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The Museum Celebrates the 400th Anniversary of the Kunstkamera, St Petersburg, Russia.
The Main Street Museum and the famous Underpass—charming example of the vernacular architecture of White River Junction, Vermont.

Mission Statement

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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!

Monsters! Monsters are cool!

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!


Read About Some of Our Past Events!

Check out our full schedule here!

25th Anniversary Celebration

Past Exhibitions

Our yearly Russian and Pan Slavic Festival and Feast features the Churyumov-Gerasiamenko comet as well as selected objects featuring the Soviet Space Dogs Belka and Strelka

Comet 67 240815 rosetta 1.gif

Halloweeeen!

We are proud sponsors of the town's yearly Halloween parades! They have quite a history, read more about them here.

Catawiki

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
  • 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.

Publicity and Press Clippings

Read what we write about ourselves. Read what others write about us.

Testimonials

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
The Museum as depicted by Koren in 1996.

Material Culture Studies

History is false. It has to be. —Jules David Prown

We are a museum. We collect and preserve objects. 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 ten questions associated with it. And each question we research raises five or ten 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. After all, questions are more fun than the answers.

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.

The exterior of our Fire Station Building during the holidays.

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
What is he thinking about, right now?

Links

Other Museum-things.

"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.
Kevin Huizenga's illustration of the fire station building.
The main exhibition space, stage and research areas of the Museum.

The Main Street Museum, 58 Bridge Street, White River Junction, Vermont, 05001-1909, info@mainstreetmuseum.org, VT.356.2776