Some Thoughts About the Mississippi River Sculpture Park**

Often public monuments commemorate an historical event or an “important” public figure. Sometimes a sculpture park will be for the display of contemporary sculpture by different artists.

The Mississippi River Sculpture Park is designed as a monument in honor of the people, some recognized as historically important and some who have, over the centuries, come to this Prairie du Chien area as ordinary people living their daily lives. Hunters, housewives and explorers, doctors, musicians and fishermen, some heroic, some adventuresome, some giving birth and some saving lives, all have contributed to the intricate tapestry of human endeavor defining this confluence region in the heart of our country.

There is no other place just like this. The beautiful Wisconsin and great Mississippi waterways have made it possible for this gathering of people sharing their stories and knowledge and lives with one another. This is the meeting ground for our collective cultural heritage. People have gathered here from all over the world for thousands of years. This rich diversity of knowledge and experience, I believe, helps to define the strength of our nation. We retain the knowledge of the Mastodon hunter and the tribal shaman, the voyageur and the basket maker, the riverboat captain and the Victorian Lady. We have inherited this great variety of experience.

Take, for instance, the latest sculpture planned for out park, Aunt Mary Ann La Buche. She came up river from New Orleans, was part African American, part French and part Sioux. She used a Spanish “Pieces of Eight” silver coin to disinfect the wound on her granddaughter who had been scalped by American Indians. She and her granddaughter each had 13 children. What a profound impact she had on our present day lives!

Each life size bronze figure contributes to our history and will remain available as a monument and resource for our many generations to come.

**Florence Bird, Artist