Saturday, July 2, 2011

A House Museum By Another Name

I spent my early morning hours on Saturday reading portions of the Sunday N.Y. Times and the local Connecticut paper. I found two inspirations for this blog.

The first is an article entitled "An Immigrant from France is Welcomed to New York. It's about a 1955 Citroen Traction Avant. Yes an automobile! The personal stories, historical focus, and "noteworthy features" reminded me of the house museum tours that I so love.

With a few changes this could be a description of a house museum.

"The Traction Avant - the name is French for front-wheel drive, has the look of an old time mobsters car. Made from 1934 to 1957, it was quite innovative by prewar standards. While it wasn't the first car with front drive, it popularized the layout in Europe, and its unibody structure was considered advanced."

A similar passage in my blog might read:

Taliesin West - Welsh for Shining Brow- has an an idiosyncratic modern look. Built from 1937 onward, it was quite innovative for its time. While it's not Wright's most famous construction, he designed many of his well known buildings, including the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, at the compound while living here during the winter months.

And doesn't this part sound like the description of a some kitchen innovation that proved over time to be a poor solution to the problem it was invented to address?

"The hinged windshield opens at the bottom with a push of a lever on the dashboard. It's useful on rainy days when the windshield fogs up. But you get your trousers wet."

Pictures accompanying the article show dashboard instruments with an art deco flair, personalized pillows, and the badge of the French owners club. In house museum language this might be an art deco vase, embroidered sofa pillows, and a portrait of the family patriarch.

The second article of note that morning is from the local paper, a newspaper so bad it shall go unnamed. There was an article on the only Frank Lloyd Wright designed skyscraper that was ever built. The Bartlesville Oklahoma building was once a corporate headquarters but has been transformed into the Price Tower Arts Center and Inn at Price Tower. The 8 upper floors are now an intimate 21-room hotel.

While the journalist's description of the hotel was most intriguing and her claim that Bartlesville has many more "historic museum-mansions" spurred my interest, Oklahoma is quite a distance from CT and it's way down on my list of places to visit. But here's a few web references to file away. You never know.

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