When I was a child, one of my favorite weekend activities was visiting the Sunrise Museums in Charleston, WV. One was a children’s science museum and the other focused on art. They were housed in a pair of absolutely stunning stone mansions that had once been home to former WV Governor William McCorkle and his son.
Pictured above, the Children’s Museum, and below, the Art Museum (which, I might note, was home to an annual display of artistic Christmas trees)
Several years ago, the museums moved to the Clay Center. Governor McCorkle’s mansion, with it’s sweeping views of Charleston, is now home to the Farmer, Cline, and Campbell law firm. His son’s mansion, the former art museum, is now home to some very lucky homeowners. Now, as much as I would love to have a house like either one of the Museums, the real point of this post is something once sold in their gift shops.
Along with gyroscopes (I still have one from there), astronaut ice cream (yummy!), and semi-precious stones and crystals, the gift shops sold gorgeous kaleidoscopes. The selection varied, some were cased in exotic wood, others in polished brass, but they were all exquisite. And they were all quite outside the reach of a 10 year old’s allowance.
I may not be able to buy one from the lobby of the Sunrise mansions anymore, but I still see the sort of elegant kaleidoscopes I longed for as a child from time to time. One of these days, I’ll break down and buy one.