Modeled on “Antiques Roadshow,” the Martha’s Vineyard Museum offers its popular annual appraisal event in collaboration with Skinner Inc. of Boston, one of the world’s leading auction houses. Karen Keane, CEO at Skinner, and a 30-year veteran of “Antiques Roadshow,” will be on hand, along with Kerry Shrives, Skinner senior vice president and “Antiques Roadshow” colleague. The pair will be at the museum on Oct. 11 and 12, ready to tell you whether your favorite objet d’art is worth cash or simply sentiment.
Museum director of operations and business development Katy Fuller, responsible for the logistics and smooth running of all sorts of museum events, says this is one of her favorites. “I love it when people bring in things that are particular to the Island. It’s not unusual, because we’re such a small Island, to have a person bring something in, and another person in the audience know as much or more about the piece than the current owner. Plus, the appraisers don’t just talk about the monetary value, they bring in the global perspective, the history, context, and significance of the item. It’s like the appraisers are great storytellers. And they can tell you if the piece will, in five or 10 years, appreciate or depreciate in value, and why.”
The museum has organized two days of appraisals, with the ticket fees benefiting the museum. The first is Friday, Oct. 11, from 5:30 to 8 pm for $75, and includes one appraisal item per person. The second event is Saturday, Oct. 12, from 10 am to 3 pm. On Saturday, attendance is free to view the proceedings, with pricing at $20 for one item, $40 for two items, and $50 for three items. Advance tickets are required for both events.
Keane, along with her husband, Daniel Elias (who is the Robyn & John Davis Chief Curator of the Nantucket Historical Association) have a vacation home in Menemsha. Keane’s specialty areas include American furniture and decorative arts, Americana, and folk art. She is sought after by the media, and is a regular contributor to art and antiques publications, symposiums, websites, and blogs. She lectures and conducts benefit auctions and appraisal events for nonprofit and for-profit institutions nationwide. Keane holds a master’s degree in art history from Boston University. She is a former overseer of the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, and she currently sits on the board of trustees of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker. Keane knows of what she speaks, and New England is in her bones.
“There’s a huge wealth of material in New England, including Native American artifacts to items from colonial times to the present,” says Keane. “New Englanders traveled the world, trading, whaling, exploring, and touring, bringing things home from all ports. I enjoy sharing what I know about the object, and especially the dialogue that occurs with the owner, what they know about it, what questions they have. We’re learning something new all the time.”
Shrives, from 1993 until 2011, was the director of Skinner’s Discovery Department, overseeing monthly auctions of eclectic, affordable estate furnishings and decorative arts from the past three centuries. Under her stewardship, the Discovery Department won the Best of Boston award for the “Antiques: West of Boston.” In 1994, she established the Judaica Department, giving Skinner the distinction of being one of the few auction houses specializing in antique Judaica.
Family heirlooms and yard-sale treasures take the stage at these fun-filled antiquarian show and tells. At Friday’s “What It’s Worth with Skinner Inc.” and Saturday’s “Appraisal Day with Skinner Inc.,” Skinner will evaluate your prized objects one-on-one, and bring on all sorts of interesting information to the table. And they’ll let you know how much more you’re worth. Skinner’s expertise, years of show-biz experience, and the extra added ingredient — you — should be highly entertaining. So grab something from the living room, the attic, the jewelry box, or Grandma’s, and swing on by.
To purchase tickets for Friday, reserve an appraisal time for Saturday, or for more information, visit mvmuseum.org, email email@example.com, or call Katy at 508-627-4441, ext. 123. Both events are at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, 151 Lagoon Pond Rd., Vineyard Haven.