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The Traveling Bear

As a receptionist at the Admission Desk of the Memorial Art Gallery, one of the perks of my job is that I get to meet a lot of new guests. People travel from all over the country to Rochester and inevitably stop in to view our collection while they are in town.

Big Bear visits the MAG

Kate and Jen holding their non-gnome Big Bear in the Vanden Brul Pavillion.

One kind of guest that I had never met before was a traveling non-gnome. Kate and Jen visited the museum during our extended hours on Thursday evening, toting a rather over-stuffed white puff-ball with them. He looked like one of those white, puffy clouds that roll across the blue sky on beautiful day while, you try to discern if the cloud has a shape. Big Bear was this guest’s name.

They explained to me that they keep a “scrapbook” of sorts of the variety of landmarks that they have visited by photographing Big Bear there. How awesome is that!

 “He’s kind of like the traveling gnome,” Kate said. “We take Big Bear on trips and photograph him at places.”

The traveling non-gnome has been a popular meme in which an inanimate object is taken along by its owner(s) and photographed. These objects range from stuffed animals to dolls and have been photographed all over the world. Check out rabitroundtheworld’s photo stream on flickr, to get an idea of what Big Bear’s job is.

We are thrilled that Big Bear came in on Thursday evening to be photographed at the MAG as a landmark of Rochester. With a long history through the University of Rochester, the Memorial Art Gallery came into existence in 1913. The gallery features a balanced collection and a variety of temporary exhibits such as the widely popular Psychedelic, Extreme Materials, and Crafting Modernism. We are looking forward to our 100 year birthday next year and hope Big Bear and other traveling non-gnomes can be a part of our Centennial Celebration too! And don’t forget – if your non-gnome visits the Memorial Art Gallery, share your pictures with us on our Facebook page!

Thank you for visiting, Kate, Jen, and Big Bear!

By Rebekah Moraites, MAG Admissions

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