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Siouxland Historical Places, Grand Meadow Heritage Center

25 May

Wow scouting out some potential places in Siouxland to which I could take photo students I once again came across the Grand Meadow Heritage Center. I have visited it a couple of times previously. The site of a former school which houses a great deal of historical artifacts from the surrounding area. Three floors of the former school plus outlying buildings as well. Once a year generally in early autumn the center hosts an event. There is food, music, people portraying early settlers and a chance to go through the former school and see its contents. It really is worthwhile to get a sense of the area in another era and century.

But this day I was looking at what students in my class could see without getting inside any of the buildings. So it’s a challenge to visually see what might appeal and how they can put newly acquired skills to the test in capturing an image.

Shooting with a neutral density filter and slow shutter the windmill cranks it up at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center near Washta, Iowa Tuesday, May 16, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When in school I always enjoyed history, but it is different outside of the academic setting and one is standing in a place the ages ago is so very different than what is see today in this 21st century. The old saying of knowing where you have been so you know where you are going is an apt saying, it just depends on whether anyone is listening at the moment. Places like Grand Meadow is a reminder. Harder times for certain, but in some ways, simpler, less chaotic and more centered.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

History in Siouxland, the Pettigrew House and Museum, Sioux Falls, SD

19 Apr

On a trip in Siouxland to Sioux Falls, SD, I stopped by a historical house and museum of one R.F. Pettigrew. This gentleman was the first sitting U.S. Senator from the state of South Dakota. He also sounded like a bit of a rough and tumble character, actually involved in a brawl with another politician, beating someone with his cane. Evidently gentleman were not synonymous with genteel. Pettigrew however did much for the city of Sioux Falls in its early days and was also a world traveler. There is a small collection of items in the museum from Egypt and the Orient from his travels.

It’s fun to learn about local history, even if it is next door and to find out how places were shaped through the actions of its citizens.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa


Finding Doorways in and out of Siouxland, Omaha, NE

5 Feb

During my visit to the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE, which is on the southern end of Siouxland, I find it great to walk around older constructed buildings. The archways and flooring and other touches that went into constructing buildings before “modern” architecture began popping up more and more I personally find intriguing. And this was something that struck me as I walked around the museum looking at beautiful artwork created centuries ago. The old saying I believe is, “When one door closes another one opens.” There is actually not many opening and closing doors in the museum, but as one walks around looking at the art, one knew a doorway would lead to another hall of filled with breathtaking pieces of art.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying an Art Day outside of Siouxland, Omaha, NE

31 Jan

As much as I like driving about Siouxland and exploring all that it has to offer, it is sometimes nice to see the “larger world”. I made a trip with a friend down to Omaha, NE and did a little shopping and then spent time visiting the Joslyn Museum. It has quite a collection of art much of which from reading notes next to many pieces have been donated. Original work by Rembrandt, Monet, Pissarro, Twachtman, Grant Wood and many other painters. It also has a nice collection of early Italian art from the 15th century and later.

A fresco that was on canvas had a note of it being created in the early 1400’s. I was amazed, realizing that piece of work is holder than most buildings in the current United States. So it was humbling and refreshing to walk around in quiet to view these pieces and enjoy such a diverse offering of artwork so close at hand. It makes me realize I need to venture out more often and seek out these places as I travel about getting a worthwhile shot in the arm art fix.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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