IMG 1275_2Rembrandt was a reason I went to Raleigh, and he’s not there anymore. His big art exhibition is moving to Cleveland, another reasonably sized city with charms.

I’d recommend visiting both: solo, with some generations and girlfriend get-away style.

Look for the women I found in various Raleigh museums. One who died long ago stirred my heart—her story and her image in the North Carolina Museum of History.

Ann Knox is her name, and the quilt she stitched with scraps of fabric left from clothes she made to send her sons to the Confederate Army is hanging in a permanent exhibit.

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Ann Knox sewed the clothes for her sons to take when they joined the Confederate Army, stitched a quilt with the remaining scraps and suffered the knowledge of their deaths at war.

Turn right from the quilt and find her large photograph, bereft after the deaths of those sons.

Enduring reality should we contemplate war ever again.

“Three Graces” did just the opposite — they lightened my heart.  This version of three women was created in 2011 by Mickalene Thomas and fills a big space in the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Spacious is a distinctive in this year-old building filled with art, and so is full spectrum light. A system of north-facing louvers and filters diffuses sunlight, protects the treasures and gave me a sunshiny kind of feeling of well-being.  

Betsy Bennett is a real life woman, executive director of the state’s Museum of Natural Sciences and the leader of creative teams designing the Daily Planet and Nature Research Center to open this spring.

“How we know what we know” is the focus of this brilliant new center and I often wonder what I know.

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Holly Aiken stitches graphic designs and shapes in soft leathers of many hues. Blended Family Traveling Mom uses an Aiken lime green and orange cell phone pouch. 

Holly Aiken lives too, and she stitches leather in glorious colors and graphic designs. My cell phone now rests in one of her creations; bigger satchels and bolts of soft leather decorate her downtown Raleigh shop named Stitch.

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This suffragette poster shares a powerful message in the N.C. Museum of History. Wish I knew her name, even though she represents us all.

Not legal for me to vote in Raleigh, but the mother and child poster in the North Carolina Museum of History wing from the Civil War to civil rights reminded me to appreciate I can vote somewhere:

Women bring all voters into the world. Let women vote.

And also let us continue to travel. 

Top photo: “Three Graces” painted by Mickalene Thomas hangs in the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh – rhinestones, acrylic and enamel. Bold and lively.