Museum Frenzy

I’m not exactly sure what inspired my recent interest in museums, but I must have visited five or six of them within a week’s time recently. Part of the reason was my road trip through Texas where I managed to stop at the Holocaust Museum and Museum of Natural Sciences in Houston and the Dallas History Museum and Dealey Street JFK Museum in Dallas.

The Holocaust Museum was my first stop and definitely worth the trip. Having visited the Auschwitz concentration camp a while ago, I have a memories of the setting and environment where these events occurred. The history and stories depicted in the museum definitely give insight into the personal aspect of the time. Specifically, stories of Houston-area Holocaust survivors are told. It’s truly hard to imagine the extent of evil and wickedness necessary to such an operation; I guess I didn’t realize there were literally dozens of concentration camps throughout Germany and surrounding areas.

The Museum of Natural Sciences was also a good experience. I thought the exhibits with the different animals and geography examples was pretty cool. I’m not a huge fans of dinosaurs, gems, or mummies, but there were definitely enough exhibits to keep me occupied for a couple hours.

I then proceeded to Dallas and the Dallas history museum. Surprisingly, this place was actually pretty cool. I guess I didn’t realize how new Dallas was to the national stage. Granted, Boston, New York, and some of the East Coast cities have much more history, so Dallas was at a disadvantage there. I guess the railroads and airlines really spurred growth in this area. The museum has four different areas with each dedicated to a different time period from founding to modern day.

Of course, the Dealey Plaza JFK Memorial Museum is also a must see for Dallas, and this place was also pretty neat. I definitely learned a lot of new information during this tour to include the many alternative theories of other suspects for the assassination. It seems awfully convenient that Lee Harvey Oswald was a Soviet sympathizer during the height of the Cold War, but what do I know. Nonetheless, definitely a tragic event in history. I liked how the exhibits examined the events of the day in quite a bit of detail; From JFK’s travel arrangement to the assassination the all witnesses, all pieces were really described in-depth. Overall, definitely worth the admission cost.

The final stop on my whirlwind museum tour was the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock.  Granted, I remember almost none of Bill Clinton’s presidency, but this tour provided a good overview. Basically, there is a timeline of major events as well as highlights of certain achievements while in office. I really likely the foreign policy historical parts dealing with Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Africa, etc… Some of the other parts included economic policy, crime reduction, environment, etc… I do think it is pretty amazing that Bill Clinton rose from small-town Arkansas to the President of the U.S. I guess that’s what education, political savvy, and good public speaking skills can accomplish. Overall, it was definitely an enjoyable time learning about the events of these eight years.

After these visits, I think my museum meter will be pegged for a while. Nevertheless, I feel much more enlightened about historical events and will continue to visit interesting historical sites as the opportunity arise.

Alabama Sights

I just finished spending some time in the state of Alabama. Since I live in the deep South, this experience wasn’t that big of a change; however, there were some unique parts. I passed the driving time by listening to an Edward Snowden audiobook. I never knew exactly what to make of his story. It almost seemed like he managed to pull off the equivalent of a high-stakes jewelry heist in the cyber world, but he’s portrayed as irreparably damaging national security. I haven’t finished the book yet, so I guess the verdict is still in the air.

In Montgomery, I did find it odd that the First White House of the Confederacy and Martin Luther King Jr.’s church were literally on the same block. I mean, one was the headquarters for the Confederate South and all it represented while the other was epicenter for the Civil Rights movement a century later. I enjoyed visiting both of these spots during my walk in downtown Montgomery. I also saw the spot where Rosa Parks started the Montgomery bus boycotts as well as the Montgomery Capitol where the Selma march ended. Lots of history was packed into this downtown area.

The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail was another highlight of my trip as I managed to sneak onto the course after a half day at work. I think the course doubles as some sort of nature reserve as there was lots of wildlife in the area. I saw a some different looking brown-faced squirrels during the round; not sure if they’re unique to this area. Also saw some blue heron types of birds as well as the iconic cypress trees. While my score was nothing special, it was definitely a memorable time on the links.

My final stop was the  Barber Motorsports museum in Birmingham. I am not a motorcycle enthusiast by any means, but this place is supposedly the largest motorcycle museum in the world. They basically have motorcycles displayed from all time periods and countries, and the history was really interesting. I especially liked the Ducati sport bikes and early European motorcycles. Unfortunately, I visited on a day when there was not a race at the venue, but maybe some other time.