In the News: Berlin Wall

Graffiti from the East Side Gallery (2006) by Dr Santa. Source: Wikimedia Commons

In 1989, Germans celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Nearly 25 years later, some are fighting to keep it up.  The longest remaining section of the infamous Cold War barricade that divided the German capital for decades is a 70-foot-long chunk that has served as an outdoor monument and art gallery since 1990.  However, a luxury apartment development plan threatened to eradicate this historical landmark earlier this month.  A stand-off between construction workers and throngs of protesters has temporarily halted work on the building project; however, the long-term preservation of the East Side Gallery remains to be seen.  While waiting to find out the piece’s ultimate fate, be sure to check out the ipl2’s Berlin Wall resources!

New resources that will be added to the ipl2 are noted NEW! All other resources can already be found in the ipl2 collection.

Berlin Wall Online (find it on the ipl2)

This searchable site contains vast amounts of information on the Berlin Wall including a timeline, photographs with views of Checkpoint Charlie, escapes, wall art, and the wall’s demolition. You can also find facts about the wall and an extensive archive of documents (mostly in German). It also includes links and personal narratives.

The Berlin Wall (find it on the ipl2)

From Washington D.C.’s Newseum, this virtual exhibit tells the story of the Berlin Wall and explores how news coverage differed in East and West Berlin. Includes an essay, timeline (1945-1989), and information on censorship under Stalin.

The Wall (PBS) (find it on the ipl2)

This two-part documentary that first aired on PBS in June 2010 and January 2011 can now be streamed online for free.  The first part examines life in a divided Berlin. The second part looks at the fall of the wall and the subsequent events leading up to a reunified Germany.

The Berlin Wall ( (find it on the ipl2)

Berlin’s official city website has an entire section dedicated to the Berlin Wall.  Highlights include information about the wall’s location, border crossings, and present-day memorials, along with a facts and figures page and a wide variety of photos.

NEW! Berlin Wall Art

Photographer Edward Murray captured much of the Berlin Wall’s wild and wonderful graffiti on film.  His site exhibits hundreds of these photos, grouped by geographic location.  These primary source documents help convey a sense of the size of the structure as well as the artistry and political commentary of German graffiti artists of the time.  Please note that the photographs are copyrighted by Mr. Murray and his permission should be sought in order to use or reproduce these photos.

NEW! Voices of U.S. Diplomacy and the Berlin Wall

Sponsored by the United States Diplomacy Center, this online exhibit provides an overview of the Berlin Wall’s history with an emphasis on American governmental reactions and involvement.  An introductory video greets visitors, who can also find an archive of fascinating documents within the site.

Thank you for visiting the ipl2!

Reminder: You can now subscribe to ipl2’s newsletter and weekly blog posts via email as well as RSS. The “Email Subscription” feature appears prominently in the upper left-hand side of the page on the ipl2’s News and Information WordPress blog.  Subscription is free and open to all!


In the News: Meteors and Meteorites

Meteor Bolide (2011) reprinted with permission by CM Handler

Meteor Bolide (2011) by CM Handler, reprinted with permission.

Many people are still talking about the meteorite that exploded over Russian skies last month, injuring over a thousand people. The bright light and shock waves could be seen and felt for miles. What exactly is a meteorite and how common are they? Learn more about this astronomical phenomenon below.

New resources that will be added to the ipl2 are noted NEW! All other resources can already be found in the ipl2 collection. (find it on the ipl2) discusses the differences between meteoroids, meteorites, and “shooting stars.” Also, it provides the criteria needed for a meteor to be considered a “fireball.” contains many articles, maps, and photographs spanning categories such as rocks, weather, and other earth science topics.

Natural History Museum (find it on the ipl2)

The Natural History Museum located in London, England, has an abundance of information about meteors and meteorites. This page explains the difference between the two and provides a look at the museum’s collection of meteorite fragments. Users can learn about Martian meteorites by navigating a virtual map of the planet.

NASA’s Solar System Exploration (find it on the ipl2)

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a plethora of information about meteors and meteorites. At the bottom of the page, there is a list of resources that include videos and images of meteors and meteorites. Also, there is an Education tab that includes lesson plans and activities to share what you have learned.

ESA Kids – Our Universe (find it on the ipl2)

The European Space Agency (ESA) has a fun, interactive kids’ page that discusses all things related to space and Earth science. The Comets and Meteors page explains what they are and where they come from. This informative website also includes fun activities and projects that children can do at home or in the classroom.

The Barringer Meteorite Crater (find it on the ipl2)

The Barringer Meteorite Crater is located in northern Arizona and was created fifty-thousand years ago by a giant fireball. This website explains the history of the crater as well as how the crater was formed. There are lessons and downloadable resources for teachers and educators. Also, there is information for people planning to visit the site of the meteorite’s impact.

The International Meteor Organization (find it on the ipl2)

The International Meteor Organization (IMO) is an international, non-profit organization that encourages amateur meteor work. They publish a bimonthly journal and other publications around the world. Nonmembers can peruse the glossary of meteor science and the meteor shower calendar. There are also tips for observing meteor showers to see the best results.

American Meteor Society (find it on the ipl2)

The American Meteor Society also promotes education and involvement with meteor work. This page has an impressive collection of photographs and videos of recent meteor sightings as well as information about fireballs and meteor showers. Users are encouraged to submit their observations and engage in conversation about this amazing phenomenon.

Thank you for visiting the ipl2!

Reminder: You can now subscribe to ipl2’s newsletter and weekly blog posts via email as well as RSS. The “Email Subscription” feature appears prominently in the upper left-hand side of the page on the ipl2’s News and Information WordPress blog.  Subscription is free and open to all!


The Link: March Artists

This month we are celebrating several artists, musicians, writers, and performers who were born in March. The following selections will look at the lives and works of Vincent van Gogh, Piet Mondrian, Dr. Seuss, Diane Arbus, Mr. Rogers, and Townes Van Zandt. Learn more about these great artists and how they continue to influence our lives.

New resources that will be added to the ipl2 are noted NEW! All other resources can already be found in the ipl2 collection.

Vincent van Gogh

Self Portrait by Van Gogh

Self Portrait by Vincent van Gogh, used with permission from Miquel Real.

Vincent Willem van Gogh was a Dutch Post-Impressionist born on March 30, 1853 in Groot-Zundert, Netherlands. Throughout his life, Van Gogh created more than 2,000 paintings, drawings, sketches, and prints. His art is known for its highly emotional, vibrant depictions of people, landscapes, and still life. After struggling with mental illness for most of his life, van Gogh died at the age of 37 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Van Gogh Museum: Amsterdam (find it on the ipl2)

The Van Gogh Museum provides an intimate look at the artist’s life, work, and times. Users can learn about the artist through an extensive collection of photographs and biographical information. The museum has also digitized its permanent collection so users can browse van Gogh’s art by category or time period.

Van Gogh’s Letters: Unabridged (find it on the ipl2)

This collection of unabridged and annotated letters provides a rare glimpse into the artist’s life and struggles. Throughout van Gogh’s life, he kept close correspondence with his younger brother, Theo van Gogh. In total, 819 letters were published in 1914; most of them were written to Theo. The letters are categorized by topic and the website includes memoirs from Vincent’s sister-in-law and nephew.

The Vincent van Gogh Gallery (find it on the ipl2)

The Vincent van Gogh Gallery features a comprehensive collection of the artist’s works and is endorsed by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. This website also includes some of van Gogh’s letters, commentary about the works, and a world map of paintings.

Piet Mondrian

Piet Mondrian and Pétro van Doesburg

Photo, Piet Mondrian and Pétro van Doesburg, originally published in De Stijl, vol. VI (1924)

Piet Mondrian, born Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan on March 7, 1872 in Amersfoort, Netherlands, was a Dutch painter who spent periods in Paris, London, and New York. He was a major contributor to the De Stijl art movement founded in 1917. His most well-known works were geometric abstractions that only used black, white, and primary colors. His geometric grids, simplified visual compositions, and reduction to the essentials of color and form sought to express a new utopian ideal of spiritual harmony and order.

Piet Mondrian | Encyclopedia Britannica (find it on the ipl2)

This comprehensive encyclopedia article covers Mondrian’s early life and work, various influences and different periods in this work, founding De Stijl, his later work, and his legacy.

Piet Mondrian MoMA Collection (find it on the ipl2)

This site includes examples of Mondrian’s paintings from the Museum of Modern Art’s collection. Paintings included are from 1902-1943 and show his range from impressionistic to geometric abstractions. Information about the paintings is included.

Piet Mondrian Tate Collection (find it on the ipl2)

This site includes examples of Mondrian’s paintings from Tate Museum’s collection. Paintings included are from 1909-1942. Biographical information and information about the paintings are included.

Dr. Seuss

Ted Geisel

Photo Ted Geisel (1957) from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Dr. Seuss, aka Theodor Seuss Geisel, was born on March 2, 1904 in Springfield, MA. He was a beloved and prolific writer/illustrator of over 60 children’s books, the best known being “The Cat in the Hat.” His books have been the topics of movies, TV shows, and art exhibits. At heart, Dr. Seuss was an artist and a poet. His honors include two Academy awards, two Emmy awards, a Peabody award and the Pulitzer Prize. He was married twice but never had children of his own.  When asked how he could so successfully write children’s literature, he stated, “You make ‘em, I amuse ‘em!” (Fadiman, 1962). Dr. Seuss passed away on September 24, 1991 at the age of 87.

Fadiman, C. (1962). Enter, Conversing. Michigan: THE WORLD PUBLISHING CO. pg. 108

NEW! The Art of Dr. Seuss

The Chase Group, in cooperation with the Dr. Seuss Enterprise, hosts this web page that is the home for the Art of Dr. Seuss Retrospective Exhibition and the Touring Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden. On this site, you will find the art of Dr. Seuss, a biography, what people are saying about the exhibits, FAQ’s and contact information. The artwork is broken up into pages for Illustration Art, Secret Art, Archive Collection, Unorthodox Taxidermy and Bronze Sculptures. It also gives information on how to acquire artwork by Dr. Seuss.

NEW! Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden at the Springfield Museums

The Springfield Museums (MA) are celebrating the life and works of Dr. Seuss! This webpage is dedicated to the bronze sculptures of favorite Dr. Seuss characters and Dr. Seuss himself working at his drawing board. These works of art are housed at the National Memorial Museum in Springfield, MA. The webpage includes a biography of Dr. Seuss, information about the National Memorial, events you can attend when you visit, directions, and contact information.

Dr. Seuss (1904-1991) (find it on the ipl2)

The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has an exhaustive list of all media related to Dr. Seuss’ life and work. Many of Dr. Seuss’ works became movies, TV specials and even video games. In addition, there have been several media biographies made of this famous artist. There are links for additional information on all of the media, the life of Dr. Seuss and all of his accomplishments. Here you will find pictures of Dr. Seuss and his works, videos, and news articles.

Diane Arbus

(no photo available)

Diane (pronounced Dee-ann) Arbus was born on March 14, 1923 in New York City, NY. Arbus was an influential American photographer in the mid-20th century, and her work documented the outcasts of 1950s and 60s New York, controversial subject matter that few had previously examined. Her death by suicide in 1971 caused many to reexamine her work through this lens of struggle.

Diane Arbus (find it on the ipl2)

The Jewish Virtual Library hosts this biographical essay on Diane Arbus, which examines both the details of her life, as well as critical analysis of her professional work.

NEW! Diane Arbus at the Fraenkel Gallery

The Fraenkel Gallery, a respected photography museum, outlines the important moments of Diane Arbus’s career. In addition to showcasing some of her famous photographs, the site also features links to past exhibitions at the Fraenkel Gallery, select exhibitions at other museums, and other press.

NEW! Diane Arbus Biography

Basic facts and a brief essay on Arbus’s life can be found at this site. The site also shows the connections between Arbus and other artists, as well as links to other resources on famous photographers.

