Thursday, February 21, 2013

Get on the GW Bus

Not all activities concerning the American Gothic House Center are held at the Center or in Eldon. Once in a while, in order to provide a better understanding of Grant Wood’s world, it is necessary to hit the road and explore other venues.

This is what will happen on Saturday, April 27 as the Center will host a day-long field trip to Ames, Iowa to see first-hand some of Wood’s most famous creations and what farm life was like in Iowa during the 1800s. But that’s not all. Before the day is over a walk through Reiman Gardens, one of the largest public gardens in the state, is on the agenda and an evening meal at another popular attraction—Prairie Meadows.

First stop will be the Iowa State University Library, not to check out a book but to check out the Grant Wood Heritage Area. This area consists of murals designed by Wood while he headed the Public Works of Art Project for Iowa in the 1930s and painted by various artists from Iowa.

The murals are arranged on the walls of the stairway leading to the upper lobby of the original library and are designed to reflect a quote by Daniel Webster in 1840 at the Boston State House: “When tillage begins, other arts follow.” Webster believed that farmers are the founders of human civilization, thus all advancement by civilization were born of farmers.

After the ooohing and aaahing is done at the library, the next stop is the Farm House Museum at the center of the ISU campus. The Farm House carries the distinction of being the first building on campus and was built in 1860, just shortly after the university was founded in 1858.

 The Farm House has served many functions during its life, two of which were housing college presidents and the epicenter of a working farm. For many years college students were hired to help with the chores around the farm and in the 1940s it was a practice home for young women in the Home Economics Department. In the late 1970s the Farm House became a public museum where visitors can experience 19th Century farm life.

Before leaving campus a stop at Reiman Gardens will reveal a host of garden designs and arrangements, a conservatory featuring a lush, tropical collection of colorful, rare plant, seasonal displays and a 2,500 square foot indoor butterfly garden. The gardens also boast a children’s garden containing elements of an Iowa farm, and a town and country garden exhibit that demonstrate design solutions for the home landscapes.

April 27 will also mark the premier of “Iowa Naturally: Garden Inspired Sculpture by Iowa Artists.” The exhibit runs through Oct. 30 and feature sculptures, designed by Iowans, nestled in the landscape creating inspiring displays. In the mood to spend some money? All sculptures are for sale with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Gardens.

On the return trip a stop is scheduled at the Triple Crown Eatery at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino. The restaurant will be a fitting end to a day of sights and sounds of Grant Wood and Iowa. The eatery’s menu boasts a wide range of offerings and daily specials with all-you-can-eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets.

Cost for the day-long trip is $69.50 per person and covers transportation, dinner and admission. The tour begins in Fairfield at 8:30 a.m. with departure on the east side of the Jefferson County Health Center parking lot at 2000 South Main St. Pick up points enroute to Ames will be the American Gothic House Center in Eldon at 9 a.m. and Ottumwa at 9:30 a.m. on the west side of Great Prairie AEA parking lot at 2814 North Court with arrival in Ames at 11:45 a.m. The bus will return the same day to Ottumwa, Eldon and Fairfield at 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. respectively.

Reservations for the trip can be made by calling Holly Berg at 641-652-3352 or email at Reservations will be accepted as long as space allows. There must be a minimum of 32 people for the trip or it will be cancelled. Deadline for sign-up is Friday, April 12.

Hope to see you on April 27!
Brian Chambers
Media Coordinator
American Gothic House Center

The American Gothic House Center strives to become financially independent through gift shop revenue, sponsorships, and by establishing an endowment fund. Funds raised in this campaign will be used to match the Iowa Cultural Trust Endowment Challenge Grant and will become endowment funds to support the Center's annual operations. As a subscriber to the weekly newsletter, you have already shown support for the American Gothic House Center. I invite you to strengthen your role in the valuable experience we provide the community by making a contribution to our fund drive. Click here to give your tax deductible gift, or head to our website for more information. Thank you to all who have donated so far!
Our Mission: Integrating the puzzle pieces of American Gothic
300 American Gothic St | Eldon, IA 52554 | 641-652-3352 |

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