Monday, May 24, 2010

Trip to IU

On Friday, we (meaning Dr. J, Merkin J. Pustart and I, Dudeboy) went to Bloomington because Dr. J. had a conference there. And in Bloomington we stayed at the Indiana Memorial Union Biddle Hotel. While Dr. J was at the conference, Merkin and I went to the IU Art Museum where we saw a Roman mosaic, an Egyptian mummy case, Greek vases, and other neat things in that exhibit. In a different exhibit, we saw things ranging from some very old cups made almost entirely out of ostrich eggs to modern art like cubes stacked on cubes. In a different art exhibit I saw African art including a gong made out of a tree trunk; it looked like a weird canoe to me. There was an exhibit of paintings of boats and landscapes like Mt. Vesuvius and ruins at night by Thomas Chambers. We then went to the Lilly Library which is a rare book and special collections library. They're having a new exhibit called "Of Cabbages and Kings: Unexpected Treasures of the Lilly Library." Here are some of the things we saw: an early edition of Through the Looking Glass, a first printing of "The Star-spangled Banner" sheet music, some of George Washington's hair, some math problems done by Abraham Lincoln, and a Gutenberg bible. They had a room called the Lincoln room with books about Lincoln and a writing desk he used while he was a lawyer. I got to touch a medieval manuscript of a book of hours. The vellum was so smooth on one side and had a bit more texture on the other. I got to hold the Oscar of John Ford for best director of How Green Was My Valley. I didn't actually feel the surface because I had to wear gloves or the gold coating would come off. The Slocum Puzzle Room has puzzles collected by Jerry Slocum. Mostly the puzzles were mechanical and some of them you could actually work. One of the puzzles that was behind glass was this one (I can only tell you it verbally): a farmer wanted to ferry a goat, a cabbage and a wolf across a river, and he could only ferry them across one by one. But if he leaves the goat with the wolf, the goat will get eaten, and if he leaves the goat with the cabbage, the cabbage will get eaten. So you have to figure out how to get them all across without any getting eaten. (Post your answers in the comment section and I'll tell you if you're right.) All of the Lilly Library seems too great for me to sum up. It has seven floors in all (but I only got to see the third floor by the main entrance) and that can hold a lot of rare books.

On Saturday I went to Wonderlab, a children's museum. There was a whole entire exhibit about dinosaurs and it had real dinosaur bones that you could really touch. They had other fossils including coprolites, giant shells bigger than your head, and a large ammonite. Downstairs they had a whole room about bubbles where you could see bubbles forming an uncontrolled sheet of several hundred bubbles. They also had a few bubble walls and a bubble speed comparer. There was also a fog table where you could make anything from a dam to a house and see how the fog moved around it. I made chimneys, and the fog poured out of the chimneys and looked like smoke. In a different part, I made a cannon with a mechanism where air would blow a ball through tubes. There was also an animations table and a light circuit table.

The last thing we went to in Bloomington was the Mathers Museum of World Cultures where I saw a reproduction of a kitchen and living room in Bloomington from the 1960s. Love currency? Then you'll love to see these throwing knives that were used as currency in the "Money Is An Object: African Currency" exhibit. We also saw decorative weapons that looked very scary. It's so much fun visiting other college campuses. I want to go back!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010