Looking over Voyageur Shoulder

Still Room for more.

Chief Black Hawk and Dr. Beaumont

Emma Big Bear and Victorian Lady

Aunt Marianne Labuche will be the next bronze sculpture. She was Prairie Du Chien's first Physician. She rescued and nursed her granddaughter, baby Louise Gagnier who had been scalped and left for dead. Photo is small replica.

Shelter

Dedicated in 2013, the Mississippi River Sculpture Park Shelter will provide families and friends to gather, share a meal, and imagine the possibilities.

The Sculptures Come “Alive” with Augmented Reality

cellphone The Mississippi River Sculpture Park, is  Prairie du Chien’s first and only city park to incorporate augmented reality for every visitor.  The park, located on the north end of St. Feriole Island, is open all year and free of charge for all. It is a park with no swings, jungle gym, slide or sandbox.
The Mississippi River Sculpture Park has five life sized bronze sculptures. Each sculpture depicts a person who has visited the area at one time or another. That, in and of itself, should make this park unique.
Now, with the aid of an internet capable mobile device and a special app, the five sculptures come alive.  Each one actually appears on the mobile device screen and tells their story. Mel Igou, a frequent visitor says, “This is marvelous!  It’s so simple. I simply love this aspect of the visit.”
Brochures, located at the Prairie du Chien Visitor Information Center, Local Oven Bakery, The River District  Hotel, and The Little Library at the park, describe these three simple steps: 1) Download the free App called HP Reveal; 2) Search for and follow MRSP. (mrsp’s Public Auras); 3) Point the mobile device camera at each of the sculptor's description: and watch the sculpture come alive.
You can test the app out right now. Follow the three steps above. Open HP Reveal on your mobile device. Click the view button at the bottom of the screen. The view button looks like the corners of a square.  Aim the HP Reveal viewfinder at the image below. Watch what happens. Does a video Appear? You should be viewing a short video about the Mississippi River Sculpture Park.
Today, there are five life-sized sculptures: Chief Black Hawk, Dr. William Beumont and son, Israel, a Victorian Lady, a voyager, and Emma Big Bear. Each one intricately sculpted. Again, Florence Bird: “It may not be understood that these are one-of-a-kind works of art made in the tradition of famous museum pieces and other public bronze monuments. They are each made especially for the Mississippi River Sculpture Park in Prairie du Chien, to illustrate the history and prehistory of this area. These statues are not mass produced decorative garden pieces. Each one requires its own separate production process starting with the inspiration of the artist. The whole process takes from 6 to 8 months for each statue. The techniques and tools are similar to ones used for bronze statues of all ages. Each bronze statue will last for thousands of years. “
The sculpture park is in the final stages of fundraising for the sixth bronze sculpture, Marianne Labuche.  Marianne Labuche, was the first person to heal the sick in Wisconsin. Her patients called her "Aunt Marianne".  Labuche came up the Mississippi River about 1790. She married three times and was the mother of fourteen children. She filled a crucial need in the Wisconsin frontier with her knowledge of herbs, midwifery, and Native American and folk medicine.
**This is not a perfect system. The app is dependent on having an internet connection to work. Additionally, the viewfinder can be finicky. Although we have tried to choose objects that work 100% of the time, a change in lighting or another uncontrollable factor can cause the app to be unable to recognize the image. When the app is not able to recognize the image the overlay will not appear.
Additional information can be found at http://http://www.statuepark.org/

Crown Jewel

There is simply no other park like this in the Midwest. Dare I write, in the US!
The Mississippi River Sculpture Park is  included in the wiki list of sculpture parks. This, in itself, is no small accomplishment.
The Mississippi River Sculpture Park is in the second oldest permanent settled community in Wisconsin. Prairie du Chien is located in the Driftless Area of south western Wisconsin, a few paddle strokes north of the confluence of the Mississippi River and Wisconsin Rivers. It’s open 365 days of the year, free of charge for all. There is no playground. It is a park with no swings, jungle gym, slide, or sand box. It is a city-owned park. It is on an island surrounded by the waters of the Mississippi River. This, alone should make it unique.
St Feriole Island Western sandy shore touches the East channel of the Mississippi River. Throughout the eons of time, many people have set foot on the sands and perhaps, walked inland in search of food or protection from the elements of nature. The Mississippi River Sculpture Park is dedicated to these visitors who may have stayed for a few days, or stayed for generations. 
The Mississippi River Sculpture Park has life sized bronze sculptures. Florence Bird, Sculptor, recalls: “Finding this deep ancient Mississippi valley and learning of the people who have inhabited this area and whose descendants are still calling this beautiful region home has been a great adventure.”
Today, there are five life-sized sculptures: Chief Black Hawk, Dr. William Beumont and son, Israel, a Victorian Lady, a voyager, and Emma Big Bear. Each one intricately sculpted. Again, Florence Bird: “It may not be understood that these are one-of-a-kind works of art made in the tradition of famous museum pieces and other public bronze monuments. They are each made especially for the Mississippi River Sculpture Park in Prairie du Chien, to illustrate the history and prehistory of this area. These statues are not mass produced decorative garden pieces. Each one requires its own separate production process starting with the inspiration of the artist. The whole process takes from 6 to 8 months for each statue. The techniques and tools are similar to ones used for bronze statues of all ages. Each bronze statue will last for thousands of years. “
The park will, someday be home to 22 additional sculptures. The next sculpture to be installed will be Marianne Labuche.  The Park Board is hopeful that with  a successful fund raising campaign, she will be dedicated within the next year.
Next time you and your family are anywhere close to Prairie du Chien, Come for a visit. The Mississippi River Sculpture Park, a jewel in the Midwest, will not be forgotten.

Next Bronze Statue–Aunt Mary Ann LaBuche*

(Donation Info)I first heard of Aunt Mary Ann LaBuche from a friend who suggested that she was significant in the history of Prairie du Chien and this region.
Her story is unique and different. As the first physician, before medical doctors arrived in the community, she contributed to many people's lives with her herbal and folk remedy healing.
The most dramatic was the rescue and healing of her granddaughter who, as a baby, was scalped and left for dead during what eastern newspapers called the Red Bird Massacre.
Her family was attacked by the native Red Bird and his cohorts who were seeking revenge for tribal deaths. This happened just south of Prairie du Chien, where Walmart now has a parking lot.
Mrs. Gagnier and her son escaped after her husband and a friend were killed, and her baby, Mary Louisa Gagnier, was scalped and left for dead.
Aunt Mary Ann took the baby, who was still alive, and applied a silver plate to the wound (silver is an antibiotic) and nursed her tenderly with herbs and loving care. The baby lived to be 67 years old and always wore a ribbon in her hair to cover her scar
.Aunt Mary Ann LaBuche, like many settlers in this area, was of mixed heritage, part French, part Sioux, and part African American.
While I was modeling the first image of her, which is shown on our website, I emphasized her African heritage by the features on her face. Recently, I met some of her descendants who have researched her life and showed me a photograph of Mary Louisa Charrier (the baby in the story), taken when she was an adult. I have remodeled the features of the Aunt Mary Ann LaBuche to reflect a more accurate family portrait. It makes me feel like I am participating in this amazing family history.
Artist, Florence Bird