Tag Archives: museum

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 ©)

 

 

Enjoying Art Around Siouxland, Great Plains Art Center, Lincoln, NE

12 Feb

The Great Plains Art Collection and exhibit space sits just a few blocks from the Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am always an enthusiast to enjoy art galleries when I visit new places in and around Siouxland, and for that matter, those places I frequent more often. I accidentally walked by this exhibit space a couple of times knowing I was close, but not seeing the hanging signs from the direction I was coming from. The exhibit I saw featured a number of local or Nebraskan artists, in all different mediums. While not a big fan of sculpture, there was plenty of hanging art to view.

The Great Plains Art Collection and exhibit space shows off regional artists, Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And the next time I am in Lincoln, NE I now have a landmark that should make it easy for me to remember this place, as well as the history of the Siouxland area because of an expedition a couple of centuries earlier.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Statues of the Lewis and Clark explorers sit outside the entrance to the Great Plains Art Collection and exhibit space sits just a few blocks from the Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Holiday Spirit in Siouxland, Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars

3 Jan

Each year for as many as I can remember living in Siouxland the Plymouth County Museum puts together a Nativity display on the top floor of its facility. There are well north of a few hundred displays loaned to the museum by residents in the area as well as some that I believe have become acquired by the museum itself.

Various Nativity scenes filled the top floor of the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The display fills the entire floor and it is amazing to see so many different Nativity sets collected from a variety of countries and made of a variety of material. Some a bit more avant guard than others but sticking to the theme of Joseph and Mary and their baby Jesus.

A variety of different Nativity scenes filled the top floor of the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A variety of Nativity scenes are found on the top floor of the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I find it fun to look at how the Wise Men are depicted.

Different Nativity scenes were placed about on the top floor of the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Different nativity scenes are found on the top floor of the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The museum also showcases Christmas village scenes as well and along with some more expected Christmas fare. It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon and enjoy a little warmth inside before heading back into the winter’s deep freeze, and to have a reminder of the “reason” for the season as the saying states.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Some winter village scenes can be found celebrating the Christmas holiday at the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Nativity and other winter scenes were scattered about on the top floor of the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Village Christmas scenes are on display on the top floor of the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Christmas decorations were scattered throughout the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting History south of Siouxland, Union Pacific Railroad Museum, Council Bluffs

28 Sep

A history of the Union Pacific railroad and railroad history can be found in the Union Pacific Museum in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Various displays explain the evolution and progression of railroad history at the Union Pacific Museum in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s nice to find gems of history in your backyard, or a neighbor’s backyard that you can visit and learn more about the region and history itself. The Union Pacific Railroad Museum is full of memorabilia and information about the the railroad coming of age and during its “golden” years before flying and airplanes displaced rail travel. It’s amazing the luxury such travel afforded if one could afford it.

Various displays show the romantic version of traveling by rail at the Union Pacific Museum in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There was a lot of support staff involved in giving passengers a good safe ride on passenger trains. And I have read along the way that during those early days, when segregation was in full bloom that African Americans working for the railroad received a salary that allowed them a good living for their families. I have not researched to see if the pay was on par with others within the industry, but one would hope the railroad industry valued those employees also.

A display photograph showing the support staff used for passenger trains at the Union Pacific Museum in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The museum has some fun exhibits, like the one where the “station master” talks to the customer, a very life-like animated projection of a person and the various watches, since the railroad ran on a time schedule as well as a myriad of watch lanterns used by conductors and other rail workers.

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©)

 

A variety of lanterns used by conductors and other railroad crew members seen at the Union Pacific Museum in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A railroad runs on schedule and a bevy of conductor watches are on display at the Union Pacific Museum in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The museum is a nice way to spend a couple of hours soaking in history and learning through exhibits. Sitting in downtown Council Bluffs, and only a few blocks from restaurants that dot the downtown area.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An almost realistic looking line of track at the Union Pacific Museum in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A gallery of photographs showing famous people who traveled by rail at the Union Pacific Museum in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Revisiting the General Dodge House near Siouxland, Council Bluffs

12 Sep

I have been visiting Council Bluffs which is south of Siouxland a few times in the last couple of years. Recently I spent some time showing a fellow photo enthusiast a few spots in the area and one I like to visit is the Dodge House, former residence of one General Grenville Mellen Dodge who made his fortune by the age of 40, resided in Council Bluffs after serving the North during the Civil War, helped build and push the expansion of the railroad system west, served in Congress representing western Iowa, became a banker and a financier.

General Grenville Mellen Dodge House museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A portrait of General Grenville Mellen Dodge as an older man hangs in the museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A portrait of General Grenville Mellen Dodge sits on a mantel in museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dodge was an engineer by trade and had gone west, to Illinois, to pursue his craft and at the time worked for the Illinois Central Railroad. Dodge scouted and surveyed land for a possible rail route from Illinois to western Iowa, at the edge of what is now Council Bluffs. The home he built for himself and his family after serving during the war and as he entered political life and then worked again on behalf of the railroad was grandiose for its time.

A formal dining room where General Grenville Mellen Dodge and his wife, Annie, entertained guests, now a museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A sitting room/parlour in the General Grenville Mellen Dodge House museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Vivistors are given a tour by docents with plenty of information at their fingertips to help put into perspective the life this man led and the accomplishments he achieved.

Visitors stop to take a photograph before entering the General Grenville Mellen Dodge House museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors get an introduction in the hall entryway to the General Grenville Mellen Dodge House museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Next door to the Dodge House Museum is the Beresheim residence, which was owned by a partner in the bank of which dodge was affiliated. A docent remarked that one of the owners did not like having to back his car out of his garage so he simply installed a round table, much like a record turntable, and would pull in, then step out and give it a twirl to turn the car and point it towards the door.

A peek inside a garage with a vehicle turntable near the General Grenville Mellen Dodge House museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A docent, right, explains the use of a vehicle turntable to visitors in a garage located near General Grenville Mellen Dodge House museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The home and its furnishings which are period and not necessarily any of the family’s items is located in a historic district of town which still retains it brick streets and only 2-3 blocks from the downtown area, an easy jaunt for Dodge to attend to his businesses downtown. It’s also a nice way to spend part of a day, revisiting history and retracing steps that people of another century have walked and participated in life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Located in a historic neighborhood with brick streets, the General Grenville Mellen Dodge House museum is located in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An original piece to the home of General Grenville Mellen Dodge, the clock was purchased from a well known maker in the East, Simon Willard, and now is on display in the museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A work study used by General Grenville Mellen Dodge when he lived in his home, now a museum, in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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

Preserving Siouxland History, Matlock

9 Jan

Last year I came across the small community of Matlock, Iowa. As I wandered around the small community I came across a number of antique vehicles scattered about the town and learned a set of brothers there collected and restored engines of a bygone era. I also met Charlie Schwebach who showed me his “museum” that he was putting together with artifacts from Matlock and some other communities that reflected a bygone era of that community of not quite 90 people.

It’s nice to meet people who preserve history of their community to share with others. It shows a commitment to where they were born and raised, and still reside. Mr. Schwebach said at the time his history museum would be opening sometime in 2017, ringing in the new year with a look at the past.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

%d bloggers like this: