Dialogue Blog: Fun in (and out of) the sun

by Katy Creagh, Arts & Culture Program Developer, and Eric Todd, Gallery Program Manager

Eric: Katy, correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing when you were growing up, you were excited for the fun summer offered, but also kind of bummed about school coming to an end.

Katy: Now Eric, just because I enjoy learning doesn’t mean I don’t like to have fun in the summer. I still love to go to the pool or lake, read all day and have barbeques. And, I hate to point this out, but between the two of us, aren’t you the professional student?

Eric: If by “professional” you mean the top in my field, guilty as charged. That’s why I like working at the museum; you can be a professional and a student — I learn something new every day.

Katy: And there does seem to be a lot of things going on at the museum this summer.

Eric: I agree. As you know, I got my start here as a summer camp intern. Camps alone keep the museum pretty busy.

Katy: I know, we are knee deep in camp season. We have three camps down, one in progress, three left to go. My camp, Indiana Artists Camp, was the first one, and I thought it went pretty well, if I do say so myself.

Katy and Eric creating some art!

Eric: I’ll say it for you — the watercolors, birdhouses and pottery I saw from your campers were all really cool — and I was jealous when I saw you guys doing art in nature, it looked like a lot of fun. Frankly, I’ve been very impressed by what I’ve seen in all the camps this year. 

Katy: I’m glad to hear that, but I noticed you’re not on the camp schedule this year — that’s a first! Care to share what you are doing with all your time?

Eric: Sure. I’m heading up the museum’s new gallery host program. ‘Eric, does that mean you’ll be taking your intoxicating personality out onto the museum floor to share with visitors,’ you ask?

Katy: Okay …

Eric: Actually, it does, Katy. I’m part of a team of Gallery Program Specialists that will be in the museum galleries every day to answer questions, share insights about the objects on display and facilitate some fun activities along the way.

Katy: You know, you aren’t the only one who is busy with activities this summer. I’ve developed some art activities that take place in White River State Park this summer.

Eric: I know, and I’ll be honest, I’m pretty excited. You taught me a lot about art back in February, so I am excited to test my newfound skills and knowledge on these weekends.

Katy: We’ve got different activities planned for each of the Yes Games weekends. This coming Saturday, on June 30, we are using recycled plastic to create a mobile. We’ll be on the front lawn July 21, Aug. 11 and, of course, for the White River Festival on Sept. 1.

Eric: That sounds like a great kick off for the White River Festival that’s taking place the whole month of September. I heard there are going to be activities around all of White River State Park that day.

Katy: Now we’ve been spending most of our time shamelessly plugging our own programs, I feel like there is something else this summer that we are missing.

Eric: Right you are. Summer Sounds is ongoing, and it’s a really fun program. There are two dates left — July 18 and Aug. 15 — with a couple of great acts. It’s really a great way to unwind and enjoy yourself after a day of work.

Katy: I know, I’ve been to one of the concerts and really enjoyed it. Sitting on the canal, enjoying the music and one of the most iconic views of downtown Indianapolis … it’s a nice date night.

Eric: Speaking of ‘dates,’ I’d recommend adding all of the dates we discussed to your calendar — there is a lot of fun … and learning … to be had this summer in and around the museum.

Katy: Okay … that was a bit lame, is that really how you want to finish this?

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Not just another Hallmark holiday

by Keesha Dixon, Juneteenth Festival Co-Chair

Juneteenth? What does that mean? Well, you are in luck! This is an actual holiday that doesn’t require gifts, candy or flowers. Whew! On June 19, 1865, the end of the Civil War officially freed all of the country’s slaves. Juneteenth, a combination of the words June and nineteenth, is also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day.

A bit of background … Though the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves officially on Jan. 1, 1863, It was several years before the news reached slaves in Texas, a Confederate state. But in June of 1865, Texas slaves learned of their new freedom. Officially, Juneteenth is on June 19, but the Indiana State Museum is having its Juneteenth Festival on Saturday, June 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Juneteenth Festival will encourage family and friends to celebrate freedom and diversity with arts and crafts, music, storytelling and more. There will be music by Lamar Campbell & Spirit of Praise and Staci McCrackin & Euphony. Storyteller extraordinaire Stevi Butler, spoken word artist Rehema McNeil and visual artist Walter Lobyn Hamilton will discuss and present their work. There will be craft activities, a Community Organization Fair, documentaries and Civil War re-enactors too!

