Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Room Revisited

I am interested in using this "blog" technology to highlight a few of the ongoing projects here at The Alice. There are many elements here that inherently change: the exhibits come and go, events are presented each month, and our dedication to conservation means that the collection itself undergoes transformation - I'll highlight some recent projects in that realm in another blog. However, our public may not realize that there is also the conservation of the museum building, rooms, structures... our outer shell - and this creates change in the museum appearance, and in the way each visitor experiences the museum.

Yesterday I finished hanging the artwork and placing the objects back into what we call the Sheraton Room. This is the second floor bedroom in the northwest corner, named for the style of chairs that grace the room. The Sheraton Room has been the home of our collection of silhouettes since the museum opened in 1924. If you have been here for a tour you may not have realized this fact. The silhouettes were haphazardly hung and thus gave little indication of their integrity as a wonderful collection.

The silhouette collection as it was displayed in the Sheraton Room before renovation:

In the process of examinging each room in the museum we prioritized the Sheraton Room for repair of a window seat damaged by steam. The window seat was skillfully rebuilt by Roger Bodine and Steve Fessette, afterward Steve painted the woodwork and floor of the room. Of course, everything was removed to allow for this renovation. Moving the objects back afforded the opportunity to hang the silhouette collection with care and planning.

Docent Seana Remillard was a great help during the process of hanging the silhouettes and other artwork. After plotting out where each piece would be hung we tackled the concrete and terracotta tile walls! I hope the results speak for themselves... but you must tour the museum to really experience these wonderful, diminutive works of art!

And here is the silhouette collection today:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I'd like to take a moment to inform you of our need for volunteers! This summer we have an exciting event at the museum - our first exhibit of some exquisite Japanese woodblock prints first collected by Alice Miner in the 1920s. We expect to have a greater number of visitors because of the show, which can only further strain our small number of volunteers. If you have the time and inclination, please consider volunteering.

The Alice T. Miner Museum is seeking volunteers to help in interpreting the museum and its contents for visitors, researching our collection or archives, and assisting with events. The Alice also has a garden club for the green thumb looking to commit a few hours each week. The museum docent should be able to set aside six hours a week for museum work.

The Alice T. Miner Museum is a Colonial Revival Museum with a widely varied and exciting collection of decorative arts and furniture displayed in period rooms first arranged by Alice in 1924. The museum also houses extensive archives, including local history, genealogical information, and letters from well-known historical figures, as well as photographs and personal letters of Alice T. and William H. Miner.

Docents learn skills relating to the proper handling and care of historic objects and archival materials as well as tour guiding techniques, public relations, and research methods.

Our docents are committed to excellent visitor service and appreciate the importance of the Museum's collection, founders and history.

Docents are outgoing, enthusiastic communicators (for tours lasting up to 1.5 hours) who are interested in learning detailed information about the museum's artifacts and about Alice and William Miner - which will enable them to tell the stories of the Miners and the history of the collection. This job requires the ability to express ideas clearly and concisely, experience working with the public is preferred.

For more information email Amanda Palmer -, or call 518-846-7336

Embracing Change, Using Technology

This blog represents a change for The Alice. In a few short years the methods we use to reach out to our visitors have changed exponentially! Lucille Czarnetzky, Director/Curator during the 1970's and 80's, would have connected with her public by talking over the garden fence, spreading news by word of mouth. Fred Smith, my immediate predecessor, courted the public by hanging fliers, talking to the press, and good, old-fashioned word of mouth.

I cannot emphasize enough how important the old ways of spreading the news can be... when I hear from a friend that a show is really worth seeing it means much more to me than merely noting an interesting flier, or reading a review written by someone I do not know. But these methods are somewhat fleeting. People move on and fliers get blown away in the breeze.

And now I will get to the point about embracing technology. This blog affords an opportunity that word of mouth and hanging fliers cannot promise - it will be available for our public to read until I am ready to change the message.

I hope to use our new blog site to keep you up to date on our more immediate news. We already produce a quarterly newsletter and post show announcements on our website, but now I can tell you what happened @ The Alice last week, or yesterday, or just an hour ago on a tour.

Stay tuned!