Between appointments today, I had the urge to go and take a photo of Mason City’s wonderful museum. It’s the MacNider Art Museum located next to the library. I do hope more of the residents of Mason City and North Iowa take time to visit the museum on a regular basis. It is a memorable experience. Every time I go there, which is not enough, I always find something interesting. The main structure which was originally a MacNider family residence was later used as a convent by the Presentation Sisters who were teachers at St. Joseph’s Catholic School located across Willow Creek next to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. I remember hearing stories of how much the nuns enjoyed living in the convent. Later in time for convenience a new convent was built for the nuns closer to the school. The City of Mason City then became the new resident of the structure and thus the MacNider Art Museum was born. It has expanded much over these years and continues to grow in the offering of exhibits and classes for both adults and children. Many museums are just “there” with nothing more than things to look at. The MacNider Art Museum is alive with adults and children who find themselves consumed by learning how to create their very own art. I have spoken about this many times after I found parents giving children computer toys. Everything has its place but we absolutely MUST encourage ourselves and our children to explore with our minds and hands. Whenever someone has created something from nearly nothing that exhibits great beauty, then we have yet another form of giving back to society—but one more example of raising the bar on community involvement. Do take time during these cold and dark days of Winter and visit Mason City’s museum…you’ll be glad you did.