Saturday Staycation: Irving

Saturday was my mother’s birthday. We had the whole day to do whatever she wanted. She took the opportunity to do a little sightseeing in our own backyard.

Our first stop was the Irving Arts Center. They were featuring two exhibits. One was photographs of Big Bend, and the other was an exhibit of Little Golden Book illustrations.

The Big Bend photographs were by photographer Terry Cockerham. They were all black and white to accentuate the struggle between life and death that exists in the dessert. It was a very interesting exhibit.

What we really wanted to see were the Little Golden Books. I’m betting that you’ve read a Little Golden Book at some point. They have gold leafed spines and feature famous characters like The Porkey Little Puppy and the Tawny Scrawny Lion.Little Golden BooksPorkey Little PuppyOn display in the lobby of the Irving Arts Center were original illustrations for the books. They even had some originals by Mary Blair. She is most famous for her work on Walt Disney’s Cinderella and the It’s a Small World ride. However, she also illustrated several Little Golden Books and was credited as an inspiration to many of the other illustrators.

After enjoying the art, we visited the National Scouting Museum. To our surprise, there was more art. The Boy Scouts of America own a large collection of Norman Rockwell originals. He donated most of his paintings featuring Boy Scouts to the organization. Although never a scout himself, his first job was with Boy’s Life magazine, and he remained closely tied with the Boy Scouts for the rest of his adult life. There was a lovely gallery displaying some of Rockwell’s art.

Inside the main part of the museum, we learned about the history of scouting, saw memorabilia, and watched a short film about Boy Scouts through the ages. There were also interactive exhibits where we got to race pinewood derby cars and learn how to canoe. The museum was definitely designed for families and groups with children. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon, and not at all crowded. Adult admission was only $5, too. I can’t believe we waited this long to check it out!

Who knew there was so much to do in our own backyard? When was the last time you played tourist in your own town? Did you discover any hidden gems?

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