When we were in Milwaukee recently we visited the Public Museum. The museum was one of my favorite places to go in the city when I was a child. And though many exhibits have been added since I was young (a modern pow wow, a butterfly exhibit, and the I-Max theater come to mind), my children gravitate to the same exhibits that captivated me in the '70's and '80's.
The diminutive dioramas in all their detail. The cobblestone "Streets of Old Milwaukee" (and the working old-time candy shop there). The descent to the ocean floor.
And of course, the buffalo hunt. (With the startling rattlesnake, if you know where to find the button in the rocks.) I vividly remember the first time I heard that snake rattle, and I jumped out of my skin while my dad laughed uncontrollably, his hand on the secret button.
Of course now I see the museum through the filter of my life, my beliefs, and my deeper understanding of people, places, and history. That changes things, doesn't it? And also through the filter of my own experiences and values.
And because of that, these two images captivated me this time. A nursing mother in a tiny scene crafted from clay, with people less than four inches tall. She is peacefully nursing her baby in her village. No cover-up, no questions asked.
And the mama below, baby wearing a resting child at a market. I fell in love with them, too. For the normalcy of it all. For the simplicity.
I guess we look for our own reflection when we go out into the world. To find our place and feel our connection to other cultures, other people, and other times.