Posts Tagged ‘museums’

12 Majestic Lies! (Day 122, Part 2)

November 17th, 2009 5 comments

If there was ever a town that rues the box office failure of the second X-Files movie, it’s Roswell, N.M. Obviously. OTOH, if David Duchovney ever needs a free drink, I’m guessing there are some folks there willing to chip in. Oh well.

Went here:

roswell_museum-exteriorFolks are lined up for miles to get in!

Yeah, I dunno. I didn’t take a lot of photos inside. Sadly. Mostly, it was temporary plywood walls with text-heavy documents and news clippings posted to them. A lot more reading than I had in mind for myself on a windy afternoon. But I appreciated the scientific deference that the curators exhibited in the displays as exemplified by words such as “some believe” and “may have been”. And clearly I should have taken a photo of the crash site diorama.

But they had artwork like this:

roswell_museum-artAnd nicely displayed I might add.

Most of the artwork just made me yearn to play XCom: UFO Defense, though. I know: it wouldn’t feel the same as it did in the old days.

The museum is also trying to build a new facility. They have the land just a few blocks further up Roswell Main Street (which may not actually be called Main Street — but it should be). It looks ambitious, like the kind of project that never gets past the artist’s rendering stage. Sadly.

roswell_touch-alien-headNo explanation necessary.

I think the fact that the Air Force offered three different explanations at three different times empirically proves that a UFO crashed near Roswell in 1947. Meanwhile, I just gotta keep hoping that UFO: Alien Invasion is indeed an appropriate successor to the original XCOM.

Keep watching the stars skies!


Cherokee People, Cherokee Tribe(, Snowy Parkway) (Day 93)

October 20th, 2009 3 comments

So proud to live, so proud to die.


Started the day off by going to the Cherokee Museum in Cherokee, North Carolina. It was kind of interesting. A lot of arrowheads and pottery, not so much beadwork. The story wasn’t bitter and I learned that the Cherokee used to catch fish in shallow rivers by sprinkling powdered walnut bark into the river, which would stun the fish, allowing them to pick up the biggest ones and allowing the smaller fry to recover and swim away to grow fatter.

There were only 60,000 Cherokee when they were forced from their lands. Half died. Now there are 300,000 per Wikipedia, of which only 13,000 live in North Carolina. I had to get the numbers from Wikipedia, they weren’t in the museum. And the Cherokee high school girls basketball team won the state championship in 1998 (that one I learned from a sign next to the road).

After the museum, we went to the Cherokee village, a “living history museum”. It was like Williamsburg, except not really at all.

cherokee_council-chamberWherein were taught the ways of the ancients relatively less moderns.


cherokee_cabinCherokees did not live in teepees.

The best part was listening to all the Native Americans talking in North Carolina accents. I don’t know what else I expected, but — yeah, not that I guess.

Then we headed up the Blue Ridge Parkway. I’d seen it in Virginia, but this was the North Carolina part. Very different (no, seriously).

blue-ridge_snowThe snow line.

blue-ridge_snow-on-leavesFall color + winter blanching.

blue-ridge_leaf-pathThe yellow-leaf road.

blue-ridge_leaf-path-portraitLeaves, snow, trees.

I can now no longer honestly claim that I’ve never been snowed on in October in North Carolina.


Great Hamburger #20 from Louis’ Lunch and a Photo from New Haven (Day 77)

October 3rd, 2009 3 comments

A couple Great Hamburgers ago, I kind of asked for more gimmick-burgers to counter all the straight-up normal burgers that seemed to be on the list. New Haven provided, and I’ll always remember that.

IMG00119-20091001-1253Look at it sparkle!

Truthfully? I liked the Indian food the night before a lot better. Here’s the experience in bullet points:

  • They don’t open until noon.
  • It took 45 minutes from the time I ordered to the time I got my burger.
  • They cook it in a weird iron contraption, kind of like a sideways waffle iron, four burgers at a time.
  • Then, yes, they put the meat on toast.
  • You’re not allowed to have condiments. They’ve singled out ketchup there as their true enemy, but I didn’t see any mustard either.
  • The burger comes with onions and tomato (if you order “works”).
  • When you give them your name as you order, they repeat it several times.
  • At the end of the day, the experience is kind of like waiting a long time in a crowded bar before eating meatloaf on toast.

And because I took the photo, here’s what the gaping maw of Yale looks like:

yale_gateIf you look hard enough, you can see Geronimo’s skull!

Also, at my cousin-in-law’s suggestion, I visited the Museum of British Art. I sort of like British art — they’re serious about their landscapes and, as someone who aspires to be a high-amateur photographer, it was particularly interesting to see how they composed their subjects. My favorite painting there was one called The Deluge, which depicts people getting swept up in the (Biblical) flood. Maybe I’ll get a chance to photograph that somewhere along the line here.


George Eastman Is My New Personal Hero (Day 68)

September 24th, 2009 1 comment

The Reader’s Digest book suggested that, while in Rochester, I should visit the George Eastman house. As a result of my obedience, I now have a new idol. A dead one, sure, but I’ll take what I can get. Reasons for my idolatry:

  1. Single.
  2. Liked photography.
  3. Enjoyed planning vacations.
  4. Traveled a lot.
  5. Chose the name of his company because he felt that “K” was a strong letter that people would respond to (it ended up being a pretty decent brand).
  6. Adopted new hobbies frequently and was driven to become competent in many things.
  7. Didn’t like being the center of attention.
  8. Enjoyed giving stuff to people (although I don’t know that he did it primarily only when changing residences).
  9. When he shot himself (at age 77 and with a calcified spine), he had a second gun ready just in case the first one malfunctioned.
  10. Had really good taste in houses.

