So, Hutchinson Kansas doesn't look like much. It's actually a pretty cool town. Last Saturday we went to the Strataca which is a museum, but not an ordinary museum it's 650 feet underground in a salt mine.
This is the ONLY place in this country where you can tour a real salt mine. It is the only time I've been 650 underground and my first experience in a mine. Now, I don't like elevators (which you go down on) and I do not like enclosed places, but when you enter and watch the initial safety video they put you at ease.
So we enter the museum and wait for our turn to ride the elevator down. We were in Manhattan Kansas last weekend but this is the only place I took photos. We (my oldest son and I managed to get a stomach bug while we were there). But this place is highly recommended for your vacation trips. Spring Break I had a bit of the Facebook envy with so many people traveling to interesting and fun places and I was stuck at home. My fate seems to be trips to the Great Plains, but I actually enjoy it. It's rarely as hot and never as crowded as some overly promoted tourist trap.
So this is during the minute and a half 650 elevator ride. It really wasn't bad. The guides talked the whole way down.
So here we are 650 underground in a mine. The temperature is a steady 68 degrees is what they told us. It is incredibly dry and you can taste the salt in the air, after a couple of hours down there I felt dehydrated. So there will be a lot of pics on this post.
Museums are filled with information and I can photograph the information and read more as I edit. It is interesting how the Permian world shapes Oklahoma's landscape, yet in Kansas you still find the remnants of the Permian Sea. Now, we have our own salt deposits from this sea in Oklahoma - a couple of hours north near Jet Oklahoma you can dig for crystals on the "Great Salt Plains."
Salt, the only rock that we eat. It is so important, yet we don't put a lot of thought into it.
So what kind of activity on the ancient earth caused a 400 feet deep salt deposit. It kind of blows your mind to think that the earth has changed so much.
This huge salt block is one of the things on display. But of course the walls, ceiling and floor are also made of salt.
So after the Permian period and the mass extinction, dinosaurs and the earth making it to the present eon.... salt was eventually discovered and mined in this town on the plains. The Carey Salt Mine was formed.
Now we move to the twentieth century...
You can see how salt causes the artifacts to rust.
How would you like to ride to your job on this?
See the reflectors on the ceiling?
I think museums like this are just as important as art museums. This museum pairs natural history with an education about how things work, our infrastructure. It is also featured on an episode of Modern Marvels and Dirty Jobs. But you can't get a good grasp on how the world works until you experience things like this.
More mining artifacts.
So, one of my favorite parts of the mine was the tractor (which I wasn't expecting to see 650 feet underground).
So here it is... Voyager * Yes! Like Star Trek. I mean who hasn't watched all the Star Trek Voyager episodes at least twice? I like Star Trek, I've watched Star Trek of some sort my entire life.
I've also been around a lot of antique tractors! So here you go. This is awesome.
This is just too interesting... so here is more.
I'm going to have to break this post up into two separate posts.
Have you read enough about the tractor in the salt mine?
Anyways so back to some more interesting stuff 650 feet below Kansas.
The earth movers, the salt shakers...
You also go on guided tours once you're in the mine. This is what a collapsed ceiling looks like.
So I'm about to end this post and will continue it tomorrow. This is one of the neatest places in Kansas! To be continued!
So, while my oldest was learning to parallel park (I know, I know, I could teach her but everyone who rides with me is terrified). She terrifies me when she's driving and I can't handle it very well. My anxiety does not make for a good drivers education teacher. But there you again train travelin'...
So the boy and I were waiting on the action figure museum to open. But, fortunately we didn't have to be bored we could go in the old Santa Fe depot and check out that museum.
Anyways here is a train. I assume people like rail photography for the aesthetics of the lines the same as liking a nice photograph of a empty highway or light trails or a barbed wire fence. Plus they're easy to shoot. I guess that's why portrait photographers like to get run over on the tracks and people want their photos done on the rails - which is dangerous. This train was going fast... like really fast. Okay, enough with that, next up the museum...
The teen wasn't overly interested in this museum.
I love these displays filled with tiny remnants of the past...
The past is what it should be the past. Just a memory to forget, or remember depending on the lessons that it teaches us.
There are things in everyone's past that need to be forgotten, yet if we forget for too long are we doomed to repeat history.
We hang on to the past; good and bad. Often only the bad memories remain- because those cause the most emotion. But, with photography and much of what ends up in museums, the physical remnants are usually positive.
I would SO love this to use with infant photography. So cool.
This is a neat museum, worth stopping to experience the local history. There are a lot of little museums like this. Down the road in the town of Davis you can find a similar museum (which I have photos of and I don't think I ever posted or processed).
My inner history teacher loves these old maps.
Fonts! Fonts were important back in the day too!
Here is Mr. Garvin of Garvin County. It's so weird to think of a person as being the reason behind a place name. Of course, these places always had a name, but the settlers came in and renamed these places.
I photographed this in 2013. What I find the most interesting is how differently I edit.
And this is true, and I like the memorials all around the park. Did you see my previous post about The Heartland Flyer- we have decided that we need to take the train to Fort Worth soon and have that experience!
But if you're in Pauls Valley, go ahead and take a few minutes to stop and explore the history at the Santa Fe Depot Museum and then head over to the Toy Action Figure Museum (which is really neat).
