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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A little piece of history

A while back I started doing some research into my ancestry and attempted some very amateurish genealogy. I know that my gene pool has American Indian (Choctaw & Sioux), French, and I recently discovered Scottish origins. There may also possibly be a touch of German.

The part that I’ve always been most interested in is the Native American part. I’ve often felt that I was born in the wrong era, having a deeper love of nature and creation than technology and material things. Give me a cabin in the wilderness with a wall sized shelf full of books, a stream and a horse and I’d be in heaven. Oh and a radio. I love the music of nature but I have to have some beats to dance to.

Recently I’ve begun to do some more research into the Indian part of my heritage and have found that there just isn’t a very good source of information out there. There are a few sites here and there, but other than general history (which in my opinion can at times be a bit distorted by the writer) it’s hard to find much on historic Native American life.

The entire culture just fascinates me. The artifacts, the beliefs, the lifestyle were all so pure and at one with nature. So I’ve decided to start exploring museums that offer insightand exhibitions featuring Native American tribes.

Stark Museum of Art in Orange, Texas is one such museum. They house one of the most extensive collections of 19th and 20th century American Western Art and artifacts in the nation. In addition to American Indian art by artists such as Maria and Julian Martinez, and artifacts of the Navajo and Sioux tribes they have a Western Art collection, a Decorative Arts collection and a collection of Rare Books & Manuscripts.

As a lover of most everything artistic I imagine I’d have a hard time deciding what collection to explore first! To be honest I’d probably visit the Research Library first! The Rare Book and Archives section of the Library houses more than 150 individual letters by the naturalist John J. Audubon to colleagues, friends and family; a journal kept by Audubon during one of his expeditions and a journal of the artist Paul Kane.

In times where kids are more interested in video games than history, museums offer a fun and interesting source of education. In 1961 The Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation was established as a non-profit corporation by H.J. Lutcher Stark and his wife, Nelda C. Stark, to be operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes.

For more information about the Stark Museum of Art visit their website at

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