By Keith Derickson
I have visited the Sheldon Museum of Art on a number of occasions throughout my lifetime. Being one of the main cultural experiences in town it is not surprising that it is the first choice of field trips for every high school art teacher in the district. For this reason I had grown tired of the idea of revisiting it in recent years, assuming I had see all there was to see. I always appreciated its presence but I was never compelled to go in. On a whim, my wife suggested we take our two very active little boys for a weekend visit. I instantly formed a scene in my mind of our family being responsible for something that would get us banned for life. After convincing ourselves that our parenting skills were sufficient, we decided to go for it.
My fears were immediately put to rest as soon as we entered the museum. They were featuring a railroad exhibit with a very large model train set that kept the kids in a trance for most of the visit. Chalk it up to a renewed interest and understanding of photography, but I was shocked to find images from many well-known photographers including Imogen Cunningham, Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, as well as those of Edward, Brett, and Chandler Weston. Besides silver-gelatin prints, instances of the cyanotype, calotype, and photogravure processes were also on hand. How had I not known?
The Internet is a great tool for photographers that shouldn’t be discounted. It is a vast source of information and a convenient way to connect with other photographers. But there is something very special about seeing a print framed and hung on a wall. The nuance detail and texture in a physical print is second to none. The way it comes to life on paper is a completely different experience all together and has inspired me to spend more time in the darkroom. I have been back twice in the short time since that day (a new exhibit of Polaroids by Andy Warhol just opened!). And now whenever I pass my local museum I check my watch and wonder if I have time to steal a glimpse of the images one more time. I encourage everyone to find a way to experience art firsthand. Not only will you be supporting cultural development in your area, you might even find a source of creative energy just as I did.
The Sheldon Museum of Art is located on the University of Nebraska – Lincoln City Campus.
Opened in 1963, the museum is home to a permanent collection of over 12,000 works of art. The museum features around 20 exhibits each year focusing on American artists in all media. From the website http://www.sheldonartmuseum.org/
“The Sheldon Museum of Art is located at 12th and R Streets on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus.
Our telephone numbers are:
FAX: (402) 472-4258
The museum is open to the public on the following days:
Tuesday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
and Sunday from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Admission to the museum is FREE and the building is accessible to visitors with special needs.”
Histories: The Sheldon Permanent Collection (8/5/11 – 7/15/12)
Railroads and the Making of Modern America (1/20/12 – 5/27/12)
Partners and Adversaries: The Art of Collaboration (2/3/12 – 5/27/12)
All Is Pretty: Warhol Polaroids (2/3/12 – 4/15/12) How cool is this! A Big Shot on display and everything!
Sunrise and Moonset in Provincetown (2/27/12 – 5/20/12)
Keith Derickson is a long-time Film Photography Podcast listener. When not listening to the FPP, Keith is busy with his wife and two children. Keith has been shooting film for ten years and considers himself a hobbyist, enjoying the tactile process of shooting film. He works at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and his New Years resolution is to find a common voice in his photography.
All images by Keith Derickson / http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithderickson