History hunting

Martha’s Vineyard Museum has a packed schedule this spring.

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum, our treasure up on the hill in Vineyard Haven, just a 10-minute walk from the Steamship Authority, offers plenty to see and do during the spring season.

If you want to get oriented right off the bat, you can join one of the 2 pm Friday or Sunday gallery walks, free with museum admission. In terms of what’s new, through July 14, there is the “Clifford: Our Big Red Dog” exhibit for kids — and for the child in us all. Clifford has been delighting young and old alike for over 60 years. This experiential show invites us to play, explore, and learn about Clifford and the man who brought him to life, Norman Bridwell, who called the Vineyard home for over four decades.

“C.F. Giordano: Clearly Misunderstood,” on view through May 5, showcases the extraordinary artistic journey of Charlie Giordano and his motorcycle masterpiece, “Voodoo Doll,” which he built over two years in his West Tisbury shop during the solitude and challenges of the pandemic era. This unique exhibition includes tools, videos, drawings, and photographs to reflect the intersection of Giordano’s creativity, mechanical mastery, and personal creative process.

From March 2 through May 26 will be “Percy Cowen: My Dearest Jane,” which features this accomplished illustrator’s letters that he wrote home to his wife from overseas during World War I. On loan from the Cowen family, the illustrated envelopes and letters filled with drawings of Percy’s experiences have been preserved for over a century. Programming and community outreach director Laurel Redington observes, “The letters and envelopes are filled with his drawings, but the show is also about how beautifully people communicated at the time.”

Opening on April 2 will be “From Here to There and Back Again: Ferries from the MVM Collection.” The museum’s models will cover over 300 years of maritime history, tracing it from colonial vessels up through today’s Steamship Authority and reminding us that we do, indeed, live on an Island.

In terms of programs, one of the museum’s new endeavors is its weekly Friday Resets from 5 to 8 pm, where you can join in for an evening of board games, crafts, puzzles, light bites, and a special featured activity each week. Whether you’re immersing yourself in crafting, playing games, enjoying live music, or savoring a complimentary light bite and beverage, there’s a way for everyone to unwind. Redington says, “Friday Resets are for everyone who wants to get to bed early but still get out and have a little bit of food and maybe play some games. It is an opportunity for adults to recapture their old creative impulses.”

Thursday, March 28th, from 5:30  6:30 pm, brings Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Building, conducted by Charlie Giordano, jumping off the theme in his “Clearly Misunderstood” exhibition. The immersive workshop, designed for teens and motorcycle enthusiasts alike, will offer a rare glimpse into the intricate process of building a motorcycle from scratch with hands-on experience and insights into the artistry behind motorcycle construction, from the initial concept to the final nuts and bolts.

Research librarian Bo Van Riper brings us “Names on the Land” on April 11, where you can discover who Martha is, who Edgar is, and the like. “It’s an exploration of how the history of Martha’s Vineyard is written in the place names on its maps,” Redington says.

Of course, the museum’s permanent exhibitions and the exquisite Rose Styron Garden are always available and a great way to pass a few fascinating hours.

For more information and registration when required, visit mvmuseum.org/events.