Highlighting ”The Daddy of ‘em All

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The world’s largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration captures Cheyenne’s essence each July. For 10 days there’s nothing quite like “The Daddy of ‘em All”. Year round, Cheyenne’s visitors can capture that Western tradition and spirit with a stop at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum & Store.

Permanent and changing exhibits demonstrate the multiple facets of the world famous event, saddle bronc riding to championship belt buckles, grand parades to rodeo queens. A current exhibit, “Bullfighters: The Risky Road to Glory!”, features not only the daring and determined bull riders but also the important role of rodeo clowns and legendary careers of Mr. T and Crooked Nose – bulls rarely successfully ridden.

B&N in Carriage - BThe museum houses a historic collection of horse-drawn carriages and wagons, many that make appearances in the Frontier Days parades. Visitors can climb aboard one designated carriage for a photo op complete with a “becoming” hat. “Hole in the Wall” is an interactive gallery giving kids an opportunity to practice roping and Western themed activities.

Shoppers find a plethora of Cheyenne Frontier Days branded merchandise in the Old West Museum store. Need a souvenir belt buckle, t-shirt or etched martini glass? You’ll find it here.

When You Go: The museum located at Frontier Park is open year round except major holidays, 9am-5pm weekdays, 10am-5pm weekends. Admission is $7/adult with children 12 and under free.

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Spring Festival & Children’s Fair

June 4 & 5, 2011

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El Rancho de las Golondrinas (The Ranch of the Swallows) will hum with a multitude of activities during Spring Festival & Children’s Fair, June 4 & 5, 2011. The living history museum/ranch located south of Santa Fe interprets rural life in the Southwest during the 18th and 19th centuries.Golondrinas Making Tortillas - B

A large volunteer staff dresses in clothing appropriate to the period. They share culture and heritage through stories, role playing, demonstrations and hands-on activities. Visitors can make tortillas, grind corn, make a corn husk doll or other arts and crafts, and sample bread baked in the traditional hornos.

Festival presentations include traditional music and dance, sheep shearing, blacksmithing and puppet shows. Sunday morning begins with a special mass and San Ysidro procession. Events run until 4pm both days.

Late spring is a perfect time to walk the 200-acre rural setting and festival weekends offer additional rich experiences.

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Golandrinas Sheep - B

Golondrinas Leather Work - B

 

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2011 Festivals & Special Events

El Rancho De Las Golondrinas

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Any weekend visit to the living history museum El Rancho de las Golondrinas provides historic and cultural experiences from the 18th and 19th century. Annual festivals and events promise even more reason to spend a day at the outstanding facility celebrating colorfulGolondrinas Sheep and Lady - B Southwestern heritage.

*June 4 & 5 – Spring Festival & Children’s Fair

Sheep shearing, animals born this spring, entertainment plus lots of games, puppet shows and hands-on activities for kids.

*June 25 & 26 – Fiber Arts Festival: From Sheep to Blanket

Follow the steps to create traditional New Mexico textiles from sheep shearing to elaborate embroidery. Original fiber arts for sale.

*July 2 & 3 – Santa Fe Wine FestivalGolondrinas Swishing Skirts - B

Meet vintners and sample wines from 16 New Mexico wineries. Purchase your favorite varietals, agricultural products and handmade arts and crafts.

*July 16 & 17 – Viva Mexico! Celebration

Celebrate the culture, cuisine and crafts of Mexico through music, arts and food.

Golondrinas - Bob Mill - B*July 23 & 24 – Herb & Lavender Fair

Tour herb gardens and attend lectures on growing lavender. Hands-on activities plus lavender and herb product vendors.

*Aug. 6 & 7 – Summer Festival: Frontier Days & Horses of the Old WestGolondrinas - Two Men - B

Mountain men and women demonstrate skills necessary in settling the West and relate tales of the era. Peruvian Paso horses from La Estancia Alegre.

*Aug. 13 & 14 – Survival: New Mexico

Practice fire starting, building shelters, using an atlati, making adobe and other survival Golondrinas Carding Wool - Btechniques required in Colonial and Territorial New Mexico.

*Sept. 3 & 4 – Fiesta de los Ninos: A Children’s Celebration

A family weekend honoring youngsters with games, crafts and entertainment. Children 12 and under admitted free.

*Sept.17 & 18 – Santa Fe Renaissance Fair

A Renaissance Fair with Spanish flair – defend a Spanish Galleon, games requiring knightly skills, flamenco dancers, turkey legs, ale and mead.

