Monday, December 22, 2014

Staying Home for the Holidays? Enjoy Local Sites and Traditions

By Nina Kendall

How do you celebrate the holidays? What special events are you planning to attend? There are famous celebrations of the holidays across the United States from parades to Christmas tree lightings.  The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and other holiday events are broadcast on television. The White House has been lighting a National Christmas Tree  for 92 years.  Walt Disney World got into the act when they brought the Osborne Lights to Florida in 1995.

While major events draw crowds, you don't have to travel far to enjoy holiday traditions. Locales across the country feature unique celebrations that reflect local history and geography.  Popular traditions include caroling or sing-alongs, parades, festival of trees, and holiday light shows. 

A few Holiday Traditions with a Local Twist:

Festival of Trees
I love Christmas trees. To me a Christmas tree tells a story. Once a year we take out our treasures, memories , and joys and put them on display. Fernbank Museum of Natural History hosts Winter Wonderland annually. This exhibition is a collection trees and displays sponsored by cultural groups throughout the metro area. Each tree is decorated to reflect the sponsor. You can enjoy the trees, admire the handiwork, and learn about traditions from around the world practice by your neighbors.

I love to sing along. Secretly, I think everyone does not matter what they think of their voice. The Fox Theater hosted the 9th Annual Sing-A-Long event, Mighty Mo & More this year.  This free concert is a chance to sing carols, donate to Toys for Tots, hear a local chorus, and enjoy a holiday movie. There is little more cheerful than sing Christmas Carols with others.

Light Shows
Atlanta and surrounding environs have a number of light show destinations.  Lake Lanier, Callaway Gardens, Stone Mountain, and the Atlanta Botanical Gardens all host their own light shows. At Callaway Gardens, you drive through displays tied to the carols broadcast throughout the show. In the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, you walk amongst nature inspired light displays.  Each experience  imbued with a little Christmas magic.

New Year’s Eve Celebration
Atlanta’s Peach Drop is the local New Year’s Eve Celebration. This event takes near Underground Atlanta and is entering its 26th year.  The Peach Drop is a daylong celebration that draws young and old alike. Venture downtown to enjoy a fairway game, sample festival food, and ring in the New Year with thousands of locals.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Enjoying the Humanities in 2014

By  Nina Kendall

As 2014 comes to a close, I think about the opportunities to enjoy the humanities this year. This has truly been a year of fun engaging events. I have enjoyed art, music, and history this year all supported by the Georgia Humanities Council. As they work to fill their mission of making the humanities part of the life of every Georgian, they support unique projects and events throughout the state.  These events offer history, fun, and fellowship for the citizens of the state.  Here are some of my favorites from this past year.

Freedom Singers Concert
The Freedoms Singers are artists dedicated to continuing the tradition of singing rooted in the efforts of SNCC during the Albany Movement. Led by original SNCC Freedom Singer Rutha Harris, these performers share music and history with their audiences. Their performances focus on songs that provided courage to movement participants. Once they started singing the entire room was enveloped in song. Everyone sang along.  I enjoyed their performance in Atlanta, but you can find them performing the second Saturday of every month at the Albany Civil Rights Institute.  This group is a 2014 Governor’s Awards for the Arts & Humanities recipient and is definitely worth the trip to Albany.

Inspired Georgia
Inspired Georgia is a collection of 28 works by Georgians. This traveling collection features examples of folk art, abstract painting, realist painting, works on paper, landscape photography, and people and place in photography.  It was a chance to get to know the state art collection which has no permanent home. In this exhibit, you find the collective experience of the state, the traditions of rural Georgia and the modern urban experience. In each work, you can find a little history of the state. This collection will evoke your memories and touch your heart. For me it evoked memories of childhood and glimpse into modern life in Atlanta.

KONGO across the WATERS
KONGO across the WATERS brought art and artifacts from the Royal Museum of Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium, the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville, Florida, and from collections across the United States to Atlanta.  This exhibit fluidly combined art and history into an engaging experience. As you walked through the exhibit, you got a chance to enjoy centuries of art ranging from 16th century images to 20th century carvings and learn about the evolution of the form in different regions of the world. This exhibit was a walk down memory lane. Art forms and traditions common to the region displayed with their cultural roots. Face jugs and funeral practices illustrated the deep cultural connects between the southeastern United States and the Kongo peoples of western Central Africa.  Art and artifacts revealed the influence of diverse cultures whose history in the United States is not well preserved. I visited during an open house when members of the community went from piece to piece sharing their stories and connecting with the works.

