How it all began

The Nylander Museum of Natural History introduces not only this column, Nylander Chronicles, but also the work of the museum’s namesake: Olof Nylander.

This first offering introduces how Mr. Nylander got started in his lifelong exploration of the world around him, especially Aroostook County. The following are his words and from his own writings.

The column will appear once a month, twice a month during the warm months to encourage you to explore your world as did Olof Nylander. “Rock on.”

Excerpt from “Short

Sketch of My Life” by

Olof Olsson Nylander,

June 1941:

“When I was eight years old I commenced to gather rocks when I found some that were peculiar.

“One instance happened before I started school. Across the road from my home was a farm where they had as shepherd a boy twelve or thirteen years old. I often went over to see this boy and found much pleasure in chasing the sheep.

“One day I picked up a rock to throw at a sheep that had strayed a short distance from the rest, as I had done many times before. The boy stopped me from throwing the rock and said ‘Don’t you touch that rock, it’s a witch’s head. It will do you some harm unless you spit on it and throw it over your head. After that you can pick it up and throw it at the sheep.’

“I did as he told me. I kept the rock and took it home and laid it in a flower bed in our garden. The rock I had picked up was a petrified sea urchin (Echinocorys sulcata). The original specimen is not available in the museum but three Echinodermata, which is in the same family, were donated by Jons Nilsson from Skane, Sweden on November 6, 1923.”

This column is the work of members of the Nylander Museum’s board of directors.

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