Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Miniature Museum Maire Memorial

Today celebrated the installation of a Tiny Treasure Memorial in (MM) Michael's Museum: A Curious Collection of Tiny Treasures, a permanent exhibit at (CCM) Chicago Children's Museum, located on Navy Pier on the lakefront, since May 2011.

When the team of museum staff who were involved in the original planning, execution, and installation of MM at CCM heard about Gregory's passing, they got together to think about how they might create a memorial to his memory.

They contacted me and along with their love and condolences, they suggested their plan. Needless to say, I was quite moved by their idea.

CCM obtained the collection in 2007 when it was moved into storage to wait until the recovery from the economic downturn of 2008 could take place. Planning for the permanent exhibit began in October of 2010 and MM opened to great fanfare on Friday, May 13th 2011.

During that time Gregory would join me at the museum while I attended meetings and he got to know CCM staff. As you would expect, he endeared himself to everyone he met there.

During the actual unpacking and installation, Gregory and other friends joined me at the museum to help. It gave Gregory great joy helping to unwrap each tiny treasure and he got much credit for and attention to his role in helping MM come to be in its new home at CCM.

Once the exhibit was open, I would "appear" as guest artist in residence to tell stories about the collection, interact with visitors to the museum, and talk about collecting. Gregory would join me and loved watching people, young and old, interact with the collections. His favorite, which he would point out to visitors, were the drawers filled with "stuff."

The Drawers Collection
Which Gregory loved to talk about

In the collection of collections, included were Gregory's 1) Marble Collection, 2) Circus Collection, 3) My One Cabinet (the joke being that I had 105 cabinets but he was only allowed one,) 4) and 40th Birthday Cake Topper Collection (featuring the items the Ames/Gurner family put on the cake they created for him.) All are pictured below.

Gregory's Marble Collection

The Circus Collection
(A gift to young Gregory from his parents
on their return from a trip to Germany)

Gregory's 40th Birthday Cake Toppers by the Ames/Gurner Family

Gregory's "My One Cabinet" before new additions

 Gregory's Miniature Memorial at home before installation at MM@CCM

Gregory's Miniature Memorial installed in his "My One Cabinet."

A close-up of the installation in his cabinet.

I also placed his photograph in the "Curator's Collection" along with the new addition of a drawing made by our God Son Isaac when he was just a small lad!

Curator's Collection (Before new additions)

With new addition - G's photo on left middle - Isaac's drawing (with little people) on the right

Close-up of Gregory's photo in the Curator's Collection with a photo of his mom and dad and my mom and dad.

Even more close-up of Gregory's photo in the Curator's Collection

Close up of God Son Isaac's drawing now in Curator's Collection

Even more close-up of Isaac's drawing

Copy of my comments at the ceremony

People who attended the ceremony: Katie, Michele, Mark, Peter, Stephanie, Natalie, Jon, Amy, Jennifer, Jenny, Michael and Rick. Louise called in her regrets but was with us in spirit (as I am sure was Gregory.)

Afterwards, everyone joined (at Gregory and my treat) for lunch at DMK Burger and Fish Bar, a new restaurant on Navy Pier.

P.S. If you have been following the "Miracles," last night I woke up at 3:33 and then again at 5:55!


  1. Michael - Thank you for sharing this loving and detailed documentation of the installation of Gregory's memorial in Michael's Museum at CMM.

    I knew Gregory as an elegant yet understated individual who was always generous with his hugs when arriving and leaving our work space at CCM. How appropriate that you've created a memorial which is also understated and elegant, tucked away in the exuberant experience of Michael's Museum. You two were a pair, I bet -- ying and yang. I have to smile to imagine the visitors who will come upon Gregory's photo and wonder who is this gentle man...someone special to have his portrait next to brass candle sticks on a miniature grand.

    Thank you so much for making me part of Michael's Museum and letting me be part of your and Gregory's life. You are loving and generous, Michael, with a strong life force within.

    And here's another thank you... In the last 24 hours I've been reading your blog and your posts have given me pause to think about my life now, with my loving life partner, and its future passing....

    Love to you.

    1. Louise, Your comments are beautiful, warming, and appreciated. You have been a welcome part of Gregory and my lives for close to ten years now and probably those years have been some of the most important of Gregory and my time together so you value is pretty large! Love you. See you and Steve soon at The Potter's Wife ( https://www.facebook.com/ThePottersWife )

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Susan. The tribute by CCM was very moving.

  3. It is an honor and a privilege to have a small piece of my childhood encased in the Curator's Collection along with Greg and your parents (amongst many other treasures). Can't wait to one day bring my children to Michael's Museum to show them my little sketch, have you give them a personal tour of your incredible collection, and to tell them the greatest love story ever told. This will of course be followed by burgers at DMK, on Gregory and Michael. :) -Isaac

  4. Michael, you are an amazing person and we are all so lucky to know you and be recipients of your boundless creative energy!


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