Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum

Charles Umlauf was the son of German farmers who migrated to Chicago in 1911 to escape anti-German sentiments. At 14 he was orphaned in his tough Chicago neighborhood however managed to survive winning a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago. Post graduation the Depression struck and problems obtaining work occurred, however fate changed as he met and married, Angeline, with their partnership producing 6 children. It was also during this time his provocative and haunting work was noticed.

Example of his haunting work

Two very different sculptures depicting the family.

A realistic sculpture of Mother and Child

In 1941 he was offered and accepted a position at University of Texas at Austin where he worked for the next 40 years as an art professor and sculptor. He and his wife built a home on the grounds where the garden now stands and his donation to the City of Austin is a lasting legacy.

Then a passionate work, The Lovers
And some whimsy, The Skater

Umlauf’s works are found in the Met in NYC, the Smithsonian, and Houston’s Love Field. They run the gambit from impressionism to abstract, to life like sculptures. He worked in marble, wood, rose quartz, and onyx. Creating his sculptures using an ancient Lost Wax Method, from the classic Greeks, here are the steps:

  • A charcoal sketch was created.
  • Followed by a 3 dimensional clay model
  • Plaster was then molded over the clay
  • This was then sent to Italy where the wax was specially treated and fired creating a mold.
  • Copper and tin were then poured into the mold.
  • The final work was then chiseled away.

All this is explained in a fascinating movie narrated by Umlauf. What a unique and treasured gift Austin received in his donation of the Sculpture Garden.

Go and enjoy this must see..

This concludes my Austin visit. Great way to end the trip.

Top Picks: Austin and a bit beyond

Here they are :

  • University of Texas at Austin – this campus is ENORMOUS and fascinating. UT gives you a feel for how large the Lone Star State really is. The Blanton Art Museum is on campus, however, each time I’ve visited it was closed. Go for me and let me know your thoughts.
  • The LBJ Library is on the grounds of UT, an amazing place.
  • And while we are on LBJ, stop by his ranch 50 miles west of Austin in Hill Country. They continue to breed his world famous cattle at this National Park. Only in America, but hey, it’s Texas.
  • The Driskoll Hotel, where LBJ and Lady Bird had their first date. An iconic hotel in downtown Austin with Romanesque architecture.
  • Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and Botanical Gardens.
  • The State Capitol and State Museum. Check with Auntie Google for specific times but make an effort to see both. Great tour.
  • HEB Supermarket – phenomenal place to visit and get groceries. Bring your own bags.
  • F1 Track not a fan but it is there.
  • Take a drive south of Austin for ribs in Lockhart. Worth the drive. Cute town.
  • Bucee’s – watch for the signs on the highway and stop.
  • Barton Springs Municipal Pool – natural spring, phenomenal.
  • Mount Bonnell – great views.
  • Wineries – there are several in the area, tours and wine remarkable.
  • Walkways are many, Auntie Google to decide on your favorite or do them all.
  • Mayfield Park – see peacocks in the trees and visit the historic home.
  • Walk downtown and see the sites. What architecture!
  • And my new favorite which I will review tomorrow Umlauf Sculpture Garden. What a peaceful spot near Barton Springs.
See you in Austin

The North Carolina Museum of History

The final museum in this Raleigh tour was the North Carolina Museum of History. This Museum gave a portrayal of history and depicted North Carolina citizens during the various eras. Let’s start with those who lived here over 10,000 years ago those being, our native sons, the Cherokees.

In this area of the museum was an authentic Indian home. The Cherokee Indians lived in the remote mountains of North Carolina. They had little to do with white settlers until the 1700’s when trading began. Also in this area of the museum was Indian sculpture and a replica of their sports equipment, which were a chunkey and stickball, as seen in pictures below.

And can we forget the villain of the seas who strolled the Carolina waters? Here is a replica of the Blackbeard ship.

On to the Revolutionary War where a Continental Army soldier stood..


Civil War..