On that last point:

eastman-house_billiard-roomThe billiard room.

eastman-house_study-doorwayDecoration over the study doorway.

eastman-house_stairs-conservatoryDouble stairway with view into the conservatory.

eastman-house_ashtrayCoolest ashtray ever.

eastman-house_exteriorAnd the outside looks like this.

Fine if you disagree on the taste, but I’d like to think I’d do something similar if I invented roll film and got rich off it.

The site is also the location of the world’s first photography museum. The museum itself is pretty small — only two real galleries. One of them had “50 Photos by Jessica Lange” in it. Um, aside from not being famous, I’m a better photographer than Jessica Lange. The other gallery had an exhibit that was first displayed there in 1975 that was entitled “The New Topographics” and apparently pioneered the non-judgmental photography of “man-made landscapes”, i.e., buildings (many of the photos from the exhibit can be found here).

Thus inspired, I went out to the parking lot and took this picture:

topographic_eastman-parkingNo judgment passed.

I really no-joke kind of liked some of those photos. And then I drove away (in my own car, not one of the two above).


Hard Drivin’ and the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody (Day 45)

September 2nd, 2009 8 comments

Stayed the night with Jon and Erin in Victor, Idaho. I was particularly impressed by their mature lifestyle that was a clear departure from how a college student might live. In the morning, we had breakfast!, which, somewhat confusingly for me, did not consist of high-fiber Pop Tarts:

IMG00055-20090830-0831They have more kids than I do.

Then it was off to the open road. From Victor, headed onto Highway 22, which goes steeply and windingly over Teton Pass (not sure if that’s the name, but it seems like it could be) to Jackson, Wyo., which is a town whose amazingness seems a little lost on me. Maybe because I never get out of my car when I’m there.

From Jackson, the road headed north back up through the parks — Grand Teton and Yellowstone. A couple things about Grand Teton. One, the mountain itself looks pretty cool:

grand-tetonAnd you don’t even have to get out of your car to see ’em.

The other is that in order to get from Victor, Ida. to Sheridan, Wyo., no matter what the fastest route goes through Grand Teton and Yellowstone, which becomes somewhat less cool when all 50 or so miles grinding through Grand Teton look like this:

grand-teton_trafficFine: not quite *all* 50. But pretty close. And it’d be nice if there were a highway somewhere in this country that wasn’t being re-surfaced.

It’s also repeatedly disappointing that people don’t understand that when they’re driving slowly through national parks, you’re supposed to use the pull-outs. I think it makes complete sense to be doing 20 under the speed limit while driving through Yellowstone — but if there’s someone behind you, get out of the way. OTOH, I got to practice tailgating and high-beam flashing quite a bit, so maybe I should just be glad for the experience.

Once I escaped the parks, it was a pretty easy shot over to Cody, Wyo., home of the Buffalo Bill Historic Center, a museum that sort of tells the story of the West. They have, for instance, the biggest collection of firearms I imagine could exist under one roof:

cody_museum-firearms (1)Then multiply by 48.2 to get the full effect.

The great thing about the firearms wing of the museum is that you learn that you don’t know anything about the history of firearms. I figure learning what it is that you don’t know is probably about as important a thing to learn as anything. Museum also had big exibits on western art (

cody_museum-bear-hunters (1)No, I don’t know why I wouldn’t have taken the photo straight-on.

), the Plains tribes of Native Americans, the life and times of Buffalo Bill Cody, natural history of the West, and a temporary exhibit on Lewis and Clark. I liked that the museum was unapologetic. The displays are all professional and the write-ups show the sort of scientific detachment you’d expect from a museum, but there was no sense of emotional manipulation around any of it, which could have been easy to do from a number of directions. It’s a solid half-day museum (but kind of expensive: $15/adult).

Oh, also: I had some fantastic New Mexican food in Cody. No photos and I can’t remember the name (there’s only one New Mexican restaurant on the main drag in Cody), but it was pretty fantastic.

From Cody you have two different ways to get to Sheridan: 14 and 14A. Supposedly 14A is prettier, so I headed up that direction. The road goes through Mormon flat-land farm towns for a while, but eventually takes a sort-of dramatic turn and heads up into the hills.

highway-14aAs always, I think the bug splatters make the photo.

It was pretty, winding, and steepish. Would probably make a fantastic sled hill in the winter. It got up high enough that there was a patch of snow next to the highway in one spot. Near the top, there’s a turn-off to go visit the Medicine Wheel. After driving a mile and a half off the highway to visit it, though, they inform you that you can’t use the road that goes to it and have to walk the last mile and a half. Feeling used, I declined.

Driving down out of the mountains, I encountered family after family of deer, most of whom were galloping single-file across the road at inopportune moments. The three closest calls I’ve ever had with deer came within about a half-hour of each other on this little stretch of road. It’s like they have this death-wish. And it probably doesn’t help that they built fences on either side of the highway such that the deer appear to be trapped on the road. OTOH, if they’d just stay *off* the asphalt.

highway-14a_deerBambi’s mom: none too bright.

And it’s good to know that my brakes work. By the time I got off the hill, I was getting pretty mad at the road. I think an hour a day of winding mountain roads is plenty. Three or four hours is probably too much.

Finally rolled into Sheridan a little after 8 PM, got to my brother’s house, and had some leftover beef stroganoff that was really good. Pretty tired, though. I appreciate roofs and permanent structures now more than I used to.


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