Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Explorers Part 2 *OR* Our Date with Doris

The continuing story of our local exploration finds us at the oddest, most wonderfully, unintentionally peculiar museum imaginable.

This post is actually a combined event-- the first weekend, when my hubby & I went alone, & the following weekend when we brought Things 2 & 3.  They had to meet Doris, you see...

To be clear, her name isn't actually Doris but it ought to be & she was utterly delightful & this is her domain.

The whole set up was on the grounds of the fish hatchery.  Now I hail from California, & fish hatcheries out there are mega operations that stretch on for acres-- we used to visit one near my Grandma's house, so I know {lol}.

This is not that sort of fish hatchery.

They do good work, from what I understand, but...well, its a bit underwhelming & it was very, very hot.  Needless to say we did not tour the hatchery itself.
We started at the little shack, er, replica school house built by the Retired School Teachers Association. 
It had plexi glass barring the door completely, so you could peak at it but no entry-- like a hyperbolic chamber shrink-wrapping an imaginary moment in time.  

It also had an odd combination of rustic wood benches & two 1950's elementary school desks complete with stickers & a random globe & a portrait of someone I presume was important {maybe the President of the Association?  I couldn't read the little tag on the frame & there was no other explanation of anything}.  It was as if the retired teachers got together and built what they imagined a one room school house would look like, without letting silly things like history or reality interfere {come to think of it, a lot of people think like that now-a-days}.

Yes.  That is, in fact, a dead mouse under the bench.  I'm guessing he didn't turn in his homework & mannequin teacher lady had to whoop him.
The big house looked more promising.  
The house was the hatchery superintendent's & a private residence until 1982. It had been scheduled for demolition until the feds stepped in & helped turn it in to a museum.

Doris is in there-- she is the docent & as far as we could tell, the only keeper of the museum.  I'm not sure what her connection to the house is, but she is territorial...unless its hot, & then she lets you run around unattended, provided you've paid your $3.00. 

Which we did...

From the trip with the just the hubs & I

& Thing 3 in the same spot a week later
Trying on a World War II jacket that was literally just hanging in the attic-- there were bars & stripes, but no name & it looked new-- I'm guessing it was used for some sort of demonstration or skit
Local boys in World War I

Yo-Yo Quilt, not sure of date
With the exception of the attic, all of the rooms are sealed off at the doorway with plexiglass-- you can only poke your head in.  They are done up in no particular period, with pieces that don't have a historical attachment to the house-- like people imagined what a typical house might look like at any given time from the late 1800s to the 1950s & then they jammed in bits from all of 'em.  We aren't sure where the pieces came from, there is no explanation & Doris was drinking iced tea in her office and chatting with her friend & we didn't like to interrupt...

Mannequin people show up randomly in the museum, like this child in a..a...I'm not sure what she/he is wearing

The dining room and pantry were stuffed with dishes by a local pottery place-- again, no historic significance to the house, though collector's of pottery do value the pieces...

 Now one would think that was all there was to this museum.  But one would be wrong.  There is a trailer type building nearby that is devoted to the railroad-- and this is clearly Doris' favorite bit.  She toddled over to unlock the door and let us in, then sat on a railway seat in the corner & orchestrated the tour from there.

Doris' throne, sans Doris

There really wasn't much in this museum-- lots of helmets

Some railroad signs-- not authentic, just replicas made for the museum

A replica ticket counter thingy

This stack of baskets

Which are really indicative of the museum-- 

The notecard on top asks visitors if they happen to know whose basket it was, and includes a line for folks to fill in the name of the maker...

We were about to leave when Doris stopped us.  Apparently years ago she had applied for a grant which she thought would be money, but it wasn't.  The offshoot of the whole thing was that an aspiring playwright from the local theatrical troupe was inspired to write a musical based on some of Doris' stories which she had compiled for the grant & it was put on by some students & she had it on VHS & would we like to see some of it?  

Of course we would Doris!  

Thing 2 being a charming lad helped her set it up since she had forgotten to how to use the VCR which was in the broom closet.  They actually got to perform it in the 2001 Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center.  I have no idea how, or why, but that is where the recording is from.

I won't even try to explain what we saw...I can't describe it.  If you want, you can see it yourself here.  Of course no internet viewing could top watching it on an old VHS, sitting at a plastic banquet table in the middle of a train museum trailer with the air conditioner blasting, just me, the hubs, the Things & Doris.  

It was like Appalachia's version of Wonderland {the surreal version, not the Disney}, with Doris as the Duchess.

I want visitors from out of town to come just so we can take them to meet Doris.  Words don't do her justice, you have to see her in person.

Ever have any weird, unexpected adventures while out & about?

1 comment:

  1. Ha! This looks like a fun/funny adventure for sure. We've wandered into many a strange "museum" on our trips. And they are ALWAYS the most memorable!


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