And reconstruction.

The Depression.

And on to happier days.. Flight and new innovations.

The North Carolina Sport Hall of Fame is housed at the museum. Begun in 1963 it honors many native sons and daughters who gained prominence in sports. Stop and view the introductory film at the beginning of this area. There are over 300 honored in this exhibit.

Separate from the Hall of Fame was the Legends of Racing. Here the race car of Dale Earnhardt, Sr., is displayed and a tribute to the Tar Heel racers.

At the end of the exhibit was an interesting movie bringing history to modern day. What a great way to end the visit.

Tomorrow: My favorite exhibit at the museum: Quilts

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

And, discover I did of this amazing museum with much to offer. This kid friendly museum provides much, read on.

Of particular interest to children seemed to be the dinosaur exhibit. Passing through I heard the oohs and aahs of many under aged as they viewed these creatures. Quite frankly, I did as well.

Then there was the tribute to the Carolina Coast.

And the creatures of the forest..

As well as the minerals from the Tar State.

Documentaries are available at the Museum. Those I viewed were Earth Flight, concerning bird migration, and Great White Sharks, informative but not scary. Pricing is reasonable and with membership discounts are available. The Museum web site is:

Meet With The Animals is another program at the Museum. Here come face to face with the actual creatures.

All in all a great place to visit and bring the kids. They will never want to leave.

Caveat: Still trying to figure how to transfer photos with the new phone. Perhaps I should have asked at the Museum?

North Carolina Art Museum: Garden Tour

The North Carolina Art Museum has an extensive outside sculpture collection in their park. On most Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. they have a 90 minute free walk through the collection. On this day David, the volunteer docent, gave an amazing tour. Let’s start..

This sculpture is known as Askew, and was created by Virginia born, New York based artist Roxy Paine. Standing 30 feet tall this steel sculpture is not meant to be a tree but a dendroid, similiar to our veins. Check out the North Carolina Art Museum website to see how it was installed.

Ogromna which means huge in Polish is true to its name. This cedar sculpture was created by Polish artist Ursula vonRydingsvard. It is one solid piece of wood however it was sliced in order to be mounted in its location. The artist grew up in a wooded area of Poland where she developed her love for this art form.

The Three Shades Can you see they are one individual joined?

These lovely Rodins were the impetus for the new museum building as the owner, Iris Cantor, wished her sculptures be displayed in a better site. Thus the new museum building was forged. In front of these amazing works is a lotus pool. At the present time several sculptures are being refurbished at Stanford University.

The Rodin Garden is one of five courtyards which surround the museum building. Three of these courtyards have water features, however the courtyard pictured below was a creation of Mother Nature. It is one of simplicity and beauty. She’s quite an artist wouldn’t you say?

Linear Courtyard

While the museum was born via state funding in the 1940’s it currently is funded by a 70% foundation/30% state partnership. Support through annual memberships of $50 annually is a key component to their operation. These memberships provide many free items and discounted concerts, movies, and special events. This month a special exhibit of Frida Kahlo will be at the museum and every March Art in Bloom, the museum’s biggest fundraiser occurs.

Now, back to the tour…

Collapse by African artist Ledelle Moe is created in cement and depicts the concept that nothing last forever. Her father was a road builder and this encouraged the artist to work in this medium. It is currently on loan to the museum.

The artist also has this work in the African area of the Museum.

Crossroads in another unique piece in the Park. As the museum was built on the former Polk Youth Center this sculpture says much in its title and creation. It is made of bricks from the former youth center by Martha Jackson Jarvis.

Pigcasso is a fun piece which is part of the Discovery Center of the park. A playground is nearby by and there is a spot for picnics as well. Plans are underway for a butterfly garden.

The Museum grounds are watered via a swale system. All rainwater is captured flowing to an onsite pond. The water is cleaned via this system and provides for a beautiful spot.

What a delightful way to spend a morning. There are also volunteer docents on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. who explain paintings to children. Check out the museum website for specifics, and come for a visit. It will leave you with many fond memories.

The Billy Graham Museum

What a fine tribute to an amazing man. Let’s start with a little history of this incredible individual who served 11 presidents and gave more than 60 years to God and the world.

Billy Graham was raised on a dairy farm of 80 acres with 60 milking cows. The Graham Brothers Dairy was key to Billy’s life. Stop and see his boyhood home as the first part of the visit. While his mom redecorated in 1962 and Billy never lived in the redecorated home it is a lovely home to see.

From here stop and see the graves of Billy and Ruth in the Memorial Prayer Garden. Then enter the actual museum where you are greeted by…..

After leaving our Holstein cow there is a movie about Billy’s life and several rooms filled with memorabilia from his career. Billy met his wife Ruth in Wheaton College. She was the daughter of medical missionaries who lived in China.

A picture of Ruth and Billy along with a replica of their home. The translation of the saying over the fireplace is, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”

When Billy graduated from college he ministered at one church, then was called to a revival meeting. His message was so strong that his 3 week engagement lasted 8 weeks. From here his career began in radio and before long he was ministering to the world.

While Ruth stayed at home raising 5 children she was able to travel with Billy at times. Billy often said she was the finest Christian he had ever known. Both now have left us but their children remain active in ministry with their focus outreach to those in tragedy.

Franklin Graham is having a Decision America tour in North Carolina. Here are the following dates and cities:

  • October 1 Fayetteville
  • October 2 Greenville
  • October 5 Wilmington
  • October 6 Raleigh
  • October 9 Greensboro
  • October 10 Hickory
  • October 12 Charlotte
  • October 13 Asheville

Billy’s legacy lives on through his children.

Nascar Museum in Charlotte

As the bio of the Nascar Museum states this museum is a shrine to the history and heritage of Nascar. Nascar began in the South with moon shiners and bootleggers developing cars to out pace police vehicles.

The actual still of one of the bootleggers.

Illegal booze was an industry in the South which fed the family so it was key to not be caught by police as delivery of product occurred. The faster the car the less likelihood of being caught.

First Cars

From this home town racing began and in 1947 a man named Bill France got folks together to develop an organized and regulated sport. Since cars were racing on Daytona Beach this was the ideal place to start. Later a racetrack was created nearby which developed into a prestigious race, the Daytona Beach 500. All this is covered to in the museum’s introductory movie so make sure to stop and see that first.

Nascar Founders

The museum hours are 10 to 6 with Tuesday their black out day. Admission is from $25 to $49 with the higher admission giving an opportunity to sit in a car and race on video. Parking is available on the street and in garages. All that said, let’s look further at the place.

After the movie the doors open on to an actual track with race cars. Every 3 months the cars are changed. There are 100 Nascar tracks across America and each one has a different incline and turf.

Cockpit safety is key for this industry and has dramatically reduced injuries. A pit stop for cars during the race takes 12 seconds with 4 tires being changed during this time. On each car sponsors are listed and they range from Cheerios, Wranglers, Staples, Lowe’s, 3M, to Oreos. This is an expensive sport built on rivalry and competition, the American way.

The Hall of Fame where the race lives on allows patrons to hear their favorite drivers speak along with a list of their accomplishments. Below is a case of prizes awarded.

The Martinburg track gives a grandfather clock to the winner. Wonder what you’d do if you won the race 7 times? Alot of clocks to gift others with. 🙂

And then there is the clothing…

All in all, a fun visit and a must see for car enthusiasts. And to think how it all started.

Fort Mose

On US 1 north, shortly before the City of St. Augustine, stands Spanish soldiers on each side of the route. These soldiers protect the entrance to one of my favorite places in the area, Fort Mose. A small, serene, and scenic state park, it holds much history. The area was established as a refuge for Negro slaves in 1688. Then in 1738, with St. Augustine then under Spanish rule the King freed the slaves and had Fort Mose created for their protection.

