Category Archives: State

Maryland Historical Society

mining-1Baltimore, Maryland is home to one of the many state historical societies in the U.S., the Maryland Historical Society, today’s “Museum of the Day”.

Maryland Historical Society (MdHS) features Maryland’s largest and most comprehensive Civil War exhibit. The impact of the war on the people of Maryland is told on personal terms in “Divided Voices: Maryland in the Civil War.” The largest Civil War exhibit in the museum’s 167-year history occupies over 5,000 square feet and tells the story of a tragedy in three acts: the romantic war, the real war and the long reunion.

Founded in 1844, the Maryland Historical Society (MdHS) is the state’s oldest continuously operating cultural institution. In keeping with the founders’ commitment to preserve the remnants of Maryland’s past, MdHS remains the premier institution for state history. With over 350,000 objects and seven million books and documents, this institution now serves upward of 100,000 people through its through museum, library, press, and educational programs.

MdHS is located in the Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland.

In 1992, artist Fred Wilson created “Mining the Museum”, a historical exhibition for MdHS , which was quite provocative. Museum exhibit designers and educators still reference his ability to reinterpret history with simple changes to labeling and presentation.

I will visit this museum very soon!

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Related article: https://collectingseminar.wordpress.com/2008/11/03/fred-wilson-re-presents-history-and-objects-by-maria-gaspar/

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Witte Museum

1175366_f520San Antonio, Texas is where you’ll find today’s “Museum of the Day,” the Witte Museum.

Located on the banks of the beautiful San Antonio River in Brackenridge Park, the Witte Museum is San Antonio’s premier museum focusing on South Texas history, science and water resources.

The story of the Witte Museum is one of community vision and dedication that created an institution and has sustained it for 80 years. It is the story of men and women from diverse walks of life whose creativity was challenged as they raised funds literally one penny at a time to establish the museum that we still enjoy three quarters of a century later. The Witte Museum has proven as resilient as those who founded it. It has survived the Depression and wars, and in the 21st century remains the most heavily visited of San Antonio’s museums.

San Antonio was a modern, thriving town in the early twentieth century, but lacked many of the cultural institutions that marked other great American cities. Notably, there was no public museum. Local residents relied on privately owned exhibits of art and zoological collections to provide them a glimpse of the wonders of the artistic and natural world. Unlike other cities, San Antonio in the early 1900s had no men and women of extravagant wealth to build their cultural institutions. Instead, the Witte Museum was the product of a disparate group of individuals that included the owner of a large natural history collection, H.P. Attwater, prominent clubwomen including Lena McAllister and Ethel Tunstall Drought, and Mayor John Tobin. They were inspired by a local high school teacher, Ellen Schulz, who envisioned a public museum for the enjoyment of all San Antonians.

Ellen Schulz was aware that H.P. Attwater’s renowned collection was for sale, and after seeing it in 1922 she became determined to acquire it for San Antonio. By early 1923, schoolchildren were standing on street corners calling, “Spare a dime?” and community leaders had formed an organization they called the San Antonio Museum Association to assist in the effort. Through sales of bluebonnets, cakes and performances of “Peter Pan” and “Los Pastores,” the community contributed $6,200 to purchase the Attwater Collection, install it at Main Avenue High School, and open the city’s first public museum on October 8, 1923.

Even before the museum opened, Lena McAllister suggested to Schulz that a formal museum be organized and constructed. The idea took hold as the Attwater Collection’s popularity inspired other donors and the museum soon outgrew its home. By 1924, Schulz, accompanied by her friend and high school principal, Emma Gutzeit, visited Mayor Tobin to enlist the city’s support to build a museum. Though the mayor reportedly first inquired, “What is a museum?” he was eventually converted to the cause. He was even convinced by Ethel Tunstall Drought, president of the San Antonio Art League, that the museum needed a second story where her organization’s growing art collection could be displayed. Led by Tobin, the city committed land in San Pedro Park, and on June 22, 1925, approved $25,000 for construction of the building. Ground was broken for the new museum on September 22, 1925, and then, two days later, local businessman Alfred G. Witte died.

Museum advocates and the mayor were not aware that Alfred Witte, in his will dated June 6, 1921, bequeathed $65,000 to the City of San Antonio for construction of a museum of art, science and natural history to be located in Brackenridge Park and named for his parents. Within three weeks of Witte’s death, work was halted on the San Pedro Park museum and Mayor Tobin and Park Commissioner Ray Lambert selected a new location at the “third entrance” to Brackenridge Park (today Tuleta Drive) on River Avenue (today Broadway). Architect Robert Ayres shifted building materials to the site, enlarged the museum design to include two wings made possible by Witte’s generosity, and construction proceeded. Less than one year later, at a grand community celebration on October 8, 1926, the Witte Memorial Museum opened to the public. Anticipating the future, the San Antonio Express-News remarked, “The Witte Memorial Museum has a great field of service before it.” It was the realization of many dreams and the beginning of a long and interesting story.

