|Madeleine Albright's Pins at the National Czech and Slovak Museum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa|
Yesterday all five Ladiez of Leisure set off for Cedar Rapids to go and see the Madeleine Albright "Read my Pins" exhibit at the Czech Museum in Cedar Rapids. We went by way of Ely, Iowa, and on the way were delighted to be able to drive by many tractors (antique and otherwise) on one of their yearly "migrations". In our case, they were all going the opposite way from us. Great fun and one can hardly plan for these surprises.
Once in the Cedar Rapids area, we set about looking for a place to eat. We ended up at "Gringos" where we all had plenty of food in a nice friendly setting. When we parked on First Ave. S.E. down from "Gringos" we had to navigate a new system of paying for parking. There are Pay Stations at intervals and one enters the parking 4 digit number near the car. It did not entirely go smoothly. It accepted my coins but then when I requested a receipt, none came out. I am not sure how it works but the "Gringos" help seemed to find it problematic as well.
The Czech Museum was accessible by an elevator from parking lower down than the museum. This museum will not flood in the future. [The Cedar River had a devastating flood in 2008, damaging much of the downtown.]
We all looked at every pin of Madeleine Albright. They were amazing. One pin was inspired by Alphonse Mucha, whose posters, paintings, photos, etc. we had seen previously in a huge Czech Museum exhibit. There were precious materials and there were political buttons and more like costume jewelry. Madeleine had many that were insects, butterflies, dragonflies; she had sea life, birds and animals, turtles, reptiles, etc. Some of the pins were so large that it almost looked like wall art. One in particular, a zebra, was shaped so that it could be worn over the shoulder and indeed, she did wear it like that to meet with Nelson Mandela.
Her botanical pins were wonderful. She also had pins with "edge" and we saw swords, assault rifles, etc. Some were so modern it was hard to imagine where they were made and some were patriotic - using the American flag in many various artistic ways.
|This silver "Liberty" brooch by Gijs Bakker allows both Albright and her guest to tell time.|
The gift shop featured an artist I have admired for some time. Much of his work is for sale at a local shop called Glassando. His name is Michael Michaud and he does delicate and accurate botanical designs in jewelry. Unfortunately, he is pretty pricey. We then proceeded to Mount Vernon to a wonderfully packed antique shop where we all had our take on vital nostalgia pieces. We stopped at the Dairy Queen too on the way back to Iowa City. It was a lovely day without rain and just working up to hot and humid.
Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection
May 11-Oct. 27, 2013
National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library
Open Monday-Saturday 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday Noon- 4 p.m.