“We planned this day to be open to the community, to everyone that would like to come, as part of the celebration and to show our allegiance with other museums all across the world,” museum director Pegi Wilkes said.
Each year the Advisory Committee of the International Council of Museums chooses a theme for International Museum Day. This year’s theme is Museum and Memory.
“We think that objects tell stories,” said Kristi Reynolds who does community outreach for the museum. “The museum, they store, they archive, they restore objects and they educate people with them.”
Reynolds said the Southern Ohio Museum is very connected with this year’s theme because of the special collections they have, which keep a history of the region.
“We have so many things that are special to southern Ohio, things that really connect people to the past and inspire them to future endeavors,” Reynolds said.
The Southern Ohio Museum has four permanent collections that are unique to the cultural heritage of Scioto County and the surrounding area. These collections include Art of the Ancients: 10,000 Artifacts, the works of the famous photo realist Clarence Carter, Anna Louise Stanton’s dolls, and a historical archive of Carl Ackerman’s artwork.
“It is so phenomenal that we have in our small community an art museum that has four permanent collections that tie directly to the community,” Wilkes said.
The day’s activities included performances from several area musicians, dramatic performances, storytelling, art demonstrations and craft projects. Students from area schools showed up in multitudes to take part in the day’s festivities.
“The mayor came and welcomed everyone,” Wilkes said. “And there’s food, and food always brings kids. We have art projects and we have visiting artists.”
“Currently, we have Fatima Asimova and Barbara Day, and also Carol Estepp, those are our visual artists. They’re demonstrating their various crafts and engaging all the kids, and instructing them in different types of art that you wouldn’t normally see like origami and textiles and surrealist futurism, futuristic drawing.”
Cirque d’Art Theatre performed throughout the day, with a special interpretation of excerpts from Alice in Wonderland. Hadyn Schmidt of Cirque d’Art was on hand, dressed in character as Alice.
“Today, I am promoting the Cirque d’Art Theatre and also the Southern Ohio Museum,” Schmidt said. “We have a performance of Alice in Wonderland and how we interpret it in dance.”
Also performing at Wednesday’s event was 17-year-old Josh Stewart, winner of the recent Portsmouth Idol contest. He has competed in numerous singing competitions throughout the state. In addition to singing, he also plays the French horn and enjoys sports.
“Josh is a local youth that is really creative,” Reynolds said.
“It’s been a real community endeavor,” Wilkes said. “It’s International Museum Day, but today at the Southern Ohio Museum it’s all about Scioto County and Portsmouth, Ohio.”
Saundra Wheeler, a member of the board at the Southern Ohio Museum, was on hand to welcome volunteers and visitors alike to the event.
“Today, I am just a volunteer like anybody else,” Wheeler said. “I’m excited to be here. We are sharing today with all of the other museums all over the country, International Museum Day. So it’s exciting to have all the students and community people come and celebrate with us.”
The event began with Mayor David Malone’s welcoming remarks at 11 a.m. until the Cirque d’Art’s closing performance at 7 p.m.
HEATHER DUMAS may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 241, or email@example.com.