Wednesday, March 7, 2012

THE Trip, Amana Colonies Iowa, Day 2

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

July 20, 2011

Still hot.  H*O*T*.  We manage to stay comfortable by parking as close as possible at our stops and doing a lot of driving around and just looking.

Our ticket to the Amana Heritage Museum was good for the rest of the colony museums as well, we visited 3 more, the Homestead Store Museum, Communal Kitchen, and the Amana Community Church.  These museums are all run under the umbrella of the Amana Heritage Society.  We enjoyed them all, except - -

The Homestead Store Museum.  The society had a huge problem with that building - - mold.  You could smell it when you walked in the door.   Man and I are both rather sensitive to the smell (long story as to why, maybe some day I will share it).  The smell was quite strong.  The presence of mold that smells that strong also presents the possibility of illness and more.  We were led to believe by chatting with the docent on duty, that the society was aware of the problems, but for a variety of reasons, some of which, of course, are money, they were not addressing the problem.  Due to our experience with mold and water damage and our awareness of the health issues surrounding mold, Man and I made a quick retreat out of that building.  We would hope that the situation would be addressed and not left to continue to rot away and grow.  I left very concerned for the docents that were spending hours in that building.

Man and I were on the road for 8.5 months for THE Trip, we were constantly amazed at the quality of the staff at all the museums and parks we visited.  We only had a couple of experiences that were less than 100% wonderful.  I have shared them all, life is not perfect, trips are not perfect (even though this one came pretty darned close) and sometimes docents and staff are a bit testy or snarly.  In this case the particular docent was as sweet as could be, but the management of this society is acting in a irresponsible manner.  Our advice, if you visit Amana, be careful if you visit the Homestead Store Museum, be very, very careful.  We sincerely hope they find the funding to repair the building, they had a nice collection there, would have loved to stay longer - - -

Our next stop was the Amana Community Church (below), also in Homestead, and staffed again, by a lovely docent who knew much and shared much, even her electric fan.  Even with the heat, this stop was well worth it, very enlightening and educational.

As we continued our drive through the villages of Amana colonies, we drove by, but, did not stop at this barn museum, isn't this a beautiful barn?  Yes, I believe that some barns are beautiful, OK, most barns are beautiful.  (I get my barn fetish honestly, comes straight to me from my daddy, ah, another story, someday.)

Our next stop was the Amana Arts Guild, Arts Center, Gallery and Shop, the building had been the school building until about 1871, and the was a communal residence.  I fell in love with the door hardware:

On display, among other artifacts, was a wonderful collection of German language children's picture books.  Here is just one that I just adore, the dog's expression is priceless, don't you think?  Photo taken through glass, has been digitally enhanced for color correction and a bit of sharpness.

Our last stop of the day was another pleasant one, at the Communal Kitchen, where the docent was again, knowledgeable and well spoken.  Is there anything as great as a really good docent to enhance your visit?  Nope!

Part of the kitchen, there were some unique food preparation tools in this collection:

The meals were served in a room such as this one, there would be 3 meals and 2 snacks a day; men sat at a table, women at another; and there was no talking during the meal except for the saying of grace.

We have one more day to experience the Amana Colonies, yes, it will be hot again.  But the day turned out yummy, you'll see - -


1 comment:

Barbara Poole said...

It's nice to know that Amana has a lot to offer, but sad about the mold problem in the museum. I Love the photo of the kitchen, but am quite glad I never had to cook in one.