Tag Archives: w h over museum

Visiting History in Siouxland, W. H. Over Museum, Vermillion, SD

11 Mar

As part of flyover country, Siouxland is surprising in the number of museums one can be found, like the W.H. Over Museum in Vermillion, SD. Having visited it over time, it was nice to see some newly finished displays. Unlike major metropolitan facilities small towns rely on volunteers and a smaller donation pool to make ends meet.

The W. H. Over Museum has recently finished some new displays in Vermillion, SD Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have taken a couple of my Photo Safari classes there to look at exhibits and get a better sense of history in the early Dakotas when there was only one, not North and South Dakota, during the country’s expansion west.

A story behind one diorama at the W. H. Over Museum and history of the Dakota Territory in Vermillion, SD Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A small diorama tells at the W. H. Over Museum tells history of the Dakota Territory and a turning point in the expansion West in Vermillion, SD Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And each time I return, and the same is true in visiting other museums, something new catches my eye and gives me a little better understanding of what life was like in the early Siouxland area.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

 

History of Photography in Siouxland, W H Over Museum, Vermillion, SD

25 Feb

When I am out surveying Siouxland, I am always happy with serendipitous encounters that allows me to find a unique place to visit and photograph. Such encounters can enrich one’s knowledge and makes visiting a place all the more enjoyable, such as the W.H. Over Museum in Vermillion, SD. Meeting Lynn Muller, owner of an extensive collection of Kodak cameras, which in itself is a history of photography in America.

Camera collector Lynn Muller talks about his extensive collection of Kodak cameras as well as some other brands he also collected at the W. H. Over Museum in Vermillion, SD Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

George Eastman created an empire built on encouraging people to take photographs. Muller was gracious enough to take some time to show me his collection and talk about the history of Kodak. He explained he became interested in photography during the Vietnam war. An art student, he said there wasn’t the ability to have paints, an easel or canvas, so he picked up a camera. He began his collecting in 1971 and that still continues today.

Camera collector Lynn Muller said many of the original Brownie cameras sold for only a dollar, making them accessible to many more people, especially families, as they recorded daily life which made the brand extremely popular. His extensive collection of Kodak cameras as well as some other brands are on display at the W. H. Over Museum in Vermillion, SD Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Muller’s collection includes many examples of the Brownie camera, the first product Eastman mass produced, convincing the American public that it should photograph everyday events in the lives of its family to remember those moments.

Camera collector Lynn Muller said Kodak founder George Eastman was very good at marketing which helped propel his company and cameras to the top of the the consumer wants list as he talks about his extensive collection of Kodak cameras as well as some other brands at the W. H. Over Museum in Vermillion, SD Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An early era instruction manual that came with a Kodak No. 3 folding camera that is part of Lynn Muller’s extensive collection of Kodak cameras as well as some other brands at the W. H. Over Museum in Vermillion, SD Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

He explained that Eastman also saw the opportunity of promoting this “hobby” to women, utilizing a marketing campaign to show them as independent people.

Kodak camera collector Lynn Muller said that George Eastman, founder of Kodak, was a master in marketing and targeted women in many campaigns that helped the brand become popular. Muller has an extensive collection of Kodak cameras on display at the W. H. Over Museum in Vermillion, SD Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The breadth and depth of Muller’s collection is breathtaking, and if one calls ahead to the museum, it is possible to schedule time with Muller for him to explain the history of Kodak and many other camera brands of which he also collects. Therein lies my serendipitous moment when museum personnel let me into the special section holding the collection, Mr. Muller happened to stop by. It’s amazing to see all of the cameras, but no less amazing to hear him talk about Eastman and his rise to being a leading figure in photography, inventing the use of roll film rather than glass plates for taking pictures. And creating a smaller camera body as opposed to the larger cameras used by the likes of Matthew Brady and other early photographic pioneers thus bring photography to the masses. The first cameras contained a roll film with 100 exposures and cost about $25.00. Eastman brought the photographic experience to the masses and soon everyone was taking photographs to commemorate some aspect of their life or family’s life.

And it was fun to learn this history in Siouxland, without having to travel to New York state and visiting the museum in Rochester. Although that would be a nice trip for any photography buff. And as much as I like serendipity when I photograph, I don’t mind it at all when it happens in life as well.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

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