(What is "The Songs of the Fifty States"?)
It's only been four months since I did a "Songs" post on Missouri, but last week I had an opportunity to spend a few days kicking around the state, which I hadn't visited since 1999. Missouri from the freeway is, alas, pretty awful: glimpses of farmland peeking out from behind huge signs, most of which tell you either that you should purchase a huge sign or that the signowner's beliefs and values are better than yours. Once off the freeway, it's a mixed bag of pleasant town and rural landscapes and grim town and rural landscapes, depending on local conditions.
The final score for the road trip, incidentally, was: 19 new counties in Missouri, 2 in Illinois, 2 in Arkansas, and 2 in Tennessee. Also, 4 in Kentucky, which had been the state that I hadn't visited in the longest time; Florida takes over that spot now.
|Thomas Hart Benton, Truman Library Murals, Independence.|
Size: 180,533 km2 (21st)
2015 Population: 6,083,672 (18th)
Statehood: 1821 (24th).
American Human Development Index: 4.60 (36th)
Art Mecca: Last November, I wrote about how the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art was the museum where I really became interested in art for the first time. I thought that the Nelson Atkins must be the coolest museum in the world, I said, and I suppose for me, at the time, it was.... I wonder if I'd still love it now that I've seen a lot more museums, or if I'd be all jaded. So, knowing I would be back in Missouri, I made it a priority to revisit the Nelson-Atkins.
Unfortunately, and replicating a mistake that I made in 1999, I forgot that it's closed on Tuesdays.
Fortunately, I was able to try again and pull off a short visit on Saturday, before my flight home.
And the answer is, the Nelson-Atkins has a really terrific collection! It is particularly strong in the Impressionist/Post-Impressionist era, and has some very nice medieval stuff, and I bet that's why I thought for quite a few years that I was mostly interested in the Impressionists and medieval art -- my fine arts tastes were forged in Kansas City. I was surprised that they seem to have no Modern Art collection at all, but eventually figured out the problem: they are deeply confused about what the word "contemporary" means:
Bottom line: If you have the chance, visit the Nelson-Atkins! It's free, even! But closed Tuesdays!
Now, in the comments last time Christine M. volunteered that "St. Louis also has a lovely art museum, and it's free, too." I was a little underwhelmed with the St. Louis show when I visited in 1999, but what the hell did I know? So, I gave serious thought to remedying the situation this time in order to give you a fair and balanced treatment of the Art Meccas of the Show-Me State. Unfortunately, the lure of randomly exploring rural backroads was too much for me.
Michael 5000's Missouri: March 2016
First Visited: April 1, 1991 (5th)
Most Recently Visited: March 26, 2016 (2nd)
First Run In: 2.62 miles, Cape Girardeau, March 23, 2016
Best Run: 3.63 miles, Bolivar, March 25, 2016
Have Admired the Visual Arts In: Yes.
Have Geohashed In: No.
Have Slept Overnight In: Yes.
Counties Visited: 75/115 (passes Colorado to take 2nd place)
% Complete: 65.2% (18th, passing New York, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania)
Mrs. 5000's Counties Visited: 22/115 (15th)
% Complete: 19.1% (39th)
Mrs.5000 First Visited:
Mrs.5000 Most Recently Visited: August 1989 (date suggested by recent research)
Atlas of All Roads Traveled
Plans and Aspirations
It will probably be quite a few years before I return to Missouri.