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Culture and Connections

Art removes borders. It breaks down barriers, too.

At the NCSML, art plays an important role in our programs, exhibits, and even the store. It also opened the door to a conversation I had with a woman who wants to repatriate some sheet music to Slovakia.

Music Finds a New Home

A series of email exchanges led to a wonderful phone call with a woman in Coupeville, Washington. Her mother was an accompanist to the Slovakian composer Miloslav Francisci when he played with a Slovakian singing society in Cleveland. When he left Cleveland, he gave the woman’s mother an original sheet music of several of his variations of Dobrú Noc. The woman now wants the music to find a home in a Slovakian museum. As luck would have it, one of the NCSML’s good friends was in Slovakia when I reached out to her, and she found the contact information that the woman was looking for. Music crossed generations and removed borders.

The upcoming issue of Slovo will include an article about a carved Slovakian Nativity scene. Again, art conveys much more than the art form itself. Other articles will examine folk dress, dance, musical instruments, and more.

Art and Tradition as Gifts

Art serves as voice and identity, no matter the form or purpose. The NCSML store carries items that celebrate art and culture. For example, the Modra ceramics come from Modra, Slovakia, which is known for its pottery tradition. Art and tradition as gift—perfect. Check the NCSML store for more gift ideas so you can celebrate your culture at home or share it with others.

Discovery in Digital Files

The Skala Bartizal Library offers other opportunities to connect to one’s culture and heritage, too. I’m pleasantly surprised at how many donors and friends of the museum I talk with share their stories of enjoying the library’s services – keep in mind almost everyone I talk to is a friend of the museum who lives outside of Cedar Rapids. Fair warning, though. Once you begin exploring the library’s digitized collections, you might totally lose track of time.

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