All in a Day’s Work

I got to visit with a  rare peregrine gyrfalcon named Malachi; Patrick, the American kestrel; and a Eastern screech owl named Rhiannon today, as part of the Environmental Educators Symposium taking place at the museum.  The falcon was better trained than my dogs and calmly spread his wings and shook out his tail upon the command, “show her your wings.”  The kestrel, apparently, is the only bird able to “hover” like a hummingbird, though being a raptor and a hunter, his hovering is a bit more diabolical in nature.  Then, my favorite, Rhiannon the screech owl, went through a vigorous nesting dance when placed back in her box.  Isn’t her camouflage amazing?


A New Look

This is a big week for the museum gift shop, as well as the Imax Theater.  The theater is installing all new carpet for the first time in…well, in many years!  So, instead of popcorn and pop-encrusted flooring, it is emitting that great new-carpet smell and the look is crisp and clean!

Meanwhile, the gift shop is undergoing a makeover as well.  All those Vera Bradley handbags and Indiana cookbooks and other great Indiana gift items are being inventoried and moved around into a much more pleasing presentation for museum visitors.  Stay tuned here for news of great new items soon to populate the gift shop, as well as possibly a contest to name the gift shop!

(Shown below is the limited edition snow globe that features the Indiana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument and plays “Back Home Again in Indiana”.)

Paddle Boats at Lunchtime

Indianapolis has a beautiful canal district right in the downtown area, little-known to probably thousands of people in the city, but well-enjoyed by those of us who work nearby.

Today at lunchtime, the DNR sponsored the annual Paddleboat Races, with two mighty Indiana State Museum teams, one defending last year’s title.

When it came right down to the wire, the ISM “Snot Otters” came in a close second…edged out by a Department of Forestry team with questionable bumping strategies. The ISM Aquanauts were sitting very heavy in the water and had a hard time keeping up, coming in a distant worse-than-third-something.

*Note: The Snot Otter name came from the slang term for the Hellbender Salamander, which is on Indiana’s Endangered Species list. Perhaps they should’ve chosen a name of something that’s NOT so endangered!

Chattering Children

There’s something about the excited chatter of a multitude of children’s voices…maybe it doesn’t have this effect on you, but it always puts me in a better mood.  These day-campers from Carmel-Clay’s “Vacation Station” were obviously having a blast at the Indiana State Museum today, as part of their weekly field trip series.  Ah, the lazy days of summer and to be 10 again…

They came to see the Imax movie, “Hurricane on the Bayou,” by the way…it raised lots of questions, according to a camp counselor.  Better hurry to see it;  next week is the last week of the engagement!

Red Hats and “Radical Lace”

The Red Hat ladies have found us!  Yes, ladies from the Red Hat Society converged on the Indiana State Museum recently for lunch at the famous recreated L.S. Ayres Tea Room.  Apparently the Red Hat ladies are a pseudo-sorority of women 50+ who have no bylaws or rules of any kind, other than that their main responsibility is “to have fun” (according to their website).

After their lunch, they headed across the hall to the Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting exhibit.  No word yet if they added any of their own (red and purple) items to the collection…



Friday the 13th

This, apparently, is the only Friday the 13th to occur in 2008.  People seem to have different reactions to it;  for me, its a “lucky” day, since I was born on a Friday the 13th (oh yes, I should buy a lottery ticket!).  For others, its more like “don’t step on a crack or you’ll break your mama’s back” and such…certain bad luck.  What do you think?

In honor of all those with triskaidekaphobia, here’s a piece from the Indiana State Museum’s “Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting” exhibit.  Oddly enough, I have a tablecloth exactly like it, that my Nana Hale crocheted….but of course, without the skulls!

The Earth Moves

Schoolchildren watch raptly as the Indiana State Museum’s Foucault Pendulum moves, knocking over domino-like objects in its path. The pendulum is proof positive that the Earth really does revolve, for the pendulum hangs freely, swinging back and forth as the building and Earth rotate beneath it.

The pendulum was devised by French astronomer and physicist Jean-Bernard-Leon Foucault way back in 1851, long before satellites and space rockets showed us that the Earth is indeed round and does indeed rotate on an axis. It has become a recognizable icon of the Indiana State Museum, having moved from the old to the “new” location in 2002.

“Scales and Tails Fest: A Celebration of Pets”

Despite torrential downpours, Scales and Tails Fest: A Celebration of Pets went off without a hitch at the Indiana State Museum this past weekend. There were at least 50 rescue dogs and kittens, most looking for new homes, plus owls, a yellow-headed vulture, a live skunk, dozens of snakes of varying sizes, and even roosters. All gathered throughout the museum to help educate visitors about the perfect pet for them.

Amazingly, once the animals left, the museum was the scene of an upscale wedding reception that evening! Kudos to the cleaning crews. 🙂


Indiana Television History

A new exhibit opened recently at the Indiana State Museum, showcasing historical items from RCA, which was ranked No. 1 in the world in electronic production and sales for many years “back in the day”.

The company has a long and significant history in Indiana. RCAbegan producing radios in the state in 1929 and even produced the world’s first commercial color television in 1954 in its Bloomington plant. That plant was one of the four in Indiana that made up the largest television manufacturing operation in the world at that time.

“Indiana was well known as a center for television manufacturing, and RCA also did a lot of product development here. So, with retirees around the area offering us prototypes and pre-production examples of various consumer electronics, it makes sense for us to focus on collecting both the artifacts and the people stories behind them as great examples of Hoosier industry,” said Todd Stockwell, the museum’s curator of agriculture, industry and technology.