- 1 Mission Statement
- 2 What We Are and What We Do
- 3 Currently Showing
- 4 Rent the Museum! Click here for more info!
- 5 Shoppe with Us! The Museum Gifte Shoppe
- 6 Our Reading Room!
- 7 Hours
- 8 Admission
- 9 Directions and Parking
- 10 Volunteer at the Museum
- 11 Read About Some of Our Past Events!
- 12 History of the Museum
- 13 Halloweeeen!
- 14 Catawiki
- 15 Publicity and Press Clippings
- 16 Material Culture Studies
- 17 Links
What We Are and What We Do
The Main Street Museum is a small, public collection of curiosities and artifacts, each one is significant and each one tells some kind of story about human beings and the complex, sometimes baffling universe we are a part of. The aim of the Museum is the study of an accumulation of small details, cultivating among both specialists, and among the general public, a sense of wonder at the big questions that arise when we study and categorize objects and our reactions to them. We believe that our relationships with objects are more complex than usually acknowledged; indeed sometimes far more complex.
Located in central Vermont, our collections are accessible by visiting us in person, or through our online "wiki" style catalog. As well as studying and cataloging objects we present live music, glass lantern slide presentations, vaudeville shows, films and Spectacles to the public.
Shoppe with Us! The Museum Gifte Shoppe
The Museum Gift Shoppe features "White River Junction; Its not so Bad!" t-shirts, mugs, souvenirs, a wide variety of books on museums and museum-y things, our own booklets—hand-stitched, rail-road date nails, gumball machine charms and wonky gifts that "must be seen to be believed!"
Our Reading Room!
Our Reading Room is a small, non-lending library of odd and hard to find books, periodicals and ephemera. We feature categories: Art Monographs, Museums, Circuses and Sideshows, Art History and Material Culture Studies, Biography, Extraterrestrials and Cryptozoology, Local History, Slavic Studies &tc. We also also have, alphabetized, over 3,800 pieces of sheet music from the Early to mid-20th century. Here are some of our latest book acquisitions and donations. [coming soon] Come see our books!
The Museum is now open from Thursday through Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m. on a fairly regular basis. There is usually someone in the building, so appointments are easy. Email info-at-mainstreetmuseum.org or call Vermont-area-code three-five-six, two-seven-seven-six before your visit. —Thanks!
The Museum suggests a $2 to $20 donation for visiting our collections. (Members of the Museum and children under 12 are admitted free of charge). No one is turned away for lack of funds, however. Volunteer for an hour at the Museum and receive free admittance to the Museum, or to our live events!
Guided tours of the Museum and its collections include a demonstration of the Museum's 1926 Orthophonic Victrola. Suggested donations for the guided tour is $8.00 (us). Discounts are available for groups.
Museum Headquarters are located at 58 Bridge Street, in downtown White River Junction, adjacent to the Lehman Bridge, between the railroad underpass and the White River. Parking for Museum patrons is available on the street nearby on "Railroad Row" or in the Courthouse/Depot Parking lot.
The Main Street Museum is a great place to visit, and a great place to volunteer.
You can do everything from staffing our open hours (We are attempting regular hours of Wednesday through Sunday, 1 – 6 p.m., with Friday nights open till 9pm), to helping out with arranging and maintaining displays, researching and writing museum labels, bringing the refreshments or setting up for special events like concerts and First Fridays open house nights, or helping create special exhibits and special events.
Internships are occasionally available for meaningful projects. (Our internships are currently unfunded.) Field/study trips may be scheduled around Vermont and New Hampshire—to Burlington, to St. Johnsbury and the Fairbanks Museum, in Vermont, and to the St. Gaudens National Park in nearby Cornish, N.H.—as well as conducting in-depth tours of the areas' varied historic houses and sites, thrift stores and other repositories of material culture for collection excursions on behalf of the Museums ever-enlarging categories of artifacts.
Whether it be free-wheeling research, carpentry, photography, event planning, landscaping, or music - whatever it is that you like to do, we'd love to talk to you.
E-mail us at info-at-mainstreetmuseum.org for more information, or call us at Vermont-area-code three-five-six, two-seven-seven-six.
We are proud sponsors of the town's yearly Halloween parades! Read more about them here.