*Oct 1 & 2 – Harvest Festival

Golondrinas Stringing Ristas - BCelebrate the seasons bounty with wine making, grape stomping and stringing ristas at the most popular yearly event.

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Meeting Harry

Bob and Judy Meet Harry

We stopped in Independence, Missouri today to visit the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. Ever the politician, “Harry” was happy to pose for pictures with Judy and Bob. Portrayed by historian Niel Johnson, the former president greeted visitors and discussed the challenges he faced while in office (1945-1952) including North Korea. Isn’t it interesting that six decades later the same challenge remains a major world concern? Later in the afternoon “Harry” held an impromptu news conference, deftly fielding questions from museum visitors.

The AAA Tour Book recommends allowing 2 hours minimum for a visit to the Truman Library and Museum. We would recommend a half-day, after two hours we needed to hit the road knowing that we had only completed a cursory overview.

Upon entering we were told about the scheduled showing of two films. Unfortunately we were not told there was a great deal of redundancy between the films. With limited time we wish we had only seen one of the movies and had more time in the permanent exhibits.

A 15-minute introductory movie relates Truman’s life up to his inauguration and exits into the museum’s extensive core exhibit, Truman: the Presidential Years.

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The replicated Truman oval office includes the famous “The Buck Stops Here” sign atop the desk.

Ghost Hunting

Jail Museum Sign - B Spend Saturday night, September 18, 2010, in jail investigating paranormal activity in the Cripple Creek Outlaws and Lawmen Jail Museum. The facility served as the Teller County Jail from 1901-1992. The museum has kept the original cells intact and visitors frequently claim they’ve seen moving shadows or heard voices coming from the cellblock.

Certainly the jail saw many outlaws and troublemakers incarcerated, especially during the boom days when Cripple Creek was known as the World’s Greatest Gold Camp. The museum also  remembers those who enforced and maintained law and order. Police logs, newspaper crime stories and copies of early city ordinances recall the era when gold was discovered and the town grew from a population of 15 to 50,000 in ten years.Man at Jail Museum - B

During the overnight ghost hunting experience Mountain Peak Paranormal Investigations will teach participants the latest techniques and use of equipment for such investigations. Space is limited with reservations required (call 719-689-6556), no walk-ins accepted. Participants must be 18-years-old, cost is $40.

Paranormal activity cannot be guaranteed.

Whether one joins the ghost hunting overnight or just stops in for a look around when they’re in Cripple Creek the Outlaws and Lawmen Jail Museum offers a worthwhile and unusual look into the region’s history.

Exploring Connecticut’s Farmington Valley

With friends flying to Hartford, Connecticut I can’t resist the urge to recommend a number of attractions, activities and historic sites we’ve experienced and enjoyed in the nearby Farmington Valley.

 Hill-Stead Exterior

  • Hill-Stead Museum – history, art and gardens. The home of the Alfred Pope family during the first half of the 20th century is a National Historic Landmark complete with the family’s furnishings, sculpture, photographs, ceramics and art.  I Hill-Stead Interior loved seeing the extensive  French Impressionist collection –Monet, Degas, Cassatt – hanging in a home environment instead of a sterile gallery. The Sunken Garden blooms from mid-April into October with flowers and plants historically based on the original garden plan. Guided tours of the house give insight into the Pope family, art, collectables and architectural details.  A Poetry & Music Festival highlights five Wednesday evenings during the summer.

 

Christ Church

  • The town of Farmington has a fascinating history from early Colonial settlement dating to 1640, the Revolutionary War, Underground Railroad and the Amistad. Learn about many of the interesting citizens of the past during a historic walk through the Riverside Cemetery. The hospitality of local inns and restaurants make Farmington an ideal hub for a visit to the region.

 

  • House Guards The 1st Company Governor’s Horse Guard, in Avon, is the oldest continuously mounted Calvary unit in the US. The public is welcome to watch them drill on Thursday evenings at 7pm.

  Phelps%20Tavern[1]

  •  Phelps Tavern Museum in Simsbury provides a look into the home of Capt. Elisha Phelps where three generations of innkeepers (1786 – 1849) welcomed travelers arriving by stage, canal boat or horseback to the tavern and inn. One can imagine historical figures from America’s early years seeking respite from their journey between Boston and Philadelphia.

Stanley - Whitman

 

  • Stanley-Whitman House Built circa 1720 the Colonial home relates aspects of everyday life during that period in Connecticut. The living history center and museum encourages an interactive experience for visitors.