To Begin the World Over Again: the Life of Thomas Paine
Actor Ian Ruskin performed the one man show, To Begin the World Over Again: the Life of Thomas Paine. Ruskin brought to life Revolutionary history while exploring the complex life of Thomas Paine. The audience were both engaged and educated by the nuanced performance of Mr. Ruskin. His performance helped make revealed many of the issues of the period and the revolutionary, Thomas Paine. It is a rare treat to learn from and enjoy live drama.

These are just a few of my favorite events from the past year supported by the Georgia Humanities Council. Yet it represents a small portion of the work done every year by this organization. From supporting teachers to encouraging literacy across the state, the Georgia Humanities Council is touching all our lives. I encourage you to check out their schedule in the coming months and make their work part of your plans in 2015.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fall Festivals: Explore the World in Your Own Community

By Jeff Burns

Cooler weather, leaves turning.  That means it’s time for the fall festivals that abound at this time of year.  Every weekend, you can find something fun to take in.  Schools, churches, and communities have their annual fairs and festivals.  There are arts and crafts festivals, quilt shows, ethnic festivals, and Native American powwows everywhere.
Recently, we went to Greece and Romania in the same day, about an hour from our home.  First up was the 39th Atlanta Greek Festival held at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation.  There were vendors selling jewelry and fashion, and Greek music and dancing on stage all day long.  The big attraction, of course, was the fantastic food:  souvlaki, moussaka, baklava, salads, Greek coffee, Greek potatoes, gyros, etc.  There was even a market where you could buy Greek pastries to take home along with any ingredient you needed to cook Greek at home.

The Cathedral was also open for tours and brief lectures by parishioners about the history of the Greek Orthodox Church and its rituals.  The cathedral was built in the 1960s and is the home of beautiful one of a kind mosaic icons and scenes, like the figure of Christ on the dome interior on the left and the resurrection in the center, created by a gifted Italian artist.

Then, twenty minutes later, we were in Romania for the Atlanta Fall Romanian Festival, which had a different feel.  It was much smaller, and there were no vendors except for food. Here, the focus was on food and performance.  Romanian was the language of the day.  The emcees spoke Romanian and looked as if they were Eastern European television news presenters.   There was food (like the stuffed cabbage and polenta in the photo), dance, and music, and the church operated a small Romanian museum, with mostly examples of national costumes.

It was a fun and delicious whirlwind tour of southeastern Europe.  Take your own tour this weekend!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Over Here and Over There: Travel across Georgia to enjoy World War II History

By Nina Kendall

Traveling exhibits and special events at local and state institutions are great opportunities to enjoy a little history. This fall you can immerse yourselves in World War II history. The University of West Georgia, and the 6th Cavalry Museum are hosting events this fall that commemorate the contribution of Georgia and Georgians to the fight to win World War II.  

The events at the University of West Georgia are built around the display of the traveling panel exhibit, “Over Here and Over There: Georgia and Georgians in World War II” that opens October 13, 2014. This exhibit focuses on how Georgians on the home front and the battle field made contributions to fighting World War II. Over Here and Over There is free and open to the public and will be on display through December 7 in the University of West Georgia’s Ingram Library. This exhibit is presented by the Ingram Library’s Penelope Melson Society with the support of the Georgia Humanities Council will also include displays of artifacts from local collectors of World War II memorabilia. While the exhibit is open, the University of West Georgia will host events and lectures to complement the display and engage the public.

The 6th Calvary Museum will host the 5th Annual Remembering Our Heroes - School Day Program on October 24, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Bring your students the Museum to experience World War II program presented by living historians. Thanks to a grant from the Georgia Humanities Council, Georgia students are admitted for free. Students from Tennessee are just $2 each. All teachers, chaperones and bus drivers are free. School groups must register in advance. Call the museum at 706-861-2860 to schedule your school group.

The 5th Annual Remembering Our Heroes will take place on October 25, 2014, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. and be open to the public.  The 6th Cavalry Museum and community volunteers present a day of living history and remembrance of our Armed Forces.  The event will be held on the former parade ground of the Army Post at Fort Oglethorpe. Come to the museum and experience World War II history in a brand new way.

