Our Visionaries

Current Exhibition:

The Great Mystery Show

The Great Mystery Show

Oct 7, 2017–Sep 2, 2018

From psychics to physicists, The Great Mystery Show artfully peels away the veil of the unknown, playfully exploring mystery as that one secret power behind great art, science, and pursuit of the sacred.


Photo of Vollis Simpson

Vollis Simpson


Vollis Simpson was born in 1919. Simpson's first whirligig was built to power a washing machine while he was stationed on Saipan in the Marianas Islands in the Second World War. After the war, he designed and built heavy equipment for moving houses and opened a repair shop in a rural crossroads community in eastern North Carolina. Simpson continued to be interested in wind power and built several other large windmills, one of which powered a heating system in his house. After starting his house-moving operation in 1985, Simpson adapted his own workshop and began using heavy equipment to make gigantic whirligigs and wind machines on one corner of his brother's farm. His largest pieces are nearly forty feet tall and weigh thousands of pounds, four of which were installed in downtown Atlanta during the 1996 Olympic games. Covered with highway reflectors, they are at least as spectacular at night as during the day.


Giant Whirligig by Vollis Simpson, Photo by Jack Hoffberger

Giant WhirliGig by Vollis Simpson

Baltimore's most beloved outdoor sculptural landmark. Fifty-five feet tall, this brilliant, multicolored wind-powered sculpture was created in salute to Federal Hill and Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness by 76 year-old mechanic/farmer and visionary artist Vollis Simpson. FREE to visit anytime. Located in AVAM's Central plaza.



To learn more about Vollis Simpson, visit: http://www.smm.org/sln/vollis/