Logan, Ohio – June 2018 – A Sharp (Pencil) Place

A couple of years ago we were in Logan, Ohio and made a brief stop at the Pencil Sharpener Museum. Since we were back in the area we made another stop, spending more time to really check out the amazing collection, put together by a man named Paul Johnson – 3,479 in all!

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Paul died in 2010, but the Hocking Hills Tourist Information Center maintains his collection in a small building that looks more like a garden shed from the outside – but is very cool inside.

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The thousands of sharpeners were arranged by categories, including photography items. I wish I had a ‘roll of film’ pencil sharpener!

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Household items like a chair, gas grill and cement mixer sharpener.

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An entire collection of airplanes

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Famous buildings of the world.

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Office and retail shop tools.

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Presidents.

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And finally globes. If you find yourself in southern Ohio and need a break, give the nice ladies at the Hocking Hills Tourist Information Center a visit, and check out Paul’s collection – well worth the visit.

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Washington DC – June 2018 – Museum of American History

Our final stop was the Museum of American History, also known as America’s attic. There is so much to see starting with – Children’s TV icons…

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A shirtless George Washington?

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A tribute to Ella Fitzgerald.

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Early computers.

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Early money.

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Commercial advertising standards.

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Batman’s ride.

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A collection of model ships.

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Washington DC streetcar.

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In the transportation hall they had a couple of displays of life in the 1950s.

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And a feature of the growth of the suburbs.

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Julia Child’s kitchen.

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And her awards.

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Early telegraph.

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The random eagle.

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A section about Latino’s in America included this cool Statue of Liberty only featuring a Latino woman holding tomatoes.

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There was a section about democracy in America, including a stunning presentation on voting in America, and how often people have tried to control who can vote so they can stay in power – it sadly continues to this day.

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Presidential election tchotchkes.

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A 1940s voting machine.

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A collection of protest signs.

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Another room housed mechanical items – an early sweeper.

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Finally in the presidential section was a collection of street signs named after presidents. The Museum of American History is a sensory overload – in my opinion it is second to Air & Space for museums in DC.

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Washington DC – June 2018 – Museum of Natural History

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is the most visited Natural History Museum in the world. With over 1.5 million square feet of space and 126 million specimens it is the authoritative view on natural history.

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The Hall of Mammals has an extensive collection.

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A map of the world has the population ‘clock’ that constantly updates.

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The Hall of Human Origins has a collection of sculptures of humans over time.

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The Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals has a number of impressive pieces.

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Finally we toured the Ocean Hall.

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Washington DC – June 2018 – Smithsonian Air & Space Museum

The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum opened in downtown DC in 1946. Today it houses some of the most important aircraft and spacecraft in history.

One of the first artifacts we saw was the first satellite, Telstar.

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A recent addition is the actual model from the Star Trek TV series.

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Apollo 11 capsule

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Saturn 5 engine.

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A collection of space rockets.

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The original Wright flyer.

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Military aircraft.

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There is a nice ‘Pioneers of Aviation’ section.

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Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St Louis.

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A tribute to Amelia Earhart.

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The plan that first flew across Antarctica. This museum is truly one of the best in the world for aircraft.

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Galeton, PA – May 2018 – Pennsylvania Lumber Museum

The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum highlights the history of lumbering in the state – from the time it was settled by Europeans, the deforestation that occurred over the years, to the efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corps to bring the forests back.

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The Main Building houses the administration offices and a nice museum. Recently built it has the wonderful wood smell throughout.

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The exhibits show the early cutting methods.

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As well as later ones, including 2 man chain saws – what could possibly go wrong there.

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The grounds includes a complete lumber camp.

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Including a Shay Locomotive that would’ve pulled the timber to the various ports for distribution.

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Of note is a lumber loading car.

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The camp had all the basics required to operate.

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The mill itself feature huge saw blades.

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Driven by steam powered engines below.

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Bradford, PA – May 2018 – Zippo Lighters

The Zippo Manufacturing company produced the first Zippo lighter in 1933 in the small northern Pennsylvania town of Bradford. The company continues to this day producing their quality product, guaranteed for life.

They ceased doing factory tours a few years ago, opting instead for a small museum and store. As you arrive you are greeted by their ‘Zippo Car’, as well as some of the coolest street lights you will ever see.

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An American flag adorns the entrance.

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Made out of hundreds of Zippo lighters – many with artwork.

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Other displays showcase their company history.

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Zippo has always made lighters as tributes to various people, organizations and events. The ones below were made for the Apollo space missions.

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A series of Rolling Stones lighters.

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As noted there are no factory tours, but they do have the repair shop at this facility. It was unfortunately unused as it was the Friday before a holiday weekend.

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If they can’t fix it they will replace it. A display case showed some of the un-repairable ones

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If you find yourself in Bradford, Pennsylvania (which is tough – it is far from any cities) check out the Zippo Museum.

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Bellevue, Ohio – May 2018 – Mad River and Nickel Plate Railway Museum

While I am a fan of all types of transportation, I am not a train fanatic like some. Still, even though we had recently been to a major train museum in Pennsylvania this Saturday brought up another opportunity to check out one closer to home – The Mad River and Nickel Plate Railway Museum in Bellevue, Ohio.

The drive up to Bellevue paralleled a major rail line, and a stop in the town of Bucyrus to check out their historic station was interrupted as we waited out a 150 car freight trian.

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Eventually we made it to Bellevue and the Mad River – Nickel Plate Railway Museum. The name requires some explanation – Mad River is flows for 70 miles across Ohio. It gained it’s name from the ‘mad rapids’ that occur along much of the river.

The New York, Chicago and St Louis Railway was founded in the 1880s, but was based in Cleveland. It was given the nickname Nickel Plate from a local newspaper who thought it’s financial prospects were ‘nickel plated’ – or very good.

 

 

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The museum has an indoor area with a number of small artifacts including dinnerware and waiter uniforms.

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One of their prized possessions is the bell from the Lincoln Funeral Train.

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In addition to the rail rolling stock they have a couple of nicely restored trucks.

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What sets this rail museum apart from the others is nearly all of the cars are open for inspection, including numerous cabooses.

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Outdoors are many more rail cars – including numerous box cars that house even more artifacts. Below is a telegraph desk.

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They also have a nice collection of tools – note the ‘track level’

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Many of the cars are connected together to pass between them. All have been restored to original vibrant colors.

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A small station was brought from a nearby town.

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It too is restored to original condition.

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The cars are fairly packed into their yard – but as the rain came this was welcome.

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A manual brake on a car.

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They also have a beautiful postal car.

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As well as some switching lights.

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A diesel locamotive.

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The venting on the side gave it an aerodynamic feel.

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Literally across the tracks was an area with a few more restored cars, as well as a couple un-restored ones next to some cool giant, empty concrete silos.

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But alas we have reached the end of the road. This rail museum is well worth the visit, with their great collections in the rolling stock that allow you to actually go in and check them out.

Given that Bellevue is on multiple active rail lines the constant train whistles in the background made it even better. It was all very cool.

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