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World Music in Siouxland, National Music Museum in Vermillion, SD

24 May

 

The Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan ensemble which plays Javenese music is part of the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Friday April 27, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

On a recent visit to the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD I and others enjoyed a Javenese music presentation by a local gamelan ensemble that performed in the small space at the museum. I enjoy a variety of music in general although I lean more toward jazz, classical and some world music. So it was a delight to hear this local group perform and share their  passion and delight.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan ensemble plays Javenese music at the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Friday April 27, 2018. Members include Deborah Check Reeves, Rebekah McLaughlin, Julie Besenbruch, Jing Williams, Risa Hanson, Caleb Hanson, Carter Hanson, Faythe Weber, Deanne Archer, Toben Archer , Tucker Lutter, ZeHui Ng, Solveig Korte and Tom Quinn. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan ensemble plays Javenese music at the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Friday April 27, 2018. Members include Deborah Check Reeves, Rebekah McLaughlin, Julie Besenbruch, Jing Williams, Risa Hanson, Caleb Hanson, Carter Hanson, Faythe Weber, Deanne Archer, Toben Archer , Tucker Lutter, ZeHui Ng, Solveig Korte and Tom Quinn. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan ensemble plays Javenese music at the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Friday April 27, 2018. Members include Deborah Check Reeves, Rebekah McLaughlin, Julie Besenbruch, Jing Williams, Risa Hanson, Caleb Hanson, Carter Hanson, Faythe Weber, Deanne Archer, Toben Archer , Tucker Lutter, ZeHui Ng, Solveig Korte and Tom Quinn. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Angles and lines in Siouxland, Sioux City Art Center

22 May

I like visiting art museums. Everyone of them offers something to a person, at different times, depending on the current exhibit. And there are a few throughout Siouxland. The Sioux City Art Center like many of its counter parts also provide a visual feast if a person takes the time to enjoy the surroundings as well as the art within the facility. And it’s probably with purpose that many museums are built, to reflect a community or vision of the founding personages responsible for the push to include an art center within a community. Although the history and initial reason for a particular design may get overlooked or even forgotten after a few decades as people come and go, including museum personnel. But the visual eye candy is still apparent and changes daily, especially if the play of light and the sun is involved.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seeing shapes and patterns during on a sunny day at the Sioux City Art Center Wednesday, April 25, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing shapes and patterns on a sunny day at the Sioux City Art Center Wednesday, April 25, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Shapes and patterns during a sunny day inside the Sioux City Art Center Wednesday, April 25, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Shapes and patterns during a sunny day inside the Sioux City Art Center Wednesday, April 25, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Westward Ho, Siouxland, Mormon Trail Center Historic Winter Quarters, Omaha, NE

12 May

The Morman Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters tells the story of the Mormon people after they left Nauvoo, IL and headed west eventually reaching Utah and the gives an accounting of the people and the journey to their selected sacred site, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On a recent visit to Omaha, NE I came across the Mormon Trail Center, Historic Winter Quarters museum that tells the tale of the Mormons westward travels from Nauvoo, IL when residents there forced them to leave and look elsewhere to settle. I am always amazed at the pockets of history around and near Siouxland, although I shouldn’t be. At one time Iowa and the region was just a prairie and part of that westward expansion. Mormon missionaries guide you through the museum and exhibits helping you to understand their tale of reaching Utah and Salt Lake City which would become their mecca and a place of religious tolerance.

Sister Millet, 2nd from the right and Sister Price, right, are part of a group of Mormon missionaries doing their service by giving tours to those visiting the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A bust of Joseph Smith on display at the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. The photograph in the background shows the Mormon temple built at Nauvoo, IL because the Mormons were forced to leave. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A painting depicting the Mormon journey west hanging in the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Like any settlers heading west the Mormon people encountered obstacles in reaching their destination. The Winter Quarters museum explains how the majority of people stayed put two to three years while Brigham Young and other leaders continued west looking for the place to settle that Young had seen in a vision. The missionaries put into context the travels along with what else was happening in the U.S. during that time period. The Kanesville settlement in what is now Council Bluffs, Iowa became a early provisions emporium which also helped outfit other settlers heading west, including a number of “49’ers” headed to California to find their reward in gold, as opposed to the Mormon’s spiritual reward.

Traveling from Nauvoo, IL and heading west, a brief description of the Mormon trek heading west and through Iowa seen at the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A map showing the location of each of the camps of the Morman Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A display showing the settlement around Council Bluffs and Omaha during the Mormon trek to Utah on display at the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

History to me is always fascinating. People’s spiritual beliefs are more in common than not, it’s just that sometimes in getting to the same spiritual heaven, we find ourselves on different footpaths getting there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland as Western Frontier, Omaha, NE

10 May

In this modern age it is sometimes difficult to visualize Siouxland which encompasses parts of Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota as what was known in the mid to late 1800’s as the western frontier. This frontier was overseen by an Army commander stationed at Fort Omaha in current Omaha, NE, and it encompassed Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Utah and parts of Idaho. One of those commanders was General George Crook.

History of General George Crook , who oversaw the headquarters of the Dept. of the Platte, a territory including Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana and parts of Idaho, is on display at the General Crook House Museum at Fort Omaha, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And now Fort Omaha is the campus of the Metropolitan Community College, the home of General Crook has become a museum and showcases his life and what life was like for a frontier Army commander and his wife. Crook was regarded as a successful Plains Indian fighter and was assigned his post and others on the frontier.

General George Crook oversaw the headquarters of the Dept. of the Platte from Fort Omaha. The territory included Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana and parts of Idaho, on display at the General Crook House Museum at Fort Omaha, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

General George Crook’s bedroom in what is now the General Crook House Museum at Fort Omaha, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. Rounded walls created more space that could be used for closet space then. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The residence was built in the years 1878-79 and was occupied by the general and his wife, Mary. They entertained dignitaries from back east including presidents. The home was lit by gas light fixtures and while the furniture is of the period, it is not from General Crook’s own former furnishings that he and his wife used.

An extra bedroom where many notables of the day, including Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes, stayed overnight at the General Crook House Museum at Fort Omaha, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A formal parlor in the General Crook House Museum at Fort Omaha, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A music room in the General Crook House Museum at Fort Omaha, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I visited there were no other visitors, and the docent left me to my own meanderings through the various rooms. It was quiet and easy to imagine bantering and conversations of individuals from the day enjoying themselves relaxing as the next day they could be leaving for parts in the west to face undetermined hostiles.

A formal dining room in the General Crook House Museum at Fort Omaha, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

What may be an usual piece of furniture today was not during the time period when General George Crook occupied this residence, now the General Crook House Museum, at Fort Omaha, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am a bit of a history junkie and it’s fun to find so much history located in and around the Siouxland area. Places to visit during a transitional period in American history as the country continued to expand and push westward.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Celebrating Art in Siouxland, Sioux City Art Center

6 May

I recently attended a reception for area artists, some professional, others students and still others falling somewhere in between, at the Sioux City Art Center. It’s always a pleasure to attend art functions in Siouxland, as it seems art always gets the short of the stick and little recognition for those producing it. The reception was for the Briar Cliff Review, a literary publication produced by Briar Cliff University located in Sioux City. An entire exhibition hall was filled with art and probably 100-120 people attended to see the work and to also listen to some readings produced by writers who are published in the magazine. Area residents are asked to submit work for inclusion and an exhibit is held to celebrate that.

An artist makes a statement about his work during a reception for the Briar Cliff University Review art exhibit in the Sioux City Art Center Thursday evening, April 19, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors enjoy a reception for the Briar Cliff University Review art exhibit in the atrium of the Sioux City Art Center Thursday evening, April 19, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A couple gentlemen I know who belong to the Sioux City Camera Club also had work included in the publication.

Doug Conrad stands in front of his two photographs during a reception for the Briar Cliff University Review art exhibit in the Sioux City Art Center Thursday evening, April 19, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Randy Williams stands next to his print at the Briar Cliff University Review art exhibit in the Sioux City Art Center Wednesday, April 25, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always find it fun to walk around and view the work. And many times will go back when it is less crowded to spend some time and look over the art that somewhat runs the gamut of media. And people attending reveled in the chance to see their work celebrated and to share that with friends or document their participation.

