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Home > Exhibitions > A Journey Down River: Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Great River Road

A Journey Down River: Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Great River Road

June 30, 2013 - October 27, 2013

A Journey Down River: Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Great River Road

 The Mississippi River has always served as a muse for artists, songwriters and authors. “Old Man” River has been described as mighty, muddy and wicked, but the word spectacular describes both the river itself and the Muscatine Art Center’s collection of works depicting the river. The collection includes paintings, drawings, prints and maps which historically and aesthetically document the river and the communities built along its banks.

The Great River Road, which travels the length of both sides of the Mississippi River, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. In 1938, the Mississippi River Parkway Commission (MRPC) was established for the purpose of collectively preserving, promoting and enhancing the scenic, historic and recreational resources of the Mississippi River.      

 The Muscatine Art Center exhibition will follow the Great River Road as part of the anniversary celebration. Highlights from the River Collection include a variety of works by Henry Lewis, an oil on pressed wood by Sally MacMillan, a painting by Muscatine’s own William Bunn (seen here on the right), a lithograph by John Page, a view of “Bloomington” (Muscatine) by John Casper Wild, prints by Karl Bodmer, hand colored engravings by Herrmann Meyer and a pen and ink drawing by Rudolf Cronau.

As a compliment to the River Collection, the Art Center has on display the speedboat racing trophies of Charles (Chap) Hanley. Hanley was born in Muscatine in 1878 and raced his first board in 1904, eventually becoming a national champion. He set the world’s speed record in 1923 and won trophy after trophy with the boats that he often designed and built himself.