Categories are often both overlapping (vinculum) and mutable. Ordinary categories, the highest level of Main Street Museum taxonomy include, but are not limited to:
- Living, or Apparantly Once Living Artifacts
- Boxes of Rocks (Geology)
- Amulets and Sacred Objects
Characteristics or constructs which overlap, providing context for the understanding, or "reading", of objects in multiple series or categories are described by Museum Staff as "Vinculum" Categories. Some of our Vinculum Categories are:
- Color as a Hysterical Reaction
- Flocked Things
- Round Things
- Objects with Orifices
- Tangled Things
- Shoes and Feet (and Tiny Shoes)
- Things Stuck on a Pin
- Dirty Things
- Broken Things
- Things Floating in Solution
- Categories Teeth and More Teeth and especially Color as a Hysterical Reaction, Objects with Orifices, Round Things and Tangled Things created by curation teams of the Robert Hull Fleming Museum, University of Vermont.)
The subgroups in the category "Formal and Surface Synchrony" are: Interesting Forms, Flocked Items, Patina, Bundled Items, Shoes & Feet, and Color Synchronies—Color As A Sympathetic Reaction and Color As A Hysterical Reaction (no items currently in this category).
- Subgroup: Interesting Forms. Indeed, there are so many similarities and comparisons that can be made.
- Subgroup: Patina (Actual and Sympathetic)
The surface of objects can be compared with accuracy, to the epidermis, or skins, of animal forms. Again, here is oxidization at work. Along with moisture, and cyclical growth patterns, oxidization is one of the defining characteristics of biological forms, as distinguished from the non-biological. It is the ineluctable arena of our future. Oxidization, then, is one of the more vegetable aspects of the mineral world. Transforming iron, brass and copper to an orange and bright torquiose dust. Silver oxide is dark enough to be used in photographic emulsion as the darkness of shadow. Oxide of lead and titanium is bright white and is used in pigments for painting. The workings of oxygen are multiform and varied.
- Subgroup: Color Synchrony
Instances of color as camouflage seem at once an example of natural phenomenon yet striking in their artificiality. Our delineation of color treats Color as a Sympathetic Reaction. For example, the appearance of a bright red azalea against a bright red house—on a sunny day. The Museum of Jurasic Technology has given us instances from the culture of the Lower Jurasic with the Beetle and an emerald, or emerald-like stone. Both are brilliant green. When kitsch is encountered, it can nearly always be seen as "Color As Hysterical Reaction.” (See the category for this, Case E.)
- Subgroup: Color As A Hysterical Reaction
There are currently no items in this subgroup. (See, however, cases B., and E.*)
- The Jack Rowell “Muddler,” a bright purple hand-tied salmon tool, while not given in this category, and neither in the “Tool” category, can be considered an item of hysterical—or psychologically induced—hue. It is in the “Relics” category, Case B.
The “Tiny Thong” with its rubber rainbow sole, may also be considered a possible candidate for this lamentably empty sup-group; but this artifact clearly asked for placement in the “Shoe” category. (See Case E.)
The categories as they currently stand were originally developed by a team of experts from the University of Vermont, from the Burlington area second-hand Store Community and the Main Street Museum in 2000.
Vinculum comes from the Latin vincire, vinctum, to bind, tie or chain. Overlapping categories are categories that are represented in a large enough number of artifacts in the Museum collection to warrant special investigation. Oxidization is clearly one of these. So are "Tangled Things" and "Dusty Things" and "Objects with Orifices."
For more into, see Categories.