Posts Tagged ‘history’

18
Jan

My Museum Field Trip

   Posted by: MB    in Daily

Lantern Light at the FWMuseum

11 January 2010

I have been looking forward to today’s “field trip” for weeks! Our dear friend Ronnie, is the Director of Retail Operations for the newly re-opened (and absolutely beautiful) Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. I had wanted to visit when the place first opened, but Ronnie advised me to wait until the kinks were all worked out, and the store shelves were all full. Then, my busy season, followed by the holiday season (kids out of school!) and I decided to wait until things calmed down a little bit. We tried to arrange a day for this a couple of weeks ago, and Ronnie’s schedule changed at the last minute and we postponed. Today was finally the day when I was visiting the museum and getting a personal tour. Woo hoo!

I really cannot say enough good things about what I saw. The facility itself is gorgeous. State of the art and beautiful. Innovative and practical. A mix of exhibits to entertain young and old, mind and body. Bright colours greet you when you walk in the door. The interior of the “lantern” that has become the new landmark and logo for the museum is the warmest, happiest shade of yellow I’ve ever seen. And no matter the time of day, it seems, the sun streaming into the hundreds of skylight windows makes beautiful patterns on the walls. Beyond that vestibule area are giant blocks of other colours—purple, blue, orange, pink. On the other side of one big glass wall is a courtyard painted the same bright blue as the Texas sky and containing the “Liberty Tree” planted by a museum founder’s descendent and somehow miraculously kept alive throughout three years of serious construction all around it. Outside another glass wall is a playground of waterfalls and sprinklers and wading pools. And yet another glass wall allows a peak into the outdoor playground—appropriately named Dino Dig—just for the younger set. The lower floor of the museum houses an amazing “hands-on” wing of activity rooms and learning opportunities. Specially designed rooms and equipment allow for learning about light and shadows, drawing, sculpting, building and “imagineering.” A large area behind a bright pink wall is home to giant tinker toys, a giant pinball machine with moveable bells and obstacles, stations to learn about electricity and wind and stop-motion animation and photography. And yet another large room is known as the “Children’s Museum” where kids can employ their imaginations in hands on themed play areas—gymnastics and dance, a play grocery store or hospital, and the largest Brio train and city set I’ve ever seen assembled! Another wing houses an elaborate exhibit introducing children to dinosaurs, and the “Energy Blast” exhibit, complete with a 50,000 pound seismic vibroseis truck the building had to be built around! An interactive video game allows you to “drive” the truck and feel the pounding under your feet. The interactive displays about energy in all its different forms, and how technology transforms our natural resources into power are fun for all ages.

The Omni Theatre with it’s IMAX dome and 3-D films is still down another hallway, but that was for another day. Upstairs is the Noble Planetarium, also completely newly rebuilt. (Imagine! They had to store that big beautiful planetarium dome, while the old building was demolished and the new one built and made ready!) Unfortunately, today wasn’t long enough for me to enjoy the Planetarium, either. (Did you know Charlie Noble was a woman?—the first woman ever to have a planetarium named for her!) But, I did enjoy the huge CSI exhibit! Done in conjunction with the CBS TV show folks and not for the too-young or faint-at-heart, this adult-oriented exhibit reconstructs three different life-size crime scenes and we, the new CSI on the job, choose one, search the scene for clues, and solve the crime, complete with computer analysis, teaching videos performed by TV personality cast members, and a great three-dimensional representation of the autopsy!

Perhaps my favourite exhibit of all was the one in the Fort Worth Gallery of History. “Let’s Take the Streetcar” is a delightful ride through the history of Fort Worth and how its public transportation helped it grow. Sadly, of course, thanks to the petroleum and auto manufacturing industries, the trolleys were replaced by buses and are a thing of the past. But, this exhibit really succeeds at making old Fort Worth come alive with its maps, photographs, vintage clothing displays, a lovely, if not quite to scale diorama, and a life-size replica of a trolley car with a moving wall behind it. For me, the glimpses of the wonderful little city of Fort Worth in its hey-day of meat-packing plants and summer resorts was the perfect touch of local history. Other beautiful exhibits included a small one dealing with the Native American history of the area, and a large, very interactive exhibit on the cattle industry in Texas. In fact, in case you were wondering where it went, the FWM is now the home of the Texas Cattle Raisers Museum—the museum within the museum—where a classy presentation of art and sculpture, and an amazing array of past members’ ten gallon hats and other personal effects was a charming way to further get in touch with the history of Fort Worth.

My personalized tour started and ended with a visit to the beautiful gift shop “Shop, Too!” for which Ronnie is responsible. With product lines of clothing and jewelry, games and gadgets, fossils and rocks, hundreds of wonderful books and toys for all ages, including a “stuff your own” plush department, it is hard to imagine anybody leaving without a sack full of something! And, for the mini museum patrons and shoppers, in the middle of the store is a slide designed after a stegosaurus. Dubbed “Bumpersaurus,” this 12-foot sculpture made of recycled items such as headlights, hub caps, rear-view mirrors, license plates and bumper cars is a treat to the eyes and I can only imagine it’s a fun ride down, as well! And since “imagine” seems to be the key word at Fort Worth’s newest museum—and since I’m actually too tall for this for a change!—my imagination will have to suffice!

~MB

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6
Jan

Kenilworth and Farewell

   Posted by: krmb    in Daily

A Tower of Kenilworth Castle

6 January 2009

Epiphany

We need no “epiphany” to tell us that our holiday is ending and it’s time to go home.  There is no describing the feeling of melancholy that accompanies the last day of a trip like this.  There is so much joy in what has gone before, and so much sadness at what can never be.  So much thrill and excitement at the plethora of new experiences and yet there is fear and a sense of dread that such experiences may never come again.    I am so glad that we got to end this trip by visiting a place as special as Kenilworth.

I have marvelous childhood (I was eleven) memories of being here with my family.  Kenilworth is one of those specific places from that childhood trip,that stands out  so clearly in my memory, along with Stonehenge (in the days when you could still walk among the stones and touch them) and Coventry Cathedral (I was in a phase where I was very interested in WWII history, and very moved by its stories), and the beautiful heather-covered hills of the Highlands of Scotland—so clearly it’s like it was a year ago, instead of more than thirty-five!

Why Kenilworth made such an impression on me then, I cannot say.  But, I do know that now, with all my historical research and interest in things Elizabethan—especially the relationships of Elizabeth and her favourites—it certainly means ten times as much now as then.  I was so happy to be there, today, I was giddy!

And, there was snow!  Again, not a lot, but a powdering of snow covered the ground and much of the stonework.  And, because of the cold, and the time of year, in general, we had the place practically to ourselves.  It was a lovely time, and a perfect final sight to see.  My  photo of the day, and the  others that I took there today, are very fun.  It was difficult to pick just one.  I’ll have the others up on Flickr in a day or two.

When we had exhausted all our camera batteries and a little more than our budgeted amount of time, we pointed the car once again toward London.  Less than two hours later, we were pulling into the American Airlines Cargo facility, where Kyle had been asked to  put in an appearance and see if he could fix an issue that had just come up yesterday.   After all—he was already in town!  He only worked a little less than an hour, and once again we were free of commitment.  We secured a hotel room, and endeavored to find some lunch.  Three pubs and a couple of jacket potatoes later, we were sated, and it was time to return the hired car to the folks at Avis.  With that done, we headed back to the hotel again, and learned a valuable lesson:  It is not enough to simply know what bus number you need to take to your destination; it is also important to know which direction you need the bus to be headed!  Eventually, we got back to our hotel, and they corrected a problem with the plumbing in our room, by completely reassigning us a room.  And that done, we headed for our last meal at the Pheasant—a walking distance event!

I am packed now, all ready for departure, except for toiletries and such.  I am reluctant to give up on the day, for I know it is the last.

But, alas, tired wins out, and and sleep must be the answer.

The next time I write for The Daily KRuMB, I will likely once again be back in the good ‘ole U.S. of A.  I will take this moment to thank all of our dear friends and readers who have followed our adventures, put up with our long-winded posts, looked through our photos, and even encouraged us along the way with comments on the  KRuMB.    Those  comments mean so very much to  us, especially while on this trip.  It has added a level of enjoyment to this holiday for us, that we never expected—being able to share our joys and our experiences with you, has been an amazing thing.  Thank you so much,

~MB

Tags: , , , , ,