My son & I spent the Columbus Day Weekend in Washington, D.C. Some of my favorite photos from the weekend are below, the rest are here.
Posts Tagged ‘Museums’
A few photos from a visit to Boston’s Museum of Science with my son this weekend.
My son and I journeyed to the Ecotarium for Free Fun Fridays. The Ecotarium is a science museum surrounded by outdoor compound including nature trails, animal exhibits, a playground, and even a train ride. We had a great time with the only downside being that my parochial Bostonian view found the drive to Worcester a bit too long.
Jamaica Plain continued welcoming in the spring with Lilac Sunday at the Arnold Arboretum. We took some time to pedal our bikes and sniff the petals. Here are a few photos.
Last night we returned to Drumlin Farm for the Friday Evening Hayride. Farmer Caroline drove the tractor out to through the fields. Along the way Drumlin Farm educator Debbie taught us that we were in fact taking a strawride and that Drumlin Farm has been under cultivation for 250 years. Of course, around these parts I wondered “only 250 years?”
We stopped by a campfire to roast marshmallows and make s’mores. Then we sang “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Drumlin” for Farmer Caroline and a song about a farm called “Muscle and Arm.” Then we heard a native American story about our special evening visitor, a screech owl!
A good time was had by all.
Author: Ulrich Boser
Title: The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft
Publication Info: Smithsonian (2009)
For the 20th anniversary of the theft of 13 priceless art works from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, I read this book detailing the heist. The first chapter gives a blow-by-blow of all the known details of the heist itself in the early-morning hours of March 17, 1990. Next, Boser introduces Harold Smith, an art detective who dedicates many of the remaining years of his life gathering clues and following leads about the heist. After Smith dies in 2005, Boser himself picks up Smith’s casebook and begins immersing himself in the case to the point of obsession. The trail of the crime leads Boser to look into various Boston underworld characters such as a noted art thief, Whitey Bulger and his mob cronies, and even the Irish Republican Army. At one point the obsession gets ridiculous as Boser visits a town in Ireland thinking he’ll be able to pick Bulger off the street. In the end, there’s no solution yet for the mystery of missing art, but Boser gives some interesting insights into how art theft is perpetrated and how that art may hopefully be returned.
Recommended books: Dead Certainties : Unwarranted Speculations by Simon Schama, Legends of Winter Hill: Cops, Con Men, and Joe McCain, the Last Real Detective by Jay Atkinson, and Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr
When I was a kid I liked to visit farm museums where I could see all sorts of farm animals and a different way of life from my suburban upbringing. I’ve written about a couple of these magical places before – The Stamford Museum and Nature Center and Old MacDonald’s Farm. As an adult I’ve found it difficult to recapture the magic when visiting farm attractions as they’re either dismally small and depressing or so over-commercialized and packed with stuff that really have nothing to do with a farm.
So it was with great delight that I visited the MassAudobon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in Lincoln, MA. It helps that I went accompanied by a toddler so everything was doubly fun. It’s a place where one can commune with sheep, pigs, goats, cows, deer, owls, and chickens. The tractor is vintage and it pulls a no-frills hayride around the farm. Not only that, but better than any of the places I visited as a child this is a functioning farm, growing produce for sale and divvied up among CSA shares. Drumlin Farm is a beautiful, educational, and magical place.
More photos below.
As a Father’s Day treat, Susan & Peter took me to the Seashore Trolley Museum in Arundel, ME. Admission was free for Dads with their children and Peter was free himself by virtue of being under five.
There are two surprising things about the Museum that stand out. First, despite being a museum of mass transit the museum is located in a relatively remote and wooded area. And yet, as we would soon learn, during the golden age of trolleys even this part of Maine had a trolley line. Second, on first view the Museum has kind of a “cluttered attic” look to it with various vehicles parked all over an open yard, some of them in rather decrepit condition. Again we would learn that restoration of these trollies is a long and laborious process which is a labor of love by the Museum’s volunteers. It is to their credit that they save so many vehicles from becoming scrap and making the available for visitors to see.
Right upon arrival we boarded a restored Third Avenue Railway streetcar from New York City (which later did a stint in Vienna, Austria after WWII) for a ride along a restored portion of the Atlantic Shore Line Railway. A conductor punched our tickets, and Peter & I enjoyed looking out the window and playing on the seats.
After returning to the Museum proper, we took another ride on the Shuttle – a Dallas Railway & Terminal Co. car – to the Riverside barn. One of the volunteers gave us an excellent walk through of the trolleys on exhibit. From that point we were pretty much on our own to wander around and explore the trolleys and other vehicles on display and dodge rain drops. Not only are there passenger trolleys but work cars, freight cars, mail cars, and even a prison car!
Some of our favorites include:
- Glasgow Corporation Transport #1274 – a double decker with plush upholstered seats on the first floor and leather seats on the upper deck because that was the smoking area. Peter enjoyed climbing up the steep narrow staircase.
- City of Manchester parlor car – an elegantly decorated and detailed car used by railway officials and dignitaries in Manchester, NH.
- State of the Art Cars (S.O.A.C.) – rapid transit cars designed by the U.S. Department of Transportation and tested in five cities – including Boston – in the 1970′s. Peter particularly enjoyed exploring this train.
- Twin Cities Rapid Transit #1267 – these homemade “gate cars” worked the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul with the large platform and gates allowing for quick boarding by large numbers of passengers.
- West End Railway Co. #396 – a “Boston Special” wooden streetcar from the early part of the 20th century
- Cleveland Railway #1227 – The conductor/volunteer (in the photo above) snuck us in the center-car entrance of this trolley which was undergoing renovation for 20-years to get to its current lovely condition.
Although there are trolleys from around the world, I particularly liked the relics from Boston’s public transit. These include signs from when the Charlestown elevated and Washington Street elevated closed down. The biggest piece of Boston transit history sits in the parking lot surrounded by weeds. Northampton station once was elevated over Washington Street near Massachusetts avenue but was torn down after the Orange Line was rerouted in 1987.
I had a great time and would love to visit again to explore this large collection of transit history.