Cincinnati – January 2019 – Museum Center Exhibits

Our first trip of the year always seems to be down to Cincinnati, and 2019 started out the same. We were headed to the Cincinnati Museum Center for a guitar exhibit (in a separate posting), but since we were there we checked out the rest of the exhibits that we could.

The Cincinnati Museum Center is in the 80+ year old Union Terminal, and anything that age needs a little love now and then. The Museum Center has been in a mult-year refurbishing program, and as such much was still closed (but the remainder is scheduled to open in the spring).

Still the annual holiday train display was present.







Nearby was a Lego dispay





The display featured numerous Cincinnati landmarks including the famed Roebling Suspension bridge.





The Cincinnati Music Hall





And a Baltimore & Ohio Railway Freight building.





The Natural History Museum is still closed as well, but they do have a nice dinosaur exhibit open in the meantime.











Chicago – December 2018 – Architecture Center

The Chicago Architecture Center recently moved from the Railway Exchange Building to 111 Wacker Drive. Their new home is much larger, with an exhibit on the second level on skyscrapers.

This exhibit has scale models of a number of the significant buildings from around the world, including many Chicago landmarks like Marina City.

Also included are a couple of smaller scale models of buildings whose design or building materials were unique. This model is the Seagrams Building, built in Manhattan in the 1950s and one of the first ‘glass and steel’ skyscrapers.

The new location on Wacker Drive offers views of the models with an impressive backdrop.

Also noted in this exhibit is the influence that Chicago architects have had on the skyscraper design since the very beginning.

As we headed back to the main level we had a great view of the Burj Kalif, and how it dwarfs (in height) buildings like the Sears/Willis Tower and the Chrysler Building. It is so tall they had to use both levels of the museum to get it in.

When the Chicago Architecture Center was in the Railway Exchange Building they had a great model of downtown Chicago. This has been moved to the new location and enhanced.

The individual buildings are still there, many easily recognizable.

They have added a huge video screen, and lights that accent various parts of the city – all controlled by panels that visitors can select.

Along one wall they have a map of Chicago with every building in the city color coded to illustrate when it was built: Yellow for pre 1900, Blue for the period between 1900 and World War II (1945), Orange for Postwar (1946-1979) and Red for those built since 1979.

A detailed look at one of the neighborhoods on the North Side – Ravenswood. Many North Side neighborhoods have been going through gentrification – Ravenswood included, but not to the extent of others.

Note the high percentage of buildings were Pre War or earlier, yet the neighborhood is well kept and lively.

This display also shows some of the more common building designs used in the residential space. For Ravenswood it is the ‘Courtyard Apartments’ – there are thousands of them in Chicago.

A visit to the new Chicago Architecture Center is well worth the price of admission.

The former home in the Railway Exchange Building is doing just fine, albeit much quieter.

Columbus – November 2018 – Science Center Revisit

In checking the events calendars for something to do I noticed COSI had a model train exhibit, so we headed down for a Sunday morning.

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We headed straight to the upper floor exhibit area where the model trains were set up. Disappointingly we found they are the same ones we see set up elsewhere (such as the fair, etc).

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While nice, we were hoping for more.

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One unique one though was this group who have built their entire train display from Legos. The tracks, the trains, the cars, are all built out of Legos!

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Outside along the hallways are a number of art pieces made out of scrap material. Among other things this one has piano keys, roofing metal, paint brushes, a garden hose and other ‘stuff’.

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All sorts of pieces/parts including license plates.

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A giant frame skeleton hovers over all.

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This display shows the miles and miles of veins and arteries in the body.

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I wish I could remember what this was, but I can’t. No worries – he looks cool.

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One exhibit that they have had since the 1960s is the exhibit ‘Process’. This shows an American street at two different times, one in 1898 then the same street in 1962 (which is when the center was opened at it’s original location).

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It was amusing to see teenagers all running for the various corded telephones, as most under 15 have never used one.

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We happened to be next to one of the presentation areas when they were starting an exhibit on chemistry where the presenter entertained us with liquid nitrogen and others like potassium and their reactions to hot and cold.

On this display she had someone give her a $20 bill, dipped it in hydrogen and set it on fire. In the end the person got his $20 back unscathed, except for being wet where she ‘rinsed’ it.

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She also demonstrated how different gases make different colored flames when exploding (yes they were very loud booms)

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Honda is a big sponsor, with a display on automotive components such as how pistons drive engines, how shocks work, etc.

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The American Museum of Natural History has a very large display that is being presented for a year or so. There were a number of fossils on display.

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There were many on exhibit.

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The display was very large, and very well done.

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Some were models to show the full size of the dinosaur.

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But the actual fossils were best.

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Dayton – September 2018 – World War I Centennial Anniversary

With 1918 being the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, the USAF Museum in Dayton held a commemoration in the form of a period correct air show.

While this air show occurs annually, the 100th anniversary brought special meaning to it.

 

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Many of the participants dressed in period clothing.

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Most of the aircraft present were in flying condition, although some are recreations and not original, 100 year old planes.

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Wright Patterson Air Force Base is huge, and could easily support the air show on a distant runway of the base.

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As with other events, the re-enactors added to the scene.

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Women were an essential part of the war effort as well, as represented by this Red Cross worker.

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Not really sure why so many of the men had on kilts though.

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A field hospital doctor with period medical pieces.

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There was constant flights occurring – these are actual model aircraft flying while the full size ones took a break.

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While they had nice paved runways, the period aircraft used the grass areas between the pavement for their movements.

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Ready to go…

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The Air Force base buildings also added to the atmosphere.

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Usually the skies over Dayton are filled with screaming jets, but on this day the sounds were very different with the piston engines taking flight.

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The building in the background house some of the museum’s 350+ aircraft.

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While there were no female pilots in World War I, this pilot was flying today.

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More of the aircraft ready to go.

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In addition, a number of aircraft were parked as static displays. The wooden propellers have a classic look to them.

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No ground crew needed, just pick up the tail of your plane and move it onto the runway.

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A number of the re-enactors were dressed as Germans.

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The leader of the Remote Control plane show was looking snazzy.

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More kilts?

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Time to fly…

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The models were very accurate in their representation.

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The Remote Control plane collection was quite large.

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In addition there were period automobiles. During the break from the full size aircraft, the automobiles took to the runways for a spin.

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Sometimes being chased by the model aircraft.

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A period ambulance.

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As with all things at the USAF Museum, the entire event was free to the public.

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Time to stop and move on to the next event.

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Warren, Ohio – August 2018 – Wings and Wheels

Sloas Airfield in Warren, Ohio is a nice 3,000 foot long grass landing strip that sees occasional use, except for 1 day a year – this day.

This was the day for Wings and Wheels. As we entered we immediately passed by a fantastic Porsche.

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Hurried by the Cobra.

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Skipped the Ferrari…

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Even blew by the Superbird, because on this day cars were anything but the Superbirds.

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The ‘Wings’ part of the show were the stars.

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Taking off and landing throughout the day.

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With biplanes.

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We were literally standing next to the runway for the takeoffs.

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The classic cars lining the far side of the runway.

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The pilots were showing off their skills.

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Many completing low passes down the length of the runway.

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Before gaining altitude and heading out.

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The weather was perfect, a few big puffy clouds.

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The ‘crew’ were the volunteers.

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Old school leather helmets were in order.

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Biplanes have a majestic look to them.

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Another one heads skyward.

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I would estimate there were about 50 airplanes when we arrived, many parked with their owners hanging out or checking out the rest of the planes and the cars.

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The noses of the various plans are very distinctive.

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As well as the tails.

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An immaculate Piper Cub.

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Even a couple of ultra lights.

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We spent most of our time in the planes, as we see custom cars all the time.

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Another one heads out – we were happy we were there fairly early as by noon many had departed.

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And he takes off for home.

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While one returns.

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The symmetry of a small plane.

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This photo illustrates how close you were allowed.

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Planes everywhere you looked.

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An excellent paint job for this biplane.

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Future pilots perhaps?

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Even the Porsche pales in comparison to this.

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Inside the hangar is a museum with numerous models.

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Most of the models were custom built.

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Models everywhere.

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All of the models had amazing detail to them.

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We headed back out into the heat to check out a few more airplanes. This one is a 7/8 scale Italian WW1 air force plane.

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The owner of this is an American Airplanes pilot. It must be strange going from 737s to a 2 seater.

