Tag Archives: museum

OMSI October 2017

My friend Jeremy was in town and we decided to do a typical Portland thing and visit the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry for the day. Jeremy had actually been there as a kid so for him it was a homing coming. For me this was my first visit, I was playing tourist in my own hometown for once.

Part of the museum is in an old industrial building and they make good use of the space.

We didn’t find this out till after the fact but it was the last weekend of the special exhibit Pompeii and the museum was smashed. If I had know that we probably would have skipped the museum on this trip. As the day went on the line to get into Pompeii just kept growing. We eventually decided to just skip the special exhibit which was unfortunate.

Now the rest of the museum was great. The exhibits are fun and for the most part interactive in some way. This is certainly a museum geared towards kids but as an adult I found the hands on stuff great. They have an interactive sand projector exhibit that mimics water flowing. You could make it “rain” and see how water would flow down the side of the mountain. You will also find the USS Blueback anchored outside and is itself a floating museum.

I liked the museum. Very interactive and great for kids of all ages. I wish we could have seen the special exhibit but I will be around for the next one when it premiers. Makes me wonder how large the museum really is when you factor in the special exhibit space.


Nothing’s Rock and Roll like Rock and Roll

Small detour while I was passing Cleveland on my way to Chicago. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is right off the highway. Great afternoon at the museum living rock history. I have definitely lived through some times in rock history let me tell you. 

And whats a stop without beer. Noble Beast Brewing  has a good lunch menu and decent beer. Includes several guest taps. 

Tonight I just have to get to Chicago so I am thankful for my time to relax here in Cleveland. 

The Battle of New Market 153 Years Later

When my brother and I were young my dad would take us on these weekend excursions to Civil War battlefields.  Never really sure if this was a hobby of his or just something he thought would be cool to do with his two sons.  For whatever reason we went to many battle fields over the years and it stuck with me.  Not so much the love of the Civil War but the love of traveling and getting the most out of a vacation.  A vacation should be relaxing but it can also be educational as well.  These trips I think help sparked my curiosity and love of learning.

When I was traveling down to Asheville for The New Mastersounds and beer I found a few spots on the side of the road that looked interesting.  One of them was the Virginia Museum of the Civil War in New Market.  When I finally got around to checking out their website I noticed they had their annual reenactment later in May.  I asked my brother initially on Mother’s Day if he wanted to go.  I thought it would be something cool to do with him and the kids.  He initially said no but by late in the week he was on board but keeping the kids at home.

The park had activities all day but we only cared about the reenactment which was happening at 1 in the open field.  Almost on the dot we hear the loud boom of the cannons signaling the start of the battle.  It was really cool how they played it all out.  They stated way off to the left of the field and battled initially with little forces right in the middle of the tall grass.  The battle progressed just like they would have in the real battle, just on a smaller scale.

Different phases of the battle raged around the structures, the orchard, open field and tree line.  Eventually the Confederates charge the Union line breaking it and winning the battle.  This is certainly over simplified but the end result is the same. It was really cool seeing all the people firing the guns and acting in real life what could have happened all those years ago.

All in all it was a solid hour of reenacting which was great.  With the black powder guns and the humidity in the air the smoke would just hang covering the field of battle. I can’t imagine a humid summer day wearing a heavy wool uniform with thousands of guns firing. In the end the VMI cadets make a valiant charge to capture a Union artillery battlement.

It was a long drive out the museum so after the battle we didn’t stay long.  We went up to the museum for a few minutes to walk around.  Saw part of a documentary about the battle while we cooled off.  We were so tired from standing outside and me double so because of the previous late night before.

As an adult I have never been in to reenactments.  Seeing one now not much has changed from when I was a kid.  Now the crowds are smaller and I think the participants are becoming older and fewer.  If you haven’t been, I recommend going at least once before they themselves fade away into history.


National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery

Photo Gallery

Last Saturday I had it to myself.  Nancy spent all day doing homework, taking tests, and writing an 8 page paper.  I wanted to give her time alone to complete everything so headed to DC for the afternoon.  Nancy is not much into museums so I took the opportunity to visit the National Portrait Gallery.  It is located just off The Mall next to the Verizon Center.

I don’t make it often enough into the city so I enjoyed the ride in on a chilly day.  Getting off at Gallery Place, the museum entrance is right around the block from the escalator.  The museum is the old patent office built over 150 years ago.  The outside is classic white granite stone like most federal buildings in DC.  On the inside it has the classic look I would expect from a building this old.  The ceilings are tall and everywhere you look there is polished stone.  There is a huge covered atrium in the center of the building and wide stairs reminiscent of Gone with the Wind taking you from floor to floor.

Besides the historical aspect of the building there are a ton of paintings.  Each floor and in each corner there is a different exhibit.  There are paintings from the early history of America all the way to modern installations on the top floor.  While most of the paintings are of portraits not everything is people.  There are many marble sculptures, old patent models and landscape paintings thrown in for good measure.

The most interesting part of the museum is the third floor.  This use to house all the models for public display required in the early days of the patent office.  At one side they have condensed hundreds of pieces into cabinets on three different levels.  You can get a cup of coffee and see some amazing stuff here.  They also have the conservatory where during the week you can watch priceless pieces of art being restored to their former glory by professionals. I could have spent hours watching them work if they were there.

Having never been to this museum, I was surprised at the diversity of the collections and the architecture of the building.  I have been to the National Gallery of Art several times and I thought this was a better experience.  While at the National Gallery you can see some of the most famous works in history, I felt disconnected while walking around.  The portrait gallery has snippets of history next to each paintings which I loved.  I could read about the artist or some interesting fact about the subject.

I didn’t have time to see everything, maybe half, so I would love to go back soon and take Nancy along with me.

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