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Expanding History in Siouxland, The National Music Museum, Vermillion, SD

14 Jun

An expansion project for the National Music Museum on the campus of the University of South Dakota is underway in Vermillion, South Dakota Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

An expansion is underway for the The National Music Museum in Vermillion, SD, where there is a vast collection of musical instruments on display in Siouxland and now with the expansion more will be seen as exhibit space and restoration space grows. The museum won’t be open again until sometime in 2020. I have enjoyed a few musical celebrations in the small performance space which I understand will be enlarged as will an exhibit area to showcase more instruments the museum has acquired and a larger research facility available for those interested.

So for the time being local residents and visitors can only walk by and speculate about the progress and what might lie in store for them once the expansion project is complete.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

National Music Museum staff move items out of the facility on the campus of the University of South Dakota as an expansion project gets underway in Vermillion, South Dakota Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

An expansion project for the National Music Museum on the campus of the University of South Dakota is underway in Vermillion, South Dakota Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

The National Music Museum on the campus of the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, Friday, Dec. 12, 2014. where inside members of brass quintet play Christmas music. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Light and Shadow in Siouxland, Yankton, SD

10 Jun

The Mead Cultural Education Center, a former mental institution for women, now houses the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy a good light and shadow display no matter how fleeting or seemingly impossible it might appear to be. The interplay and ying and yang of the two opposites can create interesting images and on especially sunny days, the possibilities are endless.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Mead Cultural Education Center is undergoing a restoration before competing exhibits of the Dakota Territorial Museum and other historical artifacts under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The exterior of the Mead Cultural Education Center is graced with many columns that adorned architecture of the period. It formerly was a mental institution for women and now houses area historical content and the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

History Around Siouxland, the Squirrel Cage Jail, Council Bluffs

31 May

The former jail for Pottawatamie County and now a museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Unique history tidbits can be found in Council Bluffs, Iowa Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are always bits of oddities of sorts in history. And probably more that will become history as today fades into yesterday. But in Siouxland one such interesting footnote is a former jail in Council Bluffs. The Squirrel Cage Jail. It is found in a small museum in the downtown area and it was only one of 18 ever built and only three now remain, all museums. I have never timed my excursion to that community allowing me an opportunity to take a look inside, but I feel I need to. The jail cells revolved and allowed the insertion and extraction of prisoners from one point of entry and the cells revolved like using a “lazy Susan” situated on a kitchen table.

A horse statue recalling law enforcement history sits near the old county jail in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The downtown area is an interesting site to visit and also contains a nice park downtown and is a pleasant walk with various restaurants tucked away. The community in its early days also had its own Hay Market used by local farmers and ranchers. Not far from the downtown area and the jail museum is the Dodge House, a museum of one General Grenville M. Dodge who served the Union Army during the Civil War and later became a builder of railroad lines heading West.

A walkway leading to General Dodge’ House museum near the downtown area in Council Bluffs, Iowa Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It is situated in a historic district that still retains brick stone streets and many flowering trees along the boulevards. a very pleasant walk on a spring day or any day unless the temps are soaring into the 90’s with 80% humidity. But then that is just an excuse to find an ice cream shop and cool off and enjoy the day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Trees are blossoming during a spring day in a historic district near downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring the Past in Siouxland, Mead Cultural Education Center, Yankton, SD

21 May

The Mead Cultural Education Center, a former mental institution for women, now houses the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring history in Siouxland can be a fun exercise and the chance to learn about the region and see something I have not encountered previously. Recently I visited the Mead Cultural Education Center with some photography students from a Lifelong Learning class. It’s a grand old building and previously as an asylum for women who were considered insane and whose families did not want them living at home.

A grand marble staircase greets visitors as they enter the Mead Cultural Education Center, a former mental institution for women, which now houses the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Mead Cultural Education Center was a former women’s mental institution and will now house the Dakota Territorial Museum and other historical artifacts after a renovation under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Yankton County Historical Society is housed in the facility and plans over a period of time will include a number of historical exhibits about the area including the Dakota Territorial Museum that was located in another area of Yankton.

Currently an exhibit of the Lewis and Clark Expedition is up and running with a fairly extensive look at that group’s trip through the local area.

The Mead Cultural Education Center, a former mental institution for women, showcases the history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and now houses the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Mead Cultural Education Center, a former mental institution for women, showcases the history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in a unique way and also houses the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Some displays with area history is set up on the ground floor of he Mead Cultural Education Center, a former women’s mental institution and will house the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Some displays with area history is set up on the ground floor of he Mead Cultural Education Center, a former women’s mental institution and will house the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But while the class was there the group got a look in yet unfinished areas where future exhibits will be showcased and other offices housing various local organizations will be located as well as seeing some stored historical items waiting for space to be displayed.

Camille Swift, office manager for the Mead Cultural Education Center, gets animated as she gives some background during a short tour. The center also now houses the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Camille Swift, office manager for the Mead Cultural Education Center, standing in background, gives a historical account and describes the restoration of the building during a short tour. The center also houses the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Camille Swift, office manager for the Mead Cultural Education Center, not seen, gives background context and describes the current restoration project underway during a short tour. The center also houses the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Records and other historical artifacts are stored in rooms as the Mead Cultural Education Center, a former mental institution for women undergoes a restoration under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Once completed the Education Center will give a nice look into the history of the area and Yankton’s role in the history of the Dakota Territories. Yankton was the first territorial government seat when the Territories were settled but then later lost out to Pierre. It will be easy to spend a few hours learning about the past and in a space that has found new purpose for the future.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

 

Experiencing Museums Around Siouxland, Omaha, NE and Council Bluffs

7 Apr

An art installation hanging above the cafe area at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It doesn’t need saying that museums of all stripes are wonderful places to spend time. Whether it’s paintings, sculptures or history, I enjoy how most utilize its art or aspects of telling a story to engage visitors. And around the Siouxland region there are plenty of these places to enjoy. The Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha has art work in a public eating space, so one can marvel while enjoying a snack at the same time. The Union Pacific Railroad museum has an interactive railway agent that talks with visitors through a projection set up.

An almost real life looking ticket teller projection gives some history about the railroad while trying to sell you a ticket for the next train out at the Union Pacific Museum in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

At the Durham Museum in Omaha there is a trolley display to show visitors what early transportation was like in the community. And a background mural was painted to put the trolly display into context, showing school children how these early day “buses” were used to transport city residents to other destinations. Sometimes it’s in the telling that also helps inform a viewer and put history into a context for understanding past events or experiences.

Replicating what an early days trolley car scene in Omaha appears like at the Durham Museum, formerly a Union Station, in Omaha, NE Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Understanding the past hopefully will make the future a better place for all of us and a little wiser in decisions going forward.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Photographing in Siouxland, Durham Museum, Omaha, NE

1 Apr

Descending stairs at the Durham Museum, formerly a Union Station, in Omaha, NE Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes as one pursues his/hers photographic interests or various endeavors, clicking the shutter can be a leap of faith. Going somewhere while making images but not really certain where that somewhere will lead them.

I enjoy creating images with light and shade. The two work hand in hand to help create an image. To me at times the images can be intriguing and ambiguous, and at other times pretty straight forward.

But unless one clicks the shutter and captures a moment to share with others, one may never know. One foot in front of the other and one click of the shutter at a time. Following the light into the darkness and vice versa. And I guess it is as some folk say, it’s not the destination, but the journey.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Learning to See Around Siouxland, Joslyn Museum, Omaha, NE

28 Mar

Visiting students view a painting at the Joslyn Museum as a museum employee talks about the art work and the artist during a tour in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have made a few visits to the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE in the last couple of years. I enjoy its art collection and the general ambience of its facility. As a photographer I am always trying to see in a “new or different” way. Not always successfully, but I guess that is how one grows. The museum has host tour guides to take groups through and explain about the art work there, the artists and help put into perspective what a visitor sees and how it all fits together.

It’s wonderful to learn more about periods of art and the influences various artists had in either helping them produce the vision they acquired in making their art or in getting to somewhere in mind and place where they produced these works that now grace the walls of the Joslyn Museum and other museums throughout the world. But I like to challenge myself and see if in looking at works of art will help me expand my vision and embrace a different way of photographing subjects and places that I might not have thought of before. As always, what is produced and accepted is in the mind of the beholder. Some things work, some things don’t, but not trying is never an option.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Looking at a work of art juxtaposed with another display at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Looking at a work of art juxtaposed with another display at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

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