  • Canton Historic District Canton Historical Museum This place is chuck full of  "stuff" and every item has a story that one of the volunteers is eager to share. Collinsville was just what I expected from a New England village. The nearby LaSalle Market makes a good sandwich and salad for lunch.

 

  • Pettibone TavernAbigails Grille and Wine Bar,  – because of the building’s history. It was built in 1780 as a stage stop between Hartford and Boston. Abigail is the guest who won’t go away – tales of Abigail give lots of haunting history. This was known as Pettibone Tavern when we were there and has since experienced a fire, come under new management and been renamed so I don’t know about the food, service, etc. today. I loved the building, haunted tales and sense of stepping back in time to walk in the footsteps of earlier guests such as John Adams.

 Auction Barn Sign

  • A real piece of New England is the Canton Auction Barn. When one goes the first thing you want to do is reserve a piece of pie from the night’s selections. They’re homemade, very good and sell out. I’m not really an auction aficionado and didn’t buy a thing (my house is already filled to the brim) but this was still a fun experience. Housed in a circa 1820 barn the Saturday night weekly auction attracts Canton Barn Auctionserious collectors and casual observers. No reserves or buyer’s premiums; all items are owned outright by the Richard Wacht and Susan Wacht. Doors open at 5pm for inspection of items up for sale that evening – the Wachts encourage questions before the auction begins at 7:30. Reserve a seat by placing a cushion on a chair. Don’t forget to indulge in a slice of pie. 

  • Salmon Brook Salmon Brook Historic Society – Buildings include the Abijah Rowe House (circa 1732), Weed Enders House (circa 1790), Cooley School (circa 1870), and the Colton/Hayes Tobacco Barn (circa 19114). Located in Granby, the National Register of Historic Places site  is open Sunday afternoons from June through September.

 

Avon Old Farms

 

  • Old Avon Farms School – The buildings and grounds of this private boy’s boarding school makes one think they will meet Harry just around the next corner.

 

  • Flaming Lamb Flamig Farm – Young and old learn about farm life at Flamig Farm. Who can resist the Farm Animal Zoo populated with bunnies, piglets. llamas, peacocks, emus, ducks, draft horses and sheep? Plus, happy egg laying chickens. Open April through November, pony rides on weekends, old fashioned hay rides by reservation. Fresh eggs for sale in the store.

  • Kayaking Kayak the Farmington River with a guide from Collinsville Canoe & Kayak. See the Farmington Valley from a new perspective – meadows, farmland and Hublein Tower atop Avon Mountain during a gentle 8.5-mile flat water paddle. Numerous other guided trips available as well as equipment rental and sales.

  • Air Museum New England Air Museum  – Aviation buffs will love the collections including over 125 aircraft, 200 aircraft engines and outstanding array of aviation artifacts. The museum is located at the Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks.

Each of these recommendations brings back treasured memories of an area rich in natural beauty, historic preservation and cultural enrichments. I’m ready to plan a return visit to Connecticut’s Farmington River Valley.

From Sheep to Shawl

Littleton Museum – April 17, 2010

Littleton Museum Sheep Closeup Observe the process from shearing the sheep to working the wool and making the shawl during the springtime event at the Littleton Museum on Saturday, April 17th. Free special program events are scheduled from 10am-3pm around the 1860s Farm at the museum.

The museum complex includes two living history farms depicting earlier times in the Littleton area – one in the 1860s and one in the 1890s. Animals breeds at the farms are  authentic to those early settlers would have raised on local farms. Wool from the Churro sheep is especially popular with weavers. Demonstrations on Saturday will include shearing, washing, carding, spinning and weaving.Littleton Museum Sheep

Also currently on exhibit at the museum is a collection of 19th century Rio Grande weavings on loan from the Albuquerque Museum. “Wonders of the Weavers, Marvelas de los tejedores,” runs through June 27, 2010.

When You Go: Littleton Museum, 6028 S. Gallup Street, Littleton, CO is open Tuesday – Friday 8am-5pm, Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 1-5pm. Closed Mondays and Holidays. FREE.

 

 

Related Post 

A Walk Through Littleton History 

Tacoma’s Museum District

Three in One Triangle

Museum of Glass The east end of the Chihuly Bridge of Glass deposits us on the rooftop plaza of the Museum of Glass. Several temporary outdoor exhibits join the permanent Water Forest by Howard Ben Tré along the terraces and reflecting pools. On clear days – yes, you can experience a bright, blue sunny day in Tacoma – Mt. Rainier rises over the city in glaciated splendor.