Over Here and There: Georgia and Georgians in World War II
University of West Georgia/Ingram Library
1601 Maple St., Carrollton 30118
October 13, 2014 9:00 AM to December 07, 2014 5:00 PM
The exhibit, on display at the University of West Georgia/Ingram Library, will focus on WWII and the home front.

Swing Time: An Extravaganza of Big Band Music from the World War II Era
University of West Georgia Campus Center Ballroom
1601 Maple St., Carrollton 30118
October 17, 2014 7:00 PM to October 17, 2014 9:00 PM
The event features live music and dance of the WWII era, led by Dr. Dan Bakos, Director of Jazz Studies at the University of W. Georgia.

Remembering Our Heroes School Day
6th Cavalry Museum
6 Barnhardt Circle, Ft. Oglethorpe 30742
October 24, 2014 9:00 AM to October 24, 2014 1:00 PM
This will be a day of living World War II history at the 6th Cavalry Museum at Ft. Oglethorpe.

Remembering Our Heroes  
6th Cavalry Museum
6 Barnhardt Circle, Ft. Oglethorpe 30742
October 25, 2014 10:00 AM to October 25, 2014 4:00 PM
This will be a day of living World War II history at the 6th Cavalry Museum at Ft. Oglethorpe.

Mobilizing the Arsenal of Democracy: How Georgia was Transformed During WWII
University of West Georgia/Ingram Library
1601 Maple St., Carrollton 30118
October 28, 2014 11:00 AM to October 28, 2014 12:00 PM
Dr. Charles Chamberlain will speak on the economic impact of WWII in Georgia and the South.

Rationing for Victory: Food as a Weapon on the Home Front in World War II
University of West Georgia/Ingram Library
1601 Maple St., Carrollton 30118
November 11, 2014 11:00 AM to November 11, 2014 12:00 PM
Dr. Jennifer Jensen Wallach of the University of N. Texas and author of, "How America Eats: A Social History of U.S. Food and Culture" discusses food rationing during WWII.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Traveling with History: Memphis

By Nina Kendall

Looking for a different vacation destination? Want to immerse yourself in history? Then Memphis is a great choice for you. Memphis is the heart of the Mid-South. The position of the city on the banks of the Mississippi River creates a unique mix of agrarian tradition and economic opportunity. This city was the site of battle in the Civil War and the birthplace of Rock’ n Roll. When you visit, you will find something for everyone to enjoy.

Here are a few great places to visit:

Memphis Rock-N-Soul Museum is a fascinating Smithsonian affiliated museum with a personal audio tour. You begin with a movie and then walk through the history of music in Memphis. With each exhibit you can choose from audio narration and musical selections to enhance the exhibits. The exhibits tell the story of modern music, the role of radio in its development, and how the community was impacted by the opportunities. Learn about the challenges musicians faced and the unique way they were addressed in Memphis. You can spend hours listening to music and enjoying the exhibits.
The Memphis Rock-N-Soul Museum is one of many music attractions in the area. It is across the street from the Gibson Guitar factory which you can tour. It is also a few blocks from Beale Street the famous Music District in Memphis. Here you can here live music, visit Dyer’s Burgers, and see the statue of W.C. Handy. If you are willing to drive a little further, you can even visit Graceland.

Sun Studio is one of the most famous recording studios in the history of American music.  Here you can see the artifacts of the studio and hear early Elvis recordings. In this little building you can find the history of the million dollar quartet and the birth of rock-n-roll. From DJ booth to recording studio, you can see all parts of the story.
National Civil Rights Museum is a museum built on the site of the Lorraine Motel. Here you can learn about the movement for Civil Rights and follow the events surrounding the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr and the pursuit of James Earl Ray. You can stand in the room James Earl Ray rented and visit the room occupied by Dr. King. Interactive exhibits combine text, images and audio to immerse you in the tragedy of the place and the victories of the movement.
The Pink Palace is a museum that features both natural and cultural history of the region. You can enjoy moving dinosaurs on the ground floor before strolling through a replica Piggly Wiggly on the second floor.  You can walk through the history of the region. See a Model T and view the dress of a former Cotton Queen. What do you think your favorite exhibit will be/?
Of course, no visit to Memphis would be complete without a chance to enjoy the Mississippi River. Memphis has some great options. You can drive down to the banks of the river to take a picture, visit Mud Island River Park and Mississippi River Museum, or even choose to take a river cruise.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Visiting the National Archives, Southeast Region

By Margaret Duncan, Ed.D.

Recently, I was able to visit and tour the National Archives Southeast Region, located just south of Atlanta. My tour guide was Joel Walker, the Archives Education Specialist.  I have been fortunate enough to have spent a great deal of time at the Archives in the last decade, thanks to being part of several Teaching American History grants.  There is plenty to do and see, as well as research at the archives.

NARA Educational Specialist Joel Walker
The National Archives is free to use and has changed over the years in how it accommodates researchers.  When originally built in 2005, it boasted a large Microfilm Research Room.  However, over time the area repurposed to hold temporary exhibits and the microfilm stations were scaled down to compliment the adjoining Archival Research Room.  Some of the exhibits it has hosted include We'll Back Our Boys: The Southern Home Front During WWII and the Secret City in the Tennessee Hills: From Dogpatch to Nuclear Power.

The archives has extensive microfilm holdings that are used frequently by researchers for genealogy research and general historical interest.  It boasts the largest collections for the Tennessee Valley Authority, NASA, and Atomic Energy.  It also recently acquired a large amount of documents from NASA, including the Challenger investigation photos.  Currently, the facility has over 180,000 cubic feet of archival holdings dating from 1716 to the 1980s.  There are literally stacks of textual records, maps, photographs (in its own cold storage), and architectural drawings.

One of the challenges of the archives is combating public perception versus reality.  Much of the public who visit the Archives expect it to be a family history or genealogical society center.  In other words, a physical  In fact, Joel noted that many visitors think NARA operates, when in fact they don’t., digitizes much of the NARA documents, and has an agreement with the Archives making access to its website free of charge when accessed within the Archives.

Moving past the perception problems, Joel mentioned that a lot of people do indeed visit and use the Archival Research Room.  Over the last decade, the archives has made a concerted effort to reach out to universities.  As such, local universities like Clayton State, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, and Emory use the archives frequently.  The universities often send students to complete research at the facility and at times have even held classes in the large meeting space.   

Joel is also responsible for creating the yearly symposiums at the Archives.  The annual September symposium has had attendees from multiple states and universities.  The 2014 Seminar is titled The Valley of the Dams: Impact and Legacy of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is about the story of the TVA.   The symposium will cover the creation and the continuation of the TVA.  According to the literature, “Its impact on the electrification of the South, national defense, the evolution of the post-war economy, the environment, and the development of alternative power sources, among other topics, make the records of the Tennessee Valley Authority worthy of analytical investigation. The staff of the National Archives at Atlanta invites you to take part in our third annual scholarly symposium promoting the rich historical records within our holdings.”  The symposiums in the past have attracted participants from several states and have been standing room only crowds. 

As a teacher, one of the wonderful holding of the Archives that I have used in my classroom is the World War I Draft Cards.  At NARA SE Region, every WWI draft card is located in the facility except for Alvin York’s, his is on display in Washington.  There are also a number of WWI public debt scrapbooks, and propaganda posters. 

Overall, whether as a teacher or a citizen, the National Archives SE Region has something for you to experience and research.  We highly recommend taking a trip through time in the Archives.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Food Destinations: Agricultural and Industrial History

By Nina Kendall
Food tells a story. It is a source of economic revenue, and a reflection of geography, industry, and tradition in an area. You can learn about food history from books, by conducting oral history interviews, and through visits to museums and corporations.  Food tourism can be interesting. It is a chance to view a unique slice of history. Here are a few sites to consider:

The World of Coca-Cola is a museum that documents the development of Coca-Cola and the growth of the corporation.  Here you can learn about the strategy of Asa Candler in marketing his product, and see how the corporation has customized its brand for different cultures. In this museum, you can watch a movie, sample drinks from around the world, and see how Coca-Cola is produced. It is a lot of fun for the whole family and ends in the tasting room.

Vidalia Onion Museum documents the history of this unique product. This onion   has transformed a region and made a lasting impact of the food world. The Vidalia Onion Festival has celebrated the impact of this industry for decades.  When traveling through South Georgia you should check it out.  

The SPAM Museum is in St. Austin, Minnesota. This large museum documents the history of this canned meat. Visit this free museum to learn about the varieties of SPAM and try your hand at SPAM trivia. Perhaps this will be a stop on your next road trip.

