MuseumMinute

Brunnier, Wyeth and the Baby-Sitters Club

I recently ventured north to Ames, Iowa and visited the Brunnier Art Museum at Iowa State University.

ISU has four museums on campus: the Brunnier Art Museum, the Christian Peterson Art Museum, the Farm House Museum and the Textiles and Clothing Museum. In addition, there is also a sculpture garden on campus, the Anderson Sculpture Garden, and additional art throughout campus.

The dated but welcoming entry

This was my first visit to the Brunnier Art Museum and I didn’t know what to expect. What I found was a nice, well-rounded array of exhibits, featuring examples from both the permanent collection as well as loaned items.

I will be featuring this Museum in a couple other posts in the near future, but today, I thought I’d feature an interesting exhibition located in the center of the space.

And, I’ll let you in on a little secret. The exhibition, which features twelve paintings by N. C. Wyeth, reminded me of the Baby-Sitters Club books.

Crazy, right?

Well, as a child of the 1980s, I was hooked–and I mean HOOKED–on the Baby-Sitters Club books by Ann M. Martin. Now in my 30s, I’m surprised to find myself thinking of the books from time to time. Really.

(I should note that the following information was expanded upon thanks to Google, not my super-amazing memory.)

One of the series’ characters, Claudia, was a budding artist. In one book, a new, artsy girl named Ashley Wyeth, moves to town. The girls bonded, in part, over the fact that they both knew about the artist N. C. Wyeth (although I don’t think Ashley was related? I forget.) Anyhow, I had never heard of N. C. Wyeth before that and for some reason, the name stuck in my head. These days, whenever I read that name, I think of the Baby Sitters Club series.

That said, I was thinking about the good ol’ BSC while walking through N. C. Wyeth: America in the Making at the Brunnier. An excerpt from the website:

One of three projects completed for John Morrell and Company of Ottumwa, Iowa, America in the Making depicts twelve dramatic scenes taken from American history—those events that N.C. Wyeth believed were the most pivotal in American history. Painted in 1939 these paintings were used as illustrations for the John Morrell and Company’s 1940 calendar. In 1940, the president of John Morrell and Company presented the twelve painted, panels to Iowa State College as a gift.

I never would have thought that a trip to an art museum would remind me of my childhood in this way. Thanks, Ann M. Martin, for that.

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