Friends, family and interested parties attended a reception for the Briar Cliff University Review art exhibit at the Sioux City Art Center Thursday evening, April 19, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A visitor for the reception for the Briar Cliff University Review art exhibit takes a photo of one piece of art at the Sioux City Art Center Thursday evening, April 19, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Even in small communities there are most times a vibrant art scene, that maybe, just not seen. But people can still go out and celebrate the work, the artists and community that surrounds it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Attendees listen to artists talk about their work during a reception for the Briar Cliff University Review art exhibit at the Sioux City Art Center Thursday evening, April 19, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A visitor stops and contemplates a piece of art during a reception for the Briar Cliff University Review art exhibit in the Sioux City Art Center Thursday evening, April 19, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Artist Mark Kochen, right, talks with Sioux City Art Center director Al Harris-Fernandez at the Briar Cliff University Review art exhibit during a reception, Thursday evening, April 19, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Siouxland’s History Tucked Away, Grand Meadow Heritage Center

2 May

When going to various Siouxland festivals and community celebrations, no matter how tenuous the term community might be, sometimes there is just too much to take in and share at one time. Part of the reason I like revisiting places I have been to previously. The Grand Meadow Heritage Center is one such place. Its old school is now a museum of sorts with a lot of material relating to previous centuries. Being located in the country, a lot of that history centers around agriculture.

Unique farming equipment can be seen in the basement of the former elementary and high school building that was built in 1921 during the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A visitor walks through the basement of the former elementary and high school building that was built in 1921that contains an assortment of historical farming equipment collected over the years seen at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But there is information about people who previously lived in the area and attended the school that still stands.

Visitors to the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival look through old newspaper clippings and school yearbooks in the former elementary and high school building that was built in 192, located near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A collection of historical farming photographs on display in the former elementary and high school building that was built in 1921 at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As an older school building that probably housed grade school and the high school, it also contained a gymnasium and stage. Lots of space to store and display items that relate to what occurred in the past and a source of information for those of us today looking to understand a bit more about how people lived, worked and survived in an era that didn’t have many of the new technological advances that today’s world seems to offer. Well, maybe not technologically advanced to the modern way of thinking. But then it was probably ground breaking.

A rug loom possibly from the 19th century in the former elementary and high school building that was built in 1921 seen at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Part of a rail road track and other historical items on display in the former elementary and high school building that was built in 1921 at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People just lived a simpler life and made do with less stuff. And the few things they had were taken care of and passed on to the next generation. Until that tradition stopped.

A cradle, circa 1875, on display with other period items in the former elementary and high school building at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And early settlers would marvel at our need today to live in houses that are huge in comparison, when in most cases, a large room functioned in many ways.

Visitors look over a replica period log cabin and contents at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A room in the former elementary and high school building that was built in 1921 is set up like a General Store that existed in many small communities in Iowa is see at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Heritage Center is a look into the area’s past, some displays set up for viewing what life was like then, and is educational a nice reminder, if we actually remember to take the time to look, listen and explore.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

From the former elementary and high school building built in 1921 and which houses lots of memorabilia, one can look out over the school grounds during the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing what’s new in Siouxland, Maritime Museum at Arnolds Park

2 Apr

Sometimes on a limited time schedule, even a self-imposed one, I like to revisit places in Siouxland, such as the Maritime Museum in Arnolds Park. It has a rich history of the lake region with lots of memorabilia.

Previous photos and advertisement of the Queen cruise ship at the Maritime Museum in Arnolds Park, Iowa Thursday, March 15, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And with some new exhibits underway in the area I got to see a couple new things happening. BREAKING NEWS!!! that online and local media would be flashing across their screens. This not so much. It was fun to see one new item as work was underway and that was a honeymoon tent a couple used in the 1930’s or ’40’s after getting married. It probably made a very memorable experience and bonded the newly-weds even more. If you enjoy the outdoors what is a better way to begin a new life?

Some new items are being added to the Maritime Museum such as a honeymoon tent actually used by a couple in Arnolds Park, Iowa Thursday, March 15, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Also underway next door to the museum and seen through a window but a wholly different exhibit depicts some of the history of the Arnolds Park Amusement Park which celebrated 125th anniversary a couple of years ago.

A facility next door to the Maritime Museum will house historical memorabilia like a slide and another item from a former Fun House from the Arnolds Park Amusement Park in Arnolds Park, Iowa Thursday, March 15, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And sometimes just looking around one gets lucky and can play a bit with available light to create something seen in one’s mind and then shared with others. Light is a beautiful thing and can make an image all the more interesting.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A shaft of light peers into the Maritime Museum in Arnolds Park, Iowa Thursday, March 15, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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