Gallery Talk | The Melancholy Museum: Love, Death, and Mourning at Stanford
A Mark Dion Project
Using over 700 items from the Stanford Family Collections, artist Mark Dion’s new exhibition explores how Leland Stanford Jr.’s death at age 15 led to the creation of a museum, university, and—by extension—the entire Silicon Valley.
Dion spent more than a year culling through the over 6,000 objects in the original Stanford Family Collections to create an exhibition that explores young Leland’s collection—he already was an avid and curious collector at the time of his death—as well as important narratives related to the Stanford family. These include the history of the railroads and the laborers who worked to create it, and the two earthquakes that caused major damage to the museum.
The result of Dion’s efforts are two rooms filled with beautiful, startling, and quirky objects that are grouped together to highlight the Stanford family’s story and to invite visitors to reflect and make their own connections.