So, it's been a couple of years since I've stopped at Pauls Valley and yesterday I had to be there for a few hours. My oldest son and I decided to visit the museums in town and the Toy Action Figure Museum was the main attraction.
Oh hey! I love this museum already!
I was too lazy to go across the street and get a good shot of the building.
So this is a pretty cool place! I bet if you're a ten year old boy it's a dream world.
It doesn't take very long to walk through the museum so even if you're stopping off the interstate you won't have to worry about messing your schedule up.
Then we went into the Batman room.
Star Wars Episode I.
Or Star Trek? I actually watch more Star Trek than Star Wars.
Lots of stuff to look at.
Wise Master Yoda is...
Vadar and Boba guard the restrooms.
Super hero underwear.
I think this would look awesome in my living room.
What time is it? It's SUPER HERO TIME.
I approve of Han Solo.
The Doctor will see you now...
"Don't make me angry.."
No comment needed...
I don't have a lot to say about the museum but it's pretty neat and your kids will love it. It also has the nice nostalgia factor for you or your loved ones. So if you're on I35 heading to Dallas or further south stop on by.
Because I feel very fortunate to know of this project I was contacted about some ice storm images from last December. So, I pulled out my archives and gave them a fresh edit. I hope one is used but if not, I got to revisit some old images.
I enjoyed taking a break from portrait editing to go through these images I shot last winter. It's funny because last winter I was in camera despair, my favorite lens that came with my Canon 7D, the 28-135 was broken. I spent most of my time shooting with my first lens purchase which I made Christmas of 2010, a Canon 55-250 zoom lens which is a world away from what I use now, yet I still like my landscape photos from it.
It's late and here is a reminder about what a wonder winter can be. I'm just fine without ice storms though. :-) It is bedtime for me. Goodnight readers.
So today I'm no longer sick in Manhattan. In fact I ventured away from the Little Apple to the town of Abilene to visit the Eisenhower library and museum. Eisenhower's hometown is Abilene Texas. It is an interesting town, the railhead for the Chisholm Trail; museums, mansions and a lot of history.
Oh Abilene, there are more posts to come from today's photos (over 400) but to give you a glimpse into my busy day sightseeting up here in the Flint Hills.
By the time I made it to Abilene, like my hometown of Duncan it is another Chisholm Trail town.
I was told in the visitor's center that Abilene was the home to three train depots. I imagine so, considering the volume of cattle that came through here in the late 19th century.
This was an interesting place! I had a good discussion with the owner about Native culture and history. I will be posting more photos of it.
Next stop, made by the dutiful registered Republican (I'm a libertarian but I tend to vote to the right). I made my way to visit my first Presidential Library and museum. It was more interesting than I anticipated.
So since we're nearing the anniversary of D-Day this week. Guess what - my wifi is awfully slow. So this is all there will be for this post! Tomorrow the adventure continues.
We picked up some flyers for other museums while visiting Red Cloud and my Son decided he wanted to go to The Hastings Museum in Hastings Nebraska. I had intended on going to the Pioneer Village in Minden but he didn't really consider those to be museums. I aso like to visit the natural history museums so it sounded pretty interesting.
We found it, only about 45 minutes north of Red Cloud.
It has an imax theater but my fifteen year old can't watch those films, it makes him sick. We know we've had him get sick or almost sick all three times we've taken him to view a film at these theaters. Not a good idea.
We walk into the museum and see the stuffed animals and my son proclaims that "This is a museum." So, apparently the only museums that count are natural history museums.
I have a badger story to tell from our Nebraska journey. It was not these badgers who were sacrificed to be on permanent display for science decades ago, this is a real live badger story. We were going to take tubes from Naponee Nebraska to Bloomfield Nebraska and float down the river, well this began as a fun afternoon but soon we discovered that we were walking and pulling our tubes down a partially dried up river. With a 10,12,15,20,36, and two over 40 and Buddy the dog we discovered that a few miles down the river was a very long afternoon. So, it was decided that I would leave the river and run back to where the vehicles were parked and return to rescue the family. Of course, I'm in an unknown place with no cell phone and wasn't sure how many miles we'd went down the river. I left the river and headed across a huge field to find the road, but as I finally made it to the road I saw a critter meandering across the road. Very slowly, it was broad daylight and I knew it wasn't a skunk or a raccoon by how it walked. It was in no hurry. I then deduced that it was a badger. Badgers are not known for their docile personalities. So, I returned to the field and began walking and saw him peeking up at me from the side of the road. No, I really don't want further encounters with badgers. I did make it back to the car in about a half an hour and returned to rescue the poor tired crew. So, that was off topic, but I will always associate badgers with Nebraska.
I know these animals were at one time hunted. But I enjoy the displays and believe you can learn from them in these older museum exhibits.
The Polar Bears. I'm afraid I will have to split this post up and show you more of the museum, it had a lot of exhibits.
We went to the In The Dark exhibit...
We got to experience what it felt like to be a bat.
I'm a bat.
When I was a kid I didn't eat ranch. We always had Dorothy Lynch dressing a Nebraska invention.
I am tired and will end with Kool-Aid.
More to come on the Hastings Museum, the Kool-Aid exhibit is pretty neat.