Clad in stainless steel, a distinctive 90-foot tilted cone symbolizes the city’s transformation from industrial to cultural center. Architects took inspiration from the wood burners found at sawmills when the regional economy prospered from lumbering. A grand staircase wraps down the cone to the museum entrance.

The cone houses the core of the museum’s commitment to glass – The Hot Shop Amphitheater. Tiered seating accommodates 200 visitors while teams of artists experiment, demonstrate and create with molten glass in this arena for art. Cameras transmit live video to large screens providing up-close viewing of the process while a narrator explains terminology, materials and techniques, and answers questions from the entranced audiencHot Shop Audiencee. Not in Tacoma? Watch the Hot Shop in operation live via web streaming.

When entering the working studio we note the heat and roar of gas furnaces where batch glass is melted to temperatures over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. A team member gathers molten glass on the end of a blowpipe. With the first breath of air we see the magical beginnings of an art form dating from the time of Christ. As the objects are shaped and blown they require reheating in the glory hole to keep the piece malleable. Other team members prepare colors and additional molten materials. The artist keeps the pipe in perpetual Artist in Hot Shopturns using and resisting the powers of gravity and centrifugal force.

The narrator tells us that the artists we’re seeing come from Rhode Island, the Midwest and California, each with 8-10 years of experience. Some observers stay for 15 minutes while others spend hours watching the intricate choreography and teamwork as a fine glass sculpture evolves. Differing perspectives and viewing angles intrigue as we circle the Hot Shop on the elevated walkway – stopping often to observe the action below.

The museum dedicates exhibition space to contemporary art in all medias. In the Education Studio guest artists lead visitors in interactive, experience-based learning activities. Daily docent-led tours focus on either the current gallery exhibit or the architectural structure and outdoor installations.

We pause our museum tour for a restful lunch in Gallucci’s Glass Café overlooking the water. Before leaving we make sure to browse the Museum Store where we find glass art made in the Hot Shop as well as pieces from an array of contemporary artists, a broad selection of books, jewelry and gift items.

Tacoma Union Station The west end of the Chihuly Bridge of Glass leads to additional cultural attractions and city center. The Washington State History Museum relates man’s encounters and influences through multi-media presentations. No dusty shelves of relics here. From early Native Americans and sea explorers to the aviation industry the story of the Pacific Northwest unfolds. We return twice during our stay to this innovative facility to tour the quality permanent and temporary exhibits.

The Tacoma Art Museum completes the museum triangle. Collections include European Impressionism, Japanese woodblock prints, American graphic art and Northwest Art. Not surprisingly, the museum holds a large public collection of Chihuly Glass representing major series of his works from 1977 to present.

Union Station Window An added bonus to the museum triangle is the former Union Station now serving as a Federal Courthouse. The restored Romanesque building features a six-story rotunda – a perfect gallery for Chihuly artwork. A 1,000-piece chandelier hangs under the central dome and a massive arched window is adorned with 27 monumental sized glass creations Chihuly named the Monarch Window.

I used to considered Tacoma the half-sister to Seattle but after spending several days and exploring the museum triangle we found her a worthy sibling rival.

When You Go: The Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau is a helpful resource in planning your Tacoma and surrounding Pierce County visit.

Related Blog – Bridging Tacoma in Glass

All That Glass – Chihuly Glass, That Is

OKCMA - Entrance Chandilier Circling the block in search of a parking space we’re already in awe of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art’s Chihuly Glass collection. A 55-foot tall glass tower comprised of 2100 separate hand blown glass pieces dominates the atrium entrance. The Kirkpatrick Memorial Tower stands three stories tall on a black granite reflecting pool. This remarkable piece is only the beginning of one of the most comprehensive collections of Dale Chihuly glass in the world.OKCMA  - Entrance Chandilier Closeup

Whether trying to take in the entire tower or studying the multitude of individual pieces twisting and turning in one small segment we’re struck by the artistry and complexity of the structure. As Chihuly admirers we’ve seen many installations of his works in various settings around the country, this is truly an outstanding (and upstanding) original.

Before researching this trip we didn’t know that the Oklahoma City Museum of Art had such a large collection of Chihuly glass – Seaform Bowls - B one of their permanent exhibits. The first time I saw a Chihuly exhibition (in West Palm Beach) I fell in love with the Seaforms; they’re the first pieces I see at the OCMA. More subtle in color than many of the works, the form and fluid patterns in the Seaform pieces stand out – especially in the dark display cases. I can imagine these creations floating in the depths of the sea.

Chihuly is an artist always moving into new arenas, challenging the limits and gaining inspiration from a broad spectrum. The museum showcases works throughout his career and from many of his series – Ikebana, Chihuly - Macchia Forest and Reflections-n Putti, baskets, spears and Jerusalem Cylinders. The Macchia Forest pieces deserve close attention. Macchia is Italian for spotted. Not only are these giant freeform bowls spotted with intense color, the exterior and interior colors are different. A layer of white opaque glass separates the two sides. As light shines through the pieces the wall shadows fascinate as much as the glass. When I think of the beginning glob of molten glass and see the final size and complexity of construction I can’t help but wonder, “How do they do that?”

We stop to watch a continuously running video compiled from a number of filmings of the Chihuly crew in action. Watching the teamwork required gives new appreciation. It’s also fascinating to see the variety of installations he’s done around the world and how he ties them into the environment and culture.

Chihuly - Ceiling and Hall-n

Ceilings are a favorite Chihuly display technique; many admirers have stood in awe of the Bellagio ceiling in Las Vegas. It’s so large and with so many pieces I find it almost impossible to take in. At OCMA the ceiling combines hundreds of pieces from the Persian and Seaform series. I absolutely couldn’t resist the urge to lay down on the floor to look straight up into the layers of color and shapes. I could study this for hours. As one moves under the ceiling the lighting and shading makes each view unique. Again, the wall shadows and reflections are worthy of notice.

For more ceiling photos click below.

The Chihuly Waterford Crystal Chandelier in the lobby of the Museum’s Noble Theater shouldn’t be missed. In 1996 Dale Chihuly spent time at the Waterford Crystal factory in Ireland. Working with the glassblowers and Chihuly - Waterford Chandelier-n etchers there they created two crystal chandeliers. One was hung over a canal as part of the Chihuly Over Venice installation. The other came to Oklahoma City for the Museum of Arts Dale Chihuly: The Inaugural Exhibition and later was purchased by the Museum. His chandeliers have never been among my favorites, some strike me as too over the top. However, the over 200 lead crystal pieces come together in an exquisite work of creative art.

The Oklahoma City Museum of Art and all that glass proved to be an outstanding highlight of our Oklahoma art tour.

When You Go: The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is open daily except Mondays and major holidays.

Chihuly - Boat with Orbs-n

Enjoy additional Chihuly Glass at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art

Cowboys, Chihuly and Curiosity

Music & Memorial

Four Days in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Hearing we were headed to Oklahoma people often inquired why. They would be surprised by how positive, educational and entertaining we’ve found our experiences. We came to Oklahoma City primarily to visit a couple of museum and become acquainted with the community. Mission accomplished.End of the Trail Sculpture

Highlights:

  • Edgar Cruz Concertseeing this talented guitarist live in a casual setting was a real bonus; and, he’s as personable as he is talented. A  great evening.
  • National Cowboy & Western Heritage MuseumThe reputation of this major facility was a major priority on the trip. We expected to spend at least a half day; instead, we arrived 1/2-hour after opening at 10am and where there until closing at 5pm. Many of exhibits deserved even more time.
  • Ceiling Oklahoma City Museum of Art The large and comprehensive Dale Chihuly glass collection is a must see.
  • Oklahoma City National Memorial A sobbering tribute of the 168 innocent victims killed in the April 1995 bombing of the Murrah building. Our visit was too late in the day to also visit the museum but I’m sure it is also very moving.
  • Science Museum Oklahoma – Hundreds of interactive exhibits and activities plus IMAX theater,Science Museum - Falling Featherplanetarium, Science Live! presentations and two halls of fame. It seemed like every family in Oklahoma choose  the Science Museum for  the first day of spring break.
  • Mama Roja’s Mexican Kitchen When the wait Saturday night was 2 hours we went elsewhere; but returned Sunday to good food and margaritas and exceptional service.
  • Staybridge Suites at Quail Springs So comfortable we extended our stay – and, a great value on weekends.

Additional Activities:

  • Dining on Persimmon Hill Within the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, the restaurant offers either a lunch buffet or menu items.
  • Swadley’s BBQ Recommended by the hotel desk clerk; nothing fancy but tasty and reasonably priced.
  • OK Capitol and Oil Well State Capitol Photos Stopped by the Oklahoma capitol building Sunday morning for photos of the classical structure, on-site oil well and Allan Houser sculpture.
  • Steak ‘n Shake in Edmond – A Steak ‘n Shake visit is always a step back to my youth.

If we hadn’t both been fighting colds and I was gimping around with a bad knee reminiscent of Chester on Gunsmoke we would have done even more. Perhaps next time!

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