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Umbrella Cover Museum heading across the pond

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    Umbrella Cover Museum heading across the pond - Staff photo by Ben McCanna | of | Share this photo

    Nancy 3. Hoffman, director and curator of the Umbrella Cover Museum on Peaks Island, performs administrative tasks during a rare lull in visitors on a recent afternoon. Hoffman, whose 21-year-old museum boasts 750 umbrella sleeves, is raising money to take an abridged version of her show to Bristol, England, for a two-week residency in mid-September.

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    Umbrella Cover Museum heading across the pond - Staff photo by Ben McCanna | of | Share this photo

    Hoffman opens her museum at 62 Island Ave. on a recent morning. The museum's location, a short walk from the Peaks Island ferry landing, is a hotspot for foot traffic on the Casco Bay island that's a favorite of tourists.

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    Umbrella Cover Museum heading across the pond - Staff photo by Ben McCanna | of | Share this photo

    Rosie Polonetsky, 3, of Bolton, Massachusetts, admires a cocktail umbrella she received as a gift from Hoffman, curator of the Umbrella Cover Museum. Hoffman buys about 2,500 cocktail umbrellas each year, which she gives as prizes to guests who correctly answer trivia questions that are peppered throughout her museum tours.

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    Umbrella Cover Museum heading across the pond - Staff photo by Ben McCanna | of | Share this photo

    A bewildered Keven O'Farrell, 13, of Sherman, Connecticut, peers through the doorway of the Umbrella Cover Museum before promptly retreating to the sidewalk. O'Farrell said she just wanted to confirm that the sign outside was correct.

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    Umbrella Cover Museum heading across the pond - Staff photo by Ben McCanna | of | Share this photo

    Molly Biewald, a doctor, and Patrick Perry, an NYU professor of statistics, smile as Hoffman takes them on a guided tour of the museum. The couple, who were vacationing on Peaks Island, said the attraction was among the island's "top 3."

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    Umbrella Cover Museum heading across the pond - Staff photo by Ben McCanna | of | Share this photo

    Hoffman, right, leads a group of daytrippers on a tour of the Umbrella Cover Museum. Leslie LaCava, second from right, of Old Forge, Pennsylvania, said the main attraction is Hoffman herself. "I think it's a riot. Very entertaining," LaCava said. "She really makes it with her personality."

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    Umbrella Cover Museum heading across the pond - Staff photo by Ben McCanna | of | Share this photo

    Hoffman has written a theme song for the museum, which she sings and plays on accordion at the conclusion of each guided tour. Hoffman works as a professional musician each winter while in her other home in Key West. "I live in two vacation places, so I’m always - and never - on vacation,” she said.

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    Umbrella Cover Museum heading across the pond - Staff photo by Ben McCanna | of | Share this photo

    Although the Umbrella Cover Museum is a mere 200 square feet, Hoffman has designated a corner table as "the gift shop." In addition to new umbrellas, CDs and more, Hoffman sells coasters for $2 each. At right are coasters commemorating her upcoming "international tour" to Bristol, England.

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    Umbrella Cover Museum heading across the pond - Staff photo by Ben McCanna | of | Share this photo

    A group of visitors gathers around Hoffman for a tour of the Umbrella Cover Museum. Hoffman estimates 4,500 people visit the museum each season, which runs from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. The museum supports itself solely through donations.

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    Umbrella Cover Museum heading across the pond - Staff photo by Ben McCanna | of | Share this photo

    The sign outside the Umbrella Cover Museum embraces the strangeness of the subject matter.

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