I hope we will see you at the Indiana State Museum on June 23!

Mittens on sea creatures and mastodonts?

by Kate Larson, guest blogger and yarnbomber

17 feet of I-cord!

Happy International Yarn Bomb Day! My friends from SWIFT (Spinners and Weavers of Indiana Fiber and Textiles) and I helped yarnbomb the Indiana State Museum the last weekend of May. We installed temporary projects ranging from colorful knits that encase architectural beams in the museum to striped mittens for a creature from ancient seas. Several of my co-conspirators decided to knit I-cord to wrap around handrails in the Earth Science area of the museum. I-cord is a knitting technique that creates a seamless tube, which in this case, is about an inch in diameter. The goal was to make about eight feet of I-cord, but both knitters got carried away by their needles and the longest piece ended up measuring over 17 feet!

Stylish mittens keep an ancient sea creatures appendages warm.

As I knit my own yarn bomb contribution, I incorporated some handspun yarns from my own flock of Border Leicester sheep. I keep a flock of about 30 of these curly fleeced sheep on my family’s farm in Delaware County. I loved having the opportunity to use a bit of local wool for this exhibit at the Indiana State Museum — knit by a sixth-generation Indiana farmer.

Thank you to the Indiana State Museum for allowing us to yarn bomb the museum and express our creativity through our craft. Thank you to Joanna Hahn and the museum staff for working so hard to bring this project to fruition!

Knee deep in June

by LeAnn Luce, West Region Program and Earned Income Manager

“… Tell you what I like the best —
‘Long about knee-deep in June,
‘Bout the time strawberries melts
on the vine, — some afternoon …”

— James Whitcomb Riley

For many of us at our Indiana State Historic Sites, June brings a much needed reprieve from all of the hustle and bustle of holding site related events and having thousands of school children visit our historic treasures during the months of April and May. A welcome necessity in keeping our Indiana State Historic sites doors operating and open.

For most of our site managers, programmers and other site staff, this is a marathon month or two of activity and affords little time to enjoy their own site’s surroundings and the comings of goings of spring. While the phenomenal events of Mother Nature’s show of emerging flora and fauna are noticed, most staff are simply too busy to reflect upon her daily gifts.

And then it happens … we find ourselves “Knee deep into June” and we notice the special things Mother Nature has been saving for us — a new born baby fawn and her mother, a nest of hungry baby birds, new butterflies enjoying June foliage and a beautiful box of flowers that only just now have reached their prime. We see it and we are thankful for these sites and the wonderfully special places we work. This ain’t no ordinary job!

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Come and visit our Indiana State Historic Sites … I can assure you it has been worth the wait!

Flappers, flyboys, pickles and Abe Lincoln

by Erin Anderson, Gallery & Programming Specialist

When I was about 10 years old I fell in love. Much to my parents’ (mostly Dad’s) relief, I was in love with history and not a boy. I was the only girl in my grade who was fascinated with the people and things that came before me, especially all things Civil War-related. I read history books and obsessed over the movie, Gettysburg. (I almost have it memorized word for word.) But I never really got the chance to experience history hands-on. I was a total history geek … who am I kidding? I still am! I’m excited to announce that those children who are a little interested in history or who are total history geeks like me can spend a week at the Indiana State Museum getting to experience history hands-on at History Alive Camp! Woot!

This year’s camp will have the old favorites, like a visit from Abe Lincoln, going on a museum treasure hunt, making WWII-era refrigerator pickles and hanging out with some Civil War soldiers. Don’t worry; we’re not digging up the dead! They’re re-enactors! There will be some new activities, too.

The Madam Walker Theatre on Indiana Ave.

Flappers, flyboys, jalopies and all that jazz will arrive in style as we learn about the Roaring ‘20s in Indiana! There was a lot going on here in the heartland during the 1920s. For example, did you know that the infamous mobster, Al Capone, was involved in a shoot-out at a speakeasy in McCordsville or that he owned a gun-shaped house in Long Beach, Indiana? Did you know that Indiana Avenue was home to many famous theaters and dance clubs and would become a hub for jazz music and African-American culture? How about Indiana allowing women the right to vote in some elections as early as 1881, 39 years before the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed in 1920? There’s much more that happened, but I can’t tell you everything now! I have a deal for you though. If you want to know all this cool stuff and your kiddos are into history, sign them up for History Alive Camp. Then, they can tell you all about it!  This year’s History Alive Camp will be the bee’s knees!