Tag Archives: museums

The New England Quilt Museum

The New England Quilt Museum, a repurposed bank shaped in a triangle

The New England Quilt Museum, a repurposed bank shaped in a triangle

Sue and Mom at lunch in the Greek restaurant

Sue and Mom at lunch in the Greek restaurant

Laborers built a series of canals in Lowell.

Laborers built a series of canals in Lowell.

The shuttle and loom

The shuttle and loom

If you close your eyes you can imagine all the noise and activity coming from these mills.

If you close your eyes you can imagine all the noise and activity coming from these mills.

My mother, my friend, Sue and I went to Lowell Massachusetts to see The New England Quilt Museum and their exhibit called “Silk”, because it was closing at the end of the weekend.  It had been a few years since we went to the museum and we enjoyed the exhibit and the expanded gift shop.  Sadly, because of the museum photo policy I can not show you any of the beautiful quilts which were on display.  Many were log cabins, a few were crazy quilts, including one which had spectacular embroidery work on it, and a few were contemporary in design.  Most were very old, ranging from the 1700s to one’s created within the last decade.

In my opinion the best part of the show were six modern quilts which had been transformed by the Luminarium Dance Company to “take on the concept of threading motion” where dancers interacted with each quilt projected on to a backdrop.  It is rather hard to explain, but the videos were very creative and I do hope this group continues to create this innovative art to highlight quilting with such a spectacular display of videography.  My favorite was a quilt that included a vertical line with short horizontal lines projected onto the dancers back.  As the dancer moved the quilt moved just like a spinal cord would move.  It was fantastic to watch.  The director’s portfolio can be viewed at:  http://www.merliguerra.com/HOME-bio.html

The museum includes a quilt research library as well as a lending library for quilt books.  With membership you can use the library database and the librarian will send you any book they have in the lending library via the US mail, no matter where in the US you live.  Check it out!  http://nequiltmuseum.org/neqm-library.html

Lowell was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution and the US Park Service has incorporated a major section of the city into a national park.  My quilting friends, who visit Lowell, should not just go the quilt museum but explore this mill town’s history for a full understanding of how women and technology made this historic change happen in America.

Tour guide Saturday

Friends from our community on Lake Winnipesaukee arrived in DC this week to help with the installation of One Million Bones on The National Mall.  One Million Bones is an art installation to bring awareness to genocide around the globe.  Bob and I arrived to see the exhibit just as they finished laying down the handcrafted bones along two city blocks starting at the base of the reflecting pool in front of the US Capitol.  Shortly after we arrived the four of us went to The National Gallery so they could cool down and eat lunch followed by a walk over to the Sachler Gallery of Asian Art and the Freer Gallery.

Back at the Air and Space Museum we picked up our car from the underground parking lot and headed out-of-town to see the 911 Memorial at the Pentagon.  Since everyone was hot, thirsty and tired of walking we headed down the parkway towards Mount Vernon and then back to Old Town Alexandria for dinner outside at La Madeline before returning them to their hotel at Dupont Circle.  We had a good time.

Mount Vernon Plantation as seen from the original entrance.

Mount Vernon Plantation as seen from the original entrance.

Sign by the original entrance to Mount Vernon

Sign by the original entrance to Mount Vernon

Paul and Roberta at the Pentagon 911 memorial

Paul and Roberta at the Pentagon 911 memorial

Pentagon 911 Memorial

Pentagon 911 Memorial

String of kites flying on one line; The National Mall, Washington DC

String of kites flying on one line; The National Mall, Washington DC

Bob, resting on a bench at The National Mall

Bob, resting on a bench at The National Mall

Resting on a bench at The National Mall

Resting on a bench at The National Mall

Bones laying out in the grass on The National Mall, Washington, DC

Bones laying out in the grass on The National Mall, Washington, DC

Bones with the US Capitol in the background

Bones with the US Capitol in the background

White bones are mostly made of clay and the brownish bones are paper mache, purchased to represent bones created too far away to ship to DC.

White bones are mostly made of clay and the brownish bones are paper mache, purchased to represent bones created too far away to ship to DC.

One million bones are laid out on The National Mall in Washington, DC

One million bones are laid out on The National Mall in Washington, DC

Teacher movie night at the Smithsonian

My sons and I went to IMAX movie night at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum this month.  Each teacher was allowed to invite one guest and William, who teaches 4th grade, invited his brother Thomas.  I invited my husband, but he was in California judging a VEX robotics competition.  So, the three of us met at East Falls Church and took the Metro to Federal Triangle and walked over to the museum.

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Outside the Natural History Museum

Before the movie they had some of the mobile cart exhibits in the foyer.  One had some very neat ocean fossils which we were allowed to touch and explore and another had insects from the insect petting zoo

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Fossilized vertebrae of a whale

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Rows of shark teeth waiting to take the place when one falls out

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Petting a hissing cockroach

Learning about the tomato cutworm/sphinx moth

Large grasshopper

Large grasshopper

The first movie was “The Ultimate Wave Tahiti”, an exciting 3D movie filmed in Tahiti showcasing two famous surfers, Kelly Slater and Raimana Van Bastolaer.  The movie skillfully embedded lots of knowledge on how and why waves form.  It would be a great film for the upper grades, especially those studying landforms or the ocean.

During an intermission we were invited into the Ocean Hall to explore the exhibits.  It was very cool to be in there after the museum has closed and we had this huge space practically to ourselves.

Looking up at the whale exhibit

Looking up at the whale exhibit

Many displays are interactive including this one with pull out drawers to show collections

Many displays are interactive including this one with pull out drawers to show collections

The next movie was my favorite and was “The Flight of the Butterflies”; also in 3D.  It felt like you could reach out and touch the butterflies as they flew about.  It highlighted the history of the Citizen Science Project and the discovery of the monarch winter hibernation grounds in Mexico through the story of Dr. Fred Urquhart who developed a monarch tagging system to discover where they migrated to each winter.

I highly recommend going to see either of these movies.  If you are a teacher, your admission is free-any time, any day, for any Smithsonian IMAX movie that is not a feature film.  Here are some places to get more information about teaching migration, ecology, biodiversity and the process of scientific discovery through the study of monarch butterflies.

Flight of the Butterflies

Maryland Science Center

Monarch Larva Monitoring Project

Monarch Watch

Journey North

Smithsonian Gardens

The Smithsonian Institution maintains some lovely gardens and grounds around their museums.  Yesterday, Bob and I visited two of them; the Ripley Garden- a narrow garden with a pathway that winds between the Arts and Industry Building and the Hirschhorn Museum and the Enid A Haupt Garden behind the Castle Building.   Walkers can easily cut through to the mall from Independence Avenue by walking along the pathway of the Ripley Garden.  It is narrow but filled with mostly small scaled plants, many of which were in bloom after a very cool March.  It also has benches so you can sit and rest those tired sightseer feet.

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The Haupt Garden is on the Independence Avenue side of the Smithsonian Castle building.  Even though it is on ground level it is really a rooftop garden since several different museum buildings are under the garden and have entrances among the plantings.  The Saucer Magnolias were in bloom along with one weeping cherry (I think).  The surrounding buildings and the underground warmth of this rooftop garden make this ecosystem different from the general area around DC.  This makes it possible to plant varieties that otherwise might find it too cold.

Haupt garden Smithsonian castle2 Smithsonian castle saucermagnolia5 Hauptfloweringfruit2 Hauptfloweringfruit Haupt garden2

Chihuly exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

My husband and I went to Richmond and saw the Chihuly exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts  It is a spectacular exhibit and I highly recommend if one of his exhibits comes to a museum near you that you go.  Especially if you dabble in any kind of artistic medium.  The shapes, textures, colors, etc will inspire you.  In Richmond the exhibit ends today and is also sold out but if you get the chance to travel to a museum where his work is displayed it is worth the effort to go see these large glass objects.

Inside the exhibit, we were allowed to take photos for personal use only and since I am not sure a blog is considered personal use I will not post them here.  You can view wonderful professional photographs of his work on his website.

PBS has done several TV specials showcasing his exhibits.  Check your local channel to see if one of these shows is currently running.  Also, if you have ever been to the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas you have certainly looked up to see the beautiful glass ceiling chandelier.

Writing in Science at the Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum

I had the priveledge of attending a special workshop funded by the science department of my school system this week.  It was held at the Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum which is part of the Smithsonian Institution.

Almost 200 teachers participated and we first saw the IMAX movie “Hubble”.  IMAX is always interesting to see because the photography is so spectacular, not to mention large, and the sound brings new meaning to surround sound.  This was really neat because astronauts on the Space Shuttle did a lot of the filming and many images from the Hubble Telescope were also included.

We also had a docent led tour of the musuem.  My husband volunteers at the museum so I have been numerous times but I had never been on a guided tour before.  It turned out that our tour guide lives behind our school and his daughter once attended Herndon Elementary.  He did an excellent job and is willing to develop a special tour for our GEMS club. Yippee.

After lunch we had a workshop from the author of Writing in Science, Betsy Fulwiler.  Lots of good information to use in with our STEM lab journals.

Space Shuttle Tiles

Space Shuttle Tiles

the nose of the space shuttle is covered in dark heat resistent tiles

the nose of the space shuttle is covered in dark heat resistent tiles

You can fit a bus inside the cargo area of the Space Shuttle

You can fit a bus inside the cargo area of the Space Shuttle

This space suit was worn on the moon, the dirt on it is moon dust.

This space suit was worn on the moon, the dirt on it is moon dust.

Space Shuttle Discovery

Space Shuttle Discovery

This plane has both a jet engine and a rocket engine.

This plane has both a jet engine and a rocket engine.

The Enola Gay; credited with ending WWII

The Enola Gay; credited with ending WWII

Teachers tour the Udvar Hazy

Teachers tour the Udvar Hazy

The Air France Concord

The Air France Concord

Our guide demonstrates the controls on the Wright Brother's aircraft

Our guide demonstrates the controls on the Wright Brother’s aircraft

my colleague, Jill, listens to the tour guide at the Udvar Hazy

my colleague, Jill, listens to the tour guide at the Udvar Hazy

Our guide begins the tour at the Glenn Curtiss aircraft

Our guide begins the tour at the Glenn Curtiss aircraft