Coshocton--An Artists' Colony

During the first decade of the 20th century, Coshocton claimed to have more artists in residence than any other city in the US, barring New York City. It was in Coshocton that the advertising art industry was conceived and launched in 1887. Over the next 30 years advertising art upstarts proliferated like software companies did in the 90s. The activity of making art was a given, and it even put bread and butter on the table…served on red Coca-Cola trays, of course!

International Museum Day

People from all over the world will be celebrating museums on May 18th, International Museum Day. (Why not? If Love a Tree Day can be celebrated on the 16th, Peace Day on the 21st and National Grape Popsicle Day on the 27th, then museums deserve their 24 hours of glory, too.) When leading a school tour for younger children, I often begin by asking them, “What is a museum?” First we discuss all the varieties. They range from natural history, science and technology centers, historic sites, nature centers and children's museums to aquariums, arboreta, botanical gardens, planetariums, and zoos. According to the American Association of Museums (AAM), their common denominator is “making a unique contribution to the public by collecting, preserving, and interpreting the things of this world."

Lifelong Learning Breaks Out of School

Do you remember the song from Annie Get Your Gun –“Doin’ What Comes Naturally”?

You don’t have to know how to read or write
When you’re out with a feller in the pale moonlight.
You don’t have to look in a book to find
What he thinks of the moon and what is on his mind.
That comes naturally…

The song suggests that Annie and the folks in her town have never had any “schoolin,” so others think they’re “dumb.” But Annie protests. They can make money, raise a family, drink and procreate without even knowing how to write. Learnin’ doesn’t just come from books!

Fight Childhood Obesity with a Lifestyle Transformation

Childhood obesity is becoming a critical health issue in the United States. This is the first generation of children who are not expected to live as long as their parents. It’s time to get serious about our lifestyles and what we’re doing to our children.

The Coshocton Home Front during WWII

Maxine Carnahan, long-time Coshocton resident, worked for Firestone during the war. She worked on the line, always second shift, as they produced auxiliary tanks, B-24s, B-29s and P-38s. These tanks were made to hold gas and oil, and when they were empty, they were disposed of. . .so Firestone made a lot of them. Maxine worked on the rubber liners for the plaster of Paris molds and remembers the finished tanks required several coats of nylon paint. Later, she moved on to a job as an inspector, and eventually, she was chosen to start new operations in Cambridge and Zanesville. She lived in a hotel for the five or six weeks that it took to start up each new facility -- exciting work for a girl of twenty.

Life Is A Miracle

I recently read an essay entitled Life is a Miracle by Wendell Berry, Kentucky farmer, novelist, poet and champion of responsible living. He confesses that he writes essays to see what he can find in himself to answer "the terrifying fact of the human destructiveness of good things." What he finds in himself, his experiences and beliefs, are the fruits of his cultural inheritance: agrarianism, democracy, and Christianity. Berry is a person who would feel at home in Coshocton County.

The Men behind the Paintings…The People behind the Museum

Twenty-eight folks braved stormy weather Thursday evening to listen as Pooch Blackson related the story of the brothers Clark—Benton and Matt—at the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum. Pooch introduced the evening’s chronicle as he laid claim to Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum as our museum, recounting the origins of the collection bequeathed to the city of Coshocton by the Johnson brothers with instructions that a museum be created. He reminded the group that our museum was originally housed in the old elementary school on Sycamore Street. He then launched into the lives of the Clark brothers making the connection that Benton and Matt Clark both attended this very school during their boyhood in Coshocton.

How the Arts Affect Student Learning

Is learning in the arts good for a student? Does it make a student a better citizen (Defined, perhaps, as a person who is thoughtful, diligent and a good problem solver)? A number of studies have, in fact, been conducted to support this premise. Researchers have shown that taking art classes increases young people’s academic achievements and contributes to their positive social development. Students of art also perform higher on standardized tests. Furthermore, these students are found to have developed skills and habits of mind that make for better thinkers and workers.

Playground of Color

"It’s an awesome way to make a child feel important…successful," remarked Robin Hire. She was describing A Playground of Color, the elementary school art exhibit at the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum. As Robin walked around the exhibition with her family during the artists’ reception on February 6th, she exuded enthusiasm. Of course, Robin is not an impartial observer. Not only does she teach art at Plainfield and Fresno, but also two of her daughters, students at West Lafayette, had works on display.

Civilian Public Service—An Experiment in Democracy

During WWI the only provision made for men who refused to take up arms was to place them in quartermaster and other non-combat units. Although this eased the scruples of some, many folks rejected not only killing but also the whole military structure. Traditional peace church adherents such as the Mennonites, Brethren and Quakers felt that any assistance in the war effort would violate their faith.

How to kick Start Your Creative Spark or How to Flick Your Creative Bic!

I overheard a conversation on Saturday as I was checking out the craft booths at Roscoe Village’s Heritage Craft and Olde Time Music Festival. A visitor was admiring an artist’s beadwork and then wistfully said, “I’ve always wanted to do something creative or crafty. I just never have. I don’t know how to start.”

How true, I thought. For Christmas my neighbor gave me a ball of purple yarn and two knitting needles. I immediately drove to the VacShack to purchase a turquoise yarn, to compliment the first. The yarn and needles are still stuck in a bag lying in my closet, waiting for a person with a creating-driven life to pick them up and loop away.

My friend promised to teach me to knit, but neither of us has called the other to say, “Now. Let’s get moving now.” (Maybe she’ll read this article and the ball of yarn will get rolling.)

Imagination—the Mother of Hope and Invention

Last week I spent a chunk of my time coaching superheroes. These superheroes are commonly disguised as high school students, but last week they transformed themselves into fantasy superheroes—Ligrewoman who is so stunningly beautiful she can immobilize any foe with just a look, The Flash who moves like lightning, the Suburban Sadist, a master of deceit, and Gluttonaire, the human garbage disposal—just to name a few. The Museum Teen Volunteers performed their annual murder mystery over the weekend, and once again, fantasy was the name of the game.

Risk-takers Make Better Artists

Is risk-taking a genetic or learned personality trait? Is it beneficial or harmful? You’re probably already thinking, these questions are flawed. Risk-taking encompasses both nurture and nature, and often results in positive change. Cultures endure and develop because they are composed of the risk-taker and the cautious. Moreover, we often think chancy behavior is linked to gender and age. Like old women who need their chocolate (dark), young men seem to crave stimulation. But, risk-taking is broader than just desiring to engage in near-death experiences on a moving objects. It’s also climbing out of your comfort burrow to try pursuits that threaten failure.

The Effect of Art of Coshocton’s High School Students

A number of studies have been conducted recently to support the assertion that learning in the arts is good for the student and good for society. Researchers have proven that taking art classes helps young people increase their academic achievements and contributes to their positive social development. They perform higher on standardized tests. They develop skills and habits of mind that make for better thinkers and workers.

The Making of Two WWII Memorabilia Collectors

Whenever I meet a collector, the first question that erupts from my mind is, “How did you get interested in ….” I’m fascinated by the process—the how and why and the way. To enhance our upcoming exhibit on the American home front during World War II, Produce for Victory, I asked Bill Given and Terry Reddick to install a military exhibit in the adjacent gallery. People will experience the European and Pacific fronts before entering the Montgomery Gallery to see the home front. As Terry and Bill have been bringing in their uniforms, helmets and other pieces, I’ve been wondering how their passion was ignited.

Johnson Humrickhouse Museum
300 N. Whitewoman Street
Coshocton, OH 43812
740-622-8710
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