Posts tagged with "museums"

Travel illustration by Maria Soloman for 360 Magazine

Celebrate National Book Lovers Day in Tennessee

Celebrate National Book Lovers Day with These 15 Tennessee Must Reads

Today marks National Book Lovers Day, a day to celebrate reading. Find your favorite reading nook and cozy up with these unforgettable stories about Tennessee. 

Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History by Keith O’Brien

Beechcraft Heritage Museum in Tullahoma has the complete collection of the accomplished Aviatrix, Louise Thadden, including her pilot’s license signed by Orville Wright and original racing trophies.

The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan

Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Oak Ridge tells the story of the Secret City, known for its role in developing the technology that ended World War II. Learn about the fascinating history, and past and modern scientific achievements.

Respect Yourself: Stax Records & The Soul Explosion by Robert Gordon

Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis tells the legacy of one of the most popular soul music record labels of all time that spans more than half a century through interactive exhibits and galleries.

The Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley by Peter Guralnick

Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis takes fans on an unforgettable journey through the revolutionary life and legacy of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Tina Turner: My Love Story by Tina Turner

West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville houses the one-room schoolhouse Tina Turner once attended. The Tina Turner Museum includes memorabilia and costumes and lets fans explore what life was like for the icon.

Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley

The Alex Haley Museum and Interpretive Center in Henning is a restored home on the National Register of Historic Places features Haley’s work, with childhood memorabilia and references to the people who inspired his characters in Roots.

March by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

Civil Rights Room in the Nashville Public Library features oral histories, firsthand photographs and provides a current voice for open dialogue and discovery. Witness Walls is public artwork inspired by the events and people who made history in Nashville during the Civil Rights Movement.

The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks

Carnton in Franklin. The book tells the brave story of Carrie McGavock, whose home became a field hospital as the Battle of Franklin in 1864 raged across fields.

Sgt. York: His Life, Legend & Legacy by John Perry

Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park in Pall Mall includes a visitor center modeled after York’s general store, his home, a grist mill, York Bible School and York Farm.

Historic Knoxville: The Curious Visitor’s Guide to its Stories and Places by Jack Neely.

Stop by Visit Knoxville at WDVX to pick up a guide, which encompasses old brick buildings of Knoxville’s core, Market Square, historic neighborhoods, parks and cemeteries, as well as suggested literary walks.

The Last Night on the Titanic by Veronica Hinke

Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge. Discover stories of passengers and crew who sailed the Titanic as tour guides and interactive galleries bring them to life.

Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics by Dolly Parton and Robert K. Oermann

Dolly Parton Statue in Sevierville is a tribute to the legend in her hometown. Explore family fun at the Chasing Rainbows Museum at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge. In Nashville, learn the stories of icons with exhibits and programs at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Then, grab cocktails under a pink umbrella next to a Dolly Parton statue made from pink chicken wire at the rooftop bar White Limozeen at the Graduate Hotel.

Country Music: An Illustrated History by Dayton Duncan based on Country Music: A Film by Ken Burns

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol tells the story of the 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings and the rich musical heritage of artists like the Carter Family. Learn stories like theirs as you walk-in the footsteps of legends and discover songwriters along the Tennessee Music Pathways statewide.

Bluff City: The Secret Life of Photographer Ernest Withers by Preston Lauterbach

The Withers Collection Museum & Gallery, Dr. Withers’ last working studio on 333 Beale Street, houses 7,000 square feet of history, powerful images of key figures in the Civil Rights Movement, music, sports and African American life in Memphis.

Old Glory, From Salem to Nashville: The Life and Times of Patriot Captain William Driver

Historic Mansker’s Station in Goodlettsville is nationally recognized as a top living history site. Learn about the life of Captain Driver and his impact in Nashville and Middle Tennessee. The Bowen Plantation House and Kasper Mansker’s log station serve as a backdrop for daily presentations and special events.

Tennessee is the home of the blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly, and rock ‘n’ roll— delivering an unparalleled experience of beauty, history, and family adventure, infused with music, that creates a vacation that is the Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee. Explore more at their website and join other Tennessee travelers by following TNVacation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube, and Snapchat.

Fritz Michel "Look Out (Botticelli Girl)" artwork via Jon Bleicher at Prospect PR for use by 360 Magazine

Fritz Michel Q×A

Originally from France and currently based in New York City, Fritz Michel is a sensational, international star and storyteller. Michel has previously worked in film, television, and the stage, but is currently taking the music industry by storm. He recently released the highly anticipated single and music video for “Look Out (Botticelli Girl),” which can be viewed HERE. 360 Magazine spoke with Michel about his creative song writing process, the true meaning behind “Look Out (Botticelli Girl)”’s lyrics, and his upcoming debut EP release.

What has the reaction to the release of “Look Out (Botticelli Girl)” been like?

One really great thing to come out of the release of “Look Out (Botticelli Girl)” has been the opportunity to reconnect with artists that I have not had the chance to work with. I just shot a music video for the song in Oregon with a longtime filmmaking colleague. We used analog special effects, like puppets and slide projections, to create a visual story. I feel fortunate that my music is helping me tap into a whole new creative language. The streaming platforms allow you much more global reach as an artist. I’ve made personal connections with listeners and music writers all over the world over the past year, and that’s been amazing.

You’ve described “Look Out (Botticelli Girl)” as a meditation and contemplation of amazing works of art and human history. Have any artists or pieces of art, besides Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus,’ inspired your music?

I look for musical inspiration everywhere. I borrowed the image of Ulysses lashed to the mast in Homer’s “The Odyssey” in my song “Stardust”. I use some snaky guitar steel there to speak of my homeward journey across the sprawl of Los Angeles from Hollywood to the PCH and beyond, while pining for my New York roots. 

What was the song writing process for “Look out (Botticelli Girl)” like?

“Look Out (Botticelli Girl)” came to me very fast after a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art one afternoon last fall, right after the museum had reopened. I find that the galleries calm me emotionally and transport me creatively. I thought about that tension between permanence and impermanence that I experience [while] looking at a great painting and standing in awe of the flow of history. I also thought about capturing little human moments in music [in] the [same] way a painting does. You see that in the verses. I also thought “Botticelli Girl” had a catchy ring to it and would make a good lyric!

How has the pandemic affected your music creation process?

I really started exploring songwriting out of necessity when the pandemic exploded and put the brakes on performing live with my bands. My world changed on a dime, and that prompted a lot of introspection along with observation. I spent a great deal of time alone in my NYC apartment with my guitar. Fortunately, I discovered the space to learn the basics of music production and found the motivation to reach farther with the process. That’s the been a silver lining to the disruption and tragedy of the last year.

In three words, how would you describe the sound of “Look Out (Botticelli Girl)?”

Atmospheric, reflective, acoustic.

You are multi-talented artist, having shared your skills through music, film, TV, and the stage. Looking ahead, which of these creative avenues are you looking to focus on the most?

I’m very fortunate to have worked in music, film, TV, and stage. Music is a lot like putting on a play in my experience. You have to find or write a script and bring your own colors, sounds, and perspectives to the story. Rehearsal is required and technical elements need to come together. Then, you hope that somewhere there’s an audience that’s interested in what you have to say. Looking ahead, I plan to focus my creative process wherever I find willing collaborators and a game audience that’s open to the story. I’m making videos to go with my other releases (“Darker Now,” “Stardust,” and “King of Corona”).

