Moundville Archaeological Park & Museum

moundmuseumTuscaloosa, Alabama is home to the Moundville Archaeological Park and is today’s “Museum of the Day”.

Opened and dedicated on May 16, 1939 at what was then known as “Mound State Monument,” built with labor from the Civilian Conservation Corps. In 1999, The University of Alabama Museums began a comprehensive effort to rebuild and redefine the museum, resulting in a $5 million renovation completed in 2010. Today, the museum combines the latest technology with more than 200 stunning artifacts to describe one of the most significant Native American archaeological sites in the United States.

Outside, visitors are greeted by symbols of the Native American culture mounted on enormous wooden heraldic poles. Inside, visitors will find life-size figures displaying the clothing and jewelry of Mississippian cultures, ceremonial feather decorations hand-sewn by Native-American artists, stunning pottery and other artworks placed in display cases that light up when recorded narratives talk about them and three-dimensional, moving depiction of a Native American maker of medicine who appears in a reconstructed earthlodge, taking them on a journey into the afterlife.

Archaeological sites have always fascinated me, and I hope to visit this one sometime in the coming year!

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Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art

Feature0157_01xNorman, Oklahoma is home to the University of Oklahoma’s Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, today’s “Museum of the Day”.

In 1971, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Jones of Oklahoma City donated a fine arts building to the University in memory of their son, Fred Jones, Jr., who had died in an airplane crash during his senior year at the University of Oklahoma. The resulting structure, the Fred Jones Jr. Memorial Art Center, housed the Museum of Art, which contains 15,000 square feet of exhibition space, the School of Art, and the administrative offices of the College of Fine Arts. In 1992, the Museum of Art was re-designated the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.

Over the years, the Museum’s permanent collection has grown exponentially through the generosity of donors such as Max Weitzenhoffer and Jerome M. Westheimer Sr. In 1996, with an initial gift of $1 million from Mrs. Fred Jones, OU President and Mrs. David L. Boren spearheaded the successful fundraising campaign to acquire the important collection of the late Richard H. and Adeline J. Fleischaker, which is composed primarily of Native American and Southwestern art.

2000 was a watershed year in the development of the FJJMA’s collections, with the gift of the Weitzenhoffer Collection of French Impressionism, which consists of 33 works of art by Degas, Gauguin, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, Vuillard and others. It is the most important collection of French Impressionism ever given to an American public university. The gift came to the University as the bequest of Clara Weitzenhoffer, an art collector and long-time University of Oklahoma supporter.

The Stuart Wing, which opened in October 2011, provides a new 18,000-square-foot expansion of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art to house the museum’s many collections acquired within the past 15 years. Designed by noted architect Rand Elliott, the new addition is named the Stuart Wing to honor a $3 million lead gift from the Stuart Family Foundation made possible by the generosity of OU Regent Jon R. Stuart and his wife, Dee Dee, a member of the art museum’s board of visitors.

Construction on the new wing began in 2009 and includes renovations to the original 1971 building and the addition of the Eugene B. Adkins Gallery, a new photography gallery and new administrative offices. In all, the new Stuart Wing, with renovations, includes 27,480 square feet of exhibition space. When added to the 2005 Lester Wing’s 12,106 square footage, the total museum exhibition space, is approximately 40,000 square feet.

The collections housed in the Stuart Wing allow visitors to view works of art that complement the already outstanding collections held by the museum, including the Weitzenhoffer Collection of French Impressionism, bringing the total to nearly 16,000 works of art.

It’s another example of great architecture that houses an outstanding collection of art on a university campus. I look forward to a visit when I’m in Oklahoma!

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Fargo Air Museum

DSC_0001_tFargo, North Dakota is home to today’s “Museum of the Day,” the Fargo Air Museum.

I’ve  been getting things set-up in my new home in Washington, D.C. and apologize to my dedicated reader for the delay in posting new museums to this blog! After a short hiatus, “Museum of the Day” is back with a great little air museum in the Mountain-Plains region of the U.S.

The museum showcases historic non-flying aircraft and engine exhibits. An EAA 317 Wright flyer replica, Pitts Special, ME 109, Huey helicopter, Iskra Jet, DC-3 and other historic aircraft. Aviation and military exhibits range from the North Dakota Wall of Aces, Carl Ben Eielson, Charles Lindbergh, the Golden Era, air racing, Tuskegee Airman and more.

