Midwest Living Review
This enterprising little museum, tucked in a less-than-attractive industrial park along a working Mississippi River harbor, is a pleasant surprise. It started, as these things often do, with a quest for one thing. In the case of Bob Kierlin and Mary Burrichter, it was a large piece of art with a marine theme to hang on a huge wall in their new home. They found a 5x8-foot painting in a Connecticut art gallery, and when the dealer came to supervise the hanging, they ended up buying two more. And thus a hobby was born. In 2006, they opened the museum so the public could view some of their collection. All of the galleries feature works with a maritime theme. In addition to a large number of Hudson River School paintings and 1850s paintings of the Mississippi River Valley, they also have works by Claude Monet, Pierre-August Renoir, Camille Pisarro and Winslow Homer. One gallery is devoted to whimsical wood carvings by Leo and Marilyn Smith. (Leo does the carving, Marilyn the painting.) Their work features nature viewed along the Mississippi and thus depicts wildlife such as herons, beavers and cattails (although in November and December, the couple's Santa statues go on display). In addition to art, the museum has actual shipping papers signed by the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln and a telegraph about the Titanic ("Regret to inform you the Titanic has sunk"). Outside more than 60,000 native plants and grasses line the riverwalk. Admission is charged.