Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Saint Valentine's Day!

I hope that you, my friends, are having a great day out there. Might I suggest that a trip to a local museum is a wonderful way to show a loved one that you appreciate them in your life. If you don't mind traveling or happen to live near Virginia then perhaps a trip to the Valentine Richmond History Center is a lovely idea - after all 'Virginia is for lovers'. 

Valentine Richmond History Center Museum
President Washington presented with a fasces.

Taken from their website:

The mission of the Richmond History Center is to engage, educate, and challenge a diverse audience by collecting, preserving, and interpreting Richmond's history.

The history of the institution begins with Mann S. Valentine, Jr., the museum’s founder, who made his fortune with the creation and production of Valentine’s Meat Juice, a health tonic made from pure beef juice. As did many men of his era, Mann collected artifacts. His collection may have begun, as rumored, with a cigar box filled with arrowheads, but it soon grew to comprise hundreds of objects.

Mann shared his love of history with his brother, renowned sculptor Edward V. Valentine. Mann laid the foundation for the museum in 1892; when he died in 1893, he provided the original bequest for the Valentine Museum, leaving his personal collection of art and artifacts and the 1812 Wickham House.

The Valentine Museum, the first private museum in the City of Richmond, opened in 1898; Edward Valentine served as its first president from its opening until his death in 1930. In his own will, he left an incredible collection of his sculpture, papers, furniture and memorabilia to the museum that still bears his family name.

Over time, the institution has evolved from a general art and history museum to one focusing on the life and history of Richmond, Virginia. For more than 100 years, the Richmond History Center has collected, preserved and interpreted the materials of Richmond's life and history. Through its collections, exhibitions and programs it reflects and interprets the broad issues and diverse communities which define the history of Richmond and its surrounding counties. The History Center is the only institution in the city committed solely to this mission.

The Richmond History Center offers major changing exhibitions, which focus on American urban and social history, costumes, decorative arts and architecture. The History Center includes the stately 1812 Wickham House, a National Historic Landmark and outstanding example of neoclassical architecture featuring rare wall paintings.
The museum does host some fascinating exhibits: 
  • Edward V. Valentine Sculpture Studio
  • Wickham House and Collections [This exhibit depicts life in the early 19th Century.]
  • Settlement to Streetcar Suburbs: Richmond and Its People
  • Creating History: The Valentine Family and Museum
  • Signs of the Times [This exhibit depicts vintage neon signs.]
The museum also hosts an online service for those who can't make it to the museum itself. The current exhibit is: History, Ink: The Tattoo Archive Project. While I have my personal issues with the tattoo fad they do have some fantastic designs on display. 

So if you are in the Richmond area be sure and check this place out. And... I have feeling that I am going to be visiting Richmond again in a future blog... but where shall I be going then?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Crazy Bookshelves!!

I've been seeing more and more of some very unique bookshelves appearing on Facebook and other social media sights that I visit. What do you think of them? Would you use one of these to showcase your collection? Perhaps in a spare room? In your man-cave in the basement? Kids' room? We certainly live in interesting times, but I think this development is a positive if not a little wacky spin in the mix. 

I found all these on Bing image search. There are many more. What are your favorites?


The tree is pretty cool. I can see this in a child's room. Something a little offbeat, but still it has room for plenty of books, maybe a plushy or two. I like it. 


This one is definitely more for a den, not a bedroom. Downstairs back wall with a few comfy chairs nearby. Works.


This one is a certainly nice for the living room. It is small and unobtrusive. It is not screaming that, "Yes, you have entered the house of a seriously demented individual." It is a good conversation piece.

This one is for the bedroom. Oh... yes it is. It has that manly swagger to it. Something that I am quite familiar with. It is one where I look at it and say "Yes sir, it is great being a man - I concur. What shall we read today?"

Saturday, February 9, 2013

With Regret We Must Inform You That...

The Snow Library has been closed today due to... snow.

It is total Snowmageddon here in lovely Wintery White Western Mass. Nemo has dumped a good two feet plus in areas. Today is a great day to find a good book, curl up with some hot chocolate and relax for awhile.

Funny thing, while I was reading the history tab on this library the original library was destroyed by fire during a blizzard back in '52. Snow is not friendly to this poor place. While outside of my stated area being a library out on the cape it still looks like a cool place to visit.

Anyway, stay well-read my friends.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tax Forms @ The Library

For we in the United Stated it is now tax season. Joy... Yeah, I know. Now many of you do your taxes online. Some go to a tax preparer. If you are like me and like to do your taxes yourself then obviously you need a few of the hundred million forms available. I used to go to a preparer and did them online for a few years, but honestly it was an unnecessary expense. The question is... where do you get the forms? For years the Post Office used to have all the forms available. Now that has been pretty much phased out (as I found out last year - I brought that one on myself). Sure, you could request the forms, but why wait. And maybe it just me, but I have no desire for any interaction with the IRS. I had to go to them for some old records a few years ago and it was creepy. It was like they are judging you and making notes which are going into a secret file. No... let's leave the IRS out of this equation.

What other public service institution can you go to for help? Of course, it is your local library. You would be surprised at the people who don't know this. Now it is important not to get to them too late in the season. As they say in the commercials - supplies are limited. Last year, I waited a little too long to get my forms and we'll I was making some phone calls, but I tracked down what I needed.

So be sure to push this little point to your friends who like to do their taxes on their own. There are people out there who just think that libraries are just books and no idea of the other services which are available to them.