by Richard Russell, Museum Docent
I know some people think of museums as formal places filled with – dare I say – boring stuff. As someone who is training to become a docent (museum tour guide) at the Currier, I have started to see museums and works of art in a different way. One of the paintings that has helped me realize how entertaining museums can be is Jan Molenaer’s The Card Players. We spent a lot of time looking at this painting in docent training and I began to realize what fun a scene this is and that the Dutch must have had a very good time in the mid-1600’s.
Think of yourself on a Saturday night after a long week of work, stopping at the corner pub at the end of the day (no driving to worry about here). Observe what is going on: Sunday’s goose being stolen by the hungry young man; the jug of wine to help keep everything lively; the cheating card player stealing your hard-earned weekly wages; the boisterous cavalier in the foreground who has had too much wine. There’s a lot of trickery and silliness. Is that so different from today? What would you be doing if you were in this scene?
The more I study the collection during docent training, the more I realize how relatable the works of art are. So why not come and visit the museum and take a tour? (You’re guaranteed a couple of laughs!)