We like form, we like functionality, and we like office supplies. The Wolfsonian’s Museum Shop carries several distinctive items that, while they may not inspire you to rush to your desk every morning, will help make you happier when you’re there. First up is the sleek and cheerful Klizia 97 Stapler ($24) designed by Ellepi, a small company located near Milan. Not only is the steel body sturdy enough to reliably staple up to sixteen pages, but it does it with a smile; in profile, this stapler is definitely grinning. The Museum Shop carries the stapler in both red and white.
For Nicholas Sutton, age nine, it was his second poem ever, inspired by the 1939 RCA Victor TRK 12 television on view in Art and Design in the Modern Age. An excerpt: “Hey TV, since you / came I haven’t played / baseball! Now I just sit on / my BUTT and watch you!” Did he enjoy writing the poem? “Yeah,” he said. Anna Tomas came straight to the museum from the airport, after traveling from Spain. She worried that her jet lag was reflected in her poem. “I love poetry,” she said.
“Trains to me symbolized freedom and discovery. I was born with train love,” said Wolfsonian founder Mitchell Wolfson, Jr., who as a boy dreamed of owning a railcar. As an adult, he surpassed that dream, ultimately owning three historic railcars, two of which he took on extensive trips across the United States and into Canada and Mexico during the 1980s and early 1990s.
“How did we experience the view from above prior to the era of commonplace flight?” asks Patrick Ellis, a research fellow at The Wolfsonian who spent three weeks in April exploring the museum’s materials related to this topic. A doctoral student in Film and Media Studies at University of California, Berkeley, Ellis’s dissertation (working title: Vertigo Effects: Aeroscopics from Panorama to Film) centers on this question, with a focus on the years between 1851 and 1915.
Eyeglasses play a role in the Clark Kent-to-Superman transformation—the glasses get ditched, the cape appears, and heroics ensue. In a reversal of the regular person-to-superhero transformation, during a recent art making workshop at The Wolfsonian attended by more than fifty people, kids created elaborate glasses designed to express their inner, everyday heroes. The workshop, led by New Mexico–based visual artist Paula Wilson, was part of the museum’s free family day on May 3, Discovering Design: See Your Spark.
Wolfsonian founder Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. has been appointed chair of the museum’s advisory board for a one-year term beginning in spring 2014. Wolfson has been a member of the board since its inception, and he explains that his current installation as chair was precipitated by the stepping down of long-term museum director Cathy Leff as well as that of FIU’s provost Douglas Wartzok.
“The Panama Canal is one of the modern wonders of the world,” says Rochelle T. Pienn, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Museum Library Coordinator and curator of the new exhibition Wonders Never Cease: The 100th Anniversary of the Panama Canal, on view in the Rare Book and Special Collections Library Vestibule through August 26. “The idea for the Canal was batted around for centuries.