Fred Rogers

Fred Rogers

Fred Rogers photo taken by Kuht in the late 1960s. From the University of Houston Digital Library Collection.

Generations of PBS viewers have a special place in their hearts for their favorite television neighbor, Mr. Rogers.  Best known for his award-winning children’s program, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Fred earned his undergraduate degree in music composition from Rolling College and wrote over 200 songs over the course of his life.  Other accomplishments include penning a number of books and receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.  His numerous talents – composing, puppetry, and writing, to name a few – and his creative and gentle approach to children’s education put Fred Rogers’ artistry in a league of its own.

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (The Fred Rogers Co.) (find it on the ipl2)

This site describes the history, philosophy, and 30-year success of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, created by Fred McFeely Rogers (1928-2003) and produced by his nonprofit company, Family Communications, Inc.  Noteworthy features include a biography of Mr. Rogers, television clips from his children’s program, and resources for parents and educators.

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (PBS) (find it on the ipl2)

This colorful, interactive site offers plenty of resources and fun to neighbors young and old.  Watch full episodes of the television show, sing along with Mr. Rogers’ timeless tunes, and play games in the land of Make-Believe.  For older visitors, there is the “Neighbors of All Ages” section; its video clips include fascinating footage from Rogers’ 1969 testimony before the United States Senate in support of children’s educational programming.

Mister Rogers Remixed: Garden of Your Mind (find it on the ipl2)

This video is the brainchild of PBS Digital Studios and noted remixer melodysheep, aka John D. Boswell.  Known for his “Symphony of Science” video remixes of clips featuring the likes of Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson, Boswell was approached by PBS Digital Studios about a possible collaboration.  This video, featuring classic Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood footage, was the ultimate product of their discussions, and quickly went viral after its release in June 2012.

Townes Van Zandt

Townes Van Zandt

Photograph of Townes Van Zandt taken in concert at “Kult” Niederstetten, Germany by Michael Schwarz, 1995

John Townes Van Zandt (March 7, 1944 – January 1, 1997) was an American singer-songwriter from Texas who played country, folk, and Texas blues music. Many of his songs became hits for other artists during his lifetime and were recorded by artists such as Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, and Merle Haggard. After his death at 52 years old from cardiac arrhythmia due to decades of substance abuse, his work and life inspired a documentary film, numerous articles and books, and coverage of many of his songs.

Freeing a Mentor From His Mythology (find it on the ipl2)  

This article  provides first-hand insight into the life and motives of Townes Van Zandt by the person that probably knew him best. Singer-songwriter Steve Earle, another Texas songwriter better known in the smaller circuits of music’s smaller superstars, was Townes Van Zandt’s protégé. Earle is interviewed in advance of an album of Van Zandt songs that Earle recorded in his memory.

NEW! Van Zandt, John Townes

The Texas State Historical Society provides a brief, but compact biography of Van Zandt’s life from his wealthy upbringing, to his erratic behaviors in college and subsequent shock therapy, as well as his narrative style of writing songs about his own experiences, particularly depression, life on the road, and alcoholism. This site reveals the impact that Van Zandt had on others who recorded his tunes. It also examines his own reputation not only as an abuser of substances that eventually led to his death, but also as the “poet laureate of Texas,” “premier poet of the time,” “the James Joyce of Texan songwriting,” and “the best writer in the country genre.”

NEW! Townes Van Zandt, “Pancho and Lefty”

A review of perhaps one of Van Zandt’s most memorable songs, “Pancho and Lefty,” by Jim Beviglia. The song was made famous and was a top hit by Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. Beviglia, who writes about the superstar duo and Van Zandt’s versions, breaks down the meaning of the song, and gives a little of Van Zandt’s purpose for the song.

Reminder: You can subscribe to ipl2’s newsletter and weekly blog posts via email as well as RSS.  The “Email Subscription” feature appears prominently in the upper left-hand side of the page on the ipl2’s News and Information WordPress blog. Subscription is free and open to all!