Monday, November 28, 2022
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‘Parts &Pieces’ exhibit now open at Front Door Gallery

The Finney County Historical Museum in Garden City has opened a new short-term exhibit in the Front Door Gallery that features more than two dozen original sculptural pieces created from retired, recycled, and repurposed machinery parts and additional agricultural, industrial and household components.

Entitled “Parts and Pieces,” the display is made up entirely of objects created over the past 10 years by Garden City native Tom Herman.  

Individual items go by names such as “Steampunk Tractor,” “ET Rolling Home,” “Battlebot” and “Mr. Reamer,” as well as “Oil Can Man,” “Silver Bullet,” “Horsepower” and “Nightmare at the Opera.”  

The smallest is an 11-inch piece called “Chain Skull,” with a slight Day of the Dead or Halloween-like appearance.  The largest stands nearly four feet tall, with a menacing stance and an alien robot appearance.  It was created during the pandemic shutdown of 2020 and the sculptor named it “COVID Killer.”

Herman, a retired carpenter, collects toys, builds and rides both bicycles and motorcycles, and drives at least one rat rod.  He also restored the 1950-era Santa’s Workshop diorama that the museum has displayed every other Christmas since 2015.

Many of Herman’s components are identified in the exhibit, adding what the museum has termed “a twist of history,” and they range from a pair of late 19th Century horse hames and an early 20th Century tractor seat to a few parts from an 81-year-old Chevrolet.  

Also included are a metal hard hat once worn by Herman’s father, a 1940s welding unit, a fence charger, various motorcycle parts, a variety of connecting rods from internal combustion engines, pieces from treadle sewing machines, dashboard instrument pods from a 1958 Chrysler and pistons from an air conditioner compressor.

Viewers may also discover sprockets, wrenches, drills, drill bits and pressure gauges from Garden City’s recently replaced “Big Pool,” plus at least one flywheel, hair dryer, sparkplug, paint gun and grease gun.

The Front Door Gallery is a small space inside the museum’s main entrance at 403 S. Fourth Street, adjacent to the pedestrian arches at Lee Richardson Zoo.  

Admission is free and viewing hours run from 1 to 5 p.m. daily.  All other museum displays are accessible simultaneously and the exhibit opening time for Monday through Saturday will switch to 10 a.m. on May 31 for the summer season.

The Front Door Gallery hosts four to six changing exhibits each year, and recently concluded a display about the life of late U.S. Senator Bob Dole.  Front Door Gallery Exhibits are supported by the Steve Stone Memorial Fund.  

“Parts and Pieces” will remain on display at least through the end of July.