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Consider the Lily….

Bebe L. writes, “These are lilies from past test collections that my daughter Anne has grown.”

Culture History Inspiration Museums Realizing Your Dream Stories Uncategorized Vintage

Making a Museum: Establishing A Collection-This one is focused on Everyday Life


What does it take to start a museum? What is the impetus? What do you want to say or explore? Is there a topic upon which you want to expound, examining its’ multitudinous dimensions? Are there stories that highlight a specific theme that you want to tell? Do you want to preserve specific memories?  These are the driving forces behind establishing a collection/museum.

In the first of this several-part-series that focuses on creating displays that cause conversation, I’m going to cite the Museum of Everyday Life in Glover, Vermont.  Charmingly situated on the edge of the road, on the shores of a small pond (where, one of my compatriots, told me, a large set of plastic shark’s teeth used to jut out of the water, evoking JAWS!), this old barn beckons you to ENTER!

According to the Museum’s website, the Museum

“…is an ongoing  revolutionary museum experiment based in Glover, Vermont. Its mission is a heroic, slow-motion cataloguing of the quotidian–a detailed, theatrical expression of gratitude and love for the minuscule and unglamorous experience of daily life in all its forms. We celebrate mundanity, and the mysterious delight embedded in the banal but beloved objects we touch everyday.”

And, true to their mission, the Philosophers who staff, curate and direct this most un-stuffy and unusual exhibition have collected quotidiana that defies definition.  In fact, as their First Manifesto states:

“The Museum of Everyday Life is proud to launch its mission of glorious obscurity.”


While, mostly, the objects on display underscore our desire to grace the very ordinary with a little bit of life, the staff is also interested in discussing why we need these items.  For instance, toothbrushes are one category of household necessities is well-represented.  The Philosophers ascribe the need for the humble toothbrush to our interest in foods, particularly sugary ones, vis-a-vis our equally strong interest in preventing tooth decay.  One of the most eye-catching dental devices on display is a “His and Her Toothbrush,” an alligator  who comes apart. The chopper cleaner that was crafted by Katherine Nook is brightly colored and sure does bring a smile.  It makes you wonder why she didn’t make more of them!




Pencil Sharpeners



This is fabulous pencil art!

A history and homage to The Match is another amazing exhibition. A matchstick rollercoaster,  working instruments made of matches, the story of Prometheus and a giant match are some of the objects that kindle the imagination with their luminescent wit!




This stunning beauty is made of all things metal — and she sure does shine!

Significant collections of safety pins, keys and locks explore humanity’s needs to hold things together and keep them locked up.  Clare Dolan, Chief Operating Philosopher, together with her Co-Philosophers, have amassed amazing arrays of these pins, locks and keys and explore their uses with depth and wit. 

When it comes down to it, the Museum of Everyday Life provokes discussion about how we live by taking a gander at some of the material culture that comprise our day to day existence. I like what Clare Dolan said in a Vermont Public Radio interview, and I’m paraphrasing here, that she hopes this will inspire others to start their own museums featuring their own stories!

For an online tour of the Museum, and, lot of interesting information about its’ history, programs and current exhibitions check out their website

They also have a cool Facebook page.  And, speaking of similar concepts, check out the Museum of Everyday Life in Iceland: Hversdagssafn – museum of everyday life.



Dance Fitness Realizing Your Dream





Candice Dion Braxton has a  gentle presence as you sit and talk with her, but, make no mistake, she has a true commitment to fitness, which she pursues with an incredible ferocity.  She began her fitness journey in 2008 when she took her first step on a treadmill. At that time she was working as a Nanny and the woman for whom she worked had a small home gym, where she encouraged Candice to start working out.

Walking on the treadmill led to working out at the Inches-A-Weigh gym, a weight loss center for women with toning and exercise equipment. Loving the feeling of being fit, Candice branched out and started working out and taking classes, specifically Zumba, at the Tuckahoe YMCA in Richmond, Virginia.  Not only was she shedding pounds, but she was also learning the ropes of lifting weights and dancing her way to excellent health by taking Zumba classes.  And, she was good at it!  Over the course of about 2 1/2 years she lost well over 100 pounds.



Candice lost well over 100 pounds. And, she did it the old-fashioned way: with Diet and Exercise! 

But, what about Zumba?  Candice is very modest in her answer to that question.

“I really enjoyed the classes and I kept improving. Everyone in my class kept encouraging me, so, I decided to take the course and become a certified Zumba instructor.” She started teaching in 2011,  right after becoming certified. At first she was leading classes part-time, but that all changed in 2013 when her job ended, and she felt like it was a God-given opportunity to pursue her passion for helping others become physically fit.

How does a Zumba teacher come up with music and the routines? That is a big question, because each instructor has their own style.  Candice likes to mix latin, soul, hip-hop, middle eastern and more. “I listen everywhere I go. If I hear a song I like, I’ll look it up on my phone and save it to listen to later. Music means so much to me and I like to mix it up, with different styles of songs following each other.”

Packing studios has become the norm for Candice.  She teaches corporate classes at:

Capital One, Altria/Philip Morris, Dominion Power and the Department of PublicServices. These Zumba courses, held at workout facilities on their respective campuses, are for the benefit of the employees.  Candice also teaches at two YMCAs in Richmond, and then, there is “Dancing With Dion.”

“Dancing With Dion,” a series of Zumba classes that is open to anyone, brings hundreds of people in every week.  Candice has worked with many local businesses to establish her own dance studios. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays she leads her students through swinging, swaying, marching, twirling, moving and shaking, thoroughly enjoyable Zumba routines. These classes are spread out, so, you can take one of these Zumba classes held at workout facilities in Midlothian, on Forest Avenue or on South Laburnum Avenue. *Candice has worked with many local businesses to rent out different spaces for her Dancing with Dion Zumba classes.Her work routine is dizzying, too, because she is  an instructor, fitness trainer, Certified Natural Health Counselor and a DJ.

It’s true that music, fitness and health have combined to make a very full life for Candice. Her love of music and dance spurred her to learn how to spin records, mix sounds and start a business as a Disc Jockey.  She is completely self-taught and has purchased all her own equipment so that she can go anywhere to liven up the party. She loves to see people get up and onto the dance floor! Gigs include weddings, birthday parties, celebrations of all kinds and middle school dances. Candice smiles when I ask her about DJing for Tweens and Teens. “I have had to acquire a whole different set of music for them,” she laughs. “But, I honor every request that they give me! It makes me feel so happy to see them having a good time!

When asked what is one of the most gratifying aspects of her very multi-faceted career helping people, Candice reflects, “My students range in age from 5 years to 80 years old, it’s a very diverse group. I think that being able to teach people who are older, younger and don’t look like me, makes me a better teacher.”

And, what of goals for her burgeoning business? She smiles, and says quietly, “I would love to have my own fitness and health center one day, where I can teach, counsel people on natural health and more.  But, that’s a ways away.” In the meantime, we all twist and turn, shuffle, shimmy and salsa and sweat off the pounds to Candice’s righteous playlist and feel a lot better after every class!