Unique U.S. Museums: The Umbrella Cover Museum

UMBRELLA COVERS= Nancy Hoffman Founder of the Umbrella Cover Museum poses with her accordion and some of the 2,300 Umbrella covers in her collection.  Photo courtesy of www.umbrellacovermuseum.org

By Carla Charter

PEAKS ISLAND, MAINE-On a small island in Maine is a museum which celebrates an appreciation of the mundane in everyday life, the Museum of Umbrella Covers.

The collection began, according to Nancy Hoffman the museum’s Founder, Director and Curator, when she realized her umbrella covers never left the house. “I would take them off of the umbrella and put them in the closet. So I asked other people what they would do with their covers and they gave them to me.  I would also ask questions about where they came from. “

“I currently have about 2,300 umbrella covers with over 1,800 having attached anecdotes. 500 other covers were donated all at the same time by Travelers Insurance Agency.  I have about 100 of those on display while a few more were turned into lobsters,” Hoffman continued.

“I have any kind of umbrella cover you can imagine dating from the 1940’s to the current day.  The covers have business and sports team logos.  I have covers from universities, Louis Vuitton umbrella covers, compact travelers umbrella covers as well as covers from 67 countries.

Among the most interesting covers on display, she said, is an umbrella cover which was picked up in Nepal on a hiking trip through the Himalayas. “It was tied to someone’s backpack and went through five countries before coming to the United States,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman recently had a show of her umbrella covers in Bristol England at an art gallery and is willing to do more shows where she talks about Umbrella Covers and plays music.

The museum is located in Hoffman’s gift shop and is only opened for the summer season until Labor Day.  Hours are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.  Peaks island can only be accessed by a ferry from Portland, Maine.

Those wishing to donate a cover to the museum can mail their umbrella cover along with an anecdote about it to the Umbrella Cover Museum 62-B Island Avenue, Peaks Island, ME 04108. More information on the museum can be found at www.umbrellacovermuseum.org



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