Art, Galleries & Museums
News Releases - Art, Galleries & Museums
Written by Marguerite House   
Friday, 08 June 2012 11:40


CODY, Wyo. – After six months and millions of dollars in major renovations, the Buffalo Bill Museum—one of five museums within the Buffalo Bill Historical Center located in Cody, Wyoming—will officially re-open just in time for the 2012 summer vacation season. And even as the final pieces are put into place, the venue is already receiving buzz as one of the country’s hottest new tourist attractions.  The Center is a short drive from the east gate of Yellowstone National Park.

The new museum delivers a comprehensive view of the life and times of William F. Cody as well as the Buffalo Bill character that helped make him the most popular celebrity of his time. The museum storyline, titled “Man of the West, Man of the World,” takes visitors on an interactive journey that not only showcases the success and fame Cody attained through Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, but also the important impact he made, and continues to make, on the economic, civic, and cultural development of the American West. The museum also reveals the personal struggles that he faced, including a failed marriage and financial troubles that ultimately left him nearly penniless.

Some of the key items on display at the new 15,000-square-foot museum include: a life-size “Heliodisplay” representation of William F. Cody that greets visitors as they enter; Cody’s Congressional Medal of Honor; a stagecoach, costumes, saddles, and guns used by Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West; the largest known surviving Wild West poster, nearly 28 feet long by 13 feet high, printed in 1888 to commemorate the command performance that Cody and other cast members gave for Queen Victoria and the Royal Family in May 1887; a scale model layout of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West (which, at its zenith, covered 20 acres); and unique personal belongings that shed light on the man behind the Buffalo Bill character.

The new museum also features several state-of-the-art multimedia presentations, including “Buffalo Bill on Stage,” a four-minute animation, adapted from Cody’s own self-deprecating account in his 1879 autobiography, which recounts his improbable rise to stardom, and “Window on the West,” a seven-minute “visual symphony” of landscapes in the American West that William F. Cody knew and loved. In addition to its physical exhibits and displays, the new museum also offers a Web app through which visitors with Smart Phones can access additional information and stories by scanning QR codes.

“In his own time, William F. Cody used every communication medium available to him to present the American West to the world,” said Dr. John C. Rumm, the Center’s curator of Western American History, who oversaw development of the new museum. “We have continued that legacy by creating a museum for the 21st century, using every communication tool at our disposal to enhance the experiences our visitors receive.”

The new museum has quietly piqued the interest of many travel industry insiders that track and rate tourist destinations.

“During the past month, we’ve shared some advance details on the new museum with prominent travel industry opinion leaders,” says Bruce Eldredge, executive director of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center that houses the new museum. “And their initial response has been extremely positive,” he continued. “This is the perfect place to not only experience the life and times of William F. Cody, but to immerse oneself in the American West.”

Among the opinion leaders tracking the Museum’s re-opening is Trekaroo – a leading online travel site that recommends family-friendly destinations. In May, the site ranked the museum as one of the top “Family Friendly Attractions for Summer 2012.”  For years, the popular travel site TripAdvisor has also favorably reviewed the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and currently ranks it as the number-one attraction in Cody.

Dr. Rumm, believes the venue will not only attract a large portion of the more than three million families who annually visit nearby Yellowstone National Park, but also tourists from around the world who were introduced to the American West by the museum’s namesake.

“It’s ironic but, today Buffalo Bill is more popular in Europe than he is in the United States,” said Rumm. “That’s because he’s such a large part of the curriculum there—far more than in his own country. We hope the new museum not only attracts an international crowd but, as importantly, re-ignites interest in Buffalo Bill here in the U.S.”

The renovation actually marks the fourth iteration of the Buffalo Bill Museum. The museum first opened in 1927 in a log cabin across the street from its current location. It relocated to join the Whitney Gallery of Western Art in 1959 and in 1986, was completely reinstalled.

The Buffalo Bill Museum is one of five world-class museums within the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. Other museums located at the Center include the Draper Museum of Natural History, the Plains Indian Museum, the Whitney Gallery of Western Art, and the Cody Firearms Museum. The Center is also home to the McCracken Research Library, one of the most complete collections of primary materials that chronicle the history of the American West.

Less than a one-hour drive from Yellowstone National Park, the Center celebrates the Spirit of the American West and was recently named as one of the “favorite museums for group travelers” by the National Tour Association.

During the summer months, the Center is open daily 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Ticket prices that provide admission for two consecutive days are: $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, $14 for students with valid school ID, $10 for youth ages 6 – 17, and kids five and under are admitted free. More information on the Center can be viewed online at


Two-Day Festival for Museum Opening PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Art, Galleries & Museums
Written by Diana Baculis   
Friday, 08 June 2012 11:33
With just five weeks remaining until the grand opening of the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, officials announce the details of an exciting, fun-filled two-day festival to celebrate the new museum and library on Saturday, July 14 and Sunday, July 15.

“We are throwing a big party for the people of Cedar Rapids and Iowa, along with members, friends and Czech and Slovaks across the country,” said President/CEO Gail Naughton. “We want to come together to celebrate our grand recovery and remember and rejoice in what we have accomplished in just four years, one month and one day since the flood.”

