The mission of the Carnegie Cultural Center is to establish a vital presence
The Big 2-0 & Counting
of the Arts, History and Cultural Awareness for the enlightenment, enjoyment and
benefit of all Chickasaw County residents and visitors.
If, by chance, you scanned the “appeal” sheet of this packet you will note that 2015 marks the 20th
anniversary of the Carnegie Cultural Center of New Hampton, Iowa. The Center opened briefly in 1994 for a Christmas exhibit and a bit of a public sneak preview of what was coming for this wonderful old building. I recall that in the roughly one and a half months that we were open in 1994, approximately 500 visitors stopped in. WOW! We then closed for next five months to commence the ongoing task of remodeling to repurpose the building from a library to a cultural center. Please indulge me with a bit more reminiscing...
During the planning stages, we relied on advice from Jerome Thompson of the State Department of Cultural Affairs. At one point I recall him stating, “This is one (museum) that might actually make it.” I took his statement to mean that more than a few groups have embarked on an endeavor like ours with enthusiasm and good intentions, but whose efforts were not sustainable. His opinion meant a lot and was very motivating. I also recall that Jerome came and spoke at the Cultural Center’s grand opening in June of 1995.
Over the years representative from several other communities have contacted and/or visited us as they struggled to resolve their own “Carnegie dilemma.”Even though her name evades me, I recall one in particular. She was from California and visited us as a representative for Roberta Green Ahmanson who grew up in Perry, IA. Roberta and her philanthropist husband, Howard, were donating literally millions of dollars to restore Perry’s Carnegie building and historic hotel (now the “Hotel Pattee”.) The representative was genuinely amazed at the progress we had made with “only volunteers”...an invaluable commodity that even millions of dollars couldn’t buy. (Keep that
in mind volunteers!)
Many other memories stand out, but I’ll end my reminiscing with a reflection of sorts. Twenty years...that’s more time than I had children at home. Granted, I only had two kids...and as any parent knows, just because they are no longer living at home doesn’t mean that they’re totally independent! But TWENTY years....really?
Looking Forward to Looking Back
On Nov. 2, the Carnegie hosted an exhibit reception/open house to coordinate with the then temporary exhibit Art of Our Ancestors.
Those in attendance shared stories of their ancestors, some of whom had art work on display. In an effort to promote and preserve the ancestral and personal stories that we all carry, the Cultural Center will be sponsoring a memoir writing workshop after the first of the year.
Also in the works is a video viewing/get together that features a bit of local history. We had actually planned on doing this last February, but along with a lot of other events last February, the weather demanded we cancel it. With Gerald Johnson’s prompting, I’m looking for a date and venue to try again. The video was created and is narrated by Gene Hrdlicka and features photos and stories about his immigrant father, Loddy, and his business enterprises in the 1930-60s. Gene did a great job and anyone who recalls Loddy or the Sunnyside Grocery and Cabins will love it.
Watch the Tribune or our website for details... or, if interested, drop us an email or phone call and we’ll contact you personally with the details.
The 2014 Christmas exhibit (currently being installed) is entitled Selling Christmas, the Art of Advertising.
In conjunction with the exhibit, the Cultural Center has put together a “coloring/story” book using vintage ads (1910s – 1940s) and stories from past editions of New Hampton newspapers. In a time-consuming process, ads were scanned into our computers. The black and/or gray shading was then digitally erased to create outline images of the ad art work. The ad copy was transcribed word for word, but was reduced in size or rearranged so that the illustrations could be enlarged to a suitable “color book size.”
A Santa story with illustrations originally published in a 1916 New Hampton Tribune and L.H. Hockspeier’s annual Christmas poem from the 1912 New Hampton Gazette are also included. Resembling a character from a Charles Dickens novel, Mr. Hockspeier was one of those “community characters” whose poetry is indeed “memorable.”
All-in-all, the book is a nostalgic piece of Christmas past. With 22 legal size pages, it is available for purchase for $10 or $12 with colored pencils attached. Just contact the Cultural Center to get a copy. Proceeds will go to our building repair fund.
Have Laptop Will Travel
Establishing, organizing and maintaining a comprehensive archives of historical materials relevant to Chickasaw County has been a long term Cultural Center goal and in recent weeks alone several “non-local” people have visited and had success in their quest for genealogical information. One great source for determining the location and dates of ancestors is school records.
When a rural school closed, the usual procedure was for teachers to present their class records to the County Superintendent’s office at the courthouse. (At some point in time, those records were turned over to the Area Education Agency.) For whatever reason, some records never made it to the courthouse and over the years a few have been donated to our collection by folks who had somehow inherited them.
About eight years ago we made a concerted effort to transcribe class lists from any other record books we could find. Transcribing is a very time consuming task, but once the lists are on the computer, it is very easy to locate a particular name. We contacted the Area Education Agency and learned that they had given the records in their possession to the UNI museum who in turn told us that the records were not yet available for us to look at. Then, the UNI museum closed. Now what?
