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Remembering Vietnam

Posted: Mon, August 3, 2015
A snapshot can say a lot. The time, place, event and human emotions captured in the blink of an eye tell a story that is broader than the 3"x 5" or 4" x 6" format of a Kodak print. A collection of such snapshots expands the story exponentially. Such is the nature of "Remembering Vietnam", the current Temporary Exhibit at the Carnegie Cultural Center in New Hampton which will be on display through October.

This year we, as a nation, are pausing to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the end of the Vietnam Conflict. The Carnegie exhibit offers a snapshot of the period by highlighting the diverse experiences of individual Chickasaw County veterans. Seen as a whole, the display presents a bigger picture of one of the most difficult and controversial times in American history. For some, memories from the Vietnam era are fraught with unease and adverse emotions. In commemoration, we are able to accept those perceptions, place them in their proper context, recognize new understandings from the perspective of history and, hopefully, take a step toward healing.

While Carnegie volunteers spent a lot of time in attempting to identify and contact appropriate veterans, there are, no doubt, many who were missed. Anyone still interested in including their information in the exhibit are strongly urged to contact the Cultural Center by phone: 641-394-2354, by email: carnegiecc@yahoo.com or through the website: www.carnegieculturalcenter.org

Everyone is invited to attend an open house reception for "Remembering Vietnam" on Sunday, August 23 from 1:30 - 3:30 to honor area veterans, share stories and enjoy refreshments.


PHOTO: A poster by Marland Johnson that took first prize nationally in a 1952 American Legion Auxiliary contest is pictured next to a jacket belonging to Fredericksburg Vietnam vet, Dennis Shurtleff.

Carnegie To Host Writer Event

Posted: Tue, July 7, 2015
Like many of her classmates from the NHHS class of 1969, Cecilia Eichenberger looked forward to wherever her own path might take her in life. Now, 40 plus years later, that path has provided the basis for a memoir-based novel, Fallen Far from the Tree.  Using the penname Lilith Giardini, the chronicle follows Cecilia's life path through an intentional community in the U.S. where she meets her future husband and several years in Italy before her return to "normal" life in the States where she undertakes the self-imposed challenge of writing her novel.
 
Currently employed as a grants research specialist at Duke University, Cecilia is self-educated when it comes to writing fiction. Fallen Far from the Tree was in the works for about 20 years and went through many re-writes before, as Cecilia notes, she published it "just to be done with it and move onto something new." Her next project is to write the story of her mother, Lois Eichenberger¸ and, at some future date, another book about her love/hate relationship with the art of writing.
 
The Carnegie Cultural Center will host Eichenberger for a book reading and signing on Sunday, July 26 from 1:30 - 3:30 pm. Cecilia will also lead a Q&A discussion about the book as well as the process and rewards of self publishing. Books will be available for purchase at the event or can be found on Amazon.com.  The event is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served.
 
The Carnegie Cultural Center is located at 7 N. Water Ave. in New Hampton. For more information about the event, contact the Carnegie Cultural Center at 641.394.2354 or email: carnegiecc@yahoo.com
 
PHOTO: Cecilia Eichenberger, aka Lilith Giardini, is looking forward to sharing her memoir-based novel with New Hampton area residents, former classmates and friends on June 26 at the Carnegie Cultural Center.

Gregg's Grandiose Miniatures Joins The Carnegie

Posted: Sun, June 7, 2015
When deciding what to do with his collection of hand-crafted model circus wagons, Gregg Kruse of Iowa City became acquainted with New Hampton's Carnegie Cultural Center. The Center is known for its fine permanent exhibits of historic 1/16 inch scale circus models crafted by New Hampton native, Richard Natvig, as well as other artisans. Mr. Kruse's work, which he fashioned in HO scale, adds another dimension to the Carnegie's circus displays.  The smaller scale made it possible to present dioramas of a circus parade, a menagerie show, a big top and back lot layout as well as interpretive arrangements of different wagons and equipment in a relatively small space. 
 
Gregg Kruse traces his fascination with circus wagons to the 1940s and 50s when his grandfather took him to see the Ringling Brothers Circus in Mankato, MN.  The sight of all the different wagons and paraphernalia being unloaded from the train's flatbeds and boxcars and then parade to the circus grounds on the edge of town was permanently etched in his memory. Gregg's enthusiasm for all things circus endured into adult-hood. Inspired by articles in its publication, The Little Circus Wagon, Kruse enrolled as a member of the International Society of Circus Model Builders and embarked on his model-making avocation.  Gregg crafted most of his models following retirement from a medical laboratory career at the Veteran's Hospital in Iowa City.
 
An unveiling of the new display was held on Saturday, May 30 with many members of Mr. Kruse's family and friends in attendance. His work will now be on permanent exhibit at the Carnegie.
 
The Cultural Center's summer hours are: noon - 6 pm Wed. through Fri.; 10am - 4 pm Sat.; 1 - 4 pm Sunday or any time by appointment. For more information, contact the Carnegie by phone at 641.394-2354, by email at carnegiecc@yahoo.com or visit the website www.carnegieculturalcenter.org
 
PHOTO: Permanent Exhibits chair, Bill Riley (R), is shown with Gregg Kruse at the unveiling of Gregg's Grandiose Miniatures now on permanent exhibit at the Carnegie Cultural Center.

A Looming Farm Crisis

Posted: Thu, May 28, 2015
You might say it's a new kind of farm crisis. At the time of Iowa State University's "Farmland Ownership and Tenure Report in Iowa, 2012", fifty six percent of Iowa farmland was owned by people over the age of 65 and thirty percent was owned by those more than 75 years old. During the past 55 years the number of Iowa farms has decreased from 206,000 to 89,000. Iowa farmland prices doubled between 2007-2012 making it very difficult for farmers to get started or for renters to purchase land when land lords die. Seen together, these startling statistics point to the now present and growing farm crisis- the challenge of land transfer.
 
Map of My Kingdom, a one-man play commissioned by Practical Farmers of Iowa and written by Iowa Poet Laureate, Mary Swander, highlights this new farm crisis and serves as a catalyst for discussion and action. A performance of Swander's play has been organized by the Carnegie Cultural Center and is being presented for area residents through generous sponsorships from Humanities Iowa; Bank Iowa: Lawler, New Hampton, Waucoma & Fredericksburg; Insurance Associates of Lawler; Bob and Phyllis Boeding, Kennedy & Kennedy law firm of New Hampton, David E. Burns: Lawler Farm Center & Blue River Hybrids, Good Shepherd Catholic parishes as well as the Cultural Center. The play will be performed on Sunday, June 14, at 2:00 pm in the restored barn on the Ed and Eleanora Blazek farm,   1755 Ridgeway Avenue in Chickasaw County ( 3 miles north of Lawler). Refreshments will be served following the performance and audience members will be invited to join in a discussion and share their own challenges, successes and resolutions regarding property transfer. Since the issues to be addressed are common to anyone dealing with property or estate issues, the event will be also relevant for non-farmers. There is no admission charge.
 
In conducting interviews and doing research for writing the play, Swander found that some families had given thoughtful attention to the issue of land transfer. Others tried to push it from their minds..."The kids (or "my heirs") will have to figure it out." Still others who thought they had a solution found it didn't work out the way they had hoped. It is a difficult issue all around. The older generation is forced to face their own mortality and conflict and tension are inherent in decision-making for the next generation.
 
Mary Swander herself experienced the conflict when, years ago, she and her two brothers inherited the family farm. Her brothers wanted to cash out and take the money while she did not. Sadly for Mary, the farm was sold to a corporation without a trace of its homesteading past preserved. 
 
If you own farmland, now is a good time to think through what you value most. Do your heirs know your long-term goals for your land? Do you want your children to continue the farming operation? Do you want the farm kept together and continue as farmland? Is future conservation of your land important to you? Would you like your church or another organization to benefit from your farmland?
 
Persons from all generations are encourage to start thinking and be participants in resolving these important issues on their own personal level by attending the Map of My Kingdom event.
 
For more information, contact the Carnegie Cultural Center at 641-394-2354 or visit the website www.carnegieculturalcenter.org
 
 
Photo: Iowa Poet Laureate, Mary Swander, incorporates the real-life stories of farm families' experiences with land transfer issues into her play Map of My Kingdom, including that of Chickasaw County farmers, Tom and Irene Frantzen.

Welcome To The Carnegie Cultural Center

Welcome To The Carnegie Cultural Center

Movie enthusiasts of "Night at the Museum" have to stop in for a visit to New Hampton's Carnegie Cultural Center. If this place came alive at night it would be a real circus! Kids of all ages will enjoy the 23-foot long diorama "Main Street Circus Parade" where elephants shuffle in brightly colored advertisements and circus wagons parade through New Hampton circa 1910. In the diorama "Under the Big Top" the fun continues with three bustling circus rings and two circus stages. The ringmaster calls to announce the next exotic act while acrobats dangle high above the cheering crowd. Visitors can enjoy the handcrafted models while they learn about real circus companies like the Gollmar Brothers who regularly brought their menagerie wagons to Chickasaw County in the early 1900s.

This eclectic toy museum also has exhibits about steam engines, dollhouses, license plates, tractors, and farms. It is a rich collection of local history, local talent and local hobby. The Doc & Mabel Tunnell Collection, assembled by a New Hampton's optometrist and his wife, features historic eyeglasses with distinguishing pairs for the eskimo, sportsman, and 19th century automobile driver. Downstairs in the Railroad Room a large interpretive model of Chickasaw County has three operating train lines that the visitor can turn on and off. Booklets describe the individual towns and signage teaches about railroad slang, structures and equipment. Ring the railroad crossing bell. Get the Great Western engine up to full speed. Find out the job requirements of gandy dancers, lizard scorchers, air monkeys and car whackers. Read a silly poem by local legend "Blackie." Have fun!

Located in one of the of the original Carnegie libraries, the Carnegie Cultural Center is dedicated to the arts, history and cultural awareness. It is located at 7 North Water Avenue, New Hampton, just off the downtown's main street. Visit www.carnegieculturalcenter.org to find seasonal hours, temporary exhibits and special events.

Photo: Cecilia Eichenberger, aka Lilith Giardini, is looking forward to sharing her memoir-based novel with New Hampton area residents, former classmates and friends on June 26 at the Carnegie Cultural Center.