The opening will include the premiere of three new exhibitions: the blockbuster, “Alphonse Mucha: Inspirations of Art Nouveau,” that will continue through Dec. 31; “Weird & Wonderful: Award Winning Art for Children’s Books,” an exhibit from Slovakia featuring 73 Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava (BIB) award-winning children’s book illustrators from around the world. The colorful, whimsical artworks, which will charm the young and young-at-heart, will be on display through Oct. 7.

For the third new exhibit, textiles that were damaged in the 2008 flood will return to the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. Painstakingly restored at the Chicago Conservation Center, richly embellished folk costumes (kroje), scarves, ritual cloths and household linens will star again in the exhibit, “It All Comes Out in the Wash.”

“When the flood hit, we thought we might lose the immigrant home and watch it float down the river in pieces. But surprisingly, the 130 plus year old structure survived intact, in part due to the solid construction and strong plaster walls, but I suspect in most part due to the skill of the builders so many years ago,” said Naughton. The home where five generations of the Sleger family lived has always been a favorite among visitors.  In the fall of 2011, the Sleger home was moved closer to the expanded building and completely restored to the 1900 time period.

Along with touring the exhibits and the building, visitors may listen to several speakers inside Heritage Hall including John Mucha, grandson of Alphonse Mucha; Tomoko Sato, curator at the Mucha Foundation; artist Sonya Darrow of LadyFits discussing folk dresses; Vít Hořejš of the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre of New York and Jerry Patzwald discussing the history of Staropramen, a Czech beer. Films about Mucha and the building’s monumental move will be showing in the new theatre.

On the terrace, Babi’s Bakery, sponsored by the National Czech & Slovak Museum Guild, will sell koláče and other ethnic baked items. For youngsters, a creation station will begin at noon in the new classroom. Children of all ages may create a variety of make-and-take crafts.

Saturday, outdoors on the museum grounds, visitors will find a host of entertainment and cultural activities. The concert stage will present the “Czech Plus Band” and the “Craig Erickson Band” featuring Natalie Brown, followed by the headline event, “Caravan of Thieves” from Connecticut at 7 p.m.

The outdoor amphitheatre will feature six authentic folk dance troupes from throughout the Midwest. Visitors will enjoy a hog roast with all the fixings, plus beer, water and soft drinks, all of which will be available for purchase. A grand finale of the evening will be a colorful, custom-designed, illuminated video covering the entire front of the building beginning at 9:45 p.m. Created by Matthew Kluber and John Richard, with technical support from Sound Concepts of Cedar Rapids, this original show set to the music of Smetana will celebrate the renewal of this important cultural landmark with images, text, light, color and sound. The title of the work is “Nesmírnost” (Czech and Slovak for immensity), for the immensity of the flood and the immensity of the spirit, determination and effort to rebuild and renew the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library.

Sunday, activities begin with a building blessing featuring clergy from six area churches that have been historically associated with the Czech and Slovak heritage of the city. Attendees are encouraged to bring a flower to place near the building and, after the blessing, guests may take a different flower home. The day continues with Babi’s Bakery, creation station for children, ice cream social, children’s activity tent and a food and beverage tent featuring hot sandwiches. Bohemian swing vocalist and musician George Grossman of Orlando, FL will perform on the concert stage.

The day’s highlight event will be two performances of “The White Doe” by the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre at 1 and 3 p.m. in Heritage Hall. Based out of New York City, this theatre group performed at the first grand opening in 1995.  Two foot colorful puppets will entertain both youngsters and adults alike. At 5 p.m. the festival and museum close.

Large Scale Illuminated Video Culminates Saturday Activities

A large-scale video projection set to music will illuminate the front of the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library at 9:45 p.m. on Saturday, July 14. The video will celebrate the renewal of this important cultural landmark with images, text, light, color and sound. Titled, “Nesmírnost” (the Czech and Slovak word for immensity), the work represents the immensity of the flood and the immensity of the spirit, determination and effort to rebuild and renew the museum and library.

“We didn’t want to do a round of fireworks just 10 days after Independence Day, so the idea of a giant light show on the entire face of the building was much more exciting to us,” said Diana Baculis, marketing and communications director.

Matthew Kluber and John Richard created the video, with technical support from Sound Concepts of Cedar Rapids. Richard, a native of Iowa City, began his career as a photojournalist and has now shifted his focus toward film and video production.  His work has appeared in numerous publications including, USA Today, The Washington Post, and ESPN. He is currently working in collaboration with UNESCO and the University of Iowa to produce a documentary about the history of literature in Iowa City.

Matthew Kluber has exhibited his paintings/projections, films, and drawings at galleries and museums including: the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai, China; FOCUS09/Art Basel, Switzerland; the Micro Museum, Brooklyn; Klein Art Works, Chicago; Dolphin Gallery, Kansas City; the Austin Museum of Art, Texas; the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Michigan; the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha; the Des Moines Art Center. He holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a MFA from the University of Iowa. He is a fifth generation Cedar Rapidian of Czech heritage; he lives in Cedar Rapids and is an associate professor of art at Grinnell College.






