway play that left us singing Abba years later, a first Mardi Gras in NOLA where you caught me a little green frog, a first graduation together, a first intimidating vegetable (artichokes) cooked, a first time making pickles, a first time saying vows in front of a crowd, a first time leaving the country together, a first dog, a first garden, a first house, a first kid to whom I gave that little green frog? Or how could we have had a second trip to Nashville, a second hike through the Arkansas wilderness where we at least realized we were on a super long trail, a second garden, a second kid? How else can you account for the wonderful parameters that mark our life together? 

A decade just doesn’t seem long enough.