Museum Pieces: Stay the course

Sometimes it takes a while for things to get rolling.


“I think you have to take everything that looks like a blow and turn it into a triumph. This is where my energy comes from: I just won’t be licked.” —Beverly Sills

When we try something new, it doesn’t always work out the way we envisioned. But we can’t throw our arms up and walk away. We need to stay the course, redirect, and fine-tune. Adjustments are necessary when turning a vision into reality. I marvel every day as I work alongside the M.V. Museum team as they plot and scheme the most interesting, groundbreaking, thought-provoking exhibits and opportunities for us all, to experience our history by way of so many different vantage points.

Taking something from fancy to fruition takes some trial and error, conversations, and considerations. The most important thing any of us can do when we bump up against a barrier is to pause and think about why it’s there. What is it trying to show us? Maybe there is a better way to go about it, or something more we hadn’t examined. The undeterred mindset of my colleagues cannot be overstated — they have an aptitude to think through challenges and change them into triumphs.

Something I have been mulling over is M.V. Museum’s Friday Reset, which started in January. It’s been stuck in first gear, and I want to kick it into a higher one! Would you be willing to help me make this time between 5 and 8 pm on Fridays an attractive “worth your time” weekly gathering space? There have been some successes, with a few folks who return each week, a few new faces of those who have never been to the museum, before and are discovering how cool this place is, and some who come because they are interested in the weekly features, such as “Ask Bow,” next one coming up on April 5, or “Trivia with Ray Whitaker,” next one on April 12.

This coming Friday we have live music with Chilmark acoustic/folk duo Setsunai, who found their name in Japanese when searching for a word to describe the feeling of joy that is also painful — the space where the two emotions become one. This theme inspires much of their songwriting, as the two women write and weave their way through motherhood and life. Doors open at 5 pm and the show will begin soon after. Let’s share a nearly springtime concert surrounded by historical objects and stories from our collective past that inspire and astonish.

Come up the hill to enjoy the singular view, listen to music, do a craft, play a game, have a snack from Aquila M.V., or wander the lower-level galleries. It’s an amazing feeling walking through a room listening to people make new friends and form bonds over Scrabble, puzzling, or crafting. The vicarious thrill of witnessing people pull together to remove social obstacles and awkwardness, lead with the golden rule, and make an effort to create a comfortable space, makes any stress, anxiety, or bad energy that may have been picked up throughout the week flow right out. It definitely lives up to its name, “Friday Reset.”

Other things coming up in the next week are a fun envelope-decorating workshop for families on Saturday at 10:30 am. It begins with a tour of the Percy Cowan exhibit to see his examples from letters he sent home to his wife during WWI, and finishes with the opportunity to make your own. Think about giving our kids that mostly lost experience of sending a letter old-school. In celebration of Women’s History Month, MVM’s oral history curator Linsey Lee will share stories and films about courageous, creative, and compassionate Vineyard Women on Wednesday, March 27, at 5:30 pm. We will hear June Manning talk about electricity coming to Aquinnah, Anne Lesnikowski’s WWII adventures, the immigration journey of Mary Paiva Drouin’s mother from the Azores, and insights from sisters Audria and Pat Tankard, Alice Cleveland, and others. Finally, on Thursday, March 28, Charlie Giordano will present “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Building,” beginning at 5:30 pm. Save your spot by registering at

Visit for more information about upcoming exhibitions and events. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday year-round. Regular hours are 10 am to 4 pm; summer hours are 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is free to members; admission for nonmembers is $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, $5 for children 7 to 17, and free for children 6 and under. Islander rates are available.