I’m also thinking about writing a musical set in a family [of] architects with a longtime theater colleague, Oren Safdie. We collaborated closely on the premieres his trilogy of plays about architecture. One of my first acting gigs was performing in Oren’s spoof of “Fiddler on the Roof,” set in modern-day Montreal at La Mama, ETC on East 4th Street. So, in that way, I think I’ll be exploring all those avenues in the year ahead. 

What is something about you or the release of “Look Out (Botticelli Girl)” that fans may not guess or suspect?

I doubt many people who listen to my music would guess that I was born and spent my childhood in France. We’ve also talked about Botticelli a lot in this interview, but much of “Look Out” comes from personal reflection on my own history. Termini’s is an old Italian pastry shop we used to frequent in South Philadelphia. I lived in Tribeca during 9/11 when the towers fell. When I refer to cherubs, I was really thinking of my own daughters there, less than the ones in “Birth of Venus”! Someone might pick up on those details on a closer listen to the song.

Do you have any more releases to come in 2021 that you can tell us about?

I’m finishing up a couple so I can put out my first EP this fall. I want to get back to performing, too. So much of what I know about music, I learned playing bass in a jazz quartet– so I hope we get that going again. For me, music is a good way to tap into our need for bliss, storytelling, and myth in life. I think it’s all about that conversation and listening to one another.

Artwork by Kaelen of 360 Magazine

4th of July Travel Destinations

4TH OF JULY SIGHTS, SOUNDS, AND STOPS, Curated by the American Coach® Brand

Each year, Americans mark the country’s birth with Fourth of July celebrations. The national holiday recognizes the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted during the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, PA. 

For RVers and those who love to travel, Independence Day delivers some of the best sights, sounds, and stops of the year. And, while the East Coast is rich with “independence” sites, there are also a plethora of significant museums, attractions, activities, and fireworks displays throughout the country that represent the United States and its independent, bold spirit.

The American Coach recommended road stops begin with some lesser-known sites and end with more traditional ones. All the destinations have been selected based on their historic, patriotic, or All-American flair.

Made in the USA, American Coach is an ultra-luxury brand of recreational vehicles that’s celebrating its 30th anniversary. American Coach motorhomes are known for their exquisite design, lavish touches, and innovative engineering that make a road trip a relaxing and indulgent experience. New models feature such amenities as high-end kitchens with black stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops with waterfall edges and hand-crafted kitchen cabinets; spacious and luxurious master bedrooms and baths with articulating king beds, spa showers and his and her sinks; and superior technology components such as 50” exterior TVs. American Coach is part of the REV Recreation Group (RRG), a subsidiary of REV Group, Inc.

American Coach models have earned numerous industry awards, including “Top RV Debut” and Must See RV. For more information, visit their website.

Please note: each Fourth of July stop has been researched but be sure to call ahead to confirm hours of operation, advance ticketing requirements, and other relevant attendance details.

Lesser Known Fourth of July Stops

Kaboom Town!, Addison, TX

Everything is bigger in Texas, so it is not surprising that on July 3 there’s a “best of” fireworks show that lasts for a solid 30 minutes just outside of Dallas. It is not only locals who brag about the patriotic display, but it’s also received accolades from the American Pyrotechnics Association, too! Spectacular views can be found throughout Addison but one of the best ways to take in the show is to book a watch party at a local restaurant or hotel. The parties typically include live music and special Fourth of July morsels and libations, served with a side of festivities.  

RVers can stay overnight at Sandy Lake MH & RV Resort near Dallas. The resort’s amenities include a dog park, fitness center and swimming pool.

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Near Dayton, OH 

For more than a century, the U.S. Air Force has defended the United States in the air, space, and cyberspace through the skill and bravery of American Airmen and Airwomen. Located on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the free National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is the world’s largest military aviation museum. The museum features more than 350 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of artifacts. 

One of the historic events showcased at the museum is the moon landing. On July 20, 1969, the United States’ Apollo 11 became the first crewed mission to land and walk on the moon. Touch actual rocks from the lunar surface of the moon and the planet Mars as part of SPACE: A Journey to Our Future, a highly interactive special exhibit that showcases the country’s space exploration program.  

RVers can spend the night at Thousand Trails – Wilmington RV Resort. The resort has 170 acres of premiere camping along with an on-site lake that provides opportunities to fish and canoe.

Let Freedom Sing!, Nashville, TN

Known as America’s home to country music, downtown Nashville is hosting a free Let Freedom Sing! event that includes a concert by three-time, Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Brad Paisley. The city is also putting on its largest fireworks show ever, synchronized to live music from the Nashville Symphony.  

Located on a peninsula with views of Percy Priest Lake, RVers can spend the night at Elm Hill RV Resort, which offers full hook-up sites and a number of other amenities. Guests can also rent boats, kayaks and paddleboards to explore Percy Priest Lake.

Cody Stampede Celebration & Parade, Cody, WY

To truly experience the spirit of America’s Wild West, plan to attend the four-day Independence Day celebration in Cody that runs July 1-4. Since 1919, Cody has been showcasing the toughest and most talented cowboys and cowgirls, legitimately earning its title as Rodeo Capital of the World.

During the holiday, Cody is hosting the PRCA Rodeo where contestants compete for $400,000 in prize money. The weekend also includes three parades where the red, white, and blue will be on full display – a Kiddies’ Parade on July 2 and a Stampede Parade on July 3 and 4. At dusk on July 4, fireworks will explode above the Wyoming River. Cody is also home to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West with five museums under one roof. Explore Plains Indian cultures, trailblazing cowboys and cowgirls, classic and modern western artworks, and more.

Cody is 55 miles from the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park, which became the country’s first national park on March 1, 1872. In addition to its exploding geysers, bubbling paint pots, mesmerizing hot springs, and travertine terraces, Yellowstone is also home to the United States’ national symbol, the bald eagle.

RVers can stay overnight at Ponderosa Camp Ground

Independence Rock Historic Site, Alcova, WY

Travelers who happen to be in southern WY traveling on State Route 220 should keep an eye out for the Independence Rock Rest Area. The granite rock is approximately 130 feet high and was a well-known landmark on the Oregon, Mormon, and California emigrant trails. More than 5,000 names are carved on the rock by 19th century pioneers who traveled treacherous trails and braved tough conditions in search of their American dream in the Western states. One of the earliest names carved into the rock is M.K. Hugh and is dated 1824. Hiking is allowed on and around the rock.

Overnight accommodations aren’t plentiful near Independence Rock Historic Site so it’s best visited along the way to another destination.

Freedom Park, Omaha, NE 

Located along the banks of the Missouri River in the heartland of the country, Freedom Park honors the United States Navy. The free outdoor park and museum showcase two impressive pieces of military hardware – the minesweeper USS Hazard, which received three battle stars for its service during World War II, and the Cold War-era training submarine USS Marlin. 

RVers can spend the night at West Omaha / NE Lincoln KOA Holiday, which offers 85-plus RV sites that are satellite friendly.

AmericaFest, Pasadena, CA

AmericaFest, held at the Rose Bowl Stadium, promises to deliver the largest Fourth of July fireworks display west of the Mississippi. The day-long event is a celebration of all things red, white, and blue and includes tailgating, live entertainment, motorcycle stunt show, and a world-renowned fireworks show.

RVers can stay overnight at Orangeland RV Park conveniently located nearby a number of Anaheim attractions. 

