Capitol Closed for Thanksgiving

Almost everything is closed on Thanksgiving Day and the Capitol is also closed on Friday after Thanksgiving.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a Capitol adventure this holiday weekend. On Friday November 28th you can check “Things Speak” at Sheldon Museum of Art at 12th and R Street on the University of Nebraska city campus and then walk over to the University of Nebraska Museum of Natural History in Morrill Hall at 14th and U Street. Both are open on Friday, Sheldon from 10:00 to 5:00 p.m. and Morrill Hall from 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and both feature Capitol related objects. For your Capitol adventure, consider one story told in the Sheldon “Things Speak” exhibit. The colored chalk and pencil sketches in the exhibit were created by Erwin Barbour, professor of paleontology and museum director at Morrill Hall and provided to Hildreth Meiere, Capitol mosaicist, who used the sketch of the wooly mammoth to create the black and white marble mammoth mosaic in the Capitol rotunda floor. There is also a mammoth tooth from the State Museum of Natural History in the Sheldon exhibit and in front of Morrill Hall there is a large bronze sculpture of a wooly mammoth, Archie our state fossil. To further the adventure, if you go inside Morrill Hall (admission charged) you will find that Elizabeth Dolan, Capitol artist with a maquette in the Sheldon exhibit, painted the backgrounds for many of the Morrill Hall exhibits. She also painted the portrait of Erwin Barbour in gallery off Elephant Hall. When you come to the Capitol on Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or Sunday 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. you can find the mosaic of the wooly mammoth on the floor of the rotunda and complete your Capitol adventure. “Things Speak: Storied Objects from Lincoln Collections” displays items from the Capitol and other institutions in Lincoln including the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Frank H. Woods Telephone Pioneer Museum, Great Plains Art Museum, International Quilt Study Center and Museum, Kruger Collection, LUX Center for the Arts, Museum of American Speed Smith Collection, National Museum of Roller Skating, Pioneers Park Nature Center, Sheldon Museum of Art, and University of Nebraska State Museum. The items featured in the Sheldon exhibit each have a special story to tell: who created the object, what did it mean, where did it come from, why it was created and when. The stories behind the objects are as interesting as the objects themselves and demonstrate how important storytelling is to understanding the world around us. Items from the Nebraska Capitol Collections include the main elevation presentation drawing created by the office of Bertram G. Goodhue for the competition which selected his firm to design and build the Nebraska State Capitol. The rendering is an excellent example of an ink wash drawing. Goodhue’s office was well known for their use of this challenging drawing technique. Three maquettes by the three artists to produce artwork for the Capitol during initial construction are featured. Sculptor Lee Lawrie’s large plaster model of St. Louis, Louis the IX, is displayed in the first gallery of the exhibit. This is a rare opportunity to see the size and scale of the relief work at the base of the Capitol’s tower. Hildreth Meiere used State Museum at the University of Nebraska Director Erwin Barbour’s 1927 chalk sketches of prehistoric animal life in Nebraska as the basis for her dramatic black and white rotunda floor mosaics. Barbour’s colorful chalk drawings on display at Sheldon are a dramatic contrast to the black and white mosaics visitors see in the Capitol rotunda.  Meiere’s wool and linen maquette for the Sun Dance tapestry in the East Legislative Chamber has a very interesting back story, one of many in the exhibition. Elizabeth Honor Dolan’s working sketch for the “Spirit of the Prairie” mural in the Nebraska State Law Library helps tell the story of the evolution of the artist’s pioneer woman themed paintings.