First Saturdays, The Butler Cultural District

The Butler Cultural District kicked off its First Saturday event on June 3, 2023, in downtown Butler, PA. There were happenings in various locations within the cultural district to include, The Butler County Symphony musicians playing inside The Maridon Museum. Visitors listened to the beautiful sounds of the flute (Cassandra Eisenreich), violin (Christie Kecskemethy and Sasha Shapiro), and bassoon (Christina Savannah) echoing throughout the museum while enjoying a sweet treat!

Other opportunities for participants included the grand opening of Forever Kindred, art showcased by Gallery 422 on Main, handwriting analysis at Cummings Coffee by Paul Dao, and musical melodies on Main by Need for Reeds. Participants were also able to design wearable art at the Public Library, enjoy Robin’s Home Food Truck & Rock Fest, and meet the author of “Rediscovering Your Story: Grace and Gratitude on the Path of Recovery” at Succeed.

The Maridon Museum is proud to support the Butler Cultural District. We thank the Butler County Symphony musicians and all those who participated in this First Saturday event. It proved to be a culturally enriching day! Watch for more fun and excitement planned for this summer! You can visit the Butler Cultural District website at for up-to-date information.

Millie Pinkerton Recognized!

Long-time docent, volunteer, board member, and friend of The Maridon Museum, Millie Pinkerton, was recently recognized by The Moraine Trails Council Boy Scouts of America as a Distinguished Citizen. At an award reception on June 8, 2023, Millie received this Distinguished Citizen Award marked with a beautiful trophy showcasing a golden eagle. Millie (and the late Dale Pinkerton) has been a supporter of the Boy Scouts for many years and understands its importance to the development of young minds. Maridon board members, staff, and friends came to share in her recognition. We’re proud of Millie! Kudos!


The Samurai

In 2005, Mary Hulton Phillips, Founder of the museum purchased a collection of stunning antique Japanese Dolls. The collection was known to have been displayed in various museum exhibits.

Many of these dolls required conservation. Rhonda Wozniak, Objects Conservator from Pittsburgh, Pa., was engaged in the project. After months of work under the skilled hands of Ms. Wozniak, the dolls emerged in 2008 to take their places, once again, as the focus of this exhibit celebrating the annual “Children’s Day” (Tango- No-Sekku) Festival.

The Samurai were revered guardians of the people and next to the imperial family in the Japanese social strata. Samurai Dolls were first created during the Edo Period (1600-1868). They represent the heroic figures of folk tales and Japanese literature. Other decorations for the Children’s Day celebration include Iris leaves, symbolic of Samurai swords, and Koi-Noboru (carp-like streamers).

Theater Dolls New Exhibit On Display

In Japan, Ningyo, means “human shaped,” and specifically refers to traditional Japanese dolls. Japanese dolls serve many different purposes from ritual functions to starring in theatrical dioramas and public performances. The Hina Matsuri Ningyo associated with Girl’s Day and the warrior forms associated with Boy’s Day have been showcased at the museum. This exhibit showcases the rich traditions of Ningyo and the theater. Ningyo, both entertaining in and of themselves and commemorative of various theatrical traditions, have been a part of Japanese culture for many centuries.

Traditional Japanese theater is highly unique to Japan. It takes several different forms, each a highly formalized method of storytelling with rich history and meaning. Men play both male and female roles.

Noh theater, originating in the 14th century, is a spiritual drama, combining symbolism from Buddhism and Shinto and focusing on tales with mythic significance. It was generally performed for the elite aristocratic class. Noh uses masks, costumes, and various props in a dance-based performance.

Top Shelf: Traditional Japanese doll representing the famous Kabuki theater character, “The White Lion.”

Second Shelf: Traditional Japanese doll representing a Noh theater Lion character, possibly from the production, Shakko, where the lion plays with gorgeous, fragrant peonies and dances a lion dance.

Third Shelf: Traditional Japanese dolls representing an Actor in the role of an Old Woman, and an Actor in Confucian Chinese garb.

Please stop in to see this beautiful display in our side gallery!



Until We Meet Again…

Jacqueline Ann Bice – 1946 -2023

“Jackie” was one of those rare volunteers who became a significant member of our Maridon Family. A friend of our Founder, Mary Hulton Phillips, Jackie came on board as a member of the team of docents Mary recruited to greet and guide our visitors for the opening of the museum in 2004. She remained a docent and became a member of our Events Committee and the Maridon Board of Trustees.

Jackie always found time to help many others along the way. She was active in her church, St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran, in Saxonburg, the Saxonburg Museum, GFWC Women’s Club and other club organizations. She was dedicated to and proud of her loving family. She shared her stories and made us feel like we were part of her family too.

Jackie would arrive, gracing us with her warm smile to offer her support and assistance with all of our events from decorating for Christmas, and preparing decorations for our annual Harvest Moon Festival, to stopping in unexpectantly to join us for lunch. Sometimes she brought surprise treats for us from the “Henny Penny Acres” farmette that she shared with her husband Charlie. As we said to Charlie, we are still in disbelief. We keep expecting our front doorbell to ring and see her standing there smiling with her McDonald’s lunch ready to join in.

