Friday, September 14, 2012

Carousel Day

Wow, what a fun Wednesday!  My friend Barb had the day off, so I played hooky and we headed down south to Albany, OR & Salem, OR, for a day of antiquing, food and carousels!  I had been wanting to take her to the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum since my visit earlier this year.  After finding a few treasures and having a tasty lunch at the local burger joint, we made our way to the museum where we wandered around for a bit longer than we meant to!  It was just all so fascinating- a project that really touched our hearts. 

You see, the Albany Carousel is a true community project.  It is an in-progress, 52 animal carousel project that is being run & crafted by volunteers.  And the time and attention these volunteers put into their pieces really shows!

The front of the museum, when you walk in the door, houses their painting department.  In the front window their were several finished pieces slowly drying.  They'd been painted in oils, and we were told that they needed to dry for some months before they got their heavy lacquer layer.  Volunteers were busy painting away at pieces big and small. 

To the left is a little room with vintage carousel pieces and displays.  Carousels have been around practically forever, and were very popular in the Victorian era.  In this room they have several neat examples of old pieces.  I loved this large gray horse- so very animated!

From the vintage room we went to the main workshop where the pieces were being carved.  They were in all stages of production- from completely finished like these pieces:

To others like this one who just needed paint:

Some were nearly there:

And all of the earlier stages were present too:

And of course, there were plenty of these guys floating around for reference!

One really cool item on display in this room was the mock-up of the carousel.  Man, it is going to be huge!  But just seeing how all of the pieces fit together is fascinating.

Another neat feature found in the room was a finished panel from the upper exterior of the carousel.  It was pretty nifty to see its size, and see all of the lights lit up:

I put a few more pictures of the museum on my flicker account.  Check it out to see more pieces in progress!  And if you are ever in Albany, I *highly* suggest taking a trip to its cute downtown area and checking out this museum!  For more info on the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum, or to get involved, donate or volunteer, please check out their website!

From Albany, we made our way north to Salem, OR where we stopped (and rode, of course) their community built carousel!  The Salem Riverfront Carousel was a blast to check out- a finished community project along the same lines as the Albany carousel.  This one was an all-horse 34 (I think that's what I counted) piece project with nods to the Oregon Trail (anyone else play that game as a kid?).  It was very cute, very shiny, and Barb and I had a grand time.  Here are a few shots of this finished work of art:

I noticed as I was getting off that they was a tiny rattie carved into the saddle of the horse next to mine.  There wasn't enough room for a direct shot, but I managed to snap one through a mirror:

Good times!  So, a little more antiquing, some tea and a slice of pie later, we were on our way home (well past Portland traffic time, thankfully!) happy for a day off spent in good company, seeing beautiful things.  And I, of course, am very inspired.



  1. So cool! A project I would love to volunteer on if I lived in the area! I lived in Beaverton some years ago but have never heard of this museum - my loss! I love the imagination that's going into this; Never saw a giraffe on a carousel before! The in-progress dog is especially fantastic!

  2. It was cool! I wish I lived closer too. If you are ever back in the area, I highly recommend a visit. That giraffe was sooo tall! He's going to be fun to ride. Indeed, gotta love the bulldog! :)

  3. Awesome post! I used to love to visit the Salem carousel but I haven't been in ages. I met a man earlier this year who does carving on the Albany project, I only wish I'd had more time to chat with him. Great photos!

    1. Thanks! If you've a chance, go back and see their progress. They've gotten a lot done since I first visited in January! :)

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