I know a few staff members at the Witte, and look forward to visiting with them when I’m in San Antonio again. It’s always a welcoming place to visit!

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Old Cowtown Museum

Randy-&-Town

Wichita, Kansas is home to the Old Cowtown Museum, today’s “Museum of the Day”.

Cowtown is a living history museum where visitors experience life in the 1870s. Immersed in a sampling of the sights, sounds and activities common to a Midwestern cattle town, visitors will experience the dramatic clash of Victorian ideals and economic realities as these competing forces strove to create an economically viable cattle town and a Victorian metropolis.

A visit can include a wagon ride, the ring of the blacksmith anvil, and a visit to the humble home of the town’s founder, Darius Munger.
The experience here is all “living” history, so visitors walk away with a full-on sense of life in the 1870s.

I always enjoy interacting with live actors and will visit this museum when I travel to Kansas!

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Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture

1253Baltimore, Maryland, one of the best cities for arts & culture, is home to many of my all-time favorite museums. Today’s “Museum of the Day” pays tribute to the history and culture of African Americans in Maryland. The Reginald F. Lewis Museum opened in 2005, during my tenure in the city.

It is one of the largest museums of its type and features permanent and temporary exhibits, theater facility, café and shop in the heart of downtown Baltimore.

The museum is named after Reginald F. Lewis (1942-1993). Born in Baltimore, Lewis was an entrepreneur and philanthropist who served as chair and chief executive officer of TLC Beatrice International, the largest U.S. company owned by an African American during his lifetime.

The museum’s mission is: To be the premier experience and best resource for information and inspiration about the lives of African American Marylanders.

The museum brings Maryland African American history and culture to life through its permanent galleries and educational programs. It also shares the broader African American experience through special exhibitions, lectures and a variety of events.

The 82,000 square-foot facility accommodates over 13,000 square feet of permanent and temporary exhibition space, a two-story theater, resource center, museum gift shop, café, classrooms, meeting rooms, an outdoor terrace, and reception areas.

The museum provides dynamic educational programs for both children and adults and is especially proud of its partnership with the Maryland State Department of Education. The museum’s education department has developed curricula and provided teacher training to reach more than 850,000 students and 50,000 teachers.

An important educational resource and a well-planned museum, The Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore is another museum I look forward to revisiting soon!

The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum

oahu-free-bishops-museum-interior-full1Aloha! Welcome to Honolulu, Hawai’i for today’s “Museum of the Day”. It’s one of the best comprehensive museum experiences in the state.

The Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop in honor of his late wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last descendant of the royal Kamehameha family. The Museum was established to house the extensive collection of Hawaiian artifacts and royal family heirlooms of the Princess, and has expanded to include millions of artifacts, documents and photographs about Hawai‘i and other Pacific island cultures.

Mr. Bishop built the magnificent Polynesian and Hawaiian Halls on the grounds of the original Kamehameha Schools for Boys. The Museum and School shared the Kapālama campus until 1940 when a new larger school complex was opened nearby on Kapālama Heights.

Today, Bishop Museum is the largest museum in the state and the premier natural and cultural history institution in the Pacific, recognized throughout the world for its cultural collections, research projects, consulting services and public educational programs. It also has one of the largest natural history specimen collections in the world. Serving and representing the interests of Native Hawaiians is a primary purpose of the Museum.

The Museum also operates the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden on the island of Hawai‘i.

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Bullock Texas State History Museum

Exterior-BobBullock-TexasStateHistoryMuseumAustin, Texas is the home of today’s “Museum of the Day”.

Since 2001, The Bullock Texas State History Museum has been engaging audiences, to interpret for themselves, the continually unfolding “Story of Texas.” One of the most popular attractions in Central Texas, the Museum has been visited by over 6 million people coming from every state in the United States and every continent on Earth.

Guests can explore the “Story of Texas” through three floors of exhibits that showcase artifacts from around the state; immersive special-effects films on history and culture in the Texas Spirit Theater; and Austin’s premier IMAX Theatre.

From the 35-foot-tall bronze star sculpture that greets visitors as they arrive, to the campfire scene in the terrazzo floor in entryway that features a campfire scene with enduring themes from Texas’s past, every corner of the Museum proclaims the “Story of Texas” in a bold and new way.

The driving force behind the creation of the Bullock Museum was former Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock. The Museum is a division of the State Preservation Board.

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