Muscatine Art Center Peter Mar Toys PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Art, Galleries & Museums
Written by Lynn Bartenhagen   
Friday, 08 June 2012 11:22
JUNE 1, 2012


The public is invited to join the Muscatine Art Center in welcoming local historians Bill Lindsay and Tom Meerdink as they present a talk on the history of the Peter Products Company and the Peter-Mar Toys. The program will take place Sunday, June 10 at 2:00 pm in the Muscatine Art Center’s Music Room. Admission is free.


In 1941 Ralph Lohr and his partner C.C. Hakes opened the Peter Products Company in Muscatine and began manufacturing wooden household items for retailers like Sears Roebuck. Their venture was successful but World War II caused lumber to be in short supply, most of it going to government contracts or other manufacturing priorities related to the war effort.  The Peter Products company was faced with the choice of closing or starting other product lines.  Under the new name of Peter-Mar Toys, they began purchasing scrap lumber to manufacture toys of their own design. They first produced military style Jeeps and guns and over time expanded to include farm equipment such as tractors, hay racks and wagons. The company's assembly lines were later re-tooled and new designs including a Ferris wheel, Noah's Ark and a trolley made. Peter-Mar Toys closed at the end of the war.


A display of original Peter-Mar toys is currently on view in the Musser Museum, gifts of Jim Burr, Mary Gaeta, Mr. & Mrs. Leonard Paul, Jan Ransom, Jerry Schreurs and Ev & Howard Hammann, in memory of Francis & James Tomasson.


Talk: “Muscatine’s Toy Story”

Who: Bill Lindsay and Tom Meerdink

When: Sunday, June 10 2012

Time: 2:00 PM

Where: The Muscatine Art Center’s Music Room

Admission to this program is FREE.

Please contact Katy Doherty, Program Coordinator, with any questions or concerns at

563-263-8282 or by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


The Muscatine Art Center is open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from

10 AM to 5 PM, Thursday from 10 AM to 7 PM and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 PM Admission is FREE.

Beer Exhibit at the GAHC PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Art, Galleries & Museums
Written by Kelly Lao   
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 13:38
Davenport, IA- The German American Heritage Center is proud to announce the grand opening of its newest exhibit “Suds!” on the brewing history of Davenport and German brewing tradtions. The opening celebration will be held at GAHC on Sunday June 10th at 2pm with a presentation on Prohibition in Iowa by St. Ambrose University’s Father George McDaniel. Admission is $5 for Adults, $4 for Seniors, $3 for children 5-17, and free for members.

Our exhibit “Suds!” will feature the breweries that operated here and the taverns and saloons where settlers gathered for their favorite brands. The second largest private beer can collector in America lives in the Quad Cities (over 25,000 cans!) and is loaning us an impressive selection of historical cans to share with the community. Local brewery ephemera and historic images will take visitors through our local connections to the famous beverage!

A series of programs will feature our long and glorious local brewery legacy - the effect of Prohibition on the local brewery traditions – where the “State of Scott” defied both Iowa and federal authorities to keep brewing beer and to make it available to fans, the fame of Bucktown, where the beer flowed and the action followed, even a chemistry professor who can tell us why we like some types of beer better than others.

The exhibit runs through October 28th and is sponsored by Vanguard Distributing Corporation. Visit our website for more information on this event and other upcoming events. Call 563-322-8844 or visit us at 712 W 2nd St. Davenport, IA.

It’s a 1912 Girl’s Life to be held at Brucemore PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Art, Galleries & Museums
Written by Tara Richards   
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 13:36

Event to feature activities from 100 years ago

Brucemore and Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois will host “It’s a 1912 Girl’s Life” on Monday, June 11, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Brucemore, 2160 Linden Drive SE, Cedar Rapids.

Find out what it was like to be a girl living in the year Girl Scouts was established, while discovering more about the history of the Brucemore estate. In 1912, the Douglas family, including daughters Margaret, Ellen, and Barbara, called the mansion home. While they lived there, they tripled the property size and added a carriage house, guesthouse, servants’ duplex, greenhouse, bookbindery/squash court and playhouse. It became a wonderland for the Douglas children.

Bring lunch in a pail to eat on the Brucemore lawn, play 1912 games, create 1912 crafts, and explore the 26-acre estate.

Cost is $10 for registered Girl Scouts. The cost to join is $12. To register, visit

About Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois

Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls with 3.2 million girl and adult members worldwide. Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois has 19,000 girl members and 4,500 adult members in 38 counties. To learn more, visit

About Brucemore

Brucemore is Iowa’s only National Trust Historic Site. The 26-acre park-like estate in the heart of Cedar Rapids boasts a Queen Anne style mansion built between 1884 and 1886. Brucemore has been home to three prominent families who used the estate as a center for culture and the arts. The estate continues to be a hub for cultural, philanthropic, and educational activities. Each year thousands of visitors attend specialty tours, concerts, fine arts performances, children’s programs, holiday celebrations, preservation events, and garden workshops on the estate. For more information, call (319) 362-7375 or visit

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