greygirlbeast (greygirlbeast) wrote,

"Shape shifter; thousands in the air, moving as one."

A stormy morning here in Providence. I was awakened by thunder. Down in Narragansett, there was some considerable flooding, I've heard.

Not much in the way of work. I needed a day, I think, to fully comes to terms with the fact of my decision to bow out of The Dinosaurs of Mars. Of course, a day likely was not enough time, but it's all I could afford. But, really, the only work happened in email, and that was mostly looking over color stuff from Lee Moyer for the painting that will be his cover for Beneath the Oil-Dark Sea.

Note that I will now cease giving various locations on Mars as my daily location. That was a way I tried to keep the novella alive in my mind.

We went to Brown University, because Spooky had heard about "The Lost Museum," a tribute to the late Jenks Museum of Zoology. We dropped into the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, which, turns out, isn't much to see, especially since half their tiny display area is presently given over exhibits relating to the 250th anniversary of Brown. I'm not sure I'm up to writing about the origin, history, and sad fate of Professor John Whipple Potter Jenks' natural history cabinet, which occupied Rhode Island Hall from roughly 1871 to 1915. You can follow the links and read for yourselves, if you're so inclined. And you should be. Whipple graduated from Brown at age 19, in 1838, and, in 1894, he literally died on the steps of his museum, probably succumbing to the effects of the arsenic he used in taxidermy mounts and other natural history curatorial work. After his death, the museum was permitted by Brown to fall into disarray and decay, and in 1945 ninety-two truckloads of artifacts and specimens – hauled to the University's dump on the banks of the Seekonk River. Only a tiny percentage of the museum's collection survived the purge.

Yeah. Really.

Here are some photos from yesterday, behind the cut:

Manning Hall, home to the aforementioned underwhelming Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology.

Rhode Island Hall, built in 1840, the university's fourth building and once home to the lost wonders of the Jenks Museum.

I fell utterly and completely in love with this recreation of Jenks' office space. This is Heaven.

"The office is a psychological profile of John Whipple Potter Jenks, an individual, but also a psychological profile of many curators of natural history. I’ve visited curators’ offices at many museums, and this space captures something of the way that many curators live with artifacts. It’s an overabundance of artifacts, things next to books about them next to the tools used to understand them. Jenks’ room is layered with things – hundreds, maybe thousands of things. (There are things in there that you can’t see, hidden behind other things.) The room is recreated based on some very good sources – including a wonderful article one of Jenks’ students wrote, and a painting of a taxidermist’s workshop from about that time – but that's not what makes it seem so real."


A few of the few artifacts that escaped destruction, including a crocodile jaw and an albatross skull.

All photographs Copyright © 2014 by Kathryn A. Pollnac and Caitlín R. Kiernan.

Last night, we finished Season Two of the delightfully campy Hemlock Grove, complete with wonderful David Lynch nods. I call it a must-see.

Black Blizzards,
Aunt Beast
Tags: "best of crk" project, anthropology, brown university, dinosaurs of mars, hemlock grove, idiot humans, lee moyer, loss, mars, museums, narragansett, rain, science, storms, thunderstorms, zoology
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