You know that little pocket that comes on a new umbrella when you buy one? It's like a sleeve made out of the same material as the umbrella. . . That's an umbrella cover. Other names for it include:
- and slipcover
In recent times, the traditional fabric is being replaced with the clear plastic case, a highly regrettable industry practice. This does, however, make the importance and value of the Umbrella Cover Museum more pressing and vital. Please write to your congresspeople decrying the elimination of one of the last relics of tangible evidence of our civilized society.
The World's First and Only Umbrella Cover Museum opened with firecrackers and cupcakes on Peaks Island off the coast of Maine during the summer of 1996. The brainchild of U.C.M. Director and Curator, Nancy 3. Hoffman (pictured above at ribbon cutting), the Museum exhibited close to eighty umbrella covers (also known as "sheaths" or "pockets"). Each cover has its provenance and story posted along with the actual cover. When asked what inspired her to open such an unusual museum, Nancy 3. replied, "I was cleaning out my house one day, and discovered that I still had all of the covers from all of the umbrellas I'd ever bought (seven or so). That got me thinking. Then one day, around 1992, I was in a dime store and I stole a cover off of an umbrella . . . just the cover. Then I knew I was hooked. After that I started planning the Museum and soliciting donations for the exhibits."
After 6 years, the Umbrella Cover Museum outgrew its place in Nancy 3's kitchen and is now housed at 62-B Island Avenue, Peaks Island, Maine. It is open during the summer, call or e-mail for hours and directions to the museum from Portland, Maine. It's a lovely 20 minute ferry ride from Portland and a five minute walk from the landing on Peaks.
Umbrella covers currently on display at the Umbrella Cover Museum hail from thirty countries. Regular Museum events include guided tours and the singing of "Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella," with accordion accompaniment. A $2 donation is requested. For more information contact Director, Nancy 3. Hoffman or phone 207-766-4496.