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Latvia Celebrates Centenary

By Linda Tancs

On November 18 Latvia will reach the 100-year anniversary of its founding as an independent nation. The celebration, however, has already begun—in 2017! And it will continue until 2021; after all, 100 years is a lot of ground to cover. In addition to song and dance, the National History Museum of Latvia is collaborating with museums around the nation to present the exhibition “Latvia’s Century.” Historical artifacts will be available for viewing in Kurzeme, Sēlija, Vidzeme, Zemgale and Riga.

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A Slice of Life in New York

By Linda Tancs

Statistics reveal that about 21,000 slices of pizza are sold each minute in the U.S., or 30 million every day. No wonder it’s one of the nation’s go-to comfort foods. A food that iconic should have its own museum. And it does, a pop-up variety currently exhibiting in New York City. The Museum of Pizza is an immersive experience featuring textile sculpture (Mystic Pizza), a pizza guitar, giant photographs and explosively colorful installations. In short, you’ll learn all about the fine art of pizza, literally and figuratively. Located on the street level of Brooklyn’s William Vale hotel, the museum is open until November 18.

Herding in Fort Worth

By Linda Tancs

When Fort Worth, Texas, celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1999 the city inaugurated a cattle drive to commemorate its rich western heritage and the importance of the livestock industry to the city. Still going strong, the Fort Worth Herd is a twice-daily cattle drive taking place along Exchange Avenue in the Stockyards National Historic District. The longhorns reside in the corral located behind the Livestock Exchange Building and can be viewed there before and after the event.

The Tenor of Things in Brooklyn

By Linda Tancs

Italian operatic singer Enrico Caruso is widely regarded as one of the greatest tenors of all time. A worldwide sensation, he performed at the New York Metropolitan Opera over 800 times alone. It seems appropriate, then, that a New York collector would facilitate the creation of a museum in Caruso’s honor. The Enrico Caruso Museum opened in 1990 in Brooklyn with the Mancusi family’s collection of over 200 recordings. Other memorabilia include rare family photos of the Caruso family, books, letters, caricatures and the death mask of Caruso. A popular attraction in the museum is the 20-seat mini theater, with chairs and décor from the old Metropolitan Opera donated by famed soprano Licia Albanese.

Beneath the Plains

By Linda Tancs

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site preserves two facilities that were once part of a Minuteman Missile field that covered the far western portion of South Dakota from 1963 through the early 1990s. The only National Park Service unit specifically designated for the Cold War, the park’s enabling legislation states that Minuteman Missile’s purpose is “to interpret the historical role of the Minuteman II missile defense system as a key component of America’s strategic commitment to preserve world peace and in the broader context of the Cold War.” Ranger-guided tours of Launch Control Facility Delta-01 and the underground Launch Control Center are conducted throughout the year, but the elevator taking visitors down to the underground control center can only hold six visitors at a time. Fifteen miles west of the visitor center is the Delta-09 missile silo, where visitors can see a Minuteman II missile in the silo.

Garden City of the South

By Linda Tancs

Augusta, Georgia, is affectionately known as “the Garden City of the South.” It may be best known as the home of golf’s illustrious tournament, The Masters, but Georgia’s second oldest city is a recreational haven for lovers of sports, nature, art and culture. Nestled along the banks of the Savannah River, the city’s Riverwalk offers pedestrian access to the river from a public plaza. That’s where you’ll find the Morris Museum of Art, the first museum dedicated to the art and artists of the American South. Its heritage as Garden City is evident in the number of large private gardens, a fact that no doubt would’ve pleased Princess Augusta of Saxe Gotha (mother of King George III of Great Britain), the city’s namesake. The Museum of History documents the evolution of—what else—golf, as well as soul singer and native son James Brown, among other things. Enjoy a nature ride through Phinizy Swamp Nature Park or explore the Augusta Canal National Heritage area during one of their daily boat tours offered year-round.

Art, Food and Cars

By Linda Tancs

Ninety miles north of Florence, Italy, the city of Modena is noted for its art, food and cars. If the place name sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the home of balsamic vinegar. But no less tantalizing is the local tortellini, stuffed with pork, prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Dubbed the land of motors, its automotive heritage includes Ferrari, Maserati, Pagani Automobili, B.G. Engineering, De Tomaso and Bugatti. The Enzo Ferrari Museum captures some of the glitz of the city’s manufacturing history; the facility boasts a semi-professional simulator to allow visitors to experience the exhilaration of driving a Ferrari Formula 1 single-seater. The locale’s industriousness is balanced by its cultural diversity in the nature of old Roman ruins, great masterpieces from the likes of luminaries such as El Greco and Correggio and the cathedral, one of the most beautiful and elegant from the European Romanesque period.

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