Creepy and Crawly

The museum hosted its annual Reptile Days event this weekend, offering visitors plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with a wide variety of lizards, turtles, snakes, frogs, and the like. There was actually a lady who walked halfway into gallery and turned back around, saying, “I just can’t do it”.  On the other hand, I saw plenty of kids who had absolutely no fear of large snakes draped around their necks and purple-tongued skinks licking their fingers.

Fam Tour

That’s marketing-speak for “familiarization tour,” which is something you do to introduce someone to your market. Various cultural entities of the White River State Park district of Indianapolis hosted a group of Midwestern travel writers this week. There should be an article soon on the United Airlines website, talking about “Indianapolis for Families,” and hopefully we’ll “get some ink” in other publications such as AAA’s “Home and Away,” the Bloomington Herald Times’ home magazine, or who-knows-what. How else will folks find out what cool things are here on Indy’s Downtown Canal?

The L.S. Ayres Tea Room put on a tasty show for the writers, with famous chicken pot pie and chicken velvet soup, which are also featured in the cookbooks that were presented at each place setting.

Flying into the Cultural Crossroads

Indiana’s official motto (as of 1937) is “The Crossroads of America.” Knowing that, it makes sense that the state’s largest airport is nearing completion on a bright new multi-million dollar expansion, due to officially open this October. According to the airport website , Indianapolis International Airport (IND) currently serves about 8.5 million passengers annually and transports 1.15 million ton of cargo.

Part of the expansion is for shopping and 50 local and chain businesses have leased space, including a consortium of eight Indianapolis-area museums, to catch weary travelers and give them a welcoming taste of Indiana while capitalizing on the extra time they have to kill between flights.

The museum store, “Cultural Crossroads” is located in the huge Civic Plaza area and will provide a sampling from the Indiana State Museum, Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Conner Prairie, The Indianapolis Museum of Art, and others, rotating premium space within the shop. It is sure to be a great place to find special and unusual gifts!

The space is architecturally fabulous, with high ceilings of glass and over $4 million worth of public art. It will be worth seeing…here are a couple peeks (photos by Kathi Moore).

Diggin’ Up Bones

Factoid for the day:  There have apparently been more mastodonts found in Indiana than in any other state – over 300 “spot finds”  (according to an Indiana State Museum curator).

That said, it should come as no surprise that museum curators are busy digging up mastodont bones from a pond bank near Culver, IN.  In fact, just this weekend there was a fabulous find;   bones were found in articulation, which means they were still in correct order (something that rarely happens when the specimen is 12,000 years old!).

Since I have a hard time remembering what I had for lunch yesterday, I can barely fathom 12,000 years ago and how exciting it would be for someone to make this kind of discovery.

Media as far away as Florida have covered the story;  here’s one from South Bend.

The museum is working on an exhibit for the future called “Elephant Graveyards” which will tell this wonderful story about the mammoths and mastodonts.  Stay tuned!

On My Honor

…I will try, to do my duty to God and my country, to help other people at all times and to obey the Girl Scout Laws….well, that’s how I remembered the pledge from my own scouting days!  Now, a more p.c. version states,

On my honor, I will try:
     To serve God* and my country,
     To help people at all times,
     And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

( The word “God” can be interpreted in a number of ways, depending on one’s spiritual beliefs. When reciting the Girl Scout Promise, it is okay to replace the word “God” with whatever word your spiritual beliefs dictate.)

One way or the other, the Girls Scout National Convention is coming to Indianapolis this fall, and as part of that, the Indiana State Museum is presenting a historical look at Girl Scouts since 1912.  The artifacts have already started arriving, and here are a couple of my favorites:

This, a letter from GS founder Juliette Gordon Low to Indiana’s first GS leader….written by hand, with fountain pen, in 1918!!


And this one, some old wax paper bags which used to hold GS cookies, before they used boxes…and a couple of boxes from WAY long ago!  I was somewhat fascinated….aren’t you?

Unusual Deliveries

This is a museum, remember. All sorts of interesting things are stored here, displayed here, and delivered here. Check out this guy; a woolly mammoth! He is NOT to be confused with a mastodon (or mastodont), as a mammoth only has four teeth and the other has rows of sharp ones. Either way, I wouldn’t want to run across one in my backyard.