Columbia State Historic Park, CA

While the Gold Rush produced great wealth for some, it also transformed the United States. As miners rushed in, the population of California swelled, helping to accelerate its admission to the Union as the 31st state.

Two years after gold was found in 1848 at Sutter’s Mill, the town of Columbia was established. Today, visiting Columbia State Historic Park is like traveling back in time. Visitors are surrounded by the largest collection of gold-rush-era structures in the state of California. Merchants are dressed in 1850s attire, there is the smell of coal smoke from the blacksmith shop, and the rumble of a stagecoach as it arrives in town. Stroll down Main Street, stop in the vintage shops and eateries or try to strike it rich by panning for gold.

Columbia is one of three gold-rush towns clustered together on the outskirts of Yosemite National Park, which is famous for its giant sequoias, dramatic waterfalls, and granite cliffs.

RVers can stay overnight at Black Oak Casino and Resort – a perfect home base for visiting Yosemite and touring the Gold Country. 

Traditional Fourth of July Stops

Freedom Trail, Black Heritage Trail, and USS Constitution, Boston, MA

Since Boston is considered the birthplace of the American Revolution, a stop in this seminal city is a must. Boston-based events that led up to the Revolutionary War include the Boston Tea Party and Siege of Boston. Naturally, many of the leading American Patriots, James Otis, Samuel Adams, John Adams, John Hancock, and Paul Revere, hailed from Boston.

A 2.5-mile walk along the Freedom Trail includes 16 locations that are significant to the United States’ fight for independence. The trail, most of which is marked by a red brick path, includes the Old South Meeting House, Old State House, and Paul Revere’s House, each of which charge an admission fee. The Boston Common, Granary Burying Ground (the final resting place of John Hancock, Paul Revere, and several other historic figures), Bunker Hill Monument and ground markers that denote a historic site or event round out the stops along the Freedom Trail. Visitors can take their own self-guided tour or book a private tour, many of which feature knowledgeable guides in 18th century garb.

The National Park Service offers free guided tours and brochures for self-guided exploration of the Black Heritage Trail. The trail is a 1.6-mile walking tour of 14 historic sites that explores the history of Boston’s 19th century African American community who primarily lived on the north slope of Beacon Hill. The tour, which is the largest collection of historic sites relating to life within a free Black community prior to the Civil War, includes the Museum of African American History, 54th Regiment Memorial, and the African Meeting House. The trail also features several stations on the Underground Railroad, which escaped slaves used to flee from the South to freedom in the North and Canada. In 1783, Massachusetts was the first state to abolish slavery.

While the USS Constitution (also known as Old Ironsides) was not part of the American Revolution, she is a testament to the honor, courage, and commitment of U.S. sailors to protecting our country. Launched in 1797 from Boston, she fought in the War of 1812 and survived a barrage of cannonballs fired from by British. She remains a commissioned vessel with a crew of officers and enlisted personnel.

RVers can spend the night at Boston Minuteman Campground and take advantage of the nearby hiking and biking trails.

Independence Hall and Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia, PA

The Declaration of Independence (a list of grievances against the King of England to justify separation from British rule) and The Constitution (a charter of the United States government ratified by the states) are foundational documents of the United States. Take a guided tour of Independence Hall to see the Assembly Room where both were signed in 1776 and 1787, respectively. Independence Hall, originally known as the Pennsylvania State House, also features an original draft of The Constitution.

Just steps from Independence Hall is the Museum of the American Revolution. Opened in 2017, the museum shares the compelling stories of the diverse people and complex events that sparked America’s path toward liberty, equality, and self-government. Amazing artifacts include an extensive collection of Revolutionary War weapons, diaries, and personal letters. See a replica of the Boston Liberty Tree (where the revolution was first discussed), General George Washington’s tent, and a 13-star flag. Don’t miss the special exhibit, “Flags and Founding Documents, 1776-Today,” that showcases dozens of rare American flags, a copy of the first newspaper printing of the Declaration of Independence, and historic early state constitutions.

RVers can stay overnight at Philadelphia South / Clarksboro KOA Holiday, a peaceful country campground just 20 minutes from Philadelphia.

Statue of Liberty, New York, NY

At a graceful 305’ tall, the Statue of Liberty is a towering symbol of American freedom. The statue was sculpted by French artist Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi and gifted to the United States by France in 1875 to commemorate the countries’ alliance during the American Revolution. In her right hand, Lady Liberty holds a torch above her head. In her left hand, she carries a tablet inscribed with JULY IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776 in Roman numerals), the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. 

The statue can be viewed from various vantage points along the Hudson River. For an up-close- and-personal look, take the ferry that departs from Battery Park to Liberty Island where the Statue of Liberty stands.

RVers can stay overnight at Liberty Harbor RV, which also delivers views of the Statue of Liberty and is next to Liberty Harbor Marina.

The National Mall, Washington, D.C.

The nation’s capital is packed with patriotic things to do and see – many of which are free. 

To meet all the presidents of our great country, visit the National Portrait Gallery, which showcases the stories and people who shaped America. The America’s Presidents exhibit features the largest, most complete collection of presidential portraits outside of the White House. The gallery also includes paintings of Martha Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Michelle Obama, and several others.

The free Smithsonian museums located on the National Mall include the National Museum of American History (see the flag that inspired the Star-Spangled Banner), National Museum of the American Indian (shares the diversity of culture, language, history, tradition, and futures of indigenous peoples of North and South America), and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened in 2017. It’s the only national museum devoted to the documentation of African American life, art, history, and culture. Significant artifacts include garments worn by slaves, a Bible owned by rebellion leader Nat Turner, Emmett Till’s glass-topped casket, training aircraft used by the Tuskegee Institute, and an invitation to President Obama’s 2009 inauguration. 

RVers can spend the night at Cherry Hill Park that offers full hook-up sites and a number of other amenities.

Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C. area

Just outside of D.C., it’s worth a visit to Arlington National Cemetery. Rich with American history on acres of well-manicured grounds, everyone can deepen their knowledge of our great country.

Visit the gravesites of Presidents Taft and John F. Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery. Taft, the 27th president, was the first president to be buried in Arlington after his death in 1930. Kennedy, the 35th president, was laid to rest in 1963 after his assassination. Most presidents choose to be buried in their home states.

According to the cemetery website: First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy wanted her husband’s gravesite to be accessible to the American public. In selecting a location, she consulted with the president’s brother, Robert F. Kennedy, and Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara—both of whom are also buried at Arlington.

In addition to the presidential graves, the cemetery is the final resting place for many notable Americans, including veterans of the American Revolutionary War, military leaders, astronauts, Supreme Court Chief Justices, and many others.

RVers can spend the night at Cherry Hill Park that offers full hook-up sites and a number of other amenities.

Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, VA

Just a short drive from Washington, D.C., is Mount Vernon – an American landmark and the historic home of America’s first president, George Washington, and his wife, Martha. The Washingtons lived in a two-story Georgian mansion overlooking the Potomac River on an estate that was originally 8,000 acres.

Step back into history and tour the Washingtons’ plantation home, a blacksmith shop, stable, smokehouse, slave quarters, and other outbuildings that supported daily life. An extensive museum shares background on Washington’s life prior to becoming president and the legacy he left behind. The site also includes a memorial to the hundreds of enslaved men, women, and children who worked the plantation.

A unique way to visit Mount Vernon is by boat. Families can travel down the Potomac River and see the Washington Monument, United States Capitol, and other historic sites from a completely different vantage point. The boat trip is narrated and takes approximately three hours round trip. Families disembark at Mount Vernon and have four hours to explore the estate. Mount Vernon can also be reached by bike via the scenic Mount Vernon Trail. The ride takes approximately one hour, and bikes can be rented in Alexandria.

RVers can spend the night at Cherry Hill Park that offers full hook-up sites and a number of other amenities.

Colonial Williamsburg, VA

Founded in 1699, Williamsburg was established by England as the capital of the Virginia Colony. Today, Colonial Williamsburg is dedicated to preserving and sharing 18th century colonial life during the time when the United States was being formed. 

Recognized as the world’s largest living history museum, a visit to Colonial Williamsburg is an immersive experience. Costumed and wigged interpreters stroll the streets talking in the language and diction of the 1700s. The city’s colonial shops, taverns, homes, kitchens, and gardens are tended to by weavers, wigmakers, and residents of the time. Watch as blacksmiths recreate weapons and hardware that supplied the armies during the Revolutionary War. Tour the Capitol and Courthouse to learn about the founding principles of Virginia government and justice in the 18th century. Book a carriage or wagon ride and dine at a historic tavern serving Colonial-inspired fare, including Welsh Rarebit, Savory Pasty, and Salet of Snipped Greens. 

Learn about the role American Indians played in creating a new country and the impact of the Declaration of Independence on African Americans in Williamsburg. When the Declaration was written, more than 52 percent of Williamsburg’s population was enslaved. Take in a museum theatre exploration of African American perspectives on the Declaration, the revolutions it inspired, and the ongoing struggle for equality and freedom in America.

To commemorate the Fourth of July, the city is hosting a celebration on historic Duke of Gloucester Street with patriotic festivities, public readings of the Declaration of Independence, musical performances, and a fireworks display. 

RVers can spend the night at American Heritage RV Park with its lush meadows and wooded sites. The park also offers premium sites with patio furniture, an outdoor fireplace and extra space.

Colonial Parkway, VA

An entire Fourth of July can be spent in Virginia’s Historic Triangle of Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown. The 23-mile Colonial Parkway connects the three towns and has numerous scenic pull-offs with historical markers that provide descriptions of the view. A day-long Liberty Celebration at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown features outdoor living-history experiences that allow visitors to explore life in Washington’s Continental Army, see artillery demonstrations, and watch performances by the Fifes and Drums of York Town. In the city of Yorktown, evening activities include a bell-ringing ceremony, patriotic concert, and an amazing fireworks display booming over the York River. 

RVers can spend the night at American Heritage RV Park.

Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, Atlanta, GA

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an African American Baptist minister and one of America’s foremost Civil Rights activists from 1955 until 1968, when he was assassinated. At the age of 35, he was the youngest man to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and donated the $54,123 cash prize to advancing the Civil Rights movement. See Dr. King’s boyhood home, the original Ebenezer Baptist Church, and The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (“The King Center”). The National Park Service has restored many of the neighboring buildings to reflect the 1930s and 1940s, the time when Dr. King grew up. Today, visitors can step into that era and imagine themselves walking down the street, hearing the noise of the lively neighborhood, and experiencing what life was like in those tumultuous times.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone, SD

This colossal stone edifice in the Black Hills of South Dakota took 14 years to complete from 1927 to 1941 and cost approximately $1 million. The heads of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln are 60 feet tall and were carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore. The four presidents were chosen to represent the nation’s birth, growth, development, and preservation.

On July 3, presidential reenactors George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt will be strolling the grounds, giving talks about their presidency, posing for photographs, and providing autographs. 

And, while Mount Rushmore isn’t hosting its typical Fourth of July fireworks display, many of the surrounding small towns are. Throughout the Badlands and Black Hills, American pride will be on full display with parades, re-enactors, Old West shootouts, cook-offs, car show ‘n shines, live music, ice cream socials, farmers markets, and more.

RVers visiting Mount Rushmore can stay overnight at American Buffalo Resorts or Mount Rushmore KOA Resort at Palmer Gulch in the heart of the Black Hills.

About REV Recreation Group

REV Recreation Group, Inc. (RRG) is a REV Group® company and a leading manufacturer of Class A Gas and Diesel recreational vehicle brands. This company has one of the best and longest standing distribution networks in the industry and boasts some of the industry’s most recognized and iconic brand names such as American Coach, Fleetwood RV, and Holiday Rambler. REV Recreation Group is headquartered in Decatur, IN, which is also its principal manufacturing location. In addition, RRG operates two state-of-the-art service and repair centers and a genuine parts online warehouse.

About REV Group, Inc.

REV Group® (REVG) is a leading designer and manufacturer of specialty vehicles and related aftermarket parts and services. We serve a diversified customer base, primarily in the United States, through three segments: Fire & Emergency, Commercial, and Recreation. We provide customized vehicle solutions for applications, including essential needs for public services (ambulances, fire apparatus, school buses, and transit buses), commercial infrastructure (terminal trucks and industrial sweepers) and consumer leisure (recreational vehicles). Our diverse portfolio is made up of well-established principle vehicle brands, including many of the most recognizable names within their industry. Several of our brands pioneered their specialty vehicle product categories and date back more than 50 years. REV Group trades on the NYSE under the symbol REVG.

Photo by JNTO for use by 360 Magazine

Japan’s Sightseeing and Museums

Japan, A Culture Expressed Through Art and Nature. 

For more information on JNTO visit their website here. Be sure to also check out all of the attractions listed here.

Although it is globally renowned for technological innovation, Japan’s history, traditions and cultures have always been intrinsically linked to the country’s rich and varied natural landscapes.

From the best places to observe springtime Shibazakura, pink moss, and where to embrace the art of Shinrin-yoku, forest bathing, to exhibitions and glamping which celebrate the strength, beauty and versatility of natural materials. Japan’s wealth of natural treasures, including one of the best stargazing spots in the Northern Hemisphere, is a must-do, must-see on any itinerary.

We invite you to travel outside of the city limits of Tokyo to the glorious regions beyond, all of which have their insider secrets. Here we have rounded up eight of the exciting cultural and outdoor experiences for you to enjoy. We promise that our time apart will make travel experiences all the more exciting when cross-border travel is resumed. We are looking forward to seeing you in Japan.

Nature: Flower Trip Across Japan

Sunflowers, wisteria, tulips, hydrangeas, violets, camellias. The nation’s famed cherry blossom is not the only flower worth travelling to Japan to see. The nation celebrates a range of scene-stealing flowers in different locations throughout the year.

For a burst of sunshine, head to Hokkaido’s Hokuryu Sunflower Village, home to an epic sweep of 2 million sunflowers which burst into bloom beneath blue skies every summer. Whereas in Tonami Tulip Park in central Japan (Toyama Prefecture), red, white and purple tulips take center stage at every spring; while ajisai hydrangeas, marking the arrival of the rainy scene early summer, are celebrated at countless nationwide festivals (Bunkyo Ajisai Festival at Tokyo’s Hakusan Shrine is a highlight).

Another unmissable bloom is the nation’s treasured pink moss, known as Shibazakura, which comes alive on mountain slopes during spring as seen in the above photograph taken in front of Mount Fuji, Yamanashi Prefecture.

One event worth timing a visit to Japan for is the Fuji Shibazakura Festival (normally from mid-April to mid-May, Yamanashi Prefecture) with as many as 520,000 pink moss spanning the base of Mount Fuji, whose snow-capped triangular peak looms tall above the blooms.

Shibazakura Takinoue Park in the northernmost Hokkaido region is also worth visiting because the park transforms every spring (from early May to early June) into an otherworldly 100,000 square-meter expanse of gradated shades of pink, accompanied by a string of local festivities and food markets.

Another of Japan’s most scenic Shibazakura spots is the Chausuyama Highlands in Aichi Prefecture, a two-hour drive from Nagoya, a popular snow-covered ski destination during the winter months, with ski lifts carrying springtime visitors above hillside fields of 400,000-plus pink moss flowers (from early May to early June).

Tradition: Pottery developed by Nature

Japan has long been famed for its ceramic heritage, shaped through the centuries by the nation’s deep ties with nature. From organically finished earthenware to the smooth sheen of white porcelain, a spectrum of ceramic styles has been nurtured in Japan. The above photograph shows Arita ceramics crafted by Sakaida Kakiemon, Inoue Manji and Imaizumi Imaemon.

Highlights include the works of Japan’s Six Ancient Kilns, including Bizen-yaki, from Bizen in Okayama Prefecture, famed for its glaze-free abstractions, fired at intensely high temperatures.

Among Japan’s oldest pottery hubs is Shigaraki in Shiga Prefecture, a one-and-a-half-hour train ride from Kyoto, long esteemed for its quality stoneware, in particular large vessels crafted from strong local clay.

Mashiko in Tochigi Prefecture, reachable from Tokyo by train in as little as two-and-a-half-hours, is another mecca for pottery lovers, with more than 250 studios and 50 ceramics shops (it’s also home to the serene former home and studio of deeply influential Shoji Hamada, designated as a Living National Treasure and a member of Japan’s mingei crafts movement).

Arita, Saga Prefecture, is the place to head in southern Japan and it is only a one-and-a-half hour train or bus ride from Fukuoka, Nagasaki and Saga airports. The word Arita means one thing in Japan: white porcelain. The small town in Kyushu is renowned for more than four centuries of exquisite porcelain heritage and admirers of Japanese crafts and ceramics would do well to plan ahead for a visit to Arita Ceramics Fair between the last week of April and the first week of May. One of Japan’s largest ceramics markets, a network of around 500 stalls typically stretches from the main station and through the center of the town, showcasing an eclectic range of ceramics from top local kilns.

Innovative contemporary projects have also placed Arita firmly on the global creative map in recent years. The projects that have done this range from the respected series of Arita Collection 1616 / arita japan brand, by designer Teruhiro Yanagihara (who recently opened a sleekly designed showroom in Arita) to the Creative Residency Arita program which attracts artists and designers from across the globe.

Nature: Stargazing in Kozushima

One good place to take in starry spectacles is in the Northern Hemisphere, in areas with as little light pollution as possible. That could now include Kozushima Island that is a pine-painted volcanic island orbited by white sand beaches in the Izu Islands, a one-hour flight or four-hour jet-ferry ride from Tokyo.

After removing more than 400 streetlights in the summer of 2020, the island was made an official Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association on December 1, 2020, the second in the country following Iriomote-Ishigaki Island in the southern Okinawa Prefecture.

Kozushima Island’s top observation points might include the summit of Mount Tenjo or the gentle sands of Nagahama beach, with its picnic spots, barbecue pits and natural hot springs, but anywhere outside of the main town should do the trick.

The main annual event is the Perseid meteor shower in the middle of August each year. This is when planet Earth passes through the sparkly tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet, producing up to 60 shooting stars an hour as small meteors burn up, skimming the upper atmosphere.

For more information on JNTO visit their website here. Be sure to also check out all of the attractions listed here

Nature: Treeful Treehouses Sustainable Resort

Hidden in the wilds of sub-tropical Okinawa, on a bend in the Genka River, is Treeful, a collection of four fantastical treehouses to be opened in June. Comfortably situated in nature, all have floor-to-ceiling windows, air-conditioning and wooden decks with beautiful views across a forest of banyan trees and ficus. At dusk, sit on your suspended terrace surrounded by rare wildflowers.

The entire Treeful Treehouse Sustainable Resort has been designed to be as sustainable as possible; the team are rebuilding a 19th-century water mill at nearby Shizogumui waterfall and helping to save rare Ryukyu mountain turtles.

Everything is solar-powered, and the resort is also wheelchair accessible, including the communal Aerohouse which connects to the rooms via a series of floating walkways.

Inside the Aerohouse there are relaxation spaces, a kitchen and dining area, as well as toilets and showers (ecologically designed but not in an obvious way). Wake up early and head out onto your balcony to watch the sunrise over the jungle canopy.

Later, you can try yoga, stand-up paddle board at a golden beach or kayak to a nearby island for a piña colada. Nights should be dedicated to stargazing. Look out for Ryukyu flying foxes and puppy-faced fruit bats.

The best place to take in starry spectacles is in the Northern Hemisphere, in areas with as little light pollution as possible. That now includes Kozushima Island, which is a pine-painted volcanic isle orbited by white sand beaches a one-hour flight from Tokyo.

Relaxation: Hot Spring Bathing

It’s hard to keep your clothes on when travelling around Japan’s famed onsen hubs, and there are many of them.

One example is Kusatsu Onsen in Gunma Prefecture, where guests can walk along old streets in cotton yukata gowns before soaking in a string of public onsen baths, including the famously restorative steaming Yubatake hot water fields. Because the water temperature in Yubatake is too hot for bathing, staff stir the hot water with a wooden paddle in a traditional cooling practice known as Yumomi. You can see a Yumomi show or even try it out for yourself at the Netsunoyu bathhouse. 

Meanwhile, Nozawa Onsen in Nagano Prefecture, a popular ski hub with a bathing heritage dating back more than 1,000 years, offers the best possible après-ski activity, a free soak in 13 public onsen facilities scattered across the town.

Beppu in Oita Prefecture is a southern city wrapped in volcanic mountains on one side and a bay on the other, home to a network of more than 2,000 hot spring onsen baths of ten-plus various spring qualities, which are all celebrated annually in the springtime Beppu Hatto Onsen Festival.It’s worth noting April as a good time to visit the region, when it will stage the five-day festival which kicks off on onsen thanksgiving day.

The decades-old event’s dramatic scene stealer is Ogiyama Fire Festival which involves setting fire to a large swathe of Mount Ogi behind Beppu to alert (not very subtly) the onsen gods to the end of winter and start of spring. Hot spring soaking also takes center stage with the Beppu Bath Marathon encouraging visitors to take a dip in 42 onsen baths in the space of five days, while those who manage 88 baths are hailed as onsen masters.  Those who are less ambitious can simply enjoy a soak in the restorative hot waters of their choice at around 100 local onsen, which are open for free during the festival.

The main highlight for many, however, is the climax of the event: the iconic Yu-Bukkake Matsuri festival procession, with traditional dancing and portable mikoshi shrines paraded down streets before being sprayed with, you’ve guessed it, onsen water.

Art: Culture Gateway to Japan

A string of bold new artworks will greet future visitors when they arrive at airports across Japan, as part of Culture Gate to Japan, a cultural program organized by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan.

The works of 29 creatives from across the spectrum, from contemporary installations to manga, are exhibited at seven airports and one cruise terminal. Exhibits are called names such as Memory, Patterns and Motion. They include a color-drenched exhibit in southern Okinawa, exploring the region’s unique heritage; a showcase of eight works by manga artists at Kansai International Airport; an exhibit in Fukuoka, tapping into its rich ceramics and textile heritage; and contemporary works at Chubu Centrair International Airport in Aichi Prefecture, inspired by samurai and ninja warriors.