The Main Street Museum's Catawiki is a unique digital initiative in material culture studies utilizing open-source code to describe the artifacts in our collections and to create a completely fluid, adaptive taxonomic structure for their interpretation. The Catawiki uses the same "wiki" code utilized by "Wikipedia" and is able to be modified by users from any internet access point. The categories currently acting as a organizational foundation for these structures are:
- Objects as Evidence of Human Culture, for instance: Pet Toys; Geographically or Historically Significant Items (Relics); Manuscripts; Art; Military History; Textiles and Clothing; Shoes; and "Things, or Fragments of Things Once Owned by, or Associated with, Notable People Particularly Notable Vermonters".
- Biology: Living, or Apparently Once Living, Objects, including
- Flora: "The Invasive and Native Species of Windsor County" for instance, or "Dried Roses from Robert Todd Lincolns House in Manchester, Vermont" and "Camellia Blossoms and Leaves from the Varina and Jefferson Davis Memorial".
- Fauna includes: Homo-sapiens; White-tailed Deer and Other Mammalia; Reptiles; Birds; Entomology (Insects); Corals; Flocked Pets; Other, or Unidentified Species; etc.
- Inanimate, or Apparently Inanimate Objects, or Boxes of Rocks including Minerals, Man-made Minerals, Silt from the 1927 Flood, Round and/or Rusted Things.
- And, of course, Miscellaneous or Other Things.
- Vinculum (or Overlapping) Categories can be accessed from the sidebar to the left and include: Carbon; Color as a Hysterical Reaction; Cute Things; Flocking; Objects Chewed by Pets; Teeth, More Teeth, Things with Nail-holes; "Things Made from Animals or Parts of Animals" and Tramps and Hobos.
Read what we write about ourselves. Read what others write about us.
The Main Street Museum—White River Junction's answer to the Library of Congress.
—Peter Welch, U. S. House of Representatives, 2007.
It is only due to organizations such as yours that the important works of our Country are brought to the attention of the public.
——Marie Reilly, Museum of Bad Art, Dedham, 1998. learn less...!
The Main Street Museum forces one to contemplate the nature of museums and curating. Why do we save what we save? How do we decide what to discard, what to display, what to hide away, and what to destroy. —Joe Citro, Weird New England, 2004
History is false. It has to be. —Jules David Prown
Its really all about questions. We are a museum. We collect and preserve objects. (And other things too. But objects, mainly.) And then we do what all museums are supposed to do. We discuss the objects. We have conversations with you, the viewer, about the objects. And we have found, over the years, as we do this, that each object raises a number of questions. Sometimes it seems that each object has about five or 10 questions associated with it. And each question we research raises five or 10 more questions. And we might do this five or ten times for each object. And it also seems that we only end up answering about one question for each ten that we ask the object, or the object asks of us. But with so many questions—just multiply 5 to the 5th power—that still means that we have come up with a lot of answers in spite of ourselves. All in all, we think that the questions are more fun than the answers. But you are free to decide for yourself.
Read what we've written about objects. Read what the experts have said as well. This is just a starting point. We have only just begun to really think about things, and our relationships to things.
Our fully functioning blog features discursions on material culture studies, miscellanea and much more! Museumology Blog continues the heartfelt commentary of the previous blog of the Main Street Museum at Blogspot. You can read the latest entries, musing about roadtrips, history, collections and collective insanity, and post your own responses here.
A German critic, W. Bürger, writes "Our Museums...are veritable graveyard-yards in which have been heaped up, with a tumulour-like promiscuousness, the remains which have been carried thither...all are hung pell-mell upon the walls of some noncommittal gallery a kind of posthumous asylum, where a people, no longer capable of producing...come to admire this magnificent gallery of debris. —G. Brown Goode, Museums of the Future, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C., 1891: p. 427
- "As in totemism, we participate in each other as we participate in the object." —Sartre, Les jeux sont faits, 1943, and Norman O. Brown, Love's Body, 1966.
Hate has no place in the Upper Valley, or anywhere else for that matter. And our neighbors named Johnson and Moffat, in the low, orange and blue building next door, have asked that we don't park on their property, so, please Dont Park at our Neighbors! For More Information about our neighbors click here...
The Main Street Museum, 58 Bridge Street, White River Junction, Vermont, 05001-1909, email@example.com, VT.356.2776