In the late 1990’s, a group of local military folks, agriculture  pilots and international Warbird restorers were at the Fargo AirSho.  After the show they realized there was a wealth of historic aircraft, knowledge and a passion for aviation, education and restoration.  The founders developed the mission statement, developed a three-building long-term plan and opened the museum’s first hangar in 2001.  In 2008,  the organization retired the debt on the first building and plans are now in play to build the next two buildings.

The Fargo Air Museum founding members believed in the vision of creating a premier flying museum in the Upper Midwest. The vision and the dream included a long-range plan to build a series of three buildings. The museum first established themselves as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and set forth to raise funds through charitable giving contributions. The first building Wing was completed in 2001 and serves to showcase flying Warbird airplanes and Building Wing II will be devoted to education and traveling flyable aircraft exhibits. The third building will be devoted to the interpretative education entrance with a library, multi-media center and interactive exhibits.

I’m always excited to see smaller, more rural museums with great content and an engaged community to help make the museum a more significant institution of learning. Hopefully, one day, I can see this museum in Fargo.

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The National Portrait Gallery – Smithsonian Institution

ghr74sz4qs3dmsbbWashington, D.C. is home to most of the collections in the Smithsonian Institution’s constellation of amazing museums. Today’s “Museum of the Day”, The National Portrait Gallery, is a great collection that has been “joined at the hip” to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Art with a recent addition between the buildings, making “it” one outstanding museum building with two different collections.

The National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum—two museums that tell America’s stories through art, history and biography—share a newly renovated National Historic Landmark building in downtown Washington D.C. The Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, named in honor of a generous gift from the a Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, includes the two museums and their special-purpose facilities: the Lunder Conservation Center, the Luce Foundation Center for American Art, the Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium and the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard.

The National Portrait Gallery helps to tell the history of America through people who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story.

The National Portrait Gallery shares with the Smithsonian American Art Museum one of Washington’s oldest public buildings, a National Historic Landmark that was begun in 1836 to house the U.S. Patent Office. One of the nation’s finest examples of Greek Revival architecture, the building has undergone an extensive renovation that showcases its most dramatic architectural features, including skylights, a curving double staircase, porticos, and vaulted galleries illuminated by natural light. The Lunder Conservation Center, the only fine–art facility of its kind, is an innovative new space that allows visitors to look through floor–to–ceiling windows as conservators care for the national treasures entrusted to both museums.

The museums are collectively known as the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, in honor of the museums’ largest donor, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

In honor of my recent move to our nation’s capital, I thought today’s museum should come from what many consider the most amazing city for museum lovers. Remember, all the Smithsonian’s 20 different museums (2 museums in New York City) – all of them are free to the public. This is a gift to our nation that should never go unappreciated!

Now that I live here again,I look forward to more visits to all the wonderful museums in Washington, D.C.

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Museum of Indian Arts & Culture

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Santa Fe, New Mexico is home to the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, today’s “Museum of the Day”.

I have not been to Santa Fe yet and have an urge to make it top of the list for 2014. It’s been beckoning me with the diversity of cultures there, and it’s reputation for a vibrant arts community alive with some of the best artists from all kinds of traditions.

The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, one of four museums in the Museum of New Mexico system, is a premier repository of Native art and material culture and tells the stories of the people of the Southwest from pre-history through contemporary art. The museum serves a diverse, multicultural audience through changing exhibitions, public lectures, field trips, artist residencies, and other educational programs.

More than 65,000 visitors come to the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture each year, of which 30% hail from New Mexico, 50% from other states, and 20% from foreign countries. It is MIAC’s mission to provide cross-cultural education to the many visitors to Santa Fe who take part in our programs and to New Mexican residents throughout the state. It is especially important that MIAC serve the Indian communities in our state and throughout the Southwest whose contemporary and ancestral cultures are represented in the museum’s collections.

I look forward to visiting this museum soon!

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Airborne & Special Operations Museum

Museum of the Day

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Fayetteville, North Caroline is home to the Airborne & Special Operations Museum which is today’s “Museum of the Day”.

For more than eighty years Fort Bragg, Fayetteville, Cumberland County and North Carolina have lived and worked in cooperation with one another. The Airborne & Special Operations Museum now stands as a symbol for many years of teamwork, sacrifice, and victory.

