Elizabeth Tashjian, AKA
Elizabeth Tashjian, AKA "The Nut Lady." (1991)

Nut Lady and the Nut Museum (Gone)

Field review by the editors.

Old Lyme, Connecticut

[We met artist and museum proprieter Elizabeth Tashjian in 1985, while researching the first Roadside America book. We returned in 1991, and several times later. The Nut Museum closed in 2002. Elizabeth passed away in 2007.]

"Nuts are fresh tokens of primeval existence,"explains The Nut Lady. "I mentioned that on my second appearance on David Letterman." Hidden behind a mask depicting the prickly burr of the sweet chestnut, she launches into an a cappella verse from her self-penned "Nut Anthem":


"Oh nutttts, have a bee-you-tee-ful his-tory
and lorrrre...."

The Nut Lady is Elizabeth Tashjian, an artist who has championed the aesthetic causes of Nutdom since 1973. Her antebellum mansion and tree-shrouded property comprise The Nut Museum, an environmental gallery of nut expression. "I'm trying to take the demerit marks off nuts with the power of art," she explains.

Nuts are everywhere, as are nutcrackers, nut sheet music, nut paintings, and the World's Largest Nut, a 35-pound cocoa-de-mer from the Seychelles Islands.

Her house was filled with her nut art and artifacts. (1985)
Her house was filled with her nut art and artifacts. (1985)

The outdoor aluminum sculptures that were so much a part of the Nut Museum experience in the late seventies and eighties have been destroyed by vandals, and the museum is under occasional seige by various forces.

The Nut Lady points to a painting of nutcrackers and nuts floating in what looks to be amniotic fluid. "In the outside world, nutcrackers are the nuts' mortal enemy," she explains. "Here, nuts and nutcrackers can be friends."

The Nut Museum is only the first of what Ms. Tashjian sees as an expanding series of shrines to her favorite seed. She fitfully dreams of a 32-acre nut theme park overlooking Long Island Sound; a pier and line of shops would form a giant nutcracker, its hinge would be the "Nutcracker Suite" restaurant.

Ms. Tashjian dons the "Mask of the Unknown Nut" and peeks playfully through its eye holes, waving good-bye with an indelible image to match her philosophy.

Also see: The Nut Lady Home Page

Nut Lady and the Nut Museum

Directions:
Was in Old Lyme, 1/2 mile south of I-95 via Shore Rd/156 to Ferry Rd. First driveway and old house on the right. Private property.
Status:
Gone

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