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Finally it was time to fly on out (ok – drive). What a great event.

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Mansfield, OH – July 2018 – Elektro The Robot

Mansfield, Ohio is a mid sized city in north central Ohio. It is most famous for the historic Mansfield Reformatory, which was used for the filming of Shawshank Redemption.

Also in Mansfield is their local museum, housed in a 1800s Soldier’s and Sailors Home.

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Mansfield was once home to a division of Westinghouse that built home appliances. At one point in the 1950s over 8,000 people from Mansfield worked for Westinghouse.

Without a doubt the most interesting thing ever developed and built for Westinghouse in Mansfield is Elektro, the Robot.

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Elektro was designed by Joseph Barnett for the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. He is credited with being the first true robot ever built.

With voice commands he could walk, talk and count on his fingers. Built out of gears, cams, motors, vacuum tubes and a photo electric cell, one of Elektro’s stranger talents was the ability to smoke a cigarette.

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When we arrived in Mansfield we were greeted by Scott Schaut the curator of the museum, and expert on Elektro. When I asked why he wasn’t in a museum in Pittsburgh, the home of Westinghouse, Scott replied ‘over his dead body’!

Scott has re-created Elektro with modern resin’s and other components. The original is on the left, with the recreation on the right. There was once a dog named Sparko but he was lost to time.

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Also within the museum are some exhibits on the Westinghouse products built in town.

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Including a roasting pan.

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The museum has other local interest items scattered throughout.

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While much of the museum has a military feel to it, they also have some local minerals on display, along with more eclectic items.

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As part of their military display they have a very large model airplane collection.

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While most are military, they have some of the early airplanes like the Wright Flyer.

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The models are very detailed in the presentation. Scott said it best when he said, we are the museum for Mansfield but 90% of the people that walk through the door are looking for Elektro – just like us.

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Pittsburgh – July 2018 – Miniature Railroad and Village

The Miniature Railroad and Village located at the Carnegie Science Center has origins dating back 100 years. In 1919 Charles Bowdish created a holiday train display in his home in the small town of Brookville, Pennsylvania.

In 1954 it was moved to Buhl Planetarium where it resided until that closed, and moved to it’s current located at the science center in 1992.

The display features life and times in Western Pennsylvania between the 1880s and 1930s.

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IT’S GROUNDHOG DAY! The famed groundhog of Punxsutawney and his home on Gobblers Knob. Will it be an early spring?

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A steel mill. This one is a replica of one in Sharon, PA. Amazingly there are numerous movements of cranes, lifts and other features throughout.

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The lights of the ovens in the mill are illuminated.

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The roundhouse supports the trains that are running throughout the exhibit.

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Everything in the 83′ x 30′ display is hand made by the volunteers and staff. It is based on the ‘O’ scale, 1/4 inch = 1 foot.

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My personal favorite is Forbes Field, the baseball stadium from 1909-1970. Each ‘person’ is a painted Q tip.

The detail even includes a runner going head first into second base.

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The model features hundreds of actual Western Pennsylvania buildings, but not in any geographic detail. While Forbes Field is exact, there was no train running by the stadium – it was sitting in the middle of a neighborhood.

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For locals they can spend hours searching out the places they knew or grew up near.

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The day we were there a very nice young lady named Nicole offered to show us the back room where they make all of the buildings and accessories.

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They have many completed buildings, just not enough room to display them. As noted previously everything is hand made – no kits here.

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Some spare rail cars.

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The hilly terrain of Western PA is well represented.

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A streetcar that became a diner.

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Rodgers Field, located near Oakmont, was Pittsburgh first municipal airport. It operated from 1925-1935.

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The famed Frank Lloyd Wright home Fallingwater. Fortunately the real one does not overlook a steel mill.

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A small ‘patch town’ – coal mine town.

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The roller coaster at Luna Park. Opened in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh in 1905, it was only around for a few years before closing.

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The trees and bushes are made from hydrangeas that are collected and dried. From there each one is hand made using a twisted copper wire for the trunk and limbs. Their goal is that no two trees are exactly alike.

After gluing they paint the tree for the 3 primary seasons, summer, fall and winter. Each tree can take up to 1 day to make, and there are hundreds of thousands of trees on display.

There are larger model train displays around, but this one is well worth the visit.

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