You might not be surprised to find a building at the Kansas State Fair called "The Oz Gallery," but what sort of exhibits would you expect it to contain? The word "gallery" might be a clue, and if you guessed drawings, paintings, sculpture, jewelry, and photography, you would be right. However, the original art is not to be photographed, so I cannot share images of those exhibits, although we spent a great deal of time enjoying all of those things.
The Oz building is an interesting building to explore because of all the things you might not expect to see. For example, have you ever seen a Wheel Ring Sizer? If you answered "no," look to the picture above. The person who entered the wheel ring sizer in the antique category was kind enough to include a sign explaining its use, describing how the steel rings around a wooden wheel would be heated in a forge before locking it into the sizer to make it smaller.
Of course, when I see antiques from the homesteading era, I always wonder if Isaac might have owned or used that particular object.
Have you ever seen ox yokes carved from wood? In 1884 Isaac Werner's neighbor, Gus Gereke, paid $175 for a pair of oxen, and many early settlers used oxen to plow through the thick prairie sod. Perhaps Gereke's oxen wore yokes like these.
Here is a quiz for you. Can you identify what this wooden, barrel-like contraption is? Your grandmother or great-grandmother would have known, and she would probably have had a specific day of the week for using it. (The answer is at the bottom of this blog.)
There were many different kinds of exhibits in the Oz building. It was the location of Leonard the Bull, featured in last week's blog, and there was a display of chainsaw carved sculptures available for purchase. However, one display brought tears to many eyes as they walked around all the sides, studying the faces of those who had given their lives or bodies in service. Decorated in red, white, and blue, the display honored yet another generation of patriots who have fought for their country.
Were you surprised by the variety of things to be found in the Oz Gallery? Beautiful art, antiques from our past, photographs of our heroes. As Dorothy told us, "There's no place like home," and the Oz building shared many things from the hearts and homes of Kansans this year.
(Answer to the quiz: It is an antique wooden washtub for laundry day.)