Hershey’s Chocolate World  is in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Here at the home of the Hershey Company you can enjoy sweet history.  You can learn about how chocolate is made, sample a few varieties, and create your own candy bar. Hershey’s Chocolate World along with other local attractions makes this town a destination.

The Blue Bell Creamery tour is both interesting and delicious. You can arraign for a tour of the factory or just visit the Country Store and Parlor.  With locations in Alabama, Texas, and Oklahoma, you have a number of chances to learn about how ice cream is made.  What a sweet day!

You can learn about the agricultural industry of Hawaii at Dole Plantation in Wahiawa on the island of Oahu. Enjoy a pineapple cutting exhibition or explore the maze and planation gardens.

No matter your destination enjoy a little food history on the way. Learn about the economic impact of food and agricultural industries. See how unique products have shaped this land. It will certainly be a tasty adventure.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Staycation: Exploring the Changes in the Local Food Landscape

By Jeff Burns

            “The best laid plans….”  Our plan to have one lunch per week in a new restaurant or to try a new ethnic cuisine was a good plan, but life got in the way, and we haven’t quite made it each week.  However, we still managed to add some new favorites to our list. Here are a few find from our hunt for the food of a modern land.

            First up:  Villains Wicked Heroes.  Every menu item carries the name of a pop culture villain, from Lucy Van Pelt (Cajun boiled peanuts appetizer of course) to Bluto (a spinach salad) and Goldfinger (a hot brown sandwich hero).  The menu is a lot of fun, and the food is even better.  I enjoyed my favorite Bond villain, Oddjob, and my wife had a Mumm-Ra.

             Second, we visited Sobban- Korean Southern Diner in Decatur, the brainchild of a couple with another very successful restaurant, Heirloom Barbecue.  He’s southern, she’s south Korean, and they discovered that their cultures share many things in common, like a love for barbecue, pork, and pickles.  At Sobban, they’ve masterfully blended the two into many delicious dishes.  We started with a kimchi deviled egg and okara hushpuppies with kimchi  remoulade as appetizers.  (Not okra, okara is a soy pulp, a byproduct of making tofu) Our entrees were a bulgogi beef burger and a fried bologna sandwich – you guessed it, with kimchi – featuring bologna made in house.  It was all great.          

 Finally, we returned to Buford Highway, the most eclectic area of Atlanta.  Within sight at any time might be a Korean, an Indian, a Peruvian, a Mexican, and a Vietnamese restaurant.  We went to the Oriental Pearl, a Chinese dim sum restaurant.  We’ve eaten dim sum at other restaurants, but this was first time at Oriental Pearl.  If you’re not familiar with dim sum, it’s a Cantonese style of cooking bite sized servings on small plates, and servers wheel carts loaded with the offerings around the room.  You tell them what you want, they mark your bill, and the cashier tallies your cost by adding up the plates.  Foods include lots of dumplings and buns stuffed with shrimp, pork, tofu, vegetables, or some combination thereof, squid, chicken feet, and various vegetables.  Most dishes are steamed or fried.  It was a great experience, and I think we’ve found a new favorite dim sum place.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Visiting the Road to Tara Museum

By Margaret Duncan, Ed.D.

In June, I was able to visit and tour the Road to Tara Museum in Jonesboro, Georgia.  Jonesboro is south of Atlanta and the county seat of Clayton County.  Since the 1936 publication of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind, Jonesboro and Clayton have been billed as the “Home of Gone With The Wind.”  Located in Jonesboro’s 1867 Historic Train Depot, the museum is dedicated to Mitchell’s book and the 1939 classic film.  Why Jonesboro?  Margaret Mitchell spent her childhood summers at her grandparents’ home in the area and look closely at the movie and you will see a check listing the bank of Clayton County. 

Within the museum are personal items that belonged Mitchell like her china.  However, much of the museum is dedicated to the GWTW.  There are a number of detailed and accurate reproductions of the famous costumes worn by Vivien Leigh (Scarlett O’Hara), Hattie McDaniel (Mammy), Ona Munson (Belle Watling), Ann Rutherford (Careen O’Hara), and Cammie King Conlon (Bonnie Blue Butler).  There are also a large number of foreign translations of the GWTW book and movie posters.

Many of the items in the museum belonged to local historian and collector, Herb Bridges, who passed away in 2013.  He had one of the largest private collections of GWTW memorabilia.  During his life, he would be happy to attend and speak at many events relating to GWTW.  He also published a book on his collection.  The museum does pay tribute to Bridges.

Although the museum is primarily dedicated to GWTW, there are also exhibits relating to the Civil War.  The Battle of Jonesboro was one of the last battles that took place as part of the Battle of Atlanta on Sherman’s March to the Sea.  As such, Jonesboro doesn’t just have a strong GWTW tie, but is also part of America’s Civil War past.  Exhibits dedicated to the Civil War include an authentic “Sherman’s necktie.” Simply put, this was a section of rail twisted into a loop so it would be useless.  After Sherman’s March, the South was full of these twisted chunks of rail.  Further, the Depot was built for the cotton industry—weighing and then shipping the cotton to the industrial north.  The Depot still has the original Fairbank Scale which was used to weigh the cotton.

The museum is self guided but there are sound stations throughout the museum.  At the stations you will hear the voice of Fred Crane, the actor who played Brent Tarleton in the movie.  Listening to him you will hear several personal stories including being on the movie set and attending the grand premiere at the Loew’s Theater in Atlanta.

If you are a fan of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind or are a Civil War history buff, we recommend taking a tour of the Road to Tara Museum. 

For more information: Road to Tara Museum


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Traveling with History: Wyoming, Part 2

By Margaret Duncan, Ed.D.

Sleeping Indian--Outside Jackson Hole
Do you like to travel?  Do you like History?  Do you like combining both?  One of the places to visit with an eye towards history is Wyoming— a state where you can walk in the steps of pioneers or dinosaurs, visit Ghost Towns or battlefields, see museums or a rodeo, or just soak in the beauty of nature.  Wyoming is home to all these things, as well as Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and Devils Tower National Monument. It is also the home to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes.  It is a great destination for anyone who loves to travel with a mind to history and nature.   

Some great sites to see:
Yellowstone National Park-- the most famous part of park is Old Faithful, which is a predictable geyser erupting roughly every 90 minutes.  The park is on the Continental Divide which wanders around through the Caldera.  The Shoshone Lake is the largest lake in continental US.  One of the things we learned in the park was that weather is unpredictable--because this is where weather begins.  

Grand Teton National Park--This is a breathtaking area.  The first Europeans to visit the area were Mountain Men who were beaver trappers.  They would bring pelts to trade at the end of July.  Within the park, Jenny Lake is a glacier carved lake and much of the rocks that you can trip on while hiking are smooth because of the glaciers. 

Triangle X Ranch and Float Trip-- No trip to Wyoming would be complete without a trip to a Dude Ranch.  We visited the Triangle X Ranch which was made into a dude ranch when the owners  realized it was too difficult to herd animals.  Simply put, a dude is a visitor from the east.  A female dude is called a dudess or dudine.   The Snake River  got its name through misinterpretation – supposedly Indians said the name was Weaver River…but it was misinterpreted as Snake River.  As you float along the river, you will see Otter, Mother and Baby Moose, Bald Eagle, Red Tailed Hawk, Pelicans, Cut Throat Trout.  Be warned though, the water will be cold and can be felt through the raft. 

Jackson Hole-- this city was a resort town and is in the Valley--thus Hole.  Originally animals ran loose in the area because the land was used for grazing cattle and horses.  The town was isolated by its surrounding mountains and had such a harsh climate – it was one of the last areas to be settled.  One of the neatest sights in town are the Elk Antler Arches, first created in 1960.  They are made from elk from the National Elk Refuge. We were told 7,500 elk spend each winter on the refuge; bulls shed their antlers in the spring.  They are then picked up by Boy Scouts and sold by public auction in the square each May.

These are just some of the highlights to see if you head to Wyoming to experience history and nature. What would you include in your historical tour of Wyoming?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Traveling with History: Wyoming, Part 1

By Margaret Duncan, Ed.D.

Do you like to travel?  Do you like History?  Do you like combining both?  One of the places to visit with an eye towards history is Wyoming— a state where you can walk in the steps of pioneers or dinosaurs, visit Ghost Towns or battlefields, see museums or a rodeo, or just soak in the beauty of nature.  Wyoming is home to all these things, as well as Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and Devils Tower National Monument. It is also the home to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes.  It is a great destination for anyone who loves to travel with a mind to history and nature.  

