Cleveland – February 2019 – Radwood

There is a group of auto enthusiasts who celebrate the 1980s and 90s automotive style couple with the overall feel of the time. They encourage period correct dress to go along with the cars.

Normally held outdoors with large audience participation I read online that the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum was holding an exhibit.





The small display of about a dozen cars did feature some fashion.





Some of it the classic (some would say tacky) look straight from Miami Vice.





It is not their goal to have the best, or most expensive cars presented, just ones that are representative of the era.

Overall the exhibit was disappointing because it lacked that audience participation. Fortunately there is more to see at the Crawford.





Most of the museum celebrates the long history of auto making in Cleveland and northern Ohio. One of the longest in business was White Motors who started building cars and trucks in 1900.





In addition to the cars and planes there are numerous large banners celebrating historic Cleveland events including the 1936 Great Lakes Exposition.








For many years Cleveland held the national air races. The exhibit includes a couple of the planes.





The lower level featured more automobiles with historic significance..













We finished by checking out this sweet Cleveland motorcycle







Cincinnati – January 2019 – Guitars

For the past 7 years the National Guitar Museum has had a travelling exhibit on the history of Guitar. This exhibit has been on display at 21 science museums, with Cincinnati’s turn ending soon.





With more than 60 items on display, the exhibit gives an excellent overview of the history of stringed instruments, as well as the science behind the guitar. The example below is an Oud, a Persian instrument similar to a lute.





The exhibit covered everything from banjos to electric guitar and synthesizers.





The artistic aspect was emphasized.





As well as some unusual designs.









The rare Gibson Harp Guitar.





Any exhibit on guitar must have a Gibson Les Paul




And a Fender Stratocaster!



Gresch was well represented, including this dobro





And a White Falcon





The quantity and quality of the guitars was very impressive. As a photographer the lighting and reflective glass/plastic was very challenging. One would think ‘world class museums’ could do better.

Still, it was well worth the trip to Cincinnati.







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 – The Field Museum

Our major museum visit this trip was to the Field Museum of Natural History. It is known as one of the premier natural history museums in the world, and attracts millions of visitors per year.





We were here to learn about natural history.





As we entered the lobby we stopped by a small kiosk with a display of bugs.





Our first hall major exhibit we toured was the Hall of Ancient Americas. This wing covered both North and South America.

Each region featured pottery, sculptures, jewelry and more, and started with South and Central America cultures such as the Aztec and Inca (and many more)

The final section included the Northern Cultures. While similar to the southern cultures, these featured more large scale sculptures like the totem poles.

The second level featured Griffin Hall – a large dinosaur exhibit.

The most famous is Sue – the most complete T Rex ever discovered. For some reason there was unusual lighting on Sue when we were there.

One the main display the head is a cast of the original, which is in the next room in a display so you can inspect it closer.

We paid a brief visit to the cultures of the Pacific

Our final stop was an Egyptian display, including mummies.

Chicago – December 2018 – Saturday Night Live Experience

Saturday Night Live has been coming to you from New York for 40 years, so it makes no sense why the SNL Experience would be in downtown Chicago, but it is.

With an hour and a half before closing we decided to pay the $25 each and check it out. We got our tickets and went up stairs where we we herded into a small room for the preview video – which fortunately was only a few minutes long.

We then made our way in. The exhibits gave a brief history of the show’s start, followed by how the week of preparation leads up to Saturday night.




The highlights of the exhibit were the costumes and props collected over the years.




The Land Shark




Bill Murray’s Nick the Lounge Singer’s jacket.




Party on Wayne – Party on Garth




One of the more interesting areas was makeup, including the Coneheads.




A large area of costumes.










As well as a collection of the fake products




The upper level had a mock up of the control room, where we were once again grouped together.




This lead us to a replica of the stage where they presented a video to make us feel like we were there (sort of)




The costumes and props are cool to see, but you can likely watch all the videos at home on Youtube. It was cool, but not worth $25 each.

We did however get an additional floor for the Radio and TV Museum. This focused primarily on Chicago TV and Radio, but had some interesting items like Jack Benny’s violin (old school – look it up).





In a section on advertising they had a Crash Test Dummy




The very famous Nixon- Kennedy debate took place in Chicago in 1960. This is the camera used that many say swayed the election to Kennedy.




Meet The Press has been a Sunday morning news program for decades. The museum has one of the sets used.




Finally in the way back machine – Charlie McCarthy (another look it up moment for many)







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.