Friday, February 4, 2011

An Afternoon at the Museum

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Not very impressive from the outside but let's go in and be surprised!
I love going to museums.  I am one of those who will go to any kind of museum even if it sounds dull.  I love to read all the info at each display and I have learned a lot from doing that, but it takes a long time for me to see all I want to see and I never get through a whole museum the way I want to!
A few years ago we went to the Smithsonion Institute with Micah's family.  Samara was just a baby but it was one of those things where you take advantage of an opportunity no matter what the circumstances.  Anyway, the first building (it looked like a castle) we went in we got got kicked out of!  Sammi was not happy and was screaming the whole time we were in there and a guide politely asked us to leave.  It was an interesting display but very formal and library like so I guess they wanted quiet.

The next building was better.  It was the Space and Aeronautics building and was filled with school groups and children on vacation.  Three or four year old Alyssa loved it and we saw lots of interesting things.  Sammi even got calmed down and looked at all the old airplanes.

The Smithsonian is a place you can visit time after time and never see the same thing if you want it that way, but of course I like to go back and read more on some of the same things!

Last Saturday Jim decided we needed to get out and see some things Casper, Wyoming, had to offer besides cold, snow and wind.  He had been wanting to go check out the Wyoming Veteran's Museum for awhile so he, Bob and I went up to the airport where it is located.  We drove around a little before we went in the building because, unbeknownst to me, Casper had a huge Army airbase during World War II.  As we drove around it reminded me very much of Wendover, only it was much better kept up than Wendover's is!
The old parade grounds with antelope grazing peacefully!
We went inside the museum which is the renovated Servicemen's Club for enlisted men building.  What a surprise for me!  The outside of the building was unimpessive---typical WWII base construction, but inside it was great!  All the walls of the big gathering room are covered with murals of Wyoming history.  They were painted by 4 enlisted men during their stay at the base.  Three of the four men had no formal art training and it is amazing to see what they did!  They did most of the work in chalk but one man was allergic to chalk dust so he did his in oils.  According to the brochure, " Because there was no paint available, the men made their own from combining materials such as red soil with a fixative."  None of the men were natives of Wyoming and did a lot of research before beginning to paint the murals.  I have pictures so you can see.

My favorite mural depicting an unexpected early blizzard at Martin's Cove near Devil's Gate and Independence Rock.   That is another place that is great to visit. The fort and handcart museum there are soooo interesting!
  We were the only ones at the museum so the curator, John Goss, took it upon himself to give us the grand tour.  He is great!  He is an archeologist and a veteran of the Iraq war (I think the first one) and is great at telling the stories behind all the exhibits.  He told us that one of the young men who painted the murals had come back from the war and been put in the mental ward with a Section 4. The doctors thought painting might be good for him so they got him in to help the others.  It cured him and he went on to be a famous painter in New York City!  His son also became a painter and came back to Casper and did some repair work on the murals just recently.

Bob and I with our excellent "guide", John Goss.

Bob is showing Jim, John and I the M1 rifle he used in the service. He is explaining that it's a semiautomatic gas operated weapon.
John told us that every display had a story behind it and he knew them all!  We were entertained for a couple hours up there with all kinds of stories of heroism from WWII up to Afghanistan.  Only the Korean War is missing but they are working on it now.  We loved it!  He invited us to return for more stories again and I sure will take him up on it.  We had a great time!

Thanks, Jim and John for showing us a different side to Casper!  The murals go around the room from the early days in Wyoming history to the 1940s when they were painted.  Here's some of what is in there!
The first picture in the mural starting at early times of Indians and buffalo hunting.
Moving on around the room, this is one of my favorite places to see on our drives from Walden to Casper.  It is Independence Rock.  Darcy and I climbed it when I was in my 60s to read the names and dates carved all over on top! Note: don't wear flip-flops to do this climb!
Preaching to the Indians.
Scouting and then my favorite part about the blizzard!
There are plaques at each picture telling the history but I didn't have time to read them.  I'm curious to know about that gazebo on the right!

Holding up a stagecoach?
This is for Chris,  Telegraph operator and a lineman!
A famous Indian war fought in Wyoming territory, I suppose.

Workin' on the railroad.

Cowboys are branding.
Ranching and sheep herding were/are important industries in Wyoming.
These type of sheep camps are still often seen all over Wyoming.  A couple of roughnecks at the oil well sight.
Of course oil was big even in the 40s!  Now we are back around to the end.  Our fighting men of  WWII.
Check out the old radio!  Yes that is Bing Crosby on top--they had many big name entertainers come to the base.  This is the final mural in the room.
 These murals are painted on Cellotex and have survived for well over 50 years!  The dry climate of Wyoming has helped to preserve them.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Penny, that looks like a great museum. Did you say that the artists had no formal training?...Amazing. Sue