The good news is, we can smile at all the wonderful memories we shared and relive the joy she brought to us. She was indeed a true gift.

Until We Meet Again…

Anabel Brunermer – 1927 – 2022

Anabel Brunermer, was a most gracious lady and loyal friend to Mary Hulton Phillips, founder of The Maridon Museum. Anabel and Mary worked hand in hand for many years for the betterment of the Butler community in which they both served in many roles as activists for good, distinguishing themselves as outstanding leaders and role models. It was a privilege to listen to their stories of shared efforts, heartaches and triumphs regarding the early March of Dimes polio years. Anabel remained a loyal friend and volunteer, supporting Mary’s legacy throughout the years after her friend’s death in 2009.

Anabel was the driving force behind efforts to bring 911 service to Butler County in 1969. She was the recipient of the 1998 Annual Senior DSA Award, MADD Award for outstanding dedication to the community, and the Soroptomist’s Woman of Distinction Award in 2004. She was active in the GFWC Intermediate League of Butler for 65 years, the American Red Cross, Butler County Symphony, VNA, the Bethany United Church of Christ and Christ Outreach Church.

Perhaps, just as significant, she was also the recipient of the admiration and appreciation from those whom she assisted and from those whom she mentored over the years simply by being her giving self, a most gracious lady and loyal friend.

Anabel is survived by two sons, Jeffrey (Barb) and Kenneth (Lisa) and four grandchildren, Katie, Stephanie, Jeffrey and Michael.

We will keep Anabel in our memories and in our hearts.

Ceramics/Stoneware By Joyce Kristoffy-Hewlett

A new form of art has arrived at The Maridon Museum Gift Shop. These beautiful works of art are exclusive pieces inspired by the Asian culture of the museum and crafted by Joyce Kristoffy-Hewlett.

Ms. Hewlett, now retired, taught art and pottery at the college level for 25 years. She is a graduate of Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (BFA) and Rutgers, The State University at New Brunswick, N.J. (MFA).

Hewlett works out of her home studio and she prefers to do one- of- a kind pieces. Most of her objects are wheel thrown, some are hand built, and she makes her own glazes.  They are dishwasher and microwave safe.

Her works have been exhibited nationally and internationally in galleries, shows, and museums.

Come to our gift shop to purchase these unique gifts:

  • 3-piece Saki Sets
  • Rice/Noodle Bowls w/ Chopsticks
  • 3-Piece Ceramic Sushi Set w/ Chopsticks

Our New Snuff Bottle Exhibit!

The Maridon Museum recently redesigned its Snuff Bottle Exhibit. The exhibit is donated in Loving Memory of James T. “Jim” Sweeney and a dedication plaque can be seen next to the exhibit. If you’ve never seen our snuff bottle exhibit, let us illustrate the purpose and beauty of these tiny works of art for you.

Snuff bottles originated from China during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) where they were used to hold powdered tobacco. Initially these bottles were made for the emperor and the court, but eventually expanded to the public. Snuff was understood to have healing powers for common illnesses, so while smoking tobacco was illegal, using snuff was permitted.

It is clear the beauty of snuff bottles supersedes their usefulness! The museum’s collection includes bottles made from hornbill, jade, ivory, cinnabar, amber, glass, enamel, turquoise, porcelain, mother-of-pearl, opal, jasper, hardstone, cloisonne, lapis, quartz, and agate. The sizes are usually around 1 ½” to 3” with a couple as tall as 6”. The variety of shapes and images are extensive and focus on nature, especially mountains and water. These images appealed to all who lived in the cities. Owners of these bottles could be soothed by not only the contents but also by viewing the natural scene on them. Some designs focus on the natural shape of the medium while others reflect the important Chinese themes associated with nature. For example, a gourd design reflects on longevity, while goats coupled with the whirling sun symbolizes the beginning of a great future.

People collect snuff bottles even today for their history and for their art. You can find such objects at auction houses such as Christies. Click here for an article from Christie’s talking about the five things to know about collecting snuff bottles.

Please enjoy the photo gallery of some of the museum’s snuff bottle collection so you can appreciate the beauty of these tiny works of art. Better yet, come see the full exhibit for yourself. If you would like, you can call ahead to schedule a docent to learn even more about our snuff bottles as well as the rest of our collection.

Welcome back!

We look forward to seeing you! Please email us at, if you need to reach us.

The Maridon Featured in Huffington Post

The Maridon was featured in Huffington Post’s article “55 Best Lesser Known Art Museums, Artist Studios, and Art Centers in Northeast USA.” Come visit us to find out just why Malerie Yolen-Cohen, Huffington Post Contributor, wrote “It’s a knockout museum worth a drive from anywhere. The Asian art collection at The Maridon is fascinating on many levels – the most elemental being its stunning beauty and fine craftsmanship.”

Click here to read the article.