Windham (Google Maps location)
January 5, 2019
Okay procrastination, you’ve got me. You’ve got me good. Fortunately, very few people read the vast collection of CTMQ museum pages. Yeah, it’s true. Even though this website began as a blog in 2006 chronicling my visits to Connecticut’s wide and wild array of museums, it turns out that aside from a hardcore crew, these pages are among the least popular on the entire site.
Oh well. That’s not going to stop me.
Nope. Not going to stop me from things like driving my son out to Windham on the fifth day of January in 2019 to a relatively rarely open homey little library to visit not one, but two tiny museums. Yes, believe it or not, the Guilford Smith Library contains two museums; this one and the Guilford Smith Library Museum.
Supposedly. Or, more accurately, did at some point in time. And still may? I think?
Calvin and I entered the historic library and pretended to care about the books. Ah, yes… Calvin the Janet Evanovich fan…
The funny thing is that at this library, the librarians actually speak to patrons. Even non-locals they don’t recognize like us. “Hi! Good morning! Can I help you find something? Where are you from? Why are you here?” That sort of stuff.
It’s at this point you want to ask me, “okay, so you asked about the two little museums that are supposedly here, right?”
Wrong. You don’t know me very well. I have no recollection where I read about the museums, but it was a trusted source. (Otherwise we wouldn’t be here.) The lame thing is – and the reason for my saying that “procrastination got me” – is because I can’t find a single thing online about the Edward A. Card Photography Museum at the Guilford Smith Library in Windham, Connecticut.
But look! Look at this next picture!
Boom. It’s a museum and it still sort of exists. Never mind that it’s tucked in a tiny corner room upstairs at the library behind a door that said “Staff only”; past the book sale rooms, past the Guilford Smith Libary Museum (whatever that is), behind a closed door. I didn’t care, I was on a mission. And I had found my prize.
On the library’s website, this is all I could find.
Other items related to this collection are housed in the library but not listed in this finding aid. Items not listed include glass plates in the library safe, as well as assorted photographs in memorabilia in display cases and in the upstairs museum rooms.
Italics mine. I think I may have picked up a little informational brochure at some point, but I cannot find that at the moment and I may be misremembering. So… let’s make up some history.
Edward A. Card did not invent the library card catalog system, nor did he invent postcards. Or greeting cards. He was a photographer. I don’t think he was a very famous photographer because he doesn’t exist on the internet. Perhaps he was prolific. Maybe just a collector of cameras and stuff?
I’m not very good at making stuff up about people who have museums dedicated to them. The Edward A. Card Photography Museum is the size of a walk-in pantry. There are some old cameras and some photographs. My favorite photograph is of the Peene sisters.
Of course I have no idea who these Peenes are, but… their photo is at the Edward A. Card Photography Museum at the Guilford Smith Library, so I assume they did something somewhere. Or maybe Edward A. Card just liked the fact that they were the Peene sisters.
I’m sorry, that’s about all I’ve got. My self-directed tour of the museum lasted about 3 minutes. It’s clear to me that the museum was in some sort of transition; perhaps from existence to non-existence. Perhaps they trot out this stuff once ever few years and display it in the other upstairs rooms when there’s no booksale going on. There are clearly some explanatory signs that were put away. But you know what? I’ve visited this museum and I’m calling it a day.