Tuesday, June 18, 2013

House on the Rock, Spring Green, Wisconsin, Folly

In another life, long, long, ago, with a previous boyfriend, a trip to Spring Green, Wisconsin  included a tour of Taliesen East, summer home of Frank Lloyd Wright.  The memory that sticks with me is the geometric patchwork theater curtain with carefully preserved coffee spill stains.  Preserved since Mr. Wright was the spiller.  Reverent tone, cultish atmosphere.  Students as apostles.  Beautiful building in beautiful setting.

Last fall it was my husband, I , and 2 ansty children on our way back from a long weekend at a water park in the Wisconsin Dell's area. 

Wisconsin road view.
Churning, chlorinated waters at our destination.
Torture devices, em, fun, fast, slippery tunnels, some of which were pitch black inside.

Heaven when you turn eleven.
We opted to stop at a tourist attraction called House on the Rock.
It was set up as a giant cabinet of curiosities in the low ceilinged house of a mega-rich,

Greeter. MM.

Dust allergies and claustrophobia might have been triggered in our tender young explorers.   Kind of hard to imagine someone living there with treasures taking up every bit of room. On the other hand I love this kind of place. A museum that is chockful, instead of stripped down and dumbed down. Rather claustrophobic, windy paths take a visitor past doll, circus, train, lamp, etc, collections.

Chock-a block Tiffany lamps, like its no big thing.

Vast swaths of red_velvet upholstered walls, bench cushions, ceilings? maybe. Yes! as evidenced below.
Brought back delicious memories of 1970's era Christopher Lee and Vincent Price movies,
Night gallery episodes, posh suburban funeral homes.

Then there is  long indoor path that narrows to a scarily high overlook.  The view that day was a valley full of trees turning colors.

The illusion of infinity.

October foliage in valley.
All the major museums in Chicago have gotten stripped down since I've grown up.  the Adler Planetarium that was full of intricate instruments set against blue velvet evoking long ago astronomers and the shadow boxes of Joseph Cornell has been gutted out.  A huge horrible resin? playground? or whatever it is with robot controlled mobile devices and climb-in mini rockets and adjacent cafe take up positively acres of space.

Speaking of which where are the Joseph Cornell shadow boxes I saw at the Art Institute in the early 1980's? https://www.google.com/search?q=joseph+cornell+shadow+boxes&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=qRC1Ua3sMOPI0QGQl4CQDQ&ved=0CC4QsAQ&biw=1105&bih=539

The Chicago Academy of Sciences in its old location was stuffed with dioramas of Buffalo, oak savannahs, many artifacts of life in the Prairie State of Illinois.  Most are now in deep storage.
A smattering on display at the Peggy Notebart Museum.
Prominent there is a water table play area (illustrating Deep tunnel Project in Chicago) and indoor playground with sad taxidermied beaver in the backdrop.  Some 20 year ago I heard a statistic that 1/100th of 1%, so a penny's worth of original prairie still exists in Illinois.  At least on the outside of the Museum is a stylized representation of what once was.

I wonder if my children will feel things were better when they were young?

Lalala, anyway, House on the Rock, some more pictures here:

Button collection, shorthand slogans. 
Were there any "Yes we can" ones for Obama?
Winged creatures.
Merry go round animals.
Buggy bandleader.




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