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North Carolina

Art, Field Trips, Homeschooling, North Carolina

Meet an Art Conservationist: NC Art Museum

During our recent visits to the local art museum to tour the Childe Hassam and the Marks of a Genius exhibits, we stumbled upon an art conservationist working in the museum.

Painting in full view of the public eye, she was set up in an area created for the public to explore the art of conservation.

She immediately welcomed the kids and explained what she was doing.  She mixes her own paints and described that process for them.  The kids were invited to explore the back of the painting to see what she was working on and some of the problems caused by previous restorations before we knew what we know now.

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The artist was eager to discuss her artistic endeavours with the kids and answer all of their questions.  My 11-year old, a budding artist, had a lot of thoughtful questions for her.  I was excited for her to see a career option in art world, so we asked about college education requirements.  This conservationist had both a chemistry and art degree!

The area is set up to explore the science of conservationism, so she took us through the display and explained how conservationists record their work.

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While we just stumbled upon this unique experience, the conservationist is present and working in the museum on a regular schedule:

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Unfortunately, after some persistent digging and exploring the NC Art Museum website, I could not find this information advertised on their site.

If you visit during the week (every Tuesday and Thursday from 10:30-11:30 and 1:30-3) then you will find that you pretty much have her attention to yourself.  Thankfully she is also working on select weekends listed above on the sign.

Around the corner from the conservation display is an area of interactive artwork.  This map of North Carolina invited viewers to share their NC story on a post-it note and add it to the map.

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We spent some time reading stories that other visitors shared.  Personally, I enjoyed this one:

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Then we shared our own stories.

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(We used to live in MD and we moved here)

Interactive art is a lot of fun for the kids and a unique way to explore the art world.  If you stop by this area of the museum, add your story to the map!

Have you seen a conservationist at work?  

Art, Field Trips, Homeschooling, North Carolina

NC Museum of Art: Marks of Genius

Included with your ticket to the Childe Hassam exhibit, currently at the North Carolina Museum of Art, is Marks of a Genius:  100 extraordinary drawings from the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Admittedly, we were not prepared with any background for this exhibit, so I had to wing it with my kids.  The exhibit is described on the website as:

The selection of drawings, watercolors, gouaches, and pastels dating from the Middle Ages to the present includes stellar examples by such masters as Guercino, Annibale Carracci, George Romney, François Boucher, Thomas Gainsborough, Edgar Degas, Käthe Kollwitz, Egon Schiele, Emil Nolde, Amedeo Modigliani, Henri Matisse, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, Roy Lichtenstein, and Ed Ruscha.

This eye-opening exhibition illuminates the historical and ongoing role of drawing as a means of study, observation, and problem solving, as an outpouring of the artist’s imagination, and as a method of realizing a finished work of art.

The sketches by master artists available for viewing were astonishing to me.  Really?  I can just walk on into this exhibit and snap a photo of a Picasso?

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Or a Matisse?

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How about Lichtenstein?

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Yep.  With the flash off, you are allowed to snap photos but you can not sell them.

This is the sort of exhibit that allows you to see a variety of  drawings by many master artists through history.  We walked through the rooms and discussed drawings that caught our eye.  Occasionally I threw out questions to engage the kids in the artwork.

Is there a drawing here that depicts anger?  love? joy?

Where do you see texture?  What do you think they feel like?

Which sketch is your favorite in this room?  What do you like about it?

Overall, we had already spent about 15 minutes in the Hasaam display so the kids were able to engage this display for about 15 minutes more.  Six year old children, at least in my experience, have a tolerance of  about 20 minutes or less.  My 13 year old feels the same way.  I believe I got away with 30-35 minutes because the two exhibits were so different.

Of course, if you have an child who is interested in art, you might be able to meander for a longer period of time.  My 11 year old now appears to be one such child so I will have to work out extended visits for her somehow.

It is well worth the trip to the North Carolina Musuem of Art for this exhibit.  Be sure to stop by before the last day on June 19.

Art, Field Trips, Homeschooling, North Carolina

NC Museum of Art: Childe Hassam

We became members of the NC Museum of Art this year as part of our homeschooling fine arts curriculum.  We take advantage of our free member tickets to every exhibit that travels to the museum.  The current exhibit at the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh features the work of Childe Hassam, an American Impressionist.

Childe Hassam spent many summers painting on the Isle of Shoals off the coast of Maine and New Hampshire.  The works being featured at this North Carolina museum were all painted while on this Isle.

Before taking kids to the art museum, I like to do a little research on the artist and become familiar with his/her work.  Becoming familiar with the artwork helps the kids engage more with the exhibit when they arrive.  The paintings feel more like friends and less like strangers.

This particular artist did not have any books at the library to introduce us to his work, but we found something better – a complete 27 minute documentary produced by UNC-TV focused on the Childe Hassam exhibit at the NC Museum of Art.

From the UNC-TV website:

Experience American impressionist Childe Hassam’s art, and gain a deeper appreciation of its significance, as we take an in-depth look at the North Carolina Museum of Art’s American Impressionist: Childe Hassam & the Isles of Shoals exhibition. The exhibit, running through June 19, features nearly three dozen of the artist’s finest oil and watercolor paintings created during summers on the Isles of Shoals.

The television program was the perfect way to educate our family on the life and works of Childe Hassam with a special focus on the works on display at the NC Museum of Art.  If you are able to see this exhibit, with or without children, I highly recommend that you watch this documentary first.

Pictures were not allowed in the exhibit, even without a flash.  Of course pictures could not adequately capture the colors and vibrancy of these paintings.  So instead, here we are afterward, having a cookie at Insomnia Cookies by the NC State Campus.

