http://www.nzherald.co.nzWeird and wonderful American museums – Travel – NZ Herald News
By Donna Gordon
Seen all the standard US sights? Add one of these weird and wonderful attractions to your itinerary.
1 MOIST TOWELETTE MUSEUM, EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN
This free attraction next to the Abrams Planetarium at Michigan State University contains one of the odder collections open to the public.
On two big bookcases in John French’s office are more than 1000, mostly unused, wet wipes from around the world.
French, who is also the planetarium’s production co-ordinator, says the collection includes wipes from a sumo wrestling event in Japan and from the former Trump’s Castle in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as well as a “celebrity wing”.
Why moist towelettes? “I think everybody just has an urge to collect something,” French says. The collection’s oldest item is a box of Wash Up! towelettes from 1963.
2 NATIONAL CRYPTOLOGIC MUSEUM, NSA HEADQUARTERS, ANNAPOLIS JUNCTION, MARYLAND
The National Cryptologic Museum, about 40km north of Washington D.C., offers a glimpse into the history of American spying, from code books used during the Revolutionary War to signal flags from the Civil War and decoding machines from World War II.
An 18th century cipher device, acquired from a West Virginia antique dealer who found it near Monticello, is a highlight. The curators believe it is the oldest true cipher device in the world.
3 NATIONAL MUSEUM OF FUNERAL HISTORY, HOUSTON
This serious cultural and history museum also has a sense of fun, illustrated by its trademark – “Any day above ground is a good one” – and its annual haunted house.
Exhibits include artefacts from presidential and celebrity funerals, historical hearses and a full-scale replica of an embalming station from a Civil War battlefield. Other replicas in the 1860sq m exhibit space include a typical Victorian living room to illustrate at-home funeral practices, and a recreation of a casket factory from the 1900s.
4 VENT HAVEN VENTRILOQUIST MUSEUM, FORT MITCHELL, KENTUCKY
The Vent Haven Museum houses more than 800 ventriloquist dummies, thousands of photographs of famous performers and a library full of ventriloquism books. It also hosts an annual convention of practitioners. Figures on display include a replica of Charlie McCarthy, who was Edgar Bergen’s sidekick. The museum has one puppet on which visitors can try out their ventriloquism skills.
The Gurdon Light
A mysterious light floating in the trees of Gurdon, Arkansas may be a piezoelectric effect.
The Gurdon Light is said to be an eerie white-blue, sometimes orange, glowing light that moves through the trees near the railroad tracks, off Interstate 30 in southern Arkansas.
Local legend has it that the light is the lantern of a railroad worker who fell on the tracks and was beheaded, or in another variation the light of a worker who was killed in a brawl on the tracks.
Thought by most to be too far from the highway to be car lights, the light remains a mystery. Some scientists have postulated the possibility of a piezoelectric effect. Piezoelectricity is generated by materials such as certain ceramics and crystals, which when bent or squeezed generate electricity and sparks.
A very similar phenomenon (triboluminescence, which generates electricity and light when a material is broken rather then bent as in piezoelectricity) can be seen in the sparks of WintOGreen Lifesavers.
One possible explanation for the Gurdon light is that underground quartz crystals in the area are under constant stress and cause an electric reaction that results in the glow. Unlike other mysterious lights, the Gurdon Light is reported to always be present, but only visible at night. The light has been chronicled by the television show Unsolved Mysteries and remains a Halloween favorite for locals.
Ok, here’s the deal. I’ve decided to separate my music and medical stuff. I’ll be starting an MS blog and I’ll tell you the name as soon as I’m awake enough to think of a good one today.
I think it’s a good idea and will put the all the midnight pain ramblings in their own place. Connecting with others in the middle of the night when we can’t sleep is priceless so just give me a mo and I’ll get this done..I promise.
Happy Wednesday, peeps !
Just wondering, let’s see a show of hands. Who thinks it would be a good idea to use a different blog for my medical stuff ?
I’m considering this because I could link that to Twitter and my MS pals there would read just my medical stuff. Sticking my health issues in with the fun of gardening, humor posts and creative musings kind of brings the whole thing down, I think.
What do you think ?