Look Around You

Is your world populated by squares or rounds? Does it have sharp corners or smooth graceful curves? Are you a round person caught in a square existence?

The Round Museum explores the nature of round things. We all see the world through our particular lens - the many shapes that populate our days and catch our eyes. Circle. Sphere. Coil. Loop. Rounds are everywhere, in the near and far distances from the smallest atom to the grandest orbit, each freighted with meaning and message. Perfection and motion. Protection and unity. Eternity and nothingness.

So how do you look at things? Moons and pies. Apples and suns. Doughnut holes are good. Potholes are bad. Black holes are mysterious. Sinkholes are to be avoided. How can one thing be seen so many different ways? We are linked by common bonds yet separated by countless misperceptions. Thinking one way and acting another. Saying one thing and meaning another. Our vision of what is beautiful and what is mundane can change from moment to moment, especially when we give our attention.

We hope the Galleries of Round you will find exhibited in our Museum inspire you to look around with a different eye.

We share a common geometry.

Observe connections. Create associations.


The WHole Story

Museums are cool. Wherever you go you will surely find amazing, beautiful, weird collections of stuff that someone has pulled together. Even before humans crawled from the muck, we have been creatures that collect. Whether displayed in grand marbled galleries or dusty window sills, things have value that we cherish and want to share. A friend once told me that her son collected the baby teeth he had lost and exhibited them in a toy dump truck on his bookshelf. The great comedian George Carlin used to say our homes were just "places for our stuff."

So this Round stuff started pretty innocently and, ironically, in a museum. As museum people, my wife and I are always checking them out when we travel, taking lots of pictures along the way. A few years ago we took our kids over to the Independence Seaport Museum here in Philadelphia to check out the 1895 USS Olympia naval cruiser and the 1944 USS Becuna submarine that are both docked along the river. Down in the bowels of the Becuna, every nook and cranny of space is valuable real estate so there is not one place you look where you don't see something - gauges, cables, pipes, stairs. I was taking pictures as usual and marveling at the intricacy of the engineering and machinery. Looking down the barrel of a torpedo tube and positioning the camera view directly at the center point, the perspective was amazing. And a round became the "Round."

You see, "Round" is about point of view. A circle is the most common and universal shape, a thing that by definition is a continuous curved line always the same distance from a fixed center point; in three dimensions, a sphere. Being "Round" is of the eye. It is perspective with symmetry and balance, wholeness and limitlessness. It is how you look at things and, perhaps more importantly, how you position yourself when you look at them. So, if you look at a cup from the side you see a particular quadrilateral shape. If you look at a cup from above or below... it is Round.

I bet once you take a look, you will see Round.

- Richard Cress