One standout highlight is Vision Gate, an exhibition of works by eight artists. It is curated by Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Guests arriving from faraway countries will be welcome into a new way of thinking and making, influenced by ancient wisdom and projected towards the future, explains Antonelli.

Exhibits include an innovative installation transforming vision to sound by artist Yuri Suzuki and Miyu Hosoi at Haneda, comprising a distillation of the hiragana phonetics alphabet.

Other artworks include a series of six video installations, by six different artists, broadcast in synchronized sequence along an arrival gate pathway, including Mariko Mori, Jun Inoue and Sachiko Kodama. Vision Gate can be seen across Tokyo’s two main airports Haneda in Tokyo and Narita in Chiba Prefecture.

Nature: A Land of Forests

Inhale and exhale. Japan’s magical world of forest bathing, known as shinrin-yoku, has perhaps never felt more alluring in the current global climate. The therapeutic benefits of full nature immersion, breathing in the scent of trees while placing one foot in front of the other, are well documented, from boosting moods and alleviating stress to improving physical ailments. Spring, when temperatures rise and early flowers bloom, is one of the most popular times of year to head into the forest. Japan has long embraced this concept.

Today Japan is home to 62 official Forest Therapy Bases, selected by the Forest Therapy Society, a certified NPO supported by many local government organizations. Devoted to the art of forest bathing, the network is selected on the basis of scientific research by forest experts and is as expansive as it is geographically diverse.

Forest-bathing hotspots include the magical primal forests, streams and wildlife of Tsubetsu-cho on northernmost island Hokkaido; Ueno Village in Gunma Prefecture, located two to three hours from Tokyo by train or car, with its peaceful Japanese beech and oak forests; and the giant trees and dense valleys of Okutama (the only official forest-bathing spot included in the Tokyo region). Another must-see spot is Oguni town, wedged between mountains in southwestern Yamagata Prefecture. Accessible by a one-hour bus ride from Yamagata Airport.

Outdoor: Glamping on Whale Island

Keen to get back to nature? Head to Kujira-jima in the Seto Inland Sea, which has been transformed into 21st-century camping nirvana. Kujira means whale in Japanese and is so named by locals due to its distinct forested silhouette, which brings to mind the shape of a whale.

Today, the entire, uninhabited island, about 30 minutes by boat from Uno Port in Okayama Prefecture, itself a two-hour train ride from Osaka, is a camp with visitors able to choose different sleeping options, ranging from a simple canvas tent on a wooden deck facing the sea, to a stylishly-decked out Glamping tent, complete with indoor plants and design pieces. Another option is bedding down in one of their chic cottages, complete with wood-burning stove.

Activities are as plentiful as the experience is deeply tied to nature. In addition to exploring its empty beaches and forests, guests can take part in a string of activities, such as kayaking, SUP, beach-tent saunas, fishing, night star gazing, sunset cruising and sitting by campfires, among others. Food is another highlight, with visitors able to relax a notch and buy DIY barbecue beef sets as well as breakfast spreads, while an in-house chef can also rustle up a raft of Japanese-style treats

For more information on JNTO visit their website here. Be sure to also look at all of the attractions listed here.

Art by Kaelen for use by 360 Magazine

Wonderworks New Exhibit Good Vibrations

Good Vibrations – WonderWorks Orlando New Exhibit on Earthquakes Named by Teachers during Teacher Appreciation Month

WonderWorks Orlando has an array of exhibits that help educate people about science. And it’s latest exhibit on earthquakes called Good Vibrations, opens May 28th. Good Vibrations will spotlight Tuckaleechee Caverns, and how they document seismic activity around the world. The new exhibit was a topic request from educators, so it seemed appropriate that they also name the exhibit.  Teachers are invited to see this exhibit for free during WonderWorks Teacher Appreciation Month celebration.

This is a fascinating new exhibit about earthquakes and all types of tectonic movement around the globe, says Brian Wayne, general manager of WonderWorks Orlando. It’s a great time for teachers to stop in and check it out and enjoy some time exploring all we have to offer.

The Tuckaleechee Caverns are located deep under the Smoky Mountains, in Townsend, Tenn. People can visit the caverns, but they also play an important role in the safety of our country. They have the most sensitive seismic station on Earth, accurately and precisely tracking tectonic movement all around the planet. The information collected includes activity from earthquakes and even when nuclear weapons are being tested. 

Once the information is collected, it is quickly transmitted directly to the Department of Defense; Geneva, Switzerland; and Vienna, Austria. The information is obtained and shared so quickly that it’s passed on within 300ths of a millisecond. Visitors will learn about the important natural wonder that gathers so much information around the world. 

Good Vibrations meets educational standards for learning about earthquakes and seismic activity. As a way to celebrate teachers and support staff during Teacher Appreciation Month, both teachers and support staff will receive free admission during May 2021 by showing a valid school ID. Additionally, up to four of their accompanying guests will receive 50% off admission.

“We are excited to invite teachers, support staff, and their families this month, as well as others, to check out the new Earthquake exhibit,” added Wayne. “This exhibit will surprise you and make you want to plan a trip to the Tuckaleechee Caverns.”

Additional on-site and community programs include the WonderWorks WonderKids event, virtual learning labs, FLO-Art Florida Youth Art Gallery, science fair partnerships, online science information and worksheets and a homeschool program. WonderWorks Orlando also offers various STEM activities, including virtual learning labs, on-site exhibits, activities and more. To learn more about the programs offered at WonderWorks Orlando, visit their website.

To get additional information about Teacher Appreciation Month, visit the site here.

Due to the continued county-wide mask restriction in Orlando, guests will need to bring one with them or buy one upon arrival. WonderWorks has COVID-19 safety protocols, including reduced capacity and hours, enhanced cleaning efforts, social distancing measures, hand sanitizer stations, employee health screenings and employee personal protective equipment (PPE). Guests are encouraged to review all safety rules before their visit on the web page devoted to COVID-19 here

About WonderWorks

WonderWorks, the upside-down adventure, is a science-focused indoor amusement park for the mind that holds something unique and exciting for visitors of all ages. Guests enter through an upside-down lobby with the ceiling at their feet and the ground above their head and must pass through an inversion tunnel to turn right side up. There are three floors of nonstop edu-tainment, with over 100 hands-on and interactive exhibits that serve a STEM educational purpose to challenge the mind and spark the imagination. WonderWorks Orlando is also home to The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show. WonderWorks is located in Orlando, Pigeon Forge, Myrtle Beach, Panama City Beach, Syracuse and Branson. For more information, visit their website.

Art by Heather Skovlund for use by 360 Magazine

Microsoft Partners with UHHM

MICROSOFT EXPANDS PARTNERSHIP WITH THE UNIVERSAL HIP HOP MUSEUM THROUGH A $5 MILLION GIFT AS PART OF ITS AI FOR CULTURAL HERITAGE PROGRAM

MICROSOFT WILL CELEBRATE THE PARTNERSHIP AT THE OFFICIAL GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY FOR THE UHHM ON MAY 20th

Today, the Universal Hip Hop Museum (UHHM) is excited to announce their expanded partnership with Microsoft, as the leading global technology company gifts the museum $5,000,000 on behalf of their AI for Cultural Heritage program. Microsoft’s AI for Cultural Heritage program leverages the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to empower people and organizations dedicated to the preservation and enrichment of cultural heritage. Through this partnership, Microsoft will become the Official Technology Partner of the UHHM to help empower the museum’s mission of celebrating and preserving the history of local and global Hip Hop music and culture to inspire, empower, and promote understanding.

“Preserving the history of Hip Hop, celebrating the cultural contributions of the pioneers who paved the way for today’s Hip Hop generation to thrive and flourish, and promoting the positive economic and social aspects of Hip Hop have been the sole focus of the UHHM for the past decade,” said Universal Hip Hop Museum Executive Director, Rocky Bucano.

With the use of advanced technology, such as AI, Microsoft will work together with the UHHM to ensure the museum has the resources and platforms it needs to become the state-of-the-art institution they have envisioned. This partnership will allow the UHHM to design immersive experiences which will engage global audiences both today and well into the future.

“Since its birth in the Bronx almost fifty years ago, innovators have harnessed creativity and technology to evolve and grow Hip Hop into one of today’s most celebrated musical, artistic, and cultural influences,” said Brad Smith, President of Microsoft. “As a proud supporter and official technology partner of the Universal Hip Hop Museum, we’re incredibly excited about the role that Microsoft technology will play to help document, preserve, and tell this uniquely American story to the world.” 

This donation builds on a long-standing relationship between Microsoft and the UHHM who initially partnered together in 2016 to co-host envisioning sessions that helped shape the museum’s future vision. In 2019, Microsoft and the UHHM collaborated with MIT Professor Dr. Fox Harrell, to bring to life “Breakbeat Narratives” – an experience using artificial intelligence to explore the rich history of Hip Hop music – which is currently on display at the [R]Evolution of Hip Hop, an exhibition designed to give Hip Hop lovers a sneak peek of the Universal Hip Hop Museum. 

The Microsoft partnership will be celebrated on Thursday, May 20, 2021, during the official groundbreaking ceremony at Bronx Point, the future home of the Universal Hip Hop Museum. 

About the Universal Hip Hop Museum

Anchored in the birthplace of Hip Hop culture, the Universal Hip Hop Museum will break ground in the Bronx in 2021. Built as a space for audiences, artists, and technology to converge and create unparalleled educational and entertainment experiences, the museum is slated to open in Bronx Point in 2024. The UHHM will celebrate and preserve the history of local and global Hip Hop music and culture past, present, and future. 

About Microsoft AI Cultural Heritage

Microsoft’s AI for Cultural Heritage program leverages the power of AI to empower people and organizations dedicated to the preservation and enrichment of cultural heritage. Microsoft has committed $10 million over five years to expand access to Microsoft Azure and AI resources, focused on celebrating the people who have made a significant impact throughout history, using digital tools to preserve important monuments and sites for future generations to explore, engaging with communities around the world for language preservation, and creating ways for collections and archives to be more easily accessed and enjoyed. By harnessing the latest tools in ways that support an environment rich in diversity, perspectives, and learnings from the past, and sharing that knowledge and experience to be shared with the rest of the world, every society benefits.

Spiro illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Spiro Exhibition

Ancient Mysteries Revealed: Groundbreaking Spiro Exhibition to Debut at The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

The Spiro site contained one of the greatest collections of prehistoric American Indian artifacts ever discovered in the United States.

The Spiro Mounds are one of the United States’ most important ancient Native American sites, as well as an archaeological find unmatched in modern times. Yet, despite creating a sophisticated ancient culture, the Spiro people are nearly forgotten in the pages of history books. How did these incredible works of art and other treasures from all over North America end up hidden for hundreds of years, and why? Opening February 12, 2021 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, “Spiro and the Art of the Mississippian World” will seek to answer these questions and more in the first major presentation on the Spiro Mounds ever undertaken by a museum, representing the first, and possibly last, time these artifacts will be reunited from various collections across the country.

“We are incredibly pleased to announce this unparalleled exhibition, which will give proper honor and representation to the culture and historical impact of the Spiro people,” said Natalie Shirley, The Cowboy president and CEO. “Our staff has worked for years to create a world-class, exciting and collaborative presentation of a people who have been overlooked for too long.”

This exhibition will share the art, history and culture of the Spiro people through approx. 175 objects, as well as an accompanying publication, website, public symposium and panel discussion. It was created in collaboration with representatives from the Caddo and Wichita Nations, the descendants of the Spiroan people, and with contributions by 17 humanities scholars from nearly a dozen universities and museums from across the United States.

The Spiro Mounds were the location of one of the largest and longest episodes of looting at any American archaeological site in history—comparable to that of Mesa Verde in Colorado and, sadly, several others across the country. Both looting and New Deal/Works Progress Administration (WPA) archaeological excavations came together in a near-perfect storm at Spiro. In 1935, the public’s imagination was peaked when the Kansas City Star called the site’s discovery a “King Tut’s Tomb in the Arkansas Valley,” and identified it as the greatest source of Mississippian iconographic material ever found. Embossed copper plates, wooden sculptures, thousands of pearls and beads, large human effigy pipes and engraved shell gorgets and cups are just some of the items found at Spiro. In fact, nearly 90% of all known engraved shell created during the Mississippian period (900 – 1650 AD) was discovered at this one site. This exhibition will include the reunification of a range of items looted and archaeologically excavated at Spiro that have not been together since the early 1930s and 1940s.

“The quality and quantity of material found at Spiro is unprecedented,” said Eric Singleton, Ph.D., Museum Curator of Ethnology. “We are grateful to have the support of the Spiroan descendants, the Caddo Nation and the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, as we prepare this exhibition. Without them, this exhibition would not be possible.”

The Spiroan people, along with other Mississippian groups across the eastern half of North America, created a world equal to that of the Aztec, Maya or Inca, consisting of trade networks and highly developed social, political and religious centers. The exhibition will explore the archaeology and history of Spiro and its relationship to other contemporaneous Indigenous communities in North and Central America, highlighting community development, religious and ceremonial activities, farming and hunting practices and daily life. It will also illustrate how ecological factors, specifically the occurrence of the “Little Ice Age” beginning in 1350 AD and lasting until 1650 AD may have led to the site’s decline and ultimate abandonment. The exhibition also showcases contemporary Indigenous art pieces that explore the ideas of origin and connect the art and artistry of the Spiro people to their modern descendants.

Following the exhibition, the online component and educational materials will be available on the Museum’s website and in our permanent Native American gallery. In addition, the Museum will give both the Caddo and Wichita Nations all interpretative materials to use at their discretion in their respective tribal museums.

The exhibition will debut at National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum February 12 – May 9, 2021, before traveling to the Birmingham Museum of Art (October 5, 2021 – March 11, 2022) in Birmingham Alabama, and the Dallas Museum of Art (April 15, 2022 – August 5, 2022), in Dallas Texas.

Visit Spiro Mounds for more information, including photos, maps and a calendar of associated programming.

The Spiro and the Art of the Mississippian World has been made possible in part by major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Henry Luce Foundation, as well as support from the Kirkpatrick Foundation.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this press release do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

About the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City is America’s premier institution of Western history, art and culture. Founded in 1955, the Museum collects, preserves and exhibits an internationally renowned collection of Western art and artifacts while sponsoring dynamic educational programs to stimulate interest in the enduring legacy of the American West. For more information, visit the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

travel illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Japan’s Most Unique Museums

With an incredibly rich history, it’s no wonder that Japan has more than 5,700 museums across its 47 prefectures; and with so many to choose from, travelers are bound to find some unexpected surprises among them. Below are some of Japan’s most interesting museums that travelers can visit, once travel restrictions are lifted.