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If you live local to the museum, I recommend a visit before the closing date of June 19, 2016.

Adventures/Travel, camping, North Carolina Adventures

Linville, NC: Hawksbill Mountain Hike

The final full day of our camping adventure left us with a decision.  We knew the kids would have the energy for one more hike, but we had two great choices.

Table Rock Mountain, the originally planned hike, was a 2.2 mile roundtrip hike with difficult sections.  It was also 5 miles farther along the unpaved, winding, dirt mountain road.

I was having my doubts about this one.  We were all tired.

A bit closer on the same road was Hawksbill Mountain, a 1.5 mile roundtrip hike with a huge climb in elevation (700 ft).

After some debate, we went with Hawksbill Mountain, which was one of the mountain tops we sighted from Wiseman’s View the day before.

Once again, our little troopers hung in there for a very strenuous climb.  It didn’t start out too bad…

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But we were basically rock climbing up the hill by the end.

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We took more than one break along the way.

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In the end, it was well worth the climb.

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We could see the mountain we did not climb, Table Rock Mountain, in the distance.

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After having a picnic lunch at our incredible viewpoint, we realized that we had not made it to the top quite yet.  We still had a little path to walk to get to the exact spot Tricia had asked to sit by the day before.  Of course, we didn’t let her go sit on the edge, but she just about made it.

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It was a perfect day.  I am so glad we decided to go for the steep climb.  Afterwards, we spent the evening at our campground again.  We just enjoyed playing, whittling, sitting by the fire, and laughing.

Now…I did a quick periscope from the top of Hawksbill Mountain, NC.  It was from the site where we had lunch, not the final destination.  It remains on my Katch site, so here you go:

Adventures/Travel, camping, North Carolina Adventures

Linville, NC: Wiseman’s View

After our hike at Linville Gorge, we hopped back in the van and headed toward Wiseman’s View.  Our directions stated that Wiseman’s View was about 4 miles down an unpaved, dirt mountain road.  It was the longest 4 miles I have driven, but we did eventually find our parking lot.

This hike was completely paved and short.  It promised a beautiful view and we were eager.

Of course, signs like this one always give me pause…

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But off we trotted, with my constant warnings of staying back, staying close, and holding tight to my hand if needed.

Wow.  Just wow.

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The view was breath-taking, unable to be captured on camera, but attempted.

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DO NOT SIT OR CLIMB ON THAT WALL KIDS.

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We had a great view of Table Rock Mountain, which we thought would be our hike the following day.

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We also had a perfect view of Hawksbill Mountain.  Tricia declared, “I want to sit on the edge of that rock at the top.”  No.  I don’t think so girl.  At least not while your still living and hiking with your Momma.

After taking in the view for quite some time, we meandered back to our car.  The rest of the day was spent playing at our campsite and the surrounding campground area.

But our hikes were not over.  We had one more to attempt the following day.  Stay Tuned.

Adventures/Travel, North Carolina Adventures

Hunger Games Fans – Arena Sites – Dupont State Park, Part II

We spent our second day at DuPont State Forest hiking to Bridal Veil Falls.  There are quite a number of hiking options from the Visitor’s Center, but we were sticking with our desire to see the setting in the arena when the careers find Katniss in the pool of water just after her leg is burnt during the exploding trees forest fire.

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This 2.2 mile hike is fairly easy with only gentle hills.  The overwhelming majority of the path is gravel road, which hikers share with bikers, horses, and the occasional vehicle.  The hike took us about 45 minutes, including some picture stops along that way.

The Covered Bridge Road was our first picture stop.  Located .6 miles into our hike, we enjoyed a short rest and some pretty scenery.

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The next leg of the journey was a bit longer.  We hiked 1.1 miles until we reached the crossroad and turned on to Bridal Veil Falls Rd.  The road was very clearly marked.  You couldn’t miss it!

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The final leg of our hike was .6 miles and then we reached the beautiful falls.

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After stopping at this observation spot, we headed to the bottom of the falls.  Of course, as with all of the waterfalls in the state forest, the danger is very real.

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We didn’t have a tour guide on this one, so I don’t know any exact locations, but I do know that they had to re-route the water coming down the rocks to create the pool of water that Katniss jumped in to relieve her burnt leg.  This meant that the rocks were slick in spots for the careers as they came over the rock face.  When you watch this scene, you will notice that they sort of “hop/skip” instead of run toward Katniss.  This was for practical reasons because the rocks were freshly slick!

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We began our hike up the rock face, exploring the various pools created in the rocks. It was a beautiful climb.

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At the top, we were rewarded with an up close view of the “bridal veil” part of the falls.  This section doesn’t appear in the “Hunger Games”, but it is seen in “Last of the Mohicans”.

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It was beautiful. We were fortunate that a few nearby hikers helped us climb behind the falls.13-IMG_5341 14-IMG_5345 15-IMG_5347

On our way down, we relaxed on the rocks a bit longer.  The entire area is just so beautiful, but we knew that we had one more Hunger Game sight to see, so we took off for a little more exploring.
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Our next goal was to find the approximate area of the fire and exploding trees in the Hunger Games.  We were told that it was directly across from the bike rack.  We have no doubt that we found the EXACT section of woods because it was very clear that we aren’t the only ones who discovered it.


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Just take it all in.  Katniss nearly died here.

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This discovery was particularly exciting for Kayleigh because she has a souvenir necklace, given to her on our tour of District 12, made from a ring of the gas piping used in the explosions in the forest.
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We began the 2.2 mile return hike with sad hearts.  It had been a wonderful Hunger Games weekend, but it was time for it to end.

Of course, we might have returned to Triple Falls one more time.  And District 12 on the way home.