Written and recorded by Grace Canally in July 2015
Hi. My name is Grace and I would like to tell you about James A. Michener as a traveler and a writer.
Did you know James Michener loved to travel? Look around the room. Are there clues to help you learn where he traveled? Look carefully. Try to name some places where he traveled.
Did you find Poland? Hawaii? Texas? Good job! He titled some of his books after those places.
Can you find New York City? Pennsylvania? and Singapore? We can see those places in his matchbox collection.
We also have some of James Michener’s maps. Look carefully. Can you find them? By looking at his maps, we know that he traveled to Israel, Moscow, Tahiti and Shanghai, China.
James Michener is most famous for being a writer. He wrote his first book, Tales of the South Pacific, when he was 40 years old. He wrote a total of 40 books. They were translated into many languages.
You probably noticed in the middle of this room is a desk. It is a big wooden desk with many drawers. Do you have a desk at your house? The top of James Michener’s desk is pretty messy. I think it is messy because he was always busy writing. Is the top of your desk neat or messy?
What is on top of your desk at home?
Do you ever put anything special on your desk to inspire you?
You may have horseback riding ribbons, a rock collection, or a fish bowl on your desk.
Can you find anything on James Michener’s desk that might have inspired him?
Do you see baseballs, paintbrushes, glue, and ink?
You might wonder why James Michener had a box of “Gypsy Witch” cards on his desk. These weren’t regular playing cards. They were cards that James Michener used at fairs in Doylestown to tell their fortunes. He would dress up in a straw sombrero, and pretend to be "Mitch the Witch," a fortune teller. People were very entertained by his stories and jokes when he pretended to tell their fortunes.
There is also a huge typewriter on his desk. In James Michener’s times, people did not have computers in their houses for writing books or stories or letters. They used typewriters instead. Notice the keys of the typewriter have the letters of the alphabet on them.
When you visit the rest of the Museum, try to find letters of the alphabet in another work of art. Have fun!