June 22, 2009

The Royal Ontaria Museum

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:29 am by classicalmusic

Museum today is focused on displays of both world cultures and natural history. What makes this museum unique is the way they depict the interactivity of the two. For example, a visitor can learn all about the Inuit Eskimos that live in the far North of Canada, along the rim of the Arctic Circle. This is one of the most inhospitable places on Earth. The climate is extreme year round, with temperatures often plunging one hundred degrees or more below zero. The area is remote and many times the only access is via sea plane. Yet despite the harshness of the environment, people have been living in this place for hundreds of years. How they not only survive the climate but actually live their lives in harmony with their natural surroundings is a focus of the museum. The museum teaches that culture and environment are closely related. This is one of the things that the museum really does best. Yet the Museum is not limited to exhibits like the above. The science wing is an amazing and hands-on center that is especially fun for children. Moderns scientific concepts are explained in a way that kids won’t even realize that they are learning. And of course, the optical illusion exhibit that thrilled me when I was a kid is still there only much better than I remembered. Prepare to be fascinated as you learn that the mind can be visually tricked into seeing things that may not even be there. One could literally spend the whole day just in the modern science wing. Yet that would be a waste. This museum has so much to offer that you really need to give yourself enough time to see everything. Don’t rush. If you need to take a few days. You won’t be wasting your time. Fortunately, the very good cafeteria serves hot food all the hours the museum is open. Take a break and grab some food. It will give you energy and provides a nice break. Thankfully, unlike in many museum cafeterias, the prices are all very reasonable.

June 11, 2009

The Bicycle Museum

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:32 pm by classicalmusic

If you like to ride a bike, here is a great museum for you. The Bicycle Museum is located in New Bremen, Ohio. But they have an amazing website which they have termed the “Online Bicycle Museum.” It has a wealth of information and of you are unable to get to the physical museum in Ohio, the website is a great place to start. Almost everyone has owned a bicycle at one point in his or her life. Yet how often do we consider the history of the bike. Chances are, if you are like most people, you don’t have a clue as to the amazing history of that two wheeled machine you are riding (or once rode as a kid.) You will be amazed when you learn about the bike at the Bicycle Museum. For example, there were bikes as far back as 1816. There is a picture of the 1816 Draissine Bicycle online and a model in the actual museum. At first glance, this contraption looks nothing like a modern bicycle. But when you look close, you see the wheels, handle bar, and seat. All are different from what we use today, but you can see the similarities. One big change is that instead of brakes, riders back then used their feet to stop. Another historical bike is the one named the “Bone Shaker.” With a name like that, I wonder how many were actually sold. This was the first bike to have pedals. The Pedals were connected directly to the front wheel (which was much bigger than the rear one.) It did have a brake, but the brake could not have been very effective on the iron tires and wooden wheels. The above two bikes are just two examples of the historical bikes than can be found in Ohio at the Bicycle Museum or on its website. They are amazing to look at and really make you think about all the history that went into today’s modern bikes. The current design of pedals that push a chain that is connected to gears that in turn push a rear wheel forward may seem common sense. But when inventors set about to try and build the first bikes, they had to experiment with a lot of trial and error before designs that really worked were found. So if you enjoy riding a bike, you owe it to yourself to visit this great museum in Ohio.