Carousel museum hosts history of tattoos

Published on Wednesday, 2 August 2017 22:00
Written by Lorenzo Burgio


BRISTOL - An upcoming exhibit at the New England Carousel Museum explores the history of how tattooing and body art has developed from sub-culture into pop-culture.

The museum has been organizing the exhibit for about a year now, explained manager at the museum, Morgan Urgo.

The exhibit will feature the history of tattoos back to the earliest days of human culture and highlight the many reasons they were performed, which includes ceremonial reasons, cultural traditions, personal significance and aesthetic expression.

The topic of the exhibit may seem a little odd to be held at a carousel museum, but Urgo said that “between amusement parks and side shows, there is a history with tattooed performers and a connection.”

The exhibit’s topic provides a platform for the museum to reach out to different audiences, added Urgo.

“The importance of the exhibit is to get a new audience into the museum and see what we are doing,” Urgo said. “We want to expand our audience and tattooing factors into almost every culture, and now, tattooing is very culturally acceptable.”

During the exhibit’s opening night, the museum will feature individuals willing to showcase their “family-friendly” tattoos to the public for 60-minutes time slots. Participants are asked to prepare a dialog about their tattoos.

Anyone interested in showcasing their tattoos are encouraged to reach out to the museum.

“There will be a section of the exhibit with people displaying their own tattoos,” Urgo said, adding that when people talk about their own tattoos it can provide a different insight.

The museum has been working with local tattoo artists who are interested in displaying their work or contributing to the exhibit. One local artist will be displaying historic stick-and-poke equipment that was used in the past to tattoo.

“We have been working with local tattoo artists and got a wonderful response,” Urgo said. “Some artists made monetary donations; others provided or created some artwork that will be displayed.”

An Indiegogo has been organized in an effort to raise $2,500 for the exhibit. The funds will help offset the cost of creating the physical exhibit, securing the rights for images, printing educational materials, working with local tattoo artists to create exhibition panels, lectures and public programming.

“We encourage anyone to come to the open reception. There will be a DJ and a henna artist,” Urgo said.

The exhibit opens on Aug. 19, and will remain in the museum located at 95 Riverside Avenue in Bristol until March 2018.

An opening reception is set for the first day of the exhibit from 6 to 9 p.m. and a VIP opening reception is scheduled the same day from 5 to 6 p.m.

For more information contact the museum at 860-585-4511 or visit its website at

Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at

Posted in The Bristol Press, Arts, Bristol, Forestville, General News on Wednesday, 2 August 2017 22:00. Updated: Wednesday, 2 August 2017 22:03.