Eiteljorg Musuem Blog
  • Curatorial beats with a Western connection

    by Johanna Blume | Apr 18, 2013

    picture of guitars in Eiteljorg exhibit

    Throughout the run of Guitars!: Roundups to Rockers, we’ll highlight the top five guitar picks from an Eiteljorg employee and find out whether there’s a Western connection! This week’s playlist comes from Johanna Blume, Assistant Curator of Western Art, History and Culture.

    Assistant Curator Johanna Blume

    My music taste has often been described as “eclectic,” so you may not see a lot of rhyme or reason in my picks. Instead, think of them as five songs that I think feature particularly beautiful or interesting guitar playing:

    1. “Losing My Religion,” R.E.M., Out Of Time, 1991
    2. “Down By The Water,” The Decemberists, The King Is Dead, 2011
    3.  “Land,”Patti Smith, Horses, 1975
    4. “Modern Girl,” Sleater-Kinney, The Woods, 2005
    5. “Rainbow Connection,” Willie Nelson, Rainbow Connection, 2001

    You can hear the influence of the band R.E.M. on The Decemberists’ most recent album, The King Is Dead. In fact, Peter Buck, R.E.M.’s lead guitar player, contributed guitar to several tracks, including “Down By The Water.” When you listen to “Down By The Water” and “Losing My Religion” together, keep an ear out for the guitar and mandolin parts in particular.

    Patti Smith is one of the most influential acts in rock. Her 1975 album Horses was at the very forefront of the punk movement in the United States. In “Land”, Lenny Kaye created mesmerizing and surprising sounds with his guitar.

    On a more personal note, growing up in Western South Dakota, my friends and I didn’t have access to a lot of non-Top 40 music on the radio or through live performances. Thankfully, my best friend had friends in the Pacific Northwest who shared the amazing music happening in their neck of the woods with him, and he in turn shared it with me. Sleater-Kinney was one of my first introductions to punk and riot grrrl music.


    I can’t help but think of high school and my once turquoise and purple hair whenever I listen to them.

    On another personal note, one of my all time favorite songs is “Rainbow Connection,” first sung by none other than Kermit the Frog, and played on his little frog banjo. This version, performed by Willie Nelson, features some beautiful guitar playing, instead.

    So what do these songs have to do with the American West? In the case of The Decemberists, Sleater-Kinney, and Willie Nelson, the immediate connection is that they’ve all called the West home (Oregon, Washington, and Texas, respectively). But the connections run deeper than just where these artists have lived. Sleater-Kinney grew out of the vibrant riot grrrl and punk scenes that developed in the Pacific Northwest in the 1980s and 1990s. The Decemberists have been an integral part of the indie-folk-rock boom happening in the Pacific Northwest today. And, well, Willie Nelson is one of the defining acts in “outlaw country.” Even Patti Smith and R.E.M, while not from the West, are connected to our story. Both have influenced generations of Western musicians including The Decemberists, Nirvana, and a host of others.

    funk and brownstein guitars

    If you haven’t had a chance to see Guitars! Roundups to Rockers yet, or if you’re thinking of visiting again, be sure to keep your eye out for the guitars played by Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney, and Chris Funk of The Decemberists.

    Johanna Blume
    Assistant Curator of Western Art, History and Culture

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  • The Second Helpings Difference

    by User Not Found | Dec 11, 2012
    Right now, visitors to Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure can receive $2 off admission by donating pasta to our community partner Second Helpings. We asked Betsy Whitmore of Second Helpings to explain why these donations are so crucial, during the holidays and throughout the year.

    At Second Helpings, we transform lives through the power of food. We rescue safe and edible food from retailers and distributors around Central Indiana and prepare it into nutritious meals and distribute those meals to more than 70 social services organizations that feed hungry people. The meals are delivered free-of-charge to shelters, community centers and after school programs to those who may not always have access to a warm, nutritious meal.

    Why is a pasta drive so important for Second Helpings? We use 150 pounds of pasta each day to create the meals that are delivered to those who need them.

    We also use rescued food to train disadvantaged adults for careers in the culinary field, helping to eliminate hunger at its source. Graduates of the culinary job training program learn practical skills for meaningful jobs in food service, and they also receive training to help them be more successful, including resume writing, job interviewing and stress management. Many graduates continue their culinary training to become chefs.

    In 2012, we collected our 17 millionth pound of food and delivered our 6 millionth meal to our partner agencies. As of this year, more than 500 adults have graduated from our culinary job training program.

    Without hundreds of volunteers each year, Second Helpings would not be able to do its work. Second Helpings needs volunteers for its hunger relief, food rescue and job training missions. Volunteers can work in the hunger relief kitchen, assist in meal delivery or help collect rescued food.

    Each volunteer brings an enthusiasm for our community and a desire to combat hunger. To learn how you can help, visit

    Betsy Whitmore
    Communications Manager
    Second Helpings, Inc.

  • A “Picture Perfect” Holiday Gift Guide from Roberts Camera

    by User Not Found | Dec 03, 2012

    A “Picture Perfect” Holiday Gift Guide from Roberts Camera

     In honor of our National Geographic Greatest Photographs of the American West Exhibit, it is time to take a few moments to think about the camera lovers in our lives!  We all have a family shutterbug to buy for this holiday season, so here are a few ideas to help you find the perfect gift for photographers at any level.