While my short summation does not describe the many nuances of this period, a trip to the museum at the park surely does. The interactive exhibits will interest and intrigue young children, as well as adults wishing to learn of this colonial history. Cost of admission is $2 for adults with children under 6 free. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m.

Besides the museum there are trails to walk, places to picnic, and interesting vegetation to observe. Fort Mose also has several living history events throughout the year. In June there is a reenactment of the Bloody Battle of Fort Mose with uniformed soldiers and muskets firing. Then in February the Flight to Freedom reenactment has costumed participants explaining the journey to Fort Mose. Escaping slaves, bounty hunters, and priests tell their tale in blocking or assisting these individuals as they journeyed toward freedom.

Fort Mose is currently undergoing a $500,000. Capital Campaign to represent portions of the 1738 Fort and further develop their living history programs. I look forward to seeing the Park additions.

Donations may be sent to:
Fort Mose Historical Society
P.O. Box 4230
St. Augustine, Fl. 32085
Attention: TJ Jackson

NYC Summer 2019: The Cooper Hewitt Museum

On the east side of Manhattan on 2 East 91st Street, is a museum jewel, The Cooper Hewitt Museum. This museum is the Smithsonian Design Museum and housed in the family’s former mansion. It is home to the Target Design Center.

Peter Cooper, (1791-1883), patriarch of the Cooper-Hewitt family, was an inventor, manufacturer, and philanthropist. He is probably best known for “Tom Thumb,” the first steam locomotive. He wished to benefit society by helping his fellow man, and was much loved. The first free institution of higher education for young men and women in the nation, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, was created by Cooper, and he ran as a 1876 presidential candidate in the Greenback Party. Did I also mention he created jello? Well, he did.

Cooper and his wife, Sarah, had one daughter, Sarah Amelia, (known as Amelia), and in 1855 she married Abram Steven Hewitt. Hewitt, son of a fine cabinet maker, later became a businessman, and mayor of New York City in 1887. There were 6 children from this union.

It was a busy social life for the Hewitt children as successful and prominent people of the era were often at their homes in New York City, and Ringwood, New Jersey. All were immersed in the arts and education.

Hewitt’s daughters, Sarah and Eleanor, wanted to fulfill their grandfather’s long dream of a museum and began to purchase items on trips abroad for later inclusion in the museum. The decorative art items purchased were books, drawings and textiles. By 1897, the dream was achieved and the museum began.

Sarah and Eleanor never married but had fulfilling lives in their work and travels. Besides the museum home there is a fascinating Cooper-Hewitt summer home in Ringwood, New Jersey, which can be toured.

I began the tour with the video on the home in its prime which was hidden on the second floor to the left of the staircase. It is a must see.

Much of the mansion furnishings are in storage, however, pieces are brought out for display on occasion. The Cooper Hewitt collection has more than 210,000 objects and are digitalized. For questions as you tour feel free to ask security staff as they are knowledgeable and accessible.

On the museum ground floor items are displayed from the winners of the National High School Design Competition. Here’s a design winner which is now located in the museum gardens. Surprisingly, the chair was a comfortable and fun seating. Love the color..

Cooper wanted the theme of his museum to be for the advancement of science, and in this first floor wing it certainly is. Multi-colored DNA pictures are posted along with video explanations. I was unaware of the beautiful colors of DNA. There was also an orthotic electrical hand on display. But, perhaps my favorite was the hydroponic growing system seen behind this glass enclosure.

On the second floor patrons are allowed to develop their own designs via computer. These designs are then broadcast on the walls of the room. Works can be reclaimed or forwarded to home ports.

Textiles and the history of the paisley print was also displayed on this floor. The Hewitt sisters, Sarah and Eleanor, were known for their eccentric qualities. Perhaps this is best seen in the 1865 Steerhorn Chair from San Antonio.

And as you depart take time to stop by the gardens. Science and nature are here at its best.