Submitted by Westport Winery
The non-profit International Mermaid Museum, soon to begin construction at Westport Winery Garden Resort, has received several special donations this summer. And in each case, it is all about relationships.
Hoquiam librarian Mary Thornton contacted museum director Kim Roberts after asking Polson Museum director John Larson if he had a home for some scrapbooks donated to the library. Each scrapbook features handmade art from an organization called the Mermaids that were active in Grays Harbor between World War I and the late 1970s. They were a chapter of the Military Order of the Cootiettes, a group of women who volunteered under the auspices of the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars. Their mission was to provide support and comfort to those who had served in the military. Two of the scrapbooks have beaded covers. In one notation inside the creator said it took her three months to make the cover.
Central Park resident and marine biologist Alan Rammer donated a pufferfish specimen. This rare piece of taxidermy will become part of the Melusine display. Some say the Starbucks logo evolved as a drawing of Melusine who was a mythological European water sprite that was half woman and half fish.
The museum is asking for additional artifact donations. Kim Roberts said, “We are looking for a variety of marine life that has been preserved through taxidermy.”
The museum would like to display all five species of Pacific salmon (king, silver, pink, sockeye, chum) as part of the Ceasq display featuring the Scottish mythological creature that is half woman and half salmon.
“We also need preserved King, Dungeness and Spider crab for the Amphitrite story,” Roberts said. The museum needs a stuffed shark for the story of New Zealand’s Pania. “It can be any species of shark.”
Other marine artifacts being sought include a dolphin, flounder or halibut, seal and lionfish. “We are working with National Marine Fisheries in finding some of these restricted items.”
She said, “We need these marine life samples to help tell the story of both the mermaid and the creatures. But we also need some supporting items to help us display certain artifacts including a couple mannequins and a few locking glass cases.”
Mermaid movie posters, books, art, costumes, collectibles and a ship’s bowsprit are among the items needed to outfit the museum.
The museum recently acquired a corner post topper of a carved wooden mermaid from a carousel that had been in Egypt during Napoleon’s invasion and colonization between 1798 and 1801. “A friend in Arizona told about this item at auction in Texas that an antique dealer from Poulsbo was buying. We were able to pick up this piece of history in Poulsbo a week later. Building this museum is indeed all about relationships.”
The museum has a clear mission of teaching ocean ecology from seashore to sea floor immersed in mermaid mythology.
Inquiries about making financial donations or items to include in the display are encouraged by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.