Some great sites to see:
Sheridan--The railroad came to Sheridan because of expanding markets for the area’s coal, wheat, and cattle.  With the railroad came businessmen, politicians and families.  They would often stay at the Sheridan Inn which opened in June 1893 and was built by the Burlington & Missouri Railroad and the Sheridan Land Company. The design was based on a hunting lodge and the inn is reported to have a resident ghost, Kate Arnold.  Miss Kate’s ashes are located inside the walls of the inn.

Fort Phil Kearney--was built at the forks of Big and Little Piney Creeks by Colonel Henry Carrington.  Its Mission: Protect travelers on the trail, Prevent intertribal warfare between Native Americans in the area, draw attention of Indian forces opposed to American westward expansion away from the transcontinental railroad construction corridor to the south.  The Fort was built to protect the Bozeman Trail (offshoot of the Oregon Trail).  The most famous incident to occur at the fort was the Wagon Box Fight.  In August 1867, 32 woodcutters and guards were attacked by a large force of warriors under Chief Red Cloud.  

Cody, Wyoming--A wonderful small city built by Buffalo Bill Cody.  In Cody, we stayed at the Irma Hotel, named for Cody's daughter.  While at the hotel be sure to check out the historic bar.  The town is also known as the Rodeo capital of the world.  After checking out the Irma's bar head to the Rodeo.  Cody is a wonderful Western town and we spent a great deal of time walking the Main Street.

Buffalo Bill Historic Center--Located in Cody, this is considered to be the Smithsonian of the West.  It is a Collection of museums (Plains Indian Peoples, Buffalo Bill and the American West, Western Art, Firearms)  looking at the west from a variety of different perspectives.  The museum was founded by members of Buffalo Bill Cody's family and honors the American West.  The museum will give you a new perspective and admiration on Buffalo Bill.  His life was full of contradiction--the man who was known for killing buffaloes was also known for their conservation.  With Cody, history and myth are intertwined and the two were blended together into what would become his Wild West shows.  Within the center, the McCracken Research Library is wealth of information and the best reference for his life.

Menor’s Ferry Historic District-- Bill Menor squatted on 149 acres overlooking the Grand Tetons.  He was alone in the western part of the valley next to the Snake River for more than 10 years.  Today, the historic district has a White-Washed Cabin which was the original homestead of  Menor.  The jewel of the district is the Chapel of the Transfiguration, a church since 1925.  The alter in the church has a window with a breathtaking view of the Grand Tetons. 

These are just some of the highlights to see if you head to Wyoming to experience history and nature. What would you include in your historical tour of Wyoming?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Traveling Exhibits: Enjoy Art and History in your Neighborhood!

By: Nina Kendall

View of Inspired Georgia at ArtsClayton
Art is the visual medium that captures the human experience. It is the expression that helps us connect to each other. We see ourselves and others in art.  Happiness, pain, love, and regret are all captured by the works of artists. The timelessness of the human experience is there on the canvas for us to enjoy. Each work touches our humanity and connects us with history.

From the destruction of the statute of King George III on July 9, 1776 to Dolley Madison’s brave rescue of the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington, Americans have connected to art. The Wadsworth Atheneum founded in 1842 in Hartford, Connecticut is the oldest public art museum in the United States. Many states have public art collections that preserve the work of the citizens of the individual states.  The Alice Art Collection of Utah was begun in 1899. Some collections are on exhibits in museums. Other public installations like the Empire State Plaza Art Collection have become landmarks. Not everyone is lucky enough to live near an art museum, or public art installation.
ArtsClayton Gallery

In Georgia, the state art collection has no public home. Begun in the 1970’s the collection was first shared across the state via bus.  The some 600 works of the collection were compiled from 1970’s to the 1990’s. This year part of the Georgia State Art Collection has been traveling around the state for the enjoyment of all citizens. 28 selected works from the state collection will continue to be on display until the end of 2014. It is currently at its sixth stop at Arts Clayton in Jonesboro.  The exhibit will make stops later this year in Dublin, Tifton, and Kingsland. The traveling exhibit, Inspired Georgia, is sponsored in part by the Georgia Humanities Council, Department of Economic Development/Tourism, and the Georgia Council for the Arts.

