|"Romance: Stories of Love and Passion"|
Come see "Romance: Stories of Love and Passion in the Mid-Willamette Valley" to experience a close look into the romantic and passionate lives of those who came before us.Very clear, right? Romance and passion. Valentine's Day is the implied peg.
Certainly that's how the paper interpreted it in today's piece on the show.
Love is in the air as you walk into the gallery on the second floor of the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill, with pieces of history are in every corner of Willamette Heritage Center's current exhibit.So it is very strange to see the way the Lord & Schryver Conservancy interpreted the directive and theme.
Toward the middle of the gallery lies a black telephone, and the faint sound of piano is audible before it's picked up.
Love songs written by members of the Bush Family play through the receiver, located next to the actual sheet music.
|Volunteers! Yeah, maybe not the Love and Passion you expected|
|(Click to enlarge)|
Over at ShineonSalem in a series on important women in Salem history, they relate a piece of oral history:
A diminutive, but adult, young lady traveling to Europe by ship was placed by mistake at the Children’s Table in Dining Salon. When she requested a glass of wine and was refused, she insisted on being moved to another table. There she met Elizabeth Lord who would be her lifetime companion and partner in one of the pioneer landscaping firms of the Northwest. She was, of course, Edith Schryver.Now that's the start to a love story, right?!
But even in our post-Obergefell moment, any love, romance, and passion between Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver is essentially erased in our official narratives about Lord & Schryver. The Conservancy that now seeks to preserve and educate about the garden and landscape firm looks past the centrality of any love story, or any inner and affective life, in a very determined way. Instead, it's a professional story about the first women-owned landscape firm. They only utter things about passion for plants, not any human passion. "Let the garden embrace you."
In the exhibit at the Mill, as there have been other times, there are what might be a few "wink, wink" references for them that have eyes to see, but that's a reversion to the code of the closet really, and it is strange still to see these oblique and coded hints.
This is so very odd. The love story was a lay-up, a gimme. What is going on here? Why is this human passion so intensely evaded?
|Lord Family Crypt: Governor Lord, his wife and daughter,|
but no Edith
Promoting the gardens may seem to call for one kind of rhetorical approach in marketing and public image. But if the Conservancy wants to be serious about the history in any public-facing way, they will need to open up their interpretive lens and look at these multiple layers and frames. Maybe they do this in private, but in public it's all too one-dimensional.
At the Mill's show, the panel on volunteers is a real renunciation, and does not do justice to the full tapestry and meaning of Lord & Schryver.