Renaissance Woman

Loosely defined as a woman who defies convention and sets her own goals for personal achievements and perhaps is even somewhat outrageous, a renaissance woman is someone you’d probably want to know!  She gets things done, even if its sometimes unconventional.

Gene Stratton-Porter was just such a woman.  She lived in the early 1900’s, the youngest of 12 children.  She grew up to be a reknowned author of such books as “A Girl of the Limberlost” and “Freckles”, often outselling even Jack London at that time!  She was a naturalist and tended beautiful gardens at her home near the Limberlost Swamp in Geneva, Indiana and later at “The Cabin at Wildflower Woods” on Sylvan Lake in Rome City, Indiana, as well as in Hollywood, where she had quite a career as a film producer.  Her two Indiana homesteads are well-preserved as Indiana State Historic Sites, and still include fabulous gardens.  Gene is said to have hand-planted over 15,000 plants on the grounds of her Sylvan Lake “cottage” , including 1500 different species of Indiana plants.  Many of the plants were endangered at the time, but thanks to her efforts, are now flourishing. 

Enjoy a few photos, but like any thing of beauty, it is best viewed “up close and personal”.  The sites are open year-round, with information here and here.

P.S.  Visited the site again over the holiday weekend and got some great early-morning shots!  See how lighting makes all the difference in photography, in the last 3 photos shown…

Sidewalk Sale! Clearance!

*Shoppers alert*  Next weekend, which is Labor Day, will feature many fun events in downtown Indianapolis, as nearly 1/2 million people converge on the area for fireworks, football, and other activities.

The canal district will definitely be part of the action!  Be sure to visit the Indiana State Museum, which will join with the Eiteljorg and the Indiana History Center in a massive gift shop sidewalk sale.

Wonderful books, gourmet food items, unique gift items, etc……all marked down for quick sale.  

P.S.  Look what I found today and purchased for son’s Purdue dorm room 🙂

ISM Part of Apple History

It appears that the museum has inadvertently participated in history-in-the-making, when photographing Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak last Friday on the museum front lawn.  Indianapolis Star reporter Susan Guyett reports that Wozniak married Janet K. Hill that very night, here in Indianapolis.  Here’s the link to her story.

Meanwhile, we present this photo of Hill and Wozniak, pre-nuptuals.  She is believed to be #12 on the “Polo Bears” Segway Polo team, as Wozniak consults his unique vacuum-tube watch to determine how much time he has before “he’s hitched”.

Segway Polo on the Museum Lawn

Not a sight I’ve seen before;  a polo match on the front lawn of the museum.  But wait…this one is with Segways…and there, in the thick of it all, Apple Computer co-founder, Steve Wozniak!  Seems “The Woz” calls Segway, “one of my big inspirations in life” and started an international polo league a couple years ago. 

So what led him to the lawn of the Indiana State Museum?   SegwayFest 2008 is here in Indianapolis this weekend, and since all the other playing fields were reportedly taken up by Drum and Bugle Corps practices for the DCI World Championships (also in Indy)…the front lawn of the museum was chosen as the perfect polo-playing location.

As I’ve said before so many times….there’s never a dull moment around the Indiana State Museum!  Here’s a link to Fox59’s coverage of the event.

Dig It!

If you think that a museum is just a bunch of shelves showing old stuff, you need to read this! This museum is actively researching and collecting, out in the field.

We’re a little late posting our blog from this summer’s big dig – the excavation of three 12,000-year-old mastodonts from a recreational pond near Culver in Marshall County, Indiana. Blog author Peggy Fisherkeller, curator of geology, notes that only one laptop was available and time to post was at a premium. You’ll still feel the excitement, though, as you read her day-by-day account.

Ron Richards, chief curator of natural history and paleobiology, sums up the dig this way: “The pickin’ was good. In the beginning, we thought there were two animals: a female and a sub-adult, but by the time we were done, we had three mastodonts. We’ve never collected juvenile remains like we did here, finding a partial jaw and skulls.”

Read the rest of the entry here! Here’s another link to photos of the dig, as well. Its so cool!

Here are some mastadont teeth that were found on this dig…remember from a previous post, that mammoth’s have just four teeth, but mastadonts have THIS!  It still amazes me that this intact jaw was found “so easily” right here in Indiana!

Bison on the Bridge

I’ve mentioned it before; there are some very unusual things that go on around here sometimes, compared with other “normal” offices. Just today as I walked across the bridge to grab a late lunch from the Canal Cafe, I passed a bison, rolling down the hall, closely followed by a wolf. Hmmm….did I really just see that? Yes…they’re dismantling the “Footprints” exhibit, making way for a new exhibit called “Chocolate” which will open on October 4th.

Don’t worry, though…all those wonderful “stuffed animals” may have a return engagement in the years to come, since they were so popular, and since the exhibit’s environmental message was so timely.