Inspired Georgia is a collection of 28 works by Georgians. This traveling collection features examples of folk art, abstract painting, realist painting, works on paper, landscape photography, and people and place in photography. In this exhibit you find the collective experience of the state, the traditions of rural Georgia and the modern, developing urban experience. In each work, you can find a little history of the state. This collection will evoke your memories and touch your heart. Take the time to connect with this collection. Look for what it represents from your past and shows of your present.

                                                                     Tour Schedule

Arts Clayton, Jonesboro                                                       
May 31 – July 24, 2014
The Carnegie Library, Dublin                                   
July 26 – September 11, 2014
Georgia Museum of Agriculture at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Tifton
September 13 – October 27, 2014

Historic Train Depot, Kingsland
October 29 –December 11, 2014

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Traveling with History: Montana

By Margaret Duncan, Ed.D.

Do you like to travel?  Do you like History?  Do you like combining both?  One of the places to visit with an eye towards history is Montana—a state where you can walk in the steps of Lewis & Clark or dinosaurs, visit Ghost Towns or battlefields, or just soak in the beauty of nature.  Montana is home to all these things, as well as Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks. It is also the home of several Indian Nations like the Crow, Blackfeet, and Sioux.  It is a great destination for anyone who loves to travel with a mind to history and nature. 

Some great sites to see:
Billings, Montana-- Montana’s largest city was founded in 1882 and named for Frederick Billings, the president of the Northern Pacific Railroad.  As such, Billings was a transportation hub.  I found Billings to be a nice quaint city.  It was smaller than cities I am used to but certainly was an introduction to how cities in the west are. 

Crow Agency—To the East of Billings is Crow country, and while visiting there I was very excited to witness a PowWow and listen to Vietnam Veteran, Carson Walks Over Ice discuss traditional dances, and another elder educate us as to how a Teepee is set up.  We were also treated to dinner--traditional Indian Taco followed by the powwow program.  The only downside was that it was held indoors because of bad weather.  We were also educated about the Sun Dance which was abolished by government and missionaries because of fear in 1875.  Sun Dance is a way of prayer--Height of Apex of Sun.  Participants go without food and water for 3 days and pray for the 3 days.  Pray for sickness, suffering, soldiers, etc…  In 1941, the Sun Dance was revived.  A Sun Dance is held every August and the older generations teach to the younger the dances and songs.  During the Powwow we saw a number of examples of traditional dress:  such as use of birds, fur bearing animals, shiny things, moccasins, bones, moose teeth, bells, beaded bands for wrists, head and arms, paint on face, colorful – Blended with modern things such as Sponge Bob, flip flops, tennis shoes, basketball shorts, cell phones, etc.

Little Big Horn Battlefield—This is an immense battlefield and I was shocked to see how big this area really is.  This area was changed once gold was discovered in the Black Hills.  Yellow Hair--George Armstrong Custer was sent to take the Black Hills from the Indians.  His opponent was Sitting Bull.  This was the last armed effort of the Northern Plains Indians to preserve their ancestral way of life.  The Army sent 3 columns of soldiers to create a trap for Indians in the middle which included Custer.  The Calvary was supposed to find the enemy and infantry was supposed to fight, the scouts came across an Indian village camped along Little Big Horn River--Crow’s nest--the largest teepee camp in North America had been formed and was larger than city of Los Angeles.  The scouts described the horses as a brown carpet on the open prairie.  The fight only lasted about 20 minutes and very few Indians were actually killed, Custer was one of the first to die.

Lewis & Clark—Dinosaurs are not the only ones to have left a trail to follow.  On April 25, 1805, Lewis & Clarks’ Corps of Discovery camped by what would become Fort Union.  They hoped they were only weeks away from the Pacific, via the never to be found Northwest Passage. The group rested and celebrated their arrival at the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers. The expedition journals noted the spot's potential as a trade location.  Entering what would become Montana but at the time was the land of the Blackfeet.

Dinosaur Trail--The Montana Dinosaur Trail features some of the greatest paleontological finds of the last century. T-rex, Miaisaur, Hadrasaur--these are just a few of the interesting dinosaurs you'll find along Montana's Dinosaur Trail. All of them are dug out from the earth by some of the most prominent paleontologists around.

These are just some of the highlights to see if you head to Montana to experience history and nature.  What would you include in your historical tour of Montana?