Thursday, August 16, 2012

My next Stay-cation: The Kansas African-American Museum

For my first Stay-cation, I took a trip to another town. Then I visited a hospital and turned that into my second Stay-cation. However, KatzElbows had a different take on it. She said (and I quote): "You've reminded me that it's time for a tourist day, where I act like a tourist where I live! " So, today I'm acting like a tourist where I live. Thanks for the inspiration, Rachel. Bleubeard and I both agree you're the KatzElbows (which we think is the BEST)!

It's been so hot lately, when the weather dipped below 100F for two days in a row, I decided to use the time to take my next Stay-cation. I had this one planned for over a month, but even though it was close to home, I still didn't want to venture even four miles or so in a car with no AC.

In case this is your first visit, or you have forgotten my self imposed rules, here they are again:

The self imposed rules:

1. Round trip must be less than or equal to 80 miles.

2. Must be achievable in a single day.

3. No more than $15.00 can be spent (does
NOT include fuel).

So today I'm staying right here in the city and visiting a museum that is less than 5 miles from my home.

Housed in the former Calvary Baptist Church is the Kansas African-American Museum. The cost was $5.50 admission and $0.75 for on street parking, although I learned last night when I was looking for the link to their web site there was free parking in the parking structure across the street.

The story goes when the Calvary Baptists built a new church in 1972, the City of Wichita announced they were going to tear this building down and turn the land into a parking lot. One woman stepped in and managed to save the building (after protests from city managers/officials), plus got it listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks in 1993, several years after her death. In 1997, the building became the Kansas African American Museum.

When I walked into the museum, I was thrilled to see the lovely wood paneling and the gleaming hardwood floors that were everywhere in the building.

I was impressed by the exhibits

and how well everything was both documented and displayed.

I appreciated the documentation of a movie artist who was well ahead of her time.

There were displays everywhere, including the one above that displayed photos and memorabilia from the (music) record industry.

I was snapping a photo of the organ, when a woman walked up to me and told me I was not allowed to take photos of any individual displays. What? That organ was a part of the original church and I couldn't imagine it hadn't been photographed before.

I wasn't about to pay that much money and not be able to take any photos. I realize some galleries are like that, but there is always a sign notifying you, or something on their web site. Here there was nothing, although I noticed the only other two people in the museum did not even have a camera with them.

I was told I could stand in the middle of the room and take a few "overall" shots. OK, better than nothing, I guess.

It's a good thing I don't have a good camera, or I would have put a telephoto lens on it and gotten as many closeups as I chose!

I suspect that was better, anyway, because I would have taken SO MANY MORE photos had I been able to get closer.

Of course, it was hard to get a good shot at this distance because my camera was shaking more than I was (grin).

I liked how the flooring pattern had changed from diagonal to straight in this room.

There is some really great

history shown in these rooms. I suspect there is quite a bit of discussion held behind those doors, too.

Yes, I cropped a bunch of these photos, but

left this one above and the one below intact and to size.

My friend Annette (VooDoo Vixen) has a collection of masks from around the world and I thought this would interest her.

I may have gotten too close when I took this photo, especially since you can see the dust on the shelf.

A beautiful mask

and another before the woman started following me around.

I decided to head for the stairs. Maybe she would quit following me if I went upstairs. After all, I could see no harm in taking a picture of a sign, which I initially misread before I snapped the shot. Yep, I thought it read " TIRED FLOOR."

From the looks of the stairs, they really WERE tired (and dusty, too).

I immediately fell in love with the sculptures.

I wanted to get closer and take in their beauty.

A beautiful example of Gino Salerno's Tree Art. He did a series on people in uniform. One of these was in the museum.

For those of you who are football fans, you will surely recognize Barry Sanders, another of Salerno's Tree Sculptures.

He's a local hero here, as well as a famous football star from the 1990s. He even went to the high school in my neighborhood.

Looking down on the "stage" shows signs of the church's former life and pulpit.

On the other side of the tiered balcony, I found even more sculptures.

There was ample room for more art and photographs, although the stained glass took center stage on this side of the room.

I finally got a half-way decent photo of one of the windows, and

a decent overview of the museum

from the second floor. Note how I am now the only person in the museum, other than the woman who chased me down earlier.

Then there was the shot of the organ. No one could say it was a close up, that's for sure.

This was a display that was in the process of

being assembled. I found it on the landing of the back staircase, as I did

this gorgeous stained glass window.

The back staircase led to the gift shop, but I wasn't allowed to take any photos. Sadly, I felt I had seen as much as I was going to see, had taken as many photos as I was allowed to take, and would have to rely on my memories for the rest.

As the heat of the day took over, I stopped to take a couple more photos of the exterior.

It was now time to return home as temperatures had reached their peak. Here's a recap of the day:

The self imposed rules:

1. Round trip must be less than or equal to 80 miles. The round trip was about five miles total.

2. Must be achievable in a single day. I spent about two hours in the museum.

3. No more than $15.00 can be spent (does
NOT include fuel). Cost was $6.25 ($5.50 admission and $0.75 parking).

There was NOTHING in the museum gift shop I could afford. Even the cards (the least expensive items there) were handmade somewhere in Africa and sold for $12.00 each. Nice, but I certainly wasn't looking for a handmade card. Most everything was very upscale, like the handbags that had a price tag of anywhere from $200.00 to $1500.00, or the scarves that were anywhere from $250.00 to $700.00. (All prices US. See my right sidebar for conversions.)

I hope you enjoyed coming along with me on my latest Stay-cation. I was glad you could join me. Sorry about the heat. Be aware that since the temperatures have steadily continued to climb, I have once again suspended these trips until the weather cools. Luckily, this day (Saturday) was pleasant enough I didn't mind venturing out and about.


13 thoughtful remarks:

Lisa Graham Art said...

What a great idea Elizabeth. I have not been to that museum before and I forgot it was here. I will go check it out.

Have you been to The Wichita Historical Museum? It is awesome and I took tons of photos and no one said a thing. It cost about $5 to get in.

Have you heard about the art sale at City Arts on Saturday? It is this Sat. the 18th from 9am to 3 pm. I will have a couple of tables there so stop by if you come! I would love to meet you!

Corrine at said...

What a fantastic space. And what a thoughtful tour you gave us. I feel like I got a chance to be there even though I live far away. Thanks so much for your trips- you have great destinations. xox

Redanne said...

Now that is what I call a Stay-cation! I love how they turned the old church into a museum. I am afraid I did not notice the footballer, being in the UK I had not heard of him but I do so admire the gorgeous stained glass windows everywhere, how beautiful they are. Thank you so much for allowing us to come with you.....A x

okienurse said...

Awesome Staycation day Elizabeth! I may have to make a road trip up there to look around at the art and architecture there. It is a little more then 80 miles but IF I combine a couple other reasons/trips I could do it. Very nice!

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Glad you enjoyed your look around--I did, too! I really liked (what looked like) the iron sculptures upstairs. This is such a great idea!

Rita said...

What dumb rules! Makes more sense to either say pictures or no pictures. But--no "individual exhibit" pictures? Just plan weird. I'm glad you managed to get a few shots in anyways. ;)

It does look like a nice museum, but the gift shop prices were steep-steep!Most gift shops have some cheaper items or postcards or something like that. Not smart on their part.

Love your staycations!! Awesome idea...but I can see why you'd wait till it cooled off a tiny bit when you don't have AC in the car! ;)

~*~Patty S said...

Those are some amazing artifacts E!
Your photos are super and clear too...
stay cool my friend
p.s. staycations are a great is easy to take our surroundings for granted

voodoo vixen said...

You lucky girl to have such a fabulous museum right on your doorstep and I think the admittance price is really good too! Shame about the prices in the gift shop... that stinks... the people who make that stuff in Africa get cents for it and then they sell it for hundreds... :(
Oh yes, love the masks and the figures... and that lovely last fullheaded mask with the shells covering it? I have one of those!! Somewhere there is a photo of me wearing it!! ;)

Dandelion and Daisy said...

It is wonderful that they have preserved this beautiful old're right the floors are amazing. The displays look interesting and educational but you do have to wonder about the no photos rule. I tell people I am taking pictures for my blog and they are usually very pleased and cooperative but every once in a while!!! It is good to take the time to visit stuff close to home, I always think "I can go there anytime" it is good to just do it!

sandee said...

I wish that 1. You could have turned the camera on her and took her picture, that would have been a hoot, and that 2. you went back to her and agreed that close up pictures wasn't a good idea since it showed all their dusty neglect! I got such a giggle about her chasing you around, too funny! waving hi from the sandy beaches of Florida ;0

KatzElbows said...

I'm so glad you gave the tourist day a go. And what an amazing museum. Don't you love that woman who saved the building? Thank you for taking us on this tour; I love the sculptures too and the dust made me laugh. It's a good job I don't run a museum: the dust would be an exhibit!

Hope it cools down a bit for you soon.


Dianne said...

a marvelous venue for a museum--love those stained glass windows, and love the sculptures. Wonder if they realize that 'people following you around to make sure you follow the rules' might actually be correlated to the fact that there wasn't anyone else in the museum besides you!? I realize that exhibits need to be protected, but come on. if people don't feel welcomed to the space, they will just stop coming. So glad you stuck it out and shared the visit with us!

neora chana said...

Great museum! Love the church and exhibits. I've seen other museums with the no photos signs, so it does not surprise me as much. There are several places where I live which would make good staycation days, but somehow I keep putting off going. Good for you for not doing so!