Tag Archives: Plymouth County historical Museum

Celebrating Christmas in Siouxland, Plymouth County Museum

12 Dec

During the Christmas holiday, it is hard to escape the celebration. In the Midwest, Iowa and Siouxland people celebrate Christmas. Lights are up most places and Christmas music fills the air. Every year at the Plymouth County Museum it hosts a Nativity set display and a number of community members lend their displays for others to view. It is pretty amazing how many different examples of nativity sets there are.

A variety of nativity scenes are on display at the Plymouth County Historical Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A variety of nativity scenes are on display at the Plymouth County Historical Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

These nativity scenes are made out of a variety of material and hail from a plethora of locations all honoring the birth of Jesus. The craftmanship used to create some of these scenes are pretty amazing.

A variety of nativity scenes are on display at the Plymouth County Historical Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A variety of nativity scenes are on display at the Plymouth County Historical Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

The display takes up the most of the top floor of the museum, formerly a local high school. So it is a large space. I always find museums are fun places to visit. One can learn about the past, the present and people’s state of mind by viewing exhibits. And it’s a nice place to divert one’s attention on a blustery day reveling in the moment of a momentous holiday to some.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland Museum ode to dolls the Blackwood Sisters, Le Mars

8 Jul

This past spring I visited the Plymouth County Historical museum in Le Mars, Iowa. It is a place worth visiting, and could easily take all day and more to really look at all of the exhibits, starting with a log cabin situated outside. But one exhibit caught my eye that opened then. A rural Battle Creek, Iowa farmer and artist, Robert Smith, now deceased, created “living” dolls, the Blackwood Sisters, out of walnut wood. He then learned to sew and made each of his creations clothing, applied make-up and eyelashes and whatever else was necessary to make them life-like, according to a newspaper article that is displayed in the room of his creations. There are so many different “characters” in so many different clothing attire that it takes a while to soak it all in. The dolls created represent a broad spectrum of occupations and it is sad there is no recorded conversation of the artist talking about his creating this work. Insight is always helpful to understanding, if just to broaden one’s own perspective.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland is a Community, Le Mars, Orange City

18 May

This past Saturday ended another 6-week class session that I teach at the local community college, Western Iowa Tech Community College. My short classes are offered through the Lifelong Learning program of the school and are not credit courses, but programs geared to adults and those retiring baby boomers who have an interest in something they want to pursue. Having worked for newspapers over 25 years, it has been an interesting and fun switch to teaching people how to further their knowledge about photography and learning to use their cameras to photograph an image how the individual sees it, as opposed to setting the camera on program and letting it decide how an image should turn out. I spend a lot of time on composition, learning to see light and shadow and how together they help create an image the photographer wants to share with viewers.

The Photo Safari class is one week longer than the others and allows me to give an introduction to some aspects of photography and then spend four weeks actually going on location to photograph. The last day of class we share photos we each made at the various locations. Since I also teach in classroom sessions about photography, this particular class is geared to being in the moment, on location, and the class meets whether it is sunny, hot, raining, or snowing. Barring a major storm of any kind, the class is geared to help the students photograph what is before them at that moment in time, and I am on location to help, offering suggestions if needed as well as talking about composition, light and shadow, and other various photographic techniques.

I find this class the most fun simply because the people attending it truly become a small community for 6 weeks. And while friendships are made in the other classes I teach, here as we wander around the downtown of different communities, state parks, preserves and various entities looking for a photograph, these like-minded individuals explore with each other and share what they are seeing as well as helping one another achieve their own personal vision. And come the final week, albeit sad because it is the last day, it is fun to see how everyone interprets the same geographic location on their own terms and what fascinates them about the places we visit, and then to say goodbye.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

%d bloggers like this: