Mercury- Finding Greek and Roman Gods in Winnipeg

In honor of the new Olympus exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery I’m going to look for references to Greek and Roman gods right here in the city where I live.

480px-Golden_Boy_MB_LegislatureThe Golden Boy atop the Manitoba Legislature Building was created in France by sculptor Georges Gardet and modeled after a 16th-century sculpture of the Roman god Mercury. Mercury’s Greek counterpart is Hermes. 

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Thanks Dr. Scholl



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Thanks Dr. Scholl

andreas-scholl_322634a-768x432On Wednesday I had the privilege of getting a sneak preview of the upcoming Olympus exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery with Dr. Andreas Scholl the Director of the Collection of Classical Antiquities, National Museums in Berlin.  I learned so much!  Here are ten intriguing facts he shared with us that I know the kids I take on tours are going to find fascinating.

1. A trained Greek sculptor would have spent a whole year creating a life-size statue of a god.

2.  Although most ancient Greek and Roman statues we see on display are white actually in their original state they were colorfully painted by trained artists.  Most of this paint has weathered off but you can still see traces of color on some of the statues.

bell krater vase helen of troy3.  Greek vases had many uses. Some were given as presents. They were used for practical things in households like holding oil and wine, carrying water or storing perfume. Vases were also put in graves to equip the dead for their life in the underworld.  The reason we have so many vases from ancient Greece is because thousands were preserved in tombs.

4. Vases and sculptures were repaired and we can see these repair jobs on some of the pieces in the exhibition.  Statues were repaired with tree resin and vases with bronze clamps.

greek theatre mask5. 14,000 people would attend Greek theatre performances and the actors had to speak in a way that would allow everyone to hear them. Wearing masks with exaggerated expressions made the actors’ emotions visible to audience members sitting further from the stage.

6. Victors at the Olympics were given amphora vases filled with olive oil.  Olive oil was very expensive. These trophies have been found all over the Mediterranean area because Olympic competitors came from places throughout the empire. Some of these trophy vases have the name of the athlete on them as well as the year in which they competed.

7. After World War II Russia confiscated many German artworks. These treasures were shipped to Russia on open train cars. Some  have been returned to Germany.  You can see a red number on the back of certain pieces in the current exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. These numbers were inked in by the Russians to identify the objects.

8. Ship wrecks have been found in the Mediterranean filled with thousands of Greek sculptures that were on their way to Naples where rich Romans were ready to buy them.

9. Some sculptures have plow marks on them because they were found in farmers’ fields where they had been buried for centuries.

10.  Greek vases when they are empty are actually quite light.

Dr. Scholl spent nearly two hours with us and I learned lots of history as well as many interesting facts about the artwork that is part of the Olympus exhibit. I’ve bought the collection catalogue now and I am learning more as I prepare to give my first tours of Olympus next week. 

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Looking At Cereal Differently

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A Facebook Page for Huldah

huldah and hilkiahHuldah was a teacher, a prophetess, a caregiver for a king and descendant of the great Israelite leader Joshua. I knew very little about Huldah still I started working on a religious education curriculum lesson about  Josiah.   Josiah whose story is found in 2 Kings 22 became king when he was only eight. According to Midrash sources he was cared for in his childhood by Huldah and her husband Shallum who was the keeper of the king’s wardrobe.   Josiah’s father and grandfather had been corrupt and evil but under the tutelage of Huldah and Shallum, Josiah grew to be a man of integrity who wanted the children of Israel to follow God’s way.  

huldah the prophetessHuldah had a religious school in Jerusalem.  She was a scholar whom Israelites came to consult. 

Huldah reading king josiah's messageIn 2 Kings 22 King Josiah consults his friend Huldah when an ancient copy of God’s laws are found during a temple cleanup. Josiah realizes his people have not been obedient to God and asks Huldah what he should to.

huldah's gates jerusalemThe two southern gates of the temple in Jerusalem were named after Huldah  because they led to the building where she held her school.  The gates are still called Huldah’s Gates today. 

hires_huldahIn my curriculum I created a Facebook page for Huldah listing all her pertinent information and creating posts from people asking Huldah for advice.  I invited children to write a Facebook post of their own consulting Huldah about something important to them about which they might need advice. The male prophets tend to be front in centre in most of the Bible and I want young people, especially young women, to know that there were female prophets as well who played a key role in the history of Israel. 

Other posts……

Getting Ready to Write

She Was Only 13 Years Old

The Beatitudes Come to Life

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Silver Lining

Photos-for-OS-X-I downloaded the new photo program Apple just introduced and when I was asked to import my photos from I-photo I did. Imagine my dismay when only 265 of I’m guessing at least 20,000 photos had transferred into the new program and my I-Photo application was empty.  Luckily all my photos had been saved in other locations.  Initially I was in tears at the thought of having to re-import all those photos and sort them all into albums.

deleteBut I’ve been needing to weed through my photos for a long time and I knew that thousands of them needed trashing.  I’ve decided this will give me the perfect opportunity to do that. It has also given me new resolve to be more timely about deleting photos that aren’t good or are duplicates immediately after I import them. 

stocks prague museumSifting through all those photos I’m finding some gems I had totally forgotten I had like this one of me trying out the stocks in the interactive section of a museum in Prague. 

There’s a silver lining to every frustration. 

Now I just need to figure out why photos I take on my I-Phone no longer transfer into this new Apple photo program when I plug my I-Phone into my computer. Any Apple experts out there know? 

Other posts……..

Creatures I’ve Photographed

My Photograph is in the Supreme Court Building in London

A Controversial Wedding Photograph

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Rockin For A Reason

     Alan once made a six- figure income but when he lost his job his life spiraled out of control and it wasn’t long before he found himself living in the back seat of an abandoned Mercedes Benz in a junkyard lot. Ironically Alan had once driven a Mercedes himself.

today house     We heard Alan’s story last Saturday night at an event organized to raise funds for Today House, a non- profit community program based in Steinbach that offers emergency shelter to people who find themselves homeless. We were there courtesy of Canadian Biosystems.

homeless-sign-6The nearly full house in attendance saw a film explaining the work of Today House. It featured interviews with founding board members Irene Kroeker and Simone Penner. We also listened to the story of a young woman with two children whose family was helped by Today House. Then Alan told us about his difficult journey trying to find the help he needed to slowly turn his life around after he became homeless. Alan now works as an advocate for homeless people in Winnipeg trying to help others who find themselves without a safe place to stay due to job loss, abusive family situations, illness or other circumstances.

neufeld garage randolphThe Today House fundraiser took place in the Neufeld Garage in Randolph which like Alan has had it’s life turned around. A family owned and operated business since the 1940s the building has been transformed into an event centre and community space that features elements chronicling the garage’s history, but also has a kitchen, dance floor, movie screen and stage.

   RBB BandR.B.B a local music group sponsored and planned the Saturday night event called Rockin for a Reason. One of the band members told us the story of why they had decided to host the fundraiser for Today House. R.B.B was practicing one night when a young man wandered into their rehearsal space and asked if he could listen to them play. Later some of the band members chatted with him and found out he was homeless. They took him out for a meal, heard his story, and then contacted Irene Kroeker to see if Today House could be of service to the young man. Irene was able to arrange for assistance. The experience gave the group the idea of connecting their next local performance with Today House and raising funds to help other people like the young man they had encountered.karen black

   An experience with a homeless man had also left a lasting impression on radio personality Karen Black of Country 107 who hosted the Rockin for a Reason event. She began the evening by telling us the story of her encounter with a homeless man at Siloam Mission in Winnipeg.

     irene kroeker today houseToday House board member Irene Kroeker is a high school teacher. She said she had first been made aware of the problem of homelessness in Steinbach when a student walked into her classroom and told her he had not eaten for days and had no where to go for the night.

  simone penner today houseSimone Penner who has volunteered at Today House, talked about some of the things she learned as she listened to the stories of the guests. It was clear her volunteer experience had left a lasting impression on her own life.

rock for a reasonA theme throughout the Rockin for A Reason event was that while you may have preconceived ideas about homeless people, when you meet them personally and listen to them talk about their experiences stereotypes disappear. You begin to understand their unique situations, realize that homelessness can happen to all kinds of people, and become inspired to do something positive to help those who find themselves in that difficult situation.

Other posts……..

An Alphabet for my Hometown

A Lovely Day in Steinbach

Kornelson School


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A Week in Rejoice

My reflections are published in the Rejoice devotional series this week.  I’ve related my own personal experiences to a variety of assigned Scripture passages. I’ve included stories about … opera housemy visit to the Sydney Opera House

marylou's grade one class on hopi reserveour year on the Hopi Indian Reservation marylou dave grad icsbeing the commencement speaker at a high school graduation ceremony chicken soup reboot your lifewriting for the Chicken Soup booksdorothy marie peters 1my Mom

grandma and grandpa on trainmy grandparents’ honeymoon tripnorman rockwell the gossipsand Norman Rockwell’s painting The Gossips which was on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 2012. 

You can download the devotionals on the Menno Media site. 

Other posts……..

My Grandparents’ Honeymoon

 Lessons From the Sydney Opera House

Norman Rockwell



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Through the Eyes of A Child

mythological creatures by kidsYesterday on the tour I gave at the art gallery we spent a fair bit of time in an exhibit called Through The Eyes of the Child.  All the pieces in the exhibit were done by children who attend art classes at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. In honor of  Olympus  which will open soon at the WAG, the theme for the children’s pieces was Greek and Roman mythology.  I told the kids on my tour four different mythological stories based on four art pieces and then they created their own art pieces out of felt shapes.  medusa kids artMedusa was a very attractive young woman with stunning long, silky hair. One day, while she was in Athena’s temple, Poseidon saw her and Medusa and Poseidon fell in love. This made Athena hate Medusa because Poseidon was her enemy. So Athena changed Medusa’s lovely hair into hissing serpents and made her appear so terrifying that any living being who looked at her turned into stone.    pandora's box kids' artZeus had the gods make him a beautiful daughter named Pandora. He sent her to Epimetheus, a man he didn’t like.  Epimetheus loved Pandora and they married. Zeus gave his daughter a wedding present, a beautiful box with a note that said Don’t Open.  But Pandora was curious so she opened the box and out came all the bad things we have in the world today like jealousy, sickness, war and hate. Pandora slammed the box shut but it was too late. Epimetheus heard his wife crying and went to see her. She opened the box to show him it was empty and then one more thing flew out. It was a beautiful butterfly named Hope.  athena's owls kids art projectThe goddess Athena had a companion owl that traveled around on her shoulder or hand.  The owl told Athena whether someone was telling the whole truth and reminded Athena to tell the whole truth instead of just partial truths. Athena is the goddess of wisdom and the goddess of night. Owls are nocturnal and are a symbol for wisdom.  dinosaurs eyes of a child wagChelone was a human woman who was taking too long to get ready to go to the wedding of the gods Hera and Zeus. This made Zeus angry so he crashed her house down around her and said that forevermore she would be a turtle and drag her house around on her back.  Other posts about art and young people….. Stopping By Woods The Exquisite Corpse Being a Model in a Highschool Art Classroom

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