Cup Noodles Museum – Kanagawa Prefecture
A fun destination for kids and adults, the Cup Noodles Museum in Kanagawa Prefecture is full of exciting activities. Along with interesting exhibitions, such as a replica of the shed where instant noodles were invented and a small collection of modern art pieces made from Cup Noodles, visitors can make their own personalized cup noodle at the My Cup Noodles Factory. At the My Chicken Ramen workshop, guests can make their own instant ramen noodles from scratch. The Noodles Bazaar also gives visitors a chance to try out nine different noodle dishes.

Towel Museum of Art – Ehime Prefecture
An incredibly unique institution, the Towel Museum of Art in Ehime Prefecture is the world’s first towel museum dedicated to the art of towel manufacturing. Inside, visitors can find galleries and displays showcasing intricate traditional towels, art made from towels and an exhibition on the towel-making process. The museum gift shop features a wide array of original goods and local products available for purchase.

TOTO Museum – Fukuoka Prefecture
Japan’s famous TOTO brand is best known for its bathware and in celebration of its 100th anniversary, the TOTO Museum was opened in 2017. The elegant two-story building leads visitors through the history of TOTO, especially focusing on the evolution of its toilets. From the first ceramic flush toilet seat that was developed in 1914, to modern toilets with bidets and heated seats, guests can learn about the company’s evolution, spanning more than a decade. While the museum’s signage is in Japanese, visitors can download the museum’s app for an English audio guide or to translate the signs.

Omiya Bonsai Art Museum – Saitama Prefecture
Located in the heart of the Omiya Bonsai Village, the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum is home to more than 120 bonsai masterpieces and bonsai-related artifacts, such as woodblock prints, books, bonsai pots and more. Art pieces are selected in accordance with the season and around 50 pots of bonsai are always on display in the garden and gallery. After visiting the museum, travelers can wander around the village and check out local artisans and stores. The village was originally founded in 1925 when the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 forced bonsai nurseries and garden industry workers in central Tokyo to relocate.

Yokote Masuda Manga Museum – Akita Prefecture
The first manga-themed museum in Japan, the Yokote Masuda Manga Museum showcases the artwork from manga artists across Japan and the world. The museum houses around 400,000 original illustrations from around 100 artists in the permanent exhibitions. The museum also pays honor to the works of Takao Yaguchi, whose work helped highlight Akita Prefecture and attracted visitors. Guests can enjoy a large library of manga and read to their heart’s content for free.

For updates on travel restrictions to Japan, please visit this website.

ABOUT JAPAN NATIONAL TOURISM ORGANIZATION (JNTO)

As the official tourism board of Japan, JNTO is involved in a wide range of promotional activities to encourage international travelers to visit Japan. Through a variety of campaigns and initiatives, JNTO is inspiring more American travelers to visit Tokyo, Kyoto and beyond.

For more information about travel to Japan, visit JNTO on its WebsiteFacebookInstagram and Twitter.

The Ford Foundation’s Darren Walker in Conversation with Andre Leon Talley

The Ford Foundation’s Darren Walker will be interviewed by André Leon Talley on a zoom call Thursday, February 11th at 7:00 pm EST hosted by the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD).

The Ford Foundation’s president Darren Walker and fashion icon André Leon Talley join MAD Interim Director Terry Skoda for a Black History Month special edition of MAD Moments, exploring Walker’s path to the Ford Foundation, his vision for the future of philanthropy, and the role of museums in reimaging who has a seat at the table and a voice in the room.

Closed captioning provided.

ABOUT THE PANELISTS

André Leon Talley was the indomitable creative director at Vogue during the magazine’s rising dominance as the world’s fashion bible. Over the past five decades his byline has appeared in Vanity Fair, HG, and The New York Times. He began his career as an assistant to Diana Vreeland at The Metropolitan Costume Institute, later working at Interview magazine, and as Paris Bureau Chief for Women’s Wear Daily. He is the author of books including two autobiographies, The Chiffon Trenches and ALT, as well as Little Black Dress, A.L.T.:365+, MegaStar, and Oscar de la Renta: His Legendary World of Style. He is also the subject of the documentary The Gospel According to André. Mr. Talley received his MA in French Studies from Brown University and served on the board of trustees for the Savannah College of Art and Design for twenty years.

Darren Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, a $13 billion international social justice philanthropy. He is co-founder and chair of the Presidents’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy. Before joining Ford, Darren was vice president at Rockefeller Foundation, overseeing global and domestic programs. In the 1990s, he was COO of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, Harlem’s largest community development organization. Darren co-chairs New York City’s Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers, the New York City Census Task Force, and the Governor’s Commission and serves on The Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform and UN International Labour Organization Global Commission on the Future of Work. He serves on many boards, including Carnegie Hall, the High Line, VOW to End Child Marriage, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the National Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is the recipient of 16 honorary degrees and university awards, including Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Medal. Educated exclusively in public schools, Darren was a member of the first Head Start class in 1965 and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin. He has been included on Time’s annual 100 Most Influential People in the World, Rolling Stone’s 25 People Shaping the Future, Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, and OUT Magazine’s Power 50.

Illustration for 360 Magazine art story

How Technology Makes Learning Art More Accessible To Aspiring Artists

The art world is constantly evolving and moving forward towards adapting to the use of the latest technology. Throughout history, the development of the latest technology has been eyed with suspicion by members of the mainstream arts sector before the new eventually becomes normal. The arts are an area that has always adapted to the use of new technologies, whether it was the introduction of photography in the late-19th-century or computer-aided design in the last three decades.

What we have seen on educational sites, such as Learning Cloud New Zealand, was an uptick in the number of art students in the role social media is playing in the modern art sector. Museums and public galleries are taking their collections online to give every person the chance to enjoy artworks by famous artists and those they may not have heard of. Galleries and museums are looking to switch their collections to the online sector to allow more people to explore and learn about art. For students and academics looking to take part in the academic study of art history and specific artists, the ability to turn to Instagram or the online collections of galleries and museums makes it easier to view as many artworks as possible from the comfort of their home, office, or desk.

Looking back at the history of art is just one way the development of technology has shifted towards the delivery of information online. There are many ways technology can change the artistic world, including the ability to allow artists from around the world to find new ways of working. In the past, those affected by disabilities were unable to take part in the practical study of the arts because of the restraints placed on their movements. However, the evolution of technology has allowed the majority of people to feel they can now enjoy the chance to build a career using the latest in technology.

The challenge for many people with some form of disability when they are exploring art through the use of technology is to develop a better way of understanding art. Those who are visually-impaired are among the individuals who are being given the chance to learn about art through the use of technology. Visually-impaired individuals are given the chance to enjoy art through descriptive words designed to create an image in the mind.

Digital art is taking the canvas onto the screens of mobile devices and laptop screens to give those in far-flung areas of the world the chance to perfect their artistic talent. Teachers can be located almost anywhere in the world to provide advice and support as the artist works from their home location. Even in schools, the development of technology is taking out of the use of traditional media and into the digital realm. Adding the arts to STEM courses has been positive for millions of students and led to the development of STEAM classes that focus on technology. For most students, the use of digital technology is an accompaniment to the traditional media used for classes at all levels.