Indianapolis...Part 2

So, I always thought that I had some common sense. In fact, I thought I probably had more than most folks. However, I proved myself wrong by going sightseeing in a near-blizzard. I was literally the only person with a map in one gloved hand and a camera in the other wandering the windswept, snowy streets of Indy on Monday. Although I couldn't feel my thighs after about 20 minutes and my eyelashes froze, I still managed to have a good time...go figure. Must have been those four years in Minnesota for undergrad.

After my room service breakfast and a luxurious three-shower-head shower at the hotel, I dropped my overnight bag with the bellhop and headed out into the blustery cold. I walked along the canal (didn't know there were canals here!) to the memorial for the USS Indiana, which sank during World War II in the Pacific. In fact, I learned that Indianapolis has more war memorials per capita than any other U.S. City outside of Washington, D.C. Here's a picture of one of the much larger World War Memorials...hiking up the stairs to the top was an exercise in core strength. Fighting the headwind was tough!
I also tried to get into the Scottish Rite Cathedral, admittedly because I was freezing and needed to warm up. But, I also have a thing for Gothic architecture and this was a beauty. Apparently, it was built in the 1920's, but you wouldn't know it to look at it. I read that it also includes a great deal of Masonic imagery...very Dan Brown, eh? Unfortunately, it was locked up tight, offering no glimpses of the interior and no shelter from the storm. Bummer.

Eventually, I got cold enough that I decided it was time to head back over to the Eiteljorg Museum for an official warming session. It was so cool! Definitely worth the trip! The American Western Art was really great. I was expecting that to be the low-light of the museum, but I really enjoyed it. I think it may have inspired my next domestic trip to possibly New Mexico...any takers? They also had an amazing train layout that my grandpa, a true train aficianado, would have loved. The artisans had crafted all these monuments and buildings from the West from bark and wood...it smelled like a cedar forest! And, of course, the kid in me could have stood there watching the trains go around and around all day. Luckily, the hundreds of screeching children forced me to move along.

As great as all that was, the coolest part of the museum was definitely the Native American art and artifact collection. It was an interesting mix of contemporary and historic works. Gorgeous jewelry, baskets, katchinas, leatherworks, pottery, etc. divided and organized by region. There was a nice overview of the tribes and characteristics of each region of the US with some really fascinating info. Amongst the contemporary work, there was some stuff that I'd have to defer to my art professor sister, Dr. Laura's, expertise on, but the above picture is of an installation I found easy to understand and moving. Apparently, the US government sent "care packages" to different Native American tribes with medicine and supplies for an epidemic of some sort that was sweeping the nation. They also included body bags, which this native artist found symbolic of the "Americans" treatment of the natives from the moment they landed. From the first biological warfare (blankets infected with smallpox) to the theft of land, I don't think that attempted genocide is too strong a word. And neither did this artist, whose name I, unfortunately, did not write down :(  On a lighter note, the museum also had a fantastic cafĂ© with yummy food. This is the buffalo chili. Made with real bison! Delicious and warming.

I milked my visit for all it was worth, but eventually had to head back out into the cold when the museum closed at 5:00. I wandered a bit more and scoped out a couple fun boutiques on Mass Ave, another war memorial that gives the city the nickname "Circle City" and even wandered aimlessly around a mall, which I haven't done since I was 16. Hey, it was indoors and it was still snowing. Need I say more? Finally, it was time to head back to the stinky Megabus and Chicago.

Indianapolis wound up being an excellent way to kick off a 2012 of more independence and adventure. Can't wait to see what else the New Year will bring!

No comments:

Post a Comment