Friday, August 19, 2011

Vacation, Day 5

Technically the final day of our vacation, the Washington State History Museum.  When I was in Jr. High, we took the mandated semester of Washington State History.  The textbook was tiny and we studied the state's history 2-3 days each week and then watched Three Stooges movies the rest of each week.  So, needless to say, I wasn't expecting much from the museum we'd gone by a lot but never made it into.  I was quite surprised and impressed.  The WSHM is housed in an amazing building near the waterfront in Tacoma.  It has five stories (two stories of exhibits plus auditoriums and big spaces for field trip groups).  It seems like this is a well-funded institution.  

Ben showed signs of having had enough today.  It took a lot to keep him happy.

Watching Rachel explore these museums has been interesting, a mixture of impatience, genuine interest and a strong desire to share with us what she'd learned.   I wonder how I would visit museums differently without children.  I know that I skipped a lot of stuff, I wonder if I would move more slowly and read more.  Or take more photos.  This particular picture does not show the line of boys waiting to get on the stagecoach - it was incredibly crowded
in the morning with groups of children, families and seniors.  By the afternoon, it was far quieter.

We did not get a lot of photos of the family today, this was the only shot with Lori in it.   

There were lots of these types of propaganda posters.  They'll be in our Flickr pool soon.  It seems pretty obvious from yesterday's trip to the Museum of Flight and today's visit to the Washington State History Museum that as bad as war is, it is a big driver of the economy, of change, of innovation, or a number of kinds of "progress."

And then lunch at Harmon's Brewery.  Lori and I had been there a little while back and really enjoyed it, so it was on our list of places to go again, so it was today's stop for lunch.  I had Crab Cakes - huge heaping piles of shredded crab on french bread covered with melted cheese and some of the best onion rings either of us have had in a long time.  Lori had the Tacoma Dome (French) dip.  Rachel had a tasty looking pizza and Ben had some tasty chicken strips.  (Vacation means getting to eat stuff off of your childrens' plates.)

This is a tree that we think shows all the stuff that can be made from a tree.  There was, oddly, no placard to describe it.  There was an interactive screen, but we didn't stop to play with it.

And then back into the museum to check out more of the exhibits.  There was a neat smaller exhibit of contemporary Native American art and a overly small gallery of icons (like one of the Rainier Beer bottle costumes from the commercials of the 80s and this poster.)  There was also stuff like a chunk of the original Tacoma Narrows ("Galloping Gertie") bridge.  

Here's some wall art suggesting the size and shape of Sasquatch/Bigfoot.  

There was also a mummy exhibit that was pretty cool.  The Washington State-angle was that there was an actual mummy there.  He'd been brought over in the late 1880s and then donated to the historical society.  They had two photos showing the two times he'd been x-rayed (I was amused that the x-ray read "Ankh-Wennefer M. Mummy" at the top.)  He was apparently between 55 and 65 years old when he died about 300-400 B.C. due to complications of  a injury in which he broke his pelvic bone.  (No photgraphs were allowed inside the exhibit.)

Finally, there was a large model train exhibit that showed the area in 1950.  Ben was getting fussy by then, so we didn't get to look too long at it and figure out where exactly everything was.  We were a little surprised that it didn't seem to really help you understand the state as a whole.   Part of it may have been because of how we had to pick and choose what to really pay attention to, but there was a large Native American section, and then some of the early industry, and then... nearly nothing.  A little about Boeing, but nothing more modern, save for the beer commercial prop.  No Microsoft, no Amazon, nothing that really gave you a sense of recent history.  Still, a really packed place with lots to look at and learn.   
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