Museum Pieces: Clifford the Big Red Dog exhibit opens

And on Friday, see Islander pets at the Reset.


“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”

Decades after he wrote them, these words of poet e.e. cummings ring true. Seeds are planted in our childhood that set us on a path, and one day, if we’re lucky, we look around at what has been growing in our garden, weed out what we don’t want, and nurture that which we do. Poets and children’s book authors know this, and this weekend, the museum celebrates one of the sweetest characters in all of children’s literature: Clifford the Big Red Dog. Longtime Island resident Norman Bridwell gave us Clifford and Emily Elizabeth 60 years ago, and they remind us to have courage and delight in who we are and what makes us different, and that different is good.

The M.V. Museum invites the community to the opening celebration of the exhibition “Clifford: Our Big Red Dog” this Saturday, Jan. 27, from 10 am to noon. Delight in the trip into another world for all ages. There will be hands-on Clifford activities, crafts, snacks, and photo ops with Clifford himself! You will literally be stepping into a storybook, the colors are exact, the atmosphere alive with magic, and the connection to childhood glee complete. Come and meet our curatorial team, which has outdone itself.

Our Island museum exists to bring us together through the experience of our past, the stories of and from the people that have been here since the first light right up to the many that have made it their home over the years. It’s a shared history that has complexities, so we work with those whose story it is in order to tell it right. We learn and stay committed to evolving with you. We also want to bring the joyful parts of our history forward, which the world needs more than ever.

Museums are fun, exciting, and illuminating. In addition to this wonderful Clifford exhibition opening on Saturday, we invite you to our brand-new Friday Reset, through April, 5 to 8 pm. It’s been so lively, with teams for trivia, chats with the legendary Bow Van Riper, and Scrabble, Yahtzee, Uno, Sorry, Bananagrams, and so many other board games have folks laughing and shouting! The craft table has us all recapturing the stress relief we receive when we just draw, or paint, or carve!. The puzzles bring teamwork, there are nooks for reading, music some weeks, and PechaKucha! If you don’t know what that is, come and watch, and then participate in the future. Tomorrow the PechaKucha theme is Pets.

In February, you can take a walk through one of the Vineyard’s most storied neighborhoods when MVM research librarian Bow Van Riper presents “Tales of William Street.” Come to the museum on Feb. 8 from 5 to 6 pm to hear the tale of a child of a single mother who became a millionaire shipowner. A stern-faced Methodist who gave land worth a fortune to his family, friends, and town. The most successful whaling captain in the history of Holmes Hole, and more! Sign up at, where you can learn more about all the events, exhibitions, ways to connect with Linsey Lee’s Oral History interviews, and more on our website.

Better yet, come for a visit. Did you know that a membership can have benefits beyond these shores? Ask about it the next time you come up the hill. The museum doors are open to you Tuesday through Sunday, 10 to 4 pm, later if there is a program! Help us make the museum a place where you feel safe and represented, and where you can grow and be who you really are. This is one Island with many stories, and we have the exhibits to show it.

Visit for more about membership, programs and exhibits. The M.V. Museum is celebrating 100 years as an ever-evolving institution committed to serving people who love the Vineyard, inspiring us to discover, explore, and strengthen our connections to this Island and its diverse heritage. Help us make our next 100 years all it can be.

In this column, count on anecdotal Island history, museum news, and happenings that will hopefully make you want to come up the hill for a visit. Questions, feedback, or a story you’d like to share? Please email me at