have been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember.
early grasp of the world’s most important plants came not from my formal
botanical studies as an undergraduate and, later, graduate student, but as
a grade school student, awed for hours at a time by the magnificent
dioramas of mammals and other large animals of the world located in the
American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
much of my formative period, any number of natural history subjects, as
well as archeological findings, particularly of the Egyptian and Minoan
civilizations in the Old World, and the Maya and Inca civilizations in the
New World, attracted me to any museum housing such subjects within a
day’s ride to and from them on whatever form of public transportation
might have been available to me at the time.
was not until my undergraduate years in Providence, Rhode Island, however,
with the treasures of the Rhode Island School of Design nearby, that I
became enamored of art for art’s sake. In particular, I have Richard
Bruce Carpenter, then Assistant Professor of Art at Brown University to
thank for learning to appreciate fine art, particularly that of the
Renaissance and Baroque Periods, first-hand and unfiltered by the opinions
of others. At the same time, and equally important to me for a more finely
honed appreciation of the art and architecture of classical civilizations,
were the enthusiastic and insightful teachings of Charles Alexander
Robinson, Jr., then the David Benedict Professor of Classics at Brown
though the principal course of my formal education up through graduate
school and my subsequent gainful employment remained in the natural
science vein, my love and appreciation of art continued to burn brightly
and, in my retiring years, art museums have been the principal object of
my interest to this day.
directed the Desert Botanical Garden through its first accreditation as a
museum back in the early 1980’s, I clearly maintain a broad
interpretation of what a museum is and what might justifiably constitute a
muse. My philosophy will probably become more apparent to viewers of this
and succeeding exhibits on this web site over the next year or so.
Whatever one’s concept of a museum or a muse might be, it is hoped that
the viewer will be inspired to muse a bit here, however vicariously,
before continuing along life’s more pressing lanes.