Tag Archives: museum

Learning History Outside of Siouxland, the Waterman Area Heritage Society, Waterman, IL

16 Sep

Travel can always be an educational experience. If one decides to do that. I came upon a small town museum that packed a lot of local history within its walls and two women who were happy to share it. The Waterman, IL, Area Heritage Society had only a few large displays but tons of stuff to peruse.

A local barbershop is created in the Waterman Area Heritage Society in Waterman, Illinois August 31, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While taking a few photographs and browsing artifacts, the two volunteers began telling me about the area and sharing stories of their growing up. The museum had quite a collection of “antique” phones, mostly rotary dial but also some push button ones, which they remarked that school children can not imagine using. Let along hearing stories about country “party lines” where maybe 10 families used the same line to talk with another and others and at times had to be vigilant about that one busy body who liked to listen in on other’s conversations.

Volunteers share a funny story about local history in the Waterman Area Heritage Society in Waterman, Illinois August 31, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I was lucky as well in that I happened upon the small museum with 10 minutes left before it closed. So I didn’t spend a lot of time perusing items on display but did learn about an area family that built a scale replica of a ship that was placed over a vehicle and the family traveled the United States participating in various parades.

A tribute to the Eakle Family that traveled and participated in many municipality parades across the country during the 20th Century seen in the Waterman Area Heritage Society in Waterman, Illinois August 31, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Recorded history via a photograph in the Waterman Area Heritage Society in Waterman, Illinois August 31, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One item of note the volunteers pointed out were broaches that were created in probably the 19th Century. I had seen something similar at another museum I was visited and the broaches were made with human hair collected over a period of time and probably done over the winter months when going outside might not have been an option then as streets snow removal was probably not what it is today.

Fine craftsmanship broach pins done with human hair seen in the Waterman Area Heritage Society in Waterman, Illinois August 31, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So many small museums, so little time, but serendipity can be one’s friend if a person does nothing more than simply look and push open a door to see what lies on the other side.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Items of note on display in the Waterman Area Heritage Society in Waterman, Illinois August 31, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Graduates of a former community school seen in the Waterman Area Heritage Society in Waterman, Illinois August 31, 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

 

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©)

 

Enjoying and Preserving Memories in Siouxland, Joslyn Museum, Omaha, NE

18 Mar

A couple of photographers capture their visit by photographing an indoor fountain at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When we all visit places one time, or many, most people these days as before, take a photograph to help remember that trip and today more than ever, share with their friends. And what I find so fascinating is how we all have a different way of seeing such places and remembering them. Each an artist in their own right. Creating an image of what was encountered.

A visitor to the Joslyn Museum records a favorite piece of art while visiting in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

For myself I find it to incorporate all of what is seen within the camera’s frame and try to make it all work together using light and shadow and angles and lines and juxtaposing the various elements.

As well as just documenting what is going on.

A Joslyn Museum curator gives a guided tour to visitors so they may more appreciate the works of art seen in museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A Joslyn Muaeum employee has her photograph taken next to a painting in the museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

We all take away those memories we enjoy and cherish and hopefully will relive by looking at the images we have taken and shared and maybe revisiting the place again. I find traveling to a place more than once becomes the challenge to come away with a different set of images which is possible depending on the time of year and time of day one visits a place. Indoors, things tend to stay the same, but that just proves more of a challenge to become more creative, see familiar objects in a different way and grow as a visual person.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Visitors document their visit to the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Architectual aspects of the Joslyn Museum lend to various types of framing opportunities while visiting in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Day out of Siouxland, Joslyn Museum, Omaha, NE

10 Mar

One of the Joslyn Museum’s docents who keeps a roaming eye on exhibits almost seems like one himself while standing in a doorway at the in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy visiting art galleries, museums and other places around Siouxland where the visual arts is on display. Somedays it’s a struggle to leave my camera in the bag as I wonder about looking at various paintings and sculpted pieces, enjoying what’s before my eyes as opposed to making images. The Joslyn Museum is a very pleasant place to visit. Especially on a winter’s day when it’s more inviting to stay indoors.

This particular visit I couldn’t resist the draw to make images. I have visited the museum a number of times and am always inspired by what I see. Works of art dating from the 1600’s with their use of light and shadow to create significant scenes of a time and place that is really no longer in existence. As it once was. And it is through looking at this work that inspires me to create images utilizing light and shadow. Learning to see opportunity, and the museum’s use of lighting to highlight its treasures helps a photographer create his/her own images. This time I strove to do more than what I was seeing, but look a bit further.

A reflection of a sculpted piece of art on marble at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A closer view of a fountain in the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looking for details and the seen but not seen images that surrounds one. It’s tough because my eyes kept drifting back to the magnificent images hanging on the walls.

One of the Joslyn Museum’s docents who keeps a roaming eye on exhibits almost seems like one himself as he walks through the exhibit areas in the museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And what a better way to spend a day than immersing oneself in art and all that it has to offer as well as staying out of the cold and snow. As spring gets closer, and hopefully warmer weather with it, I will be spending more time outside driving about Siouxland and exploring other areas I have not been to before. But I will always make time to go to a museum simply it’s always time well spent.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A sculpted stag on display shot with an arrow by another sculpted piece not seen but across the room looks ready to jump away at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Frosty Day in Siouxland, Rock Rapids

4 Mar

The Train Depot Museum in Rock Rapids, Iowa, Monday, February 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga ©)

This particular Siouxland winter seems to continue forever. It’s still February, well technically maybe not, but the continued cold spell doesn’t appear to have an end in sight. On a recent excursions for a photo assignment in Rock Rapids recently I stopped by a Train Depot Museum in the community. Everything seemed frozen in place. Although it really wasn’t, standing outside to photograph was really tough after just 10-15 minutes the cold was that pervasive.

Because of a good amount of recent snowfall there were piles of it about which at least made it easier parking near the little museum. It all looks so nice from inside the warm car. Crisp blue sky, snappy colors, yes. I could settle for a fall scene though.

The Train Depot Museum in Rock Rapids, Iowa, Monday, February 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga ©)

But the days are getting a bit longer and the sun a bit stronger which will hopefully melt some of the accumulated snow. I don’t if this year I will wistfully look back and fondly remember this winter other than to remind myself how really cold it was. Did I see some nice winter scenes? Yes, but with temps in the single digits and minus zero with wind chill added on, well, there is always next year. Getting soft? Maybe, but hey, I’m not going to complain about that either, much.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Train Depot Museum in Rock Rapids, Iowa, Monday, February 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga ©)

 

 

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