Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Museum treasures.

By: John Buchinger, Associate Director of Education
Museums have their treasures. The Louvre has the Mona Lisa, The Albany Institute of History and Art has their mummy, The Fenimore Art Museum has Eel Spearing, but The Farmers’ Museum has Mary Margaret Kuhn. While I am not 100% sure of her provenance, Mary Margaret has been delighting visitors and educating children and adults in various departments of the New York State Historical Association and The Farmers’ Museum for over a decade. Currently she is the Site Supervisor for the Empire State Carousel. I think of her as kind of an ambassador for the entire state as she interprets the beautiful carved animals, murals of historical events from the state, and the various ephemera that make up this magical ride/exhibition. The other thing she does is host birthday parties. How she is able to take a couple hundred dollars and put on a party that seemingly has a budget of a gala event is a mystery. But it isn’t the balloons and custom cakes that make the events so special. It is her enthusiasm and joy in providing great family memories for our visitors. Recently my daughter, Willa, had her 4th at the Carousel and perhaps the highlight was when Mary played leap frog with the kids. Low budget but high returns on fun and memories! The carousel rides were custom with birthday wishes on the intercom and squeals of delight as the children took multiple spins on the carousel. The rides were wrapped up with a rousing rendition of The Birthday Song on the Mighty Military Band Organ. Willa got to push the big red button that starts the organ and her eyes got ever wider as the animals and figures leapt to life to wish her a happy one on her special day. Mary cut huge slices from perhaps the most delicious cake I have eaten in recent memory, courtesy of the kitchen of Margie Landers, as kids watched the ribbons and paper fly. Mary Margaret was there through it all, facilitating the fun and taking the worry out of the party for Mom and Dad. The Farmers’ Museum is home to The Cardiff Giant, heritage breed animals, beautiful examples of 19th century objects and architecture but it is home to people’s memories too. Field trips in elementary schools, Candlelight Evenings, weddings in the church and birthdays on the lawn all are part of what people remember about The Farmers’ Museum. And along with these events is a great staff that helps create those memories. Thanks, Mary!

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