Who would've guessed that in Hawaii, the day that recognizes the practice of giving and receiving floral wreaths (you know, like on Fantasy Island), May 1, was first suggested by a Lawtonian? Don Blanding? Did you know that? (If you say yes, we're not going to believe you. So don't spoil our fun.)
Through September 30, the Museum of the Great Plains is featuring selections from A Grand Time Living: The Art of Don Blanding. The temporary exhibit is located in the museum's Terry K Bell Gallery. Pottery, poetry, pen and ink drawings by Blanding--even a Hawaiian shirt in his signature design--are on display.
Be sure to visit! If you stop at our People of the Plains exhibit on your way to the Bell Gallery, you can read about Don Blanding there, too. You might discover another piece of trivia, someone Blanding knew as a child in Lawton, a girl who became, well, famous. (We're not saying any more than that.)
That's the job of museums, of course, to make you, the visitor, a smarty pants, so people groan whenever you start with, "Bet you didn't know...." Spend some time with us, and mission accomplished.
Hide painting was a type of pictorial history that was traditional among some Native Americans of the Plains. We exhibit two examples on the gallery floor, a deer hide painting, and a bison hide painting. The deer hide is a modern reproduction of a historical scene, and the bison hide is a modern perspective of Comanche tribal history. It's an easy concept for visitors of all ages and types to grasp, that you can tell a story using simple images.
So, we invite our guests to take inspiration from what they observe, and then to present their own narrative in "What's My Story," an interactive station. People can take their drawings home, but many want to share their work with other visitors, and so they leave them for us to post. Here's a selection of recent pieces.
Visiting Grandma, from Woodlake CA to Faxon OK.
Our New Home: We travel, hunt, and live in our new home.
I like this visitor! She's obviously paying attention to the information around her.
The Fate of Berry the Buffalo
Some of our visitors have a darker sense of humor.... Buffalo, burger shop, storm clouds, you follow, right?
"He fell in the water."
"The guy he was watching."
"He cannot swim!"
"The birds saved him!"
Here's some thoughtful commentary (click on the pictures to see a larger image). We like that adults enjoy this station as much as kids. Cross-generational appeal.
Buffalo Brave Battling Tornado Spirit
This one is unique. Here someone is using the images in an unusual combination to express an original thought. A buffalo brave? Tornado spirit? Probably not the first things that most people would imagine.
La historia sobre una vida bonica
"The story about a beautiful life," for those of you who don't speak Catalan. Catalan is a language spoken in northeastern Spain that is distinct from Spanish. Next time you're playing Trivial Pursuit, you'll know that already.
What Up, Oklahoma? (From the East Coast)
Interesting to see the images people visiting from other parts of the country (or world) pick to represent our area. But, my favorite part of this drawing is the Maryland "Eastern Shore Crab" in the lower left corner! Twenty-three hours is about right for the travel time, must have driven to Oklahoma. Man, wish they had brought us some of those crabs, they're delicious.
From time to time, we'll post info here about what's going-on at the museum.