This fall Dr. Thomas Connors from the UNI Department of History contacted the Cultural Center to arrange “field experience” projects for students in his Public History class. (Two students are currently engaged in CCC projects.) In speaking with Dr. Connors, I learned that the records are now housed at the Rod Library, but unfortunately we are not allowed to scan them...which would be less time consuming for us. Our only alternative is to go to the library and transcribe the lists. Whew! This has turned into quite a saga hasn’t it?
Our plan now is to draft a regiment of folks with Windows-compatible laptops and spend a day in Cedar Falls transcribing the class lists. (Apparently a group from Hancock County took the same approach.) So, if you fit the description “Have Laptop, Will Travel”, PLEASE give us a call 394-2354 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
For the Love of Kids and Lego
We’d also like to send a huge THANKS to the people who donated blocks or dollars toward our Lego Club initiative. Twenty one kids are involved in the first semester Club and nine are already registered for the second semester. Purchasing sufficient Lego for the Club from our budgeted funds simply was not an option due to the substantial bills related to the current brick repair work to the building. But YOU made it happen. On behalf of a bunch of enthusiastic, creative kids I extend a heartfelt “THANK YOU!”
Bringing It Right to You
We are always looking for opportunities to establish a cultural presence beyond the Carnegie’s front doors. This past year, Ann Conway has placed a series of mini-exhibits using artifacts from our Permanent Collection on the Treat marble fireplace mantel outside the Supervisor’s chamber at the courthouse...Thanks Ann!...but we were looking for a location with somewhat better exposure. After inheriting a nice shelving unit from Soy Basics, we contacted the hospital to see about placing it in the waiting area and displaying artifacts there....Thanks Mercy for saying “Yes!” We are in the process of adding plexi-glass doors and windows to the case and look forward to installing it sometime after the first of the year. Watch for it!
“Every great American city has a great cultural institution.”
Darren Walker, director of the Ford Foundation
CCC Volunteer Administrator
2015 Budget Drive
We all heard plenty of mud-slinging during the recent campaign season. It was challenging (to put it mildly) to sort out fact from fiction, so many concerned citizens turned to a number of internet “fact checker” sites to assist them in their quest for truth.
The Carnegie Cultural Center isn’t political and doesn’t run television ads, so, while our name will definitely pop up on the internet, it won’t show up on fact checker sites. May we, therefore, offer the following FACTS for your consideration?.....................
- The Carnegie Cultural Center first opened 20 years ago, in Nov., 1994, with our first Christmas exhibit, “Together at Christmas” featuring Christmas trees decorated by each community in the county.
- Over our 20 year history, the Cultural Center has welcomed visitors not only from the City, and the County, but from numerous States and foreign countries as well.
- Throughout our 20 years of stewardship, much has been done to maintain, improve and preserve our 100+ year facility for public use. The vast majority of the work has been funded by frugal budgeting, donations, and grants, not local taxes.
- For 20 years, volunteers (regular as well as occasional) have donated literally thousands of hours to provide Cultural Center services for all of us.
- Over the past 20 years, the Cultural Center has enhanced the quality of life in Chickasaw County through its sponsorship of *Temporary Exhibits (124 of them!), *Performances (“Farewell to Summer” etc.), *Programs (for school groups K-college, clubs etc.), *Workshops (ARTSAFARI, Lego Club etc.), *Special Projects (“Remembering New Hampton”, Main Street panoramic photo, etc.), *Support services for events across the county & association with wider *Partnerships (Silos & Smokestacks etc.)
- Did we mention that the Carnegie Cultural Center will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2015 ? Those 20 years are a gift that YOU , our annual budget drive donors, have given to the local community. We can’t do it without you. Your continued support is vital and truly appreciated.
Please donate to the Carnegie Cultural Center’s 2015 budget drive. All donations are tax-deductable.
Name (as it should appear on our donor list) ________________________________
Amount enclosed or pledged __________ Send me a reminder in 2015 _________
Interested in becoming a Cultural Center volunteer? Include your phone number or email address.
Please return to: Carnegie Cultural Center, Box 243 ~ 7 N. Water Avenue, New Hampton, IA 50659
Endowment Fund help create a cultural legacy for the Community by ensuring the long-term viability of the Center. An engraved brick in the “Foundation Walk” located on the Carnegie’s south lawn is a great way to build the Endowment Fund and a wonderful gift or commemoration for any occasion. The cost is $60 per brick and, when purchased as a memorial or gift, we will send an announcement to a designated party if you so wish.
- each brick has 3 lines with 12 spaces per line
- spaces between words and punctuation marks use one space each
- use “&” for the word “and”
- the manufacturer will center each line
- all letters will be upper case
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memorial? _____ gift event?______
If yes, announcement should be sent to: