July 27, 2013

The Crossroads of Continents Exhibit and Russian dolls

   I found the above photo in my files recently. I took it at a Russian Expo that I think was in Seattle. It was so long ago, I'm not sure! Isn't she gorgeous? Sadly, the doll is the closest I ever got to the land of Dr. Zhivago. I had high hopes of going on an archaeological dig in eastern Russia once in the nineties while I was a docent at the Anchorage Museum of Art and History, but I didn't pass the physical and I think they thought I might be more trouble than I'd be worth, ha.
   Anyway, while I was at the Anchorage Museum of Art and History, I got to serve as a docent during the Crossroad of Continents Exhibit that was over ten years in the making. Moscow sent a wonderful curator from the Hermitage Museum (I think--I've lost my notes) to train the docents.  The Russian contribution to the collection was enormous. Stunning. Amazing.
   One of my fondest memories is leading a parade of women from my apartment building down the hill to the museum so I could practice on them before the exhibit opened. I could go on for hours about that exhibit. The catalog for it is huge; I spent my last few dollars on it and wouldn't let it go for anything. Maybe, I should insure it, like Betty Grable did her legs!
   I could never afford a doll like the one in the photo, but before I left Alaska, I purchased three little wooden Russian dolls in a local hotel gift shop for $7.95 each. I was so embarrassed because I was in a fancy hotel and I had to dig clear to the bottom of my purse to get enough money to pay for them. Afterwards, I didn't even have enough change left for a cup of plain coffee, but I was so thrilled! I'll take a photo and show them to you soon. They sit above my fireplace year around except at Christmas, when I hang them on my tree. One of them always makes me laugh: he's eating a slice of watermelon. Watermelon in Russia? Who knew? I grew up in Oklahoma, which is watermelon country in the United States. That doll is very dear to me.

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