Thursday, July 11, 2019

Marine museum better late than never

Among the unexpected treasures of the Upper Midwest is the Minnesota Marine Art Museum of Winona. Winona is a little Mississippi River town that's roughly a three hour drive south of the Twin Cities. The population of Winona is around 27,000. I guess someone there created a gigantic hardware supply business that made a fortune and so they collected "Great art inspired by water" and built a very beautiful museum out on the Winona riverbanks to house it.

Now maybe you're thinking "That's nice. How quaint." I might think that too. But when I say "unexpected treasure" I mean it. One of the interesting paintings this museum has is "Washington crossing the Delaware". The artist, Leutze, painted two copies of the original back in the mid 1800's. The original was destroyed in WWII. One copy is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One was in the West Wing of the White House until 2015, but now it's hanging in the Minnesota Marine Art Museum.

"Okay" Maybe you're thinking. "That's just a weird one-off hung up among the more regional bric-a-brac." I might think that too. So here is a very partial list of artists who have paintings in this Museum:

Van Gogh


Or, "Oh." You might say. I know I totally did.

Now with all this praise you might think that I have actually been to this intriguing sounding museum.

I haven't! It's hours away!

There's this elderly library patron I talk to though who is super into this museum. He is almost obsessively into this museum. I have been helping him and his wife at the front desk of my library for at least a decade. Every single time I see him, for years and years, he says "So, have you and your wife been to the Marine Museum yet?"

I always have to say no and make lots of excuses like "It's hours away!"

Then he gets all disappointed and tells me how I really should go.

And I say "Mmm hmm." 

It's like a ritual.

But now I am going to the Minnesota Marine Art Museum with my fabulous wife on an exciting overnight trip. I am super excited!

And I am really keen to tell this (sort of) nice old man about my upcoming trip.

Unfortunately I haven't seen him around for awhile and think he might have died of old age.

Hmm, that kind of turned out to be a bit more of a bummer than I meant it to be.

He's probably fine. And even if he's not I think we should look on the bright side:

I'm pretty sure my wife and I must be fulfilling his final wish. 

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