Solstice at the Indiana State Museum


The oldest rocks on earth are not from earth.
Gondwana is the name given to an ancient super-continent
believed to have sutured between 570 and 510 million years ago.
Gondwana formed prior to, becoming part of, Pangaea.
Indiana bedrock is limestone.
The oceans were the stew where life simmered.

The mammoth is too large to photograph.
Focus on the neck bones.

Oscar Robertson.
Kenneth Edmonds, Don Mattingly, Red Skelton
called Indiana home, and are included with a photo collage
with James Dean and Florence Henderson.
The photos and music of Axl Rose and John Cougar Mellencamp.
A display featuring a blue and yellow pin on white cardboard,
proclaiming Hoosier Youth For Nixon.
The pale yellow Studebaker confusing front and rear.
Next to this, the Hippie dress and love beads,
circa 1968-1975, made from a 1920s embroidered
cotton bedspread and Job's Tears seeds.
Jim Jones got his start here, a Butler University graduate,
drawing huge crowds in the mid-1950s.
He chaired the Indianapolis Human Rights Commission.
You can see the tin sign from the People's Temple.
More than 900 of his followers committed mass suicide in Guyana.
The uniform of the Green and Gold undefeated State basketball
champions from 55-56 season mirrors
the white walled auto behind it in my photograph.
Steel and leather leg braces c. 1949, worn by polio sufferer
Ruby Davis of Pulaski County. Braces provided by March of Dimes.
Ruby was a mother of four, in a wheel chair from 1959
until her death in 2007, at the age of 87.
The Iron Lung used at Union Hospital in Terre Haute
from 1953-1967, treating Infantile paralysis, looks like
the capsule that brought the Chilean miners from the mine
in 2012--or your old hot water heater rusting in the basement.
The photographic display of Ernie Pyle, 
WWII war correspondent,with his typewriter 
and book, Brave Men: "You feel small
in the presence of dead men, and ashamed of being alive,
and you don't ask silly questions." January 10, 1944.
His leather and canvas duffle bag, stamped with his name.
The wood sign by GI's: At this spot the 77th Infantry Division
A paper airplane American P-40 cutout 
from a General Mills cereal box from 1944.
The poster of WHY The WOMEN of INDIANA want SUFFRAGE: 
WHY? BECAUSE: It is the only method of government 
that is moral or just. A charcoal, stiff-brimmed hat 
with a yellow ribbon proclaiming Votes for Women.
Following the Civil War, the 14th and 15th Amendments 
specifically excluded both white and black women 
from the right to vote newly awarded to black men.
Suffrage in Indiana was won in 1917 but ruled unconstitutional.
Billy Sunday, following a major league baseball career, preached
fire and brimstone from his home in Winona Lake.
D.C. Stephenson smiles in coat and tie, white shirt,
beside a full-length photograph of his white KKK gown.
"I am the law in Indiana," boasted Stephenson,
joining the Evansville Klan in 1920. Stephenson built
the organization's Hoosier's ranks to roughly 250,000 people,
from his Indianapolis headquarters during the 1920s.
In 1925 courts convicted Stephenson of rape and murder
and he served 31 years in the Indiana State Prison.
The Ku Klux Klan spread bigotry and hatred across Indiana
against immorality and the influence of outsiders and non-whites.

Abraham Lincoln moved to Indiana when Lincoln was eight years old.
Displays of Booth Tarkington and Theodore Dreiser are side by side.
And Abraham Lincoln's Rail Splitter is on display, 
handed down from generations
of Barnabas Carter's family from Evansville, Indiana.
A decorated Native American buffalo hide.
A 12,000 year old clovis point, made of chert, by Native Americans
is arguable the first known great American invention.
The Miami wampum belt, circa 1785, likely served
as a speaking instrument, kilaahkwaakani,
calling for war against the white intruders stealing the land.
The Indiana Department of Corrections electric chair
whose tenure lasted from 1913-1994.
Not native to Indiana, corn arrived about 1300 years ago
from its original homeland in Central America and southern Mexico.
The lyrics from Strange Fruit with Billie Holiday singing,
Strange fruit hangin' from the poplar trees...
Here is a strange and bitter crop...

In its own display the formal taffeta, perhaps satin, gown
of the KKK, bright red hood and gown, with gold epaulettes.
purple ribboned vestments down the front with white blue stripes
at the wrists, two crosses on the chest--and those cut-out holes
for the eyes hiding the face. This robe, the Klan state chaplain's robe
was worn by the Huntingburg Chief of Police in 1979.
No longer the predominately anti-African American
organization of old, the modern KKK evolved
into a loose association of fundamentalist,
gun-rights, anti-immigrant and white-pride adherents.

The Slave Registry of 1805, shows slaves
arriving to the Indiana Territory, who remained
property, and although the 1816 state constitution
declared slavery illegal, as late as 1840
there were still three slaves listed according to the census.

Some of the biggest changes to our world
are revealed by the smallest among us.
Ryan White's bomber jacket from Elton John behind glass.
White died of AIDS at 18, months before Congress passed the AIDS bill
that bears his name: Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS
Resources Emergency Act. Can change come
in the guise of a nightmarish killer?
Eurypterid (Carcinosoma newlin),
about 425 million years old,
spent most of their lives in the seas,
but at some point crossed the land-water barrier,
and this giant hunted in the shallows near Kokomo, Indiana.
Its choice of shoreline home helped prepare
the species for life on land.

See, see. See Jane. Oh, Jane. Look, look, look.
Our Big Book, Dick and Jane were revolutionaries,
developed by elementary school teacher Zerna Addis Sharp,
1889-1981, of Hillisburg, Indiana.
This "look-say" reading technique shunned standard phonics,
combining simple words with pictures and repetition.

Here's Cole Porter and Ethel Merman
and anything goes:

You're romance,
You're the steps of Russia.
You're the pants,
On a Roxy usher
I'm a lazy lout that's just about to stop
But if, baby, I'm the bottom,
You're the top!

James Whitcomb Riley's raggedy man was inspired
by a homeless German man his father hired to work at the house.
This is old school They don't make them like they used to.
Here's Kurt Vonnegut Jr., and the Children's Crusade.
And fyi, the Vonnegut Museum is down the street.
And here's a light blue Prozac pill the size of a Coke bottle.

Under the Dome in the First State House
by Christian Schrader, oil on canvas,
shows how far we've come.
Quilts are here and the collages of the contemporary.
Roomie's Daughter Got Married: And Things
Don't Always Turn Out The Way You Thought, Myra Ann.
Thank you Myra Schuetter for your watercolor.
This is the American Dream Suite Robert Indiana:
The five of you: hug, eat, err and die.
You're not on the fire engine this time.

How does the pendulum demonstrate the Earth's rotation?
Inertia makes it swing straight, and gravity pulls it back.
The pendulum, tied to the building travels laterally
as the building moves. It must be the floor
that is rotating. If the floor is attached to the earth,
then it must be the earth that is rotating.

Jim Bodeen
June Solstice Week, 2016
Indianapolis, Indiana

No comments:

Post a Comment