Museum Looks to Put Carousel on Mall

The Virginia Discovery Museum, located on the east end of the Downtown Mall, is putting an antique carousel on the Mall. The restored miniature carousel (it’s just 9.5 feet wide and 8.5 feet tall) just needs to be approved by the Board of Architectural Review, and then the details must be worked out regarding leasing the rides. Says Peppy Linden, the museum’s executive director, “it is so charming and it is so pretty and it is so appropriate for the mall and the museum.” Jake Mooney has the story in today’s Progress.

14 thoughts on “Museum Looks to Put Carousel on Mall”

  1. I’m sure it’s beautiful and would enhance that end of the mall. My only worry is that it will be vandalized. Consider what happened to the art placed in the median of the 250 by-pass. I hope they have plans to protect it.

  2. I agree with your statement about the carousel being vandalized. But considering what happened on the bypass, that ridiculous stuff called “art” should have never been placed there to begin with. Vandalism is wrong – regardless of my opinion of these “artsy, feel-good objects” I say that they give the carousel a chance. Its good for the kids and will attract more people to the downtown mall.

  3. (The following is a clip from the Daily Regress this morning concerning the carousel)

    But perhaps appropriately, considering the ride’s equine theme, there are still some fences left to clear.

    The first is tonight’s meeting of the city’s Board of Architectural Review, where board members are to decide if the brightly colored carousel and the black iron fence that would surround it fit with the historic mall’s character.

    (The mall’s character??? I guess those cast iron cut-outs of people sticking up out of the bricks is “historic character”

  4. “Its good for the kids and will attract more people to the downtown mall.”

    Forget the carousel — let’s just go all the way and build a Chuck E. Cheese on the mall. Then we have the added benefit of encouraging kids to get good grades, which they can then redeem for Chucke E. tokens. I really like skeeball. I love Chuck E. Cheese!

  5. I think that it’s pretty safe to say that the thing will be vandalized within days of arriving upon the mall. If the christmas tree from the not-so-distant past is not enough indication, notice that the Free Trolley, one of the primary methods of transportation for many local vandals, is tagged thoroughly. What’s the old saying about not sh*tt*ng where you eat? I don’t think that a cutesy little Carousel will make it. Even the iron-people statues (mentioned in a different thread) must be repainted yearly as a result of vandalism as well as normal wear and tear.

  6. So should we give in to the possible vandals, and just remove everything of beauty and interest from the Mall, or should we continue to try to improve our City’s ever-increasing vitality in spite of possible vandalism?

    Naturally, this all assumes the BAR will approve the carousel, which is probably far from a foregone conclusion. I hope they do – it would be a nice addition to that end of the Mall.

  7. >>fit with the historic mall’s character.

    >(The mall’s character??? I guess those cast iron >cut-outs of people

    >sticking up out of the bricks is “historic >character”

    The story, if your quotation is to be believed, doesn’t use the phrase “historic character.” All it says is that the mall is historic, and that it has character. Everything has character of one kind or another.

    Oh, and close your parentheses. That’s annoying.

  8. (I’m sorry that I have annoyed you by not closing my parentheses… I guess not all of us are perfect when it comes to our writing skills. I will try harder in the future

  9. Anonymous wrote:

    I agree with your statement about the carousel being vandalized. But considering what happened on the bypass, that ridiculous stuff called “art” should have never been placed there to begin with.

    You’re right; since it’s possible works of art might be destroyed, it’s useless to even try to beautify our surroundings. Heck, why do artists even bother to make the stuff?

    I suspect your comment may also be overly biased by your opinion of the art.

  10. I respect your opinion concerning beautifying our surroundings, but what some find as beautiful, others find as eyesores. Not everyone who lives or works in Charlottesville is into “art”. Some are impressed by art, and others annoyed. I am somewhere in-between.

  11. Aim a publicly-accessible webcam at the carousel … that should discourage vandals, as well as make a nice link from a C-ville tourism web page.

  12. Looks like BAR rejected the plan last night – they have problems with the fence, which one member said was “prison-like.”

    Why don’t they install it inside the Museum, or propose building a structure for it that can be secured at night? That would also make it useful during inclement weather.

    Just a thought.


    Daily Progress staff writer

    Charlottesville’s architectural review board Tuesday approved a plan to put an antique “kiddy carousel” on the city’s Downtown Mall, but rejected what one board member termed a “prison-like” metal fence that would protect the ride.

    The rejection by the board, which must approve the design of nearly every aspect of the historic mall in public view, effectively stalled the Virginia Discovery Museum’s efforts to install the carousel — at least until a new fence design can be submitted for approval in April.

    Museum officials believe the ride, which took a team of artists hired by Albemarle County resident Fred Scott more than eight months to restore, could be vandalized if left unprotected. Scott estimated the carousel to be worth between $20,000 and $25,000.

    The nonprofit museum’s executive director had said that with quick Board of Architectural Review and City Council approval, the carousel could be in place at the mall’s eastern end by May.

    The first sign that things might not work out so smoothly came near the beginning of Tuesday’s discussion, when Tarpley Vest, the city administrator who works with the review board, said she had received a call about the fence from absent board member Kenneth Schwartz.

    “He described it as prison-like,” Vest said. “He’s concerned about that sort of harsh, barrier element on the Downtown Mall.”

    Schwartz, who arrived minutes later, said he “fell in love” with the carousel when he first saw it. He noted, though, that the design of the 6-foot-high black metal fence had so far escaped public scrutiny. On seeing that, he said, “My heart sank.”

    “It’s just unfortunately going to send all the wrong signals,” said Schwartz, an architecture professor at the University of Virginia. “I used the word ‘prison’ because it’s exactly the thought that I had when I looked at [the plans] — that we’re locking kids up.”

    Other board members shared Schwartz’ concerns. “I’m troubled by the fence,” Joe Atkins said. “It seems to undermine the joy of having a carousel on the mall.”

    The museum, which is open six afternoons a week, plans to keep the gates to the non-motorized, 8 1/2-foot-high by 9 1/2-foot-wide carousel open during the day, locking them at night. The opening in the fence, museum officials said, likely would face the front of the museum.

    Schwartz, for one, envisioned a less obtrusive barrier. “I actually saw it and said, ‘Well, why can’t you just have a hanging chain?’” he said.

    When board member Preston Coiner noted that the carousel would sit just a half-block from the site of the city’s Christmas tree — target of an infamous series of vandalisms in 2000 — Schwartz countered, “Anyone can vandalize anything. That’s life.”

    Schwartz said moments later that he had not intended to minimize the prospect of damage to the ride, which has some parts that date to 1910. He joined the rest of the board in expressing support for the carousel itself, which board member Linda Winner said seems to have caught people’s fancy.

    Winner, who works at the Federal Executive Institute, said the kitchen staff there had read a newspaper account of the ride and sent her an e-mail urging support for it. “There’s this groundswell of public opinion among the dining staff,” she said.

    In the end, the president of the museum’s board of directors, John Reid, said he understood the board’s concerns. He plans to return to City Hall in April with revised fence plans.

    That, board Chairwoman Joan Fenton said, will be better for everyone involved.

    “I think in the end what you’re going to find is, you’re going to get the best possible design out of this,” Fenton said, adding: “We’re very excited, and we’re all going to have grandchildren, so they can go on it.”

Comments are closed.