I heard about The Edward Goery House from the Highland Street Foundation's Free Museum Fridays three years ago. Interested in his love of cats, I wondered if they would have an exhibit on cats or the felines he illustrated. I decided to visit last week and take my husband and niece for a trip to see what we could find.
I wasn't sure what to expect. His life's work was devoted to art, illustration, and the craft of characters through a variety of creative media - but I was hoping to find something juicy that shared what it meant to him to have cats take up a such a huge part of his everyday life - and residence.
The Edward Goery House is located in Yarmouth Port Massachusetts, what we locals call: Down the Cape. Its not far over the bridge, but down enough that you certainly feel like you’ve stepped back into history a little bit.
There is something familiar about the museum, it has a cozy charm, with wood floors, small rooms, and a home-like vibe even though its decorated like you would expect a small museum to be. There are built in wall cabinets that share a variety of trinkets and collectibles that Goery cherished over the years - and intermingled among them are cat-ifacts. One of the rooms is Goery’s actual kitchen and your typical cat bowls are still on the floor.
Although, there isn't a dedicated feline exhibit purrrr-say, and there are no longer any real cats lounging about the house, you truly expect one to walk right in and lay on the floor. One of the volunteers shared that "there were cats here for many years after Goreys death, and the last one passed away a year ago or so."
At The Edward Gorey House, you'll find photographs that capture the epitome of the feline lifestyle for the artist. There was one photograph that shows him sitting on the couch with cats lounging all over him and that just about sums up what life is like with cats. It’s sort of hard to capture those intimate moments with cats because you’re usually alone, napping on a couch, or working on a project or writing when they venture in and snuggle up. For a cat lover like myself, it was nice to see these moments and these were the best part of my visit.
You can find books, great photographs, drawings, and the essence of cats still lingers today. In the living room they had a stamp station and my niece and I found Cat Stamps that kept us entertained! His style is so unique, ecclectic and there is even dry humor mixed about the exhibits. It's a lot of fun to explore.
We also found a variety of old time cat mice toys. We all felt perfectly at home there. This article only touches on the cat things - there is so much more to see, read and appreciate.
While researching information about Gorey and his cats I found this great video online that shares a story of him working on a drawing and just when he is about to finish, his cat walks over and tips over the ink well, ruining his drawing. But you can clearly hear in his voice he understands this is just typical for cats.
The Edward Gorey House donates to animal welfare organizations in the area, like Animal Rescue League, International Fund for Animal Welfare, MSPCA Angell, Pet Partners, Wild Care of Eastham, and the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee just to list a few. I highly recommend visiting this museum, and supporting their effort to share Edward Gorey’s amazing talent, his home and collections, and his love of cats and animal welfare efforts. You can find out more at http://www.edwardgoreyhouse.org.