MON—May 18—3 PM EDT

MoreKids + Families

On the launch of her new book THE MUSEUM OF WHALES YOU WILL NEVER SEE: And Other Excursions to Iceland’s Most Unusual Museums (Penguin Book Original, on sale 5/12/20) author and artist Kendra Greene will discuss the work, and explore our abiding need as a species to collect, alter, and even invent the stuff that allows us to hold onto our stories. As a special feature during the program, she will also present an activity that illustrates how those of us staying at home during social distancing can create our own special museums in our indoor space, inspiring creativity for audience members of all ages — both kids and adults.

Iceland welcomes over 2 million tourists a year—a number that is nearly six times more than the general population. In THE MUSEUM OF WHALES YOU WILL NEVER SEE you can journey to the Icelandic Phallological Museum, where families take pictures under scrotum skin lamps; take a walk through the stunning eastern seaboard town of Stöðvarfjörður and try to count the number of stones that make up the accidental monument that is Petra’s Stone Collection; and test your ethereal beliefs at the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft, which poses a particularly Icelandic problem: How to display what can’t be seen? Iceland provides the perfect landscape for the outlandish, the quirky, and the more than 265 unabashedly niche collections that fascinate the human psyche.

Greene is our wise and whimsical guide through this cabinet of curiosities, showing us, in dreamlike anecdotes and more than thirty charming illustrations, how a seemingly random assortment of objects—a stuffed whooper swan, a rubber boot, a shard of obsidian, a chastity belt for rams—can map a people’s past and future, their fears and obsessions. In this book talk, she will discuss and show audience members how the seemingly random collections of objects in their own homes can enable us to create our very own exhibitions, curated around all types of themes, interests, and personal histories.

Registration is required; please sign up at the link above. Please send audience questions ahead of the discussion to Select questions will be chosen for a Q&A following the conversation. Following the event, the video will be available to stream on YouTube.


A. Kendra Greene is a writer and artist who has worked at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Chicago History Museum, the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, and the Dallas Museum of Art, where she was a writer in residence. She has an MFA in nonfiction and a graduate certificate in book arts from the University of Iowa and has been the recipient of a Fulbright grant, a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, and a Harvard Library Innovation Lab Fellowship. She lives in Dallas, Texas, where she is a visiting assistant professor at the University of Texas, a guest artist at Nasher Sculpture Center, and an associate editor at Scandinavian Review.

THE MUSEUM OF WHALES YOU WILL NEVER SEE will be released on May 12, 2020, and is available now for pre-order.