The Airborne & Special Operations Museum Foundation provides marketing and advertising efforts to the non-military community in support of the ongoing mission of the United States Army’s Airborne & Special Operations Museum (ASOM). The ASOM serves as an adjunct to the local academic and cultural community and provides military history of the airborne and special operations soldiers, from 1940 to the present, to active duty soldiers, veterans, their families and the public at large. The Foundation conducts private and public fundraising efforts in support of this mission, ongoing ASOM programs…

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Airborne & Special Operations Museum

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Fayetteville, North Caroline is home to the Airborne & Special Operations Museum which is today’s “Museum of the Day”.

For more than eighty years Fort Bragg, Fayetteville, Cumberland County and North Carolina have lived and worked in cooperation with one another. The Airborne & Special Operations Museum now stands as a symbol for many years of teamwork, sacrifice, and victory.

The Airborne & Special Operations Museum Foundation provides marketing and advertising efforts to the non-military community in support of the ongoing mission of the United States Army’s Airborne & Special Operations Museum (ASOM). The ASOM serves as an adjunct to the local academic and cultural community and provides military history of the airborne and special operations soldiers, from 1940 to the present, to active duty soldiers, veterans, their families and the public at large. The Foundation conducts private and public fundraising efforts in support of this mission, ongoing ASOM programs, and future exhibit support.

The Airborne & Special Operations Museum is part of the U.S. Army Museum System and functions in partnership with a non-profit foundation. The Foundation Board of Directors is composed of retired military, veteran military and civilian members from both the public and private sectors.

Both public and private funding has been vital to the opening of the $22.5 million museum. Fundraising by the Foundation began in 1992 with a generous grant awarded from Congress. In addition to the federal grant, the State of North Carolina, Cumberland County, and the City of Fayetteville have provided grants to the museum.

I hope to visit the museum on my travels around the country. It looks like a great experience!

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Liberty Science Center

Museum of the Day

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Located in Jersey City, New Jersey, today’s “Museum of the Day” is one of my favorites! Liberty Science Center is a 300,000-square-foot learning center located in Liberty State Park on the Jersey City bank of the Hudson near the Statue of Liberty.

Dedicated to bringing the excitement of science to people of all ages, Liberty Science Center houses 12 museum exhibition halls, a live animal collection with 110 species, giant aquariums, a 3D theater, the nation’s largest IMAX Dome Theater, live simulcast surgeries, tornado and hurricane-force wind simulators, K-12 classrooms and labs, and teacher-development programs. More than half a million students, teachers, and parents visit the Science Center each year, and tens of thousands more participate in the Center’s offsite and online programs.

It may seem like I have a bias for art museums, but I also love a great science museum! This one is no exception to getting me excited…

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Liberty Science Center

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Located in Jersey City, New Jersey, today’s “Museum of the Day” is one of my favorites! Liberty Science Center is a 300,000-square-foot learning center located in Liberty State Park on the Jersey City bank of the Hudson near the Statue of Liberty.

Dedicated to bringing the excitement of science to people of all ages, Liberty Science Center houses 12 museum exhibition halls, a live animal collection with 110 species, giant aquariums, a 3D theater, the nation’s largest IMAX Dome Theater, live simulcast surgeries, tornado and hurricane-force wind simulators, K-12 classrooms and labs, and teacher-development programs. More than half a million students, teachers, and parents visit the Science Center each year, and tens of thousands more participate in the Center’s offsite and online programs.

It may seem like I have a bias for art museums, but I also love a great science museum! This one is no exception to getting me excited about science.

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Strawbery Banke Museum

Strawbery_Banke_copyPortsmouth, New Hampshire is home to today’s “Museum of the Day,” an amazing living history museum that features 10-acres of outdoor history.

Strawbery Banke Museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is dedicated to bringing 300* years of American history to life. Strawbery Banke is a place to learn about architecture, heritage plants and foodways, traditional crafts and the tools, clothing and collections people used for everyday life in the 1600s, 1700s, 1800s and up through 1954 when the site was saved from urban renewal.

The museum is a place for children, adults, multigenerational families and groups to gather to explore heritage gardens, historic buildings and crafts, preservation programs, hands-on activities, the stories told by costumed role-players, hands-on traditional crafts  and the changing exhibits that offer hours of fun and discovery. The museum’s restored buildings and open space invite visitors to immerse themselves in the past.

Strawbery Banke is a sustainable place that preserves and enlivens three centuries of war and peace in the same New England waterfront neighborhood. Each year the museum welcomes 75,000 visitors, members, schoolchildren and volunteers who love New Hampshire history for daily programs, exhibits and signature special events from May through December.

I look forward to a visit when I travel to New England this summer!

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