Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Main Street Museum

Normally I review movies here on this blog but the only reason for that is because sitting on my couch slowly dozing off while the latest offering from Netflix (Yes, I don't even bother to leave the house to get movies, thanks) flickers on my television screen is just about the only thing I ever do.
I'm only kidding.
It is the only thing I ever do.
However last weekend events beyond my control dictated that not only did I have to leave the house but that we all had to take an epic 2 and a half hour journey to a place they call "White River Junction".
Ask anyone if they've been to White River Junction and you'll be greeted with one of two responses:
"That's not a real place!" or
"Get away from me you brazen hippie!"
Not too pleasant but nevertheless understandable since people fear and hold disdain for that which they don't know and since White River Junction in the entire span of it's existence has held host to all of about three visitors who weren't just stopping to get gas or to visit the stretch of stores just off the interstate without actually braving heading into the actual town you can see why not many people seem to know it really exists.
But rest assured it does! And for fear of over-crowding the little town with the hordes upon hordes of people that will doubtlessly be reading this blog (All one of you) I have to say everyone should definitely visit there!
All around Vermont you're likely to find countless little towns with quirks and homeliness that makes you just want to pack everything you own into a shopping cart, push it over a cliff and start a new life as a traveling poet but none as much as White River Junction.
The whole town oozes (That's a good thing!) of art and creativity. It's really hard to describe why that is but trust me, once you take your first drive around town you should see what I mean and if you don't well... get stuffed!
But anyway all that the town has in store is waiting for you and you should just up and go there and start your second life as a painter of abstract velvet paintings as soon as possible but this isn't a review of a town, that would be patently absurd! This is a review of the eclectic, the wonderful, the... uh... other descriptive word...

Main Street Museum

Of all the glories that the town holds in store for you none could possibly be as beautifully wonderful as the Main Street Museum. "What's so special about a pansy-assed faggoty museum?" you ask? Well, frankly if you're asking questions with that wording I highly recommend not ever reading this blog again but what makes it unique is how it probably couldn't exist in most other places...
The exhibits in the museum while for the most part are quite probably stuff you'd find in any other museum of it's size (It's only one fairly long room) like mounted animal heads, old books, bones, Elvis Presley's gallstones... wait, what?!?!

That's right I said Elvis Presley's gallstones are located at the Main Street Museum! You may ask me "But how could you know that they're really Elvis's gallstones and not the gallstones of some regular schmo like Christopher Walken?" and I'd say to you
  1. Who gives a fuck?
  2. Why would they make up a story about someone's gallstones of all things? and
  3. To ask whether they're really Elvis's is, I think, missing the point
You see, this is what makes the Museum brilliant, I think.
Most of the exhibits here could not be in a museum in many other places in the world because people would question authenticity and worse still question their merit as exhibits in a museum. The audacity... the truth is if this museum was located in a larger town or city of almost any other nature than White River Junction all too many people would come out shaking their heads and muttering about how the curator had clearly just roamed around town picking up garbage from the streets, dusting it off and putting it in a frame. People, the general public I mean, would not tolerate someone calling this place a museum and would instill on it a law naming it a "garage sale" instead but that's because the general public are detestable morons (no offense).
The truth is that a lot of what lies in the museum is just stuff found lying around town - garbage, road-kill... you name it! But the beauty lies in that there's no hiding it... it's open for display in the "hobo exhibit" for all to see, or comes with plaques describing where and when the said piece of trash was found. That's not to say it's all that, there are many oddities like the gallstones that you can't just find lying around your average city street. Take this fine example...

It's the... skeletal remains of an umbrella... okay, bad example!

But there is this:

It's a monster! I believe these "remains" were found in the Connecticut river.
So the museum isn't entirely composed of things that we may see every day lying around the road or in our dumpsters, carefully labeled with a story and a feeling of really seeing the "everyday" (It's a bit like the Museum was founded by The Wombles actually, now that I think about it. Now that I really think about it we never met the owner, just a volunteer! HOLY SHIT! I Have been in the presence of Great Uncle Bulgaria! Actually, never mind it seemed much more of an "Orinoco" kind of place... Apologies to any Americans reading this who might be scratching their heads and wondering what the fuck a "Womble" is and what psychotropic drugs I might have ingested to make me begin spouting such nonsense... on with the blog!) but also carefully crafted and highly imaginative art (Or, if you want to believe it was the body of a monster from the river, go ahead!)! There were several oddities like the monster above including this Killer Flying Jackalope!

This one might fool you since they put it along side a bunch of real mounted and stuffed animals! In fact, it was right after this one:

Which might make you think "Hey! That rabbit's not real! I hardly think I'll be fooled by any oddities in this museum if that's the best they can do!"
Then when you turn round and see the Jackalope you're utterly convinced that this being can be nothing but a creature spawned by the devil himself!
Here is the terrifying tale of the Jackalope:

The Jackalope are native of the arid Western Plains and Rocky Mountain Regions of the United States L. artiodactyla phasianus is a hybrid resultant from interbreeding of the pygmy-deer and a species of "killer-rabbit". Jackalopes will only breed during electrical storms including hail, explaining its rarity. The animals can convincingly imitate any sound, including the human voice. It uses this ability to elude pursuers, chiefly by using phrases such as "There he goes! That way!"

A jackalope may be caught by putting a flask of whiskey out at night. The jackalope will drink its fill of whiskey and its intoxication will make it easier to hunt. In some parts of the United States it is said that jackalope meat has a taste similar to lobster. Female jackalopes can be milked as they sleep belly up and that the milk can be used for a variety of medicinal purposes.

The extremely shy and elusive animals are dangerous if approached, having sharp horns like its ancestors, horned four legged ruminants "haunting the banks of the Euphrates, very savage, hard to catch and having long saw-like horns capable of cutting down trees".

I think the Jackalope was my favorite of the oddities the museum had to offer.
But not my favorite thing which was quite clearly the encyclopedia of miniature books!

Which was, in all reality, a book about various books throughout history that are incredibly small and... get was small itself!!!!!!!!!!! Holy shit!


Well, anyway my point is this: If you visit the Main Street Museum (And you should, admission is just a meager $3) you'll likely come back with your own favorites which will probably be something that other visitors to the museum didn't even see when they went! And if you don't, and you come out muttering about people picking up trash and charging you to see it well fuck you and the horse you rode in on! Get out of my blog, asshole!

The fact that the Main Street Museum exists in White River Junction and fits in and people don't get confused about it's purpose I think must be a testament to the greatness of the people of White River Junction, either that or they just haven't noticed it yet.

The Main Street Museum's website can be found here:, you really should check out their Catawiki where you can find out about all their various exhibits.

To see all the photos I took (Or all the ones I want people to see) go to my Main Street Museum set of pictures on Flickr:


David Hammond said...

Hi Spike,

The moment I read your report on the Main Street Museum I began to sing:

Underground, overground, wombling free - the Wombles of White River Junction are we! Making good use of the things that we find - things that the everyday folks leave behind ... We're so incredibly utterly devious, making the most of everything - even bottles and tins! Pick up the pieces, put them in the museum toooooo, is what we do!

Thanks for visiting, and come back soon to see us again.

Your Friend,

-- David Hammond

Main Street Museum
Museum Fellow
Member, Board of Directors
Development and Planning Unit
Washington, D.C. Field Researcher

"The Main Street Museum --
We Have It! You Want to See It!"

Spike Vicious said...

I'm glad the Wombles reference was understood!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Spike Vicious said...

Good point!