Fractures, Fibulas, and Feathers

By: Lisa Hoffman, curator of education on April 27th, 2016

A fracture of the fibula, at the ankle . . . he’s 14, fit, the pain is managed, and he will go on to kick a soccer ball at the end of summer.

My son, Elijah, broke his fibula by missing a step on the back porch – while carrying a 1blog-4-27-16basset hound that has wonky ankles and joints (yes, I see the irony). The dog’s fine. Eli, however, suffered the first broken bone in our family. Like most families with kids, we’ve spent our fair share of time in emergency rooms and urgent-care clinics, but never for a fracture.

We were both enthralled by the medical procedures – maybe I more than he because this marked the end of his spring soccer season that had yet to begin. With recent memories of creating clay molds (during tactile artist Ann Cunningham’s residency) fresh in my mind, I imagined the medical assistant mixing a hot batch of plaster of Paris and leaning into the process with emotion and heart. Eli could emboss the plaster with 2blog-4-27-16symbolic markings of frustration and disappointment. I was a bit dismayed to learn modern casting involves a fabric sock and wet fiberglass strips, applied with the brisk precision and pace of an experienced medical professional.

I thrive on inquisitiveness and experience-driven learning. New knowledge gained makes life fascinating and rich.

The Woodson Art Museum continually evolves and changes by ushering in temporary exhibitions several times a year and showcasing art from its vast collection. For staff and visitors, the Museum is a perpetual source of fresh and interesting engagement.

My curiosity is piqued when I hear the clicking sound of sticky paint being rolled onto a wall. Fresh paint at the Woodson means an exhibition will soon open. Most recently, facilities manager and staff Joe Ruelle and Dave Jones freshened up the south galleries; the cadence of the rollers wafted up the staff stairway.

Next, I spied curator Jane Weinke’s cart and heard her radio softly play rock music. Combined, the cart and music signal the installation of a new Museum collection exhibition of art works lovingly cared for, preserved, and chosen for display by Jane. Staff are giddy when the velvet rope is removed and the gallery opens.

Leon vander Linden, Peregrine Falcon, 1992

Leon van der Linden, Peregrine Falcon, 1992

The newest exhibition – Making Marks – is a selection of avian-themed drawings ranging from quick sketches to intricately detailed illustrations, highlighting artists’ varied approaches and the importance of field observation.

The first harbinger of the annual Birds in Art thrill is administrative manager Shari Schroeder reserving the Museum’s library. In that room Shari gathers the hundreds of entries from around the world for jury selection. This immense task ultimately yields an exhibition of international significance and astounding art.

Twizzlers in the break room herald the efforts and care of curator Andy McGivern and project manager Matt Foss as they install a temporary exhibition; the Twizzlers won’t reappear for another month when more than forty chairs representing 200 years of American design will be installed in the galleries.

The Woodson Art Museum is the ideal destination for curious minds of all ages and stages and is always admission free.

PS: The fracture is called a Salter-Harris – which indicates a growth plate is involved. The location of the fracture relative to the growth plate is classified by a number. Eli’s break is a Salter-Harris II. Our orthopedic physician was taught in medical school to remember the fracture location by a mnemonic device: S is slipped (I); A is above (II); L is lower (III); T is through or transverse or together (IV); and R is ruined or rammed (V). I’m not sure what happened to “E.”

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