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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.