Saturday, June 4, 2011

Omaha Road Trip

You never know who you will meet on a road trip.

I didn't have any plans for Memorial Day weekend.  So I decided to take a mini road trip to Omaha.  I've never really done much exploring in Omaha.  I've only driven through for business.  A few weeks back, I received a press release promoting a new exhibit at Omaha's Durham Museum.  The exhibit featured every single newspaper photo ever to receive the prestigious Pulizer Prize.  I'm a huge news junkie, so I really wanted to check this exhibit out before it moved on.

When I arrived in Omaha, it was raining. (Boo!)  The street near the museum was blocked off, and all these adults and kids were milling around in costumes.  I couldn't resist stopping and asking the folks if I could take their photo.  Turns out that they were part of an ethnic cultural festival parade. The men in liederhosen were members of a German polka dance troop.  How much fun is that!

Because it was raining, I didn't stay to watch the parade.  Plus, I couldn't wait to see the Pulitzer Prize exhibit.

But the best treat was seeing the Durham Museum.  I had no idea how beautiful it is! Why have I never visited here before?

Turns out the Durham Museum was one of the busiest Union Pacific train stations back in the early 1920s when it was built all the way through WWII, until Americans started traveling more by car.  A really neat display of photos helped explain the train depot's history.

Throughout the Art Deco style lobby, there were life-size carvings of people waiting for trains or buying tickets at the counter.  I recently finished reading the novel, "Unbroken," about a WWII POW survivor, so I felt like I was stepping into the pages of the novel when I saw these "troops" leaving for war.

In the exhibit area downstairs, I found a display of Missouri River and Omaha history.  I just had to take a picture of this buffalo -- and the Mutal of Omaha logo!  Do you remember watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom back in the day?

Also loved the old locomotive and trolleys on display.  Visitors were encouraged to step inside the trains and get a closer look at them, which kids especially seemed to enjoy.

No photography was allowed at the Pulizer Prize photo exhibit (ironic, isn't it?).  But I can tell you that I was very moved by the award-winning photos.  To be honest, I wasn't really prepared for how violent and gruesome many of the images were.  I walked away with a bigger view of the world and a greater understanding of the need and suffering out there. Yet several photos also proved how beautiful and kind people can be.

As I understand it, the Pulitzer Prize photography exhibit also appears at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.  I highly recommend it if you ever have a chance to see it.

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