9/11 Memorial, New York

2 12 2012

Waterfall, South Pool, 9/11 Memorial

This seems to be our week for thanatourism. Three days after our visit to the Flight 93 National Memorial, we visited the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. I’ll spare you my words, but give you some of my photos.

Flight 93 National Memorial

26 11 2012

National Veterans Awareness Ride, 2012. Flight 93 National Memorial. Photo credit: JR

A year ago today, I was celebrating one of the milestones of aviation history, the successful launch of the Mars Science Laboratory (aka Curiosity, the Mars Rover). Today, I mourned one of aviation history’s greatest tragedies, the deliberate downing of Flight 93 in a field near Lambertsville, Pennsylvania.

If you’d like to see how I experienced the site this morning, you can watch the slideshow here.

Intrepid Museum

3 10 2012

Douglas A4 Skyhawk, Intrepid Museum, New York, NY. Photo credit: JR

I failed to upload my photos from our trip to the Intrepid Museum in September. Imagine forgetting about visiting the Space Shuttle Enterprise! I was happy to see the spacecraft again and overall, I liked the new exhibit more than I liked its predecessor at the Smithsonian. Well, on the positive side, Enterprise was better lit at the Smithsonian, making it easier to see all the details and fine lines. On the negative side, visitors were kept well back from the orbiter. At the Intrepid, you can walk underneath it, practically kick its tires. So, while I’m not too happy with the darkness of the temporary pavilion (reminded me of the National Museum of the Air Force), I was pleased they let me get so close.

National Museum of the Air Force

12 09 2012

Boeing P26A, National Museum of the Air Force, Dayton, Ohio. Photo credit: JR

I don’t know if I mentioned it, but I just moved from Indiana to New Jersey for work. On the way east, we stopped at the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. I have lots to say about it and no time to say it (did I mention I just started a new job?), but I finally managed to post a few passable photos out of the collection for your enjoyment. I thought the Museum of Flight was a challenge to photograph, but the Dayton museum made taking photos in Seattle look like a cake walk. I promise promise I will come back and talk about curatorial narratives, the arrival of the Space Shuttle trainer, and much more as soon as I get these article revisions out the door.

Museum of Flight

25 07 2012

Pioneer Pullman of the Air, Boeing 80A-1, Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA. Photo credit: JR

As you could probably tell from my Monterey Bay photo, most of my vacation had nothing to do with work or this website. Kayaking, hiking, running, watching Perry Mason…it was nice to get away from my job for awhile. We did make one stop worth mentioning here, though, when we joined a friend for a day at the Seattle Museum of Flight. Wow, has that place grown since the Red Barn first showed up on the edge of Boeing Field in 1983. The Great Gallery went up while I was a student at University of Washington and the museum has since added the Library and Archives Building (2002) and the J. Elroy McCaw Personal Courage Wing and Airpark (2004) to its campus. We gave it a good effort, but left one wing (no pun intended) almost completely unexplored at the end of the day.

Many of the artifacts at the museum have some connection with the Pacific Northwest. I’m sure the fact that my father grew up in Alaska and never missed a chance to warn me about flying over glaciers had something to do with my interest in the Bush Pilots of Alaska exhibit (or maybe not, it was a damn good display). I’m also sure I drove my partner crazy with my ramblings on Seattle/PNW aviation history as we moved from aircraft to spacecraft. She probably didn’t need to be reminded that Richard (Dick) F. Gordon and I grew up in the same town or that I met Pete Conrad while studying at UW, but she was a good sport about it.

Catherine’s first EVA. Photo credit: JR

We gave most of our time and attention to the exhibits focused on space exploration, particularly the Space: Exploring the New Frontier section. Rendezvous in Space was also sweet and gave me the excuse to start talking about Pete Conrad and University of Washington again. I tossed out a couple of tweets while I was wandering around, but @rindsay beat me to the best one: Science is for gals in housecoats, too.

I know I’m supposed to be a crack architectural photographer, but I found the Great Gallery to be a tremendously challenging space. Everything, everywhere, is backlit and a fill flash doesn’t help much. So, while I managed to get a few good photos of the aircraft and exhibits, I didn’t manage many of the building itself.

Iron Annie, Beech C-45H Expeditor, Museum of Flight, Seattle, Washington. Image Credit: JR

The Charles Simonyi Space Gallery, new home to the Space Shuttle Trainer (FFT), also threw up a few challenges to my camera, but I’ll get to those in my next post.

Observatories and Instruments