One of the places we went with my out-of-state cousin when he visited with us a few weeks ago was new to us, too. My ‘local’ cousin and her hubby told us about it so they took all of us to a fascinating place I want to visit again sometime. I took so many photos it’s hard to decide what to share with you. I’ll consolidate some of the bits and pieces into a collage or two – or more – so you can see what I mean. And I’ll share this adventure in more than one blog post.I love carousels – I’ve always loved them! When I was a little girl my aunt took me to the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, California and I had my first ride on a carousel. Since then, they have always captured my heart. You can imagine the ‘magic’ I felt when I stepped inside the Albany Historic Carousel and Museum about an hour south of our home in Albany, Oregon. The carousel is not finished – it’s in process. The animals are being carved and painted by volunteers who donate thousands of hours to make it become a reality some day. People can ‘adopt’ a carousel animal and many have adopted animals in memory of dear ones in their lives. The carousel will look like when it is finished. As soon as you step inside the building where the carousel animals are being made, you begin to see the process that turns raw wood into a beautifully carved and painted carousel animal. Walk through the door and up a few steps and you are in the painting room where you will see completed animals and some that are still need work.A few finished animals are on display in the paint room. The horse in the foreground is a working ‘riding’ horse – for the children who visit. What a good idea! The others all have signs that say ‘Do not touch!’I loved the detail on this one. Her little face is so sweet. I want you to meet ‘Harriette.’ She’s my favorite. She was adopted in memory of a dear grandmother so every detail was carefully planned to reflect her life. She collected frogs so there was no doubt what animal should represent her. In her arms Harriette is holding a jar – it’s a canning jar! Because Grandma always canned food for her family every year. What’s in this canning jar? Bugs! Fireflies! (Keep reading and you’ll find out why.) Grandma never went anywhere without a hat, so ‘Miss Harriette’ must have a hat – with a yellow rose because she loved yellow roses. Her favorite color was purple. She always wore an apron so her family chose to ‘dress’ Harriette in a purple dress with a pinafore-apron. And she always had a hankie in her pocket. There was no way that detail could be left out. And the duck on the pocket? Well, Grandma Harriet l-o-v-e-d the University of Oregon Ducks!When she was a little girl Grandma’s mother made her dresses out of flour sacks. How to represent that? Yep – they figured it out!Each carousel animal has a sign that tells their story. Harriette’s sign says: ‘Harriette is perhaps the most whimsical animal on the Carousel. Everything on her is symbolic of some aspect of Anna Murphy’s life. She has twelve tadpoles on her apron, one for each child. She caught fireflies as a child, and always had a safety pin on hand. Just in case! The yellow rose was her favorite flower, and purple was her favorite color. And she even wears pants made of a flour sack! Adopted in loving memory of Anna H. Murphy by her family.’
One more look before we go into the carving room.I’ll show you part the carving room tomorrow. That’s where it all starts – from the raw wood, into the hands of skilled craftspeople, to a work of art that moves into the painting room and comes out ready to be mounted on the carousel. It’s done with precision and care by people who believe that what they do will bring joy to the hearts of people – young and old – from near and far. That makes every moment of their hard work worth it all!
If you would like to read more about this fascinating place, visit their website here.