     For the budget shopper out there, one thing I recommend is a small tripod. From time to time, every photographer finds he needs a bit more stability, so an inexpensive, portable tripod is a must-have for every well-stocked camera bag. One of my favorites is the Gorrillapod made by Joby. The Gorrillapod has a very clever design: the legs are flexible so you can wrap them around almost anything, like a tree branch, railing, or anything else that happens to be available. Joby makes many different sizes to accommodate a variety of cameras, from “The Original” ($21.95) for point and shoot cameras to “The Focus” ($99.00) for large, professional quality DSLRs. If you are looking for a more traditional tripod with a bit more height, then the Mefoto Compact Travel Tripod Kit for $139.99 is the winner. It folds up to only 12.6" and unfolds to a whopping 51.2" and can hold up to 8.9 pounds of camera. It comes in five colors and includes a nice little carrying case.

     Another inexpensive gift is an updated camera strap. The Black Rapid straps are an amazing tool for any photographer, especially an event or street photographer. These straps are designed so the camera hangs upside down on a sliding strap across the photographer’s body. This allows her to quickly grab her camera, get off a few perfectly-timed shots, and just as quickly secure it at her side and out of the way. Starting at $55.00, this very well might be the last strap the photographer in your life will ever need.

     A new camera is always a great gift too.  For the young photographer, I’d recommend the Nikon S01 ($179.95*). It's small enough for a child to use comfortably, and it’s stylish enough to turn an eye. The S01 comes in four colors, shoots great video and includes a carrying case and enough built in memory for over 3000 photos. If you’re buying for an adventure seeker, the Nikon AW100 ($349.95*) is the perfect camera. It is designed to resist damage when dropped from up to 6 feet, can function at up to 30 feet underwater, and can still shoot in below freezing temperatures! The Nikon AW100 will allow the extreme sportsman in your life to capture all of his adrenaline rushes.  Finally, for the photographer who never leaves home without a camera, consider the revolutionary Sony RX100 ($649.99*). This camera delivers DSLR quality images but is still small enough to fit in your pocket. Its massive 1 inch sensor and an f1.8 Carl Zeiss lens allow low light shooting capabilities beyond any other point and shoot camera available.

     What if you’re the photographer? Give friends and family the gift of your photography. Collect twelve of your shots and compile them in a 2013 calendar (available online for $18.95). Or, you could give a canvas print of a beautiful image, stretched and ready to hang (starting at $29.99). You could even have a book of your favorite photos printed as you wait ($19.99). Any of these gifts would be priceless presents, loved for many years to come.

     Robert’s Camera also has the perfect gift for the photographer who has everything. We now offer a new full line of classes for beginners and experienced photographers. We have a special purchase during this holiday season that includes a gift pack of three advanced classes for $125; that’s a savings of up to $100!  We also offer private lessons. 

    You can visit for our full listing of our class options.

     If you can’t make up your mind, a gift certificate is always a great idea. Or stop by either of our Roberts Camera locations (Downtown or in Carmel) to work with our knowledgeable staff to find the perfect gift for the photographer in your life.

     **Prices listed in blog do not include any current vendor instant rebates.

    Go comment!

  • Are you making art in Instagram?

    by User Not Found | Oct 18, 2012
    When National Geographic Greatest Photographs of the American West opens at the Eiteljorg on Oct. 27, you'll be treated to 125 years of work by some of America's greatest photographers. The men and women who used to rely on careful use of Autochrome plates to manipulate color in the early 20th century would no doubt be shocked at what modern shutter bugs can do with just an iPhone and an Instagram app. Suddenly, you don't need an old, plastic Holga camera to create the interesting shadows caused by light leakage. Use the Hipstamatic app. Done.

    Today, everyone can be a photographer...of sorts. Go to a rock concert and the glow of iPhone and Android screens is as ubiquitous as Bic lighters were in 1975. Our lives are obsessively documented through phones; cropped, skewed and given a vintage cast through editing; and then shared on social media. 

    But does our new-found love of documenting and curating our lives mean we're missing actually living them? Do these new technological shortcuts amount to photographic cheating? Can the product of a hipster-held Smartphone be considered art?

    Last year the Orange Dot Gallery in London hosted an exhibition of Hipstamatic photos. And, this week, journalist and multimedia producer Richard Koci Hernandez created a video essay (below) and CNN article endorsing the state of modern photography. 

    What do you think?
    Go comment!

  • Quest for the West - Amazing Success!

    by User Not Found | Sep 26, 2012
    This past weekend the Eiteljorg Museum hosted one of its largest events of the year, Quest for the West! The turnout was just one of the successful points of the weekend! All of the guests were thoroughly impressed with the decorations, food, and pieces of art that were for sale. Each day during the weekend there were different events taking place all throughout the museum.

    Friday night was a dedication night to the Artist of Distinction, Doug Hyde. There was a small reception, as well as a speech from Mr. Hyde that night. Saturday was the main day for the big event- the art sale! There were close to two hundred pieces of art up for sale!

    At the end of the night on Saturday there was a huge reception and awards ceremony. We were at maximum capacity for the event, which turned out to be a wonderful challenge! With new tent regulations in place we had to plan how to successfully fit over 300 guests under our tent…the set-up turned out great! The beautiful weather was an added bonus to the Saturday and Sunday events! Sunday was the final day of the event; it concluded with a wonderful brunch in the morning.

    Overall, Quest for the West went beautifully and it seemed that all of the guests enjoyed their time at the Eiteljorg Museum! We hope to have next year’s Quest for the West event be just as, if not more, successful than it was this past weekend!

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