Museum Pieces: Envelope to eclipse

We’ve got a whole lot in store in the coming weeks; enjoy the offerings.


“A performance is a conversation between you and an audience.” —Livingston Taylor

I feel that concept can be applied to a museum. What I see happening in the M.V. Museum every day is synergy between a person and what they are viewing,; then that intangible yet evident energy exchange passes through everyone else in the space. Museum staff make an effort to take what could be a stagnant display and turn it into a profound, pulsating, sensory experience. We want you to stand before something and consider yourself having a conversation with it. A museum should come alive for you, encourage deeper thought, consider other perspectives, marvel at the stories being shared, and unearth the value of your own.

When I stand in the “Percy Cowan: My Own Dearest Jane” exhibition, which will be up through May 26, I imagine the conditions Percy was in when he was writing his letters, decorated with drawings that captured what he saw during WWI. A multitude of feelings rush through me looking at his penmanship, and the content of his letters. When I walk toward “Clifford: Our Big Red Dog,” open through July 14, the custom Clifford colors draw you into his adventurous world. Complete with an indoor slide, you can feel Clifford’s presence galavanting around the room. An exhibit that reinforces the courage to manifest an idea is “Clearly Misunderstood: C.F. Giordano,” which will close May 5. Black velvet and lace curtains create a dramatic entrance into the mind of an artist, inviting us into an expression of who he is. It’s a wild, colorful, and mind-blowing trip. An exhibition is a performance, and just like when you attend a show, you walk away feeling closer to yourself and those around you.

Museum programs have the goal of providing a give-and-take as well. Tonight Charlie Giordano will present “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Building” from 5:30 to 6:30 pm, unraveling the layers of motorcycle assembly, from the initial concept to the final nuts and bolts. Whether you’re a budding builder or a curious admirer, this will foster a deeper appreciation for the craft of motorcycle building. Tomorrow night, singer-songwriter Casey Hayward plays during the Friday Reset, from 5 to 8 pm. You can listen from the Museum’s First Light Cafe, managed by Aquila MV, choose a mug from their collection of vintage Island-themed mugs, fill it with tea or coffee, and eat something yummy. In between Casey’s sets you and your friends can enjoy the lower-level exhibits, and kids can play in Hands on History. Grab a table and play Scrabble, cards, or use the conversation cards to get to know each other. Thursday, April 4, come learn the “Bigger Truth About Sustainability” from expert panelists. Friday, April 5, join us for a lunch lecture to hear Fishermen’s Preservation Trust executive director Shelley Edmundson fill us in on how the industry is doing, share news about the wholesale seafood market and food supply chain, and share stories about their programs, including the Seafood Collaborative, Community Supported Fishery, Seafood Donation Program, Sea Scallop Leasing, and Fisheries Research.

On Monday, April 8, the MVM invites the community up the hill to view the solar eclipse. Massachusetts will see about 93 percent coverage of the sun, if weather permits. The partial eclipse will begin at 2:16 pm. and end at 4:39 p.m. with maximum occurring at 3:29 pm. We will have SOLAR ECLIPSE GLASSES for you. This is going to be an exciting celestial event, and our hill will be a great place to see it.

When was the last time you lay down and looked up at the night sky? On June 17 we will host our first “New Moon Naked Eye Star Gazing” gathering on our front lawn. You will be guided by Mark Alan Lovewell, who will point out constellations, stars, and other celestial bodies and share their legends and lore. These are just some of the incentives we have for you to come up the Hill.

Visit for more information about upcoming exhibitions and events. Open Tuesday through Sunday year-round. Regular hours are 10 am to 4 pm, and summer-season 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.