Posts Tagged With: museums


Everyone admits to having a junk drawer. A place to store something of a temporary nature, or something you don’t want to toss, but what good is it to keep? It ends up in the junk drawer. I have too many junk drawers.

DSC07722 (Copy)My daughter-in-law came for the weekend since “the guys” meaning my sons, and old high school friends have this big mega bash every year over super bowl weekend. They play poker, drink a lot of beer, golf on Sunday morning…well you get the picture. So Laurie and I poked around my junk drawers for stuff for a project she is working on. The picture was taken after we reduced the quantity of junk in the drawers by half.

DSC07723 (Copy)It was really nice because I cleaned out a large bag of crochet yarn that I’ll never use.  I took out most of my button collection;  It filled three large cigar boxes. Ribbons and badges from Community Club events will hopefully find a home in the local museum. Much of it represented past volunteer activities and some travel items like the museum patches above. Whoever heard of such obscure museums as the National Skating Museum?  The Cartoon Art Museum. I’ve been to an Eye Glass museum, a Bait Museum, a Knife Museum, a Funeral Museum, Bead Museums…   On the road with Jim, I (we)  visited every museum that came to our attention, no matter the subject or size. I wonder sometimes,  how many I’ve visited?

DSC07724 (Copy)Among the buttons were whirley-gigs  I made when two young nieces and a nephew came to visit for a week one summer. I also taught them to play Hide The Button.

DSC07726 (Copy)My mother visited Pope John Paul II when he visited San Francisco so many years ago. I have her holy cards, relics and a purported piece of the crucifixion cross; a metal from every California Mission she visited and more. My intention was to make a collage with her things. I’m  inspired anew.

I couldn’t hold in two hands the number of metal pins I saved with messages such as:  Our Owner’s Gay, from Chