A museum is a place where one should lose one’s head. ~ Renzo Piano
F (age 10) and I had an entertaining day at the Mint Museum Uptown. You can see him in silhouette here in front of the entrance to the Craft and Design wing of the building. I wish I could explain to you what this colorful piece is, but I can’t. In fact, even if you and I were standing in front of it, I still wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly what it is or how it was designed and constructed. F watched a good bit of the video about its construction; I was busy examining the piece and snapping photos. I did hear the artist/craftsman say one thing that impressed me. He said he would get it to a certain stage and then ask people what they thought, what they would add or take away, etc. I may be wrong, but I don’t think artists typically do that. It’s a beautiful, interesting, and eye-catching piece, whatever it is.
We enjoyed the hands-on room. Above right F is picking up a pail to feed the chickens. His action caused the rooster to rise up and announce the day. There are several sections in this room and each section gets its inspiration from the work of a particular artist. The daily life on a farm takes its inspiration from Romare Bearden’s paintings. Bearden was born in Charlotte (We claim him!) but soon moved with his family to New York City. His connection to his southern rural roots apparently never left him, as his early works show. Many of his paintings are depictions of African-Americans as they lived their lives. I am powerfully attracted to his use of vivid color. Read more about Romare Bearden here. Charlotte is fortunate to house the largest collection of his vast body of work here at the Mint Museum Uptown.
You may have guessed by now that the Mint Museum of Charlotte has more than one site. The other, and original, site is the Mint Museum Randolph. Randolph is simply the name of the street where that branch resides. The oldest section of the Randolph building was the first branch of the United States Mint. Many people don’t know that Charlotte had a mint right in downtown Charlotte in the 1800s. There was actually a gold mine near here and the U.S. Mint operated here from 1836 until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. You can learn more about the Museum’s history here.
This post is fast becoming too long. Now that I’m retired I have time to become really excited about local attractions and history, and so I could go on and on. I get even more excited about spending a day out with a ten-year-old boy. If you should have the opportunity to accompany a child this age (or thereabout) on a trip to almost anywhere, do it. The conversation is stimulating and fascinating. We talked about racial prejudice, the class bully and how happy he will be when school is out for the summer. I was thrilled to learn how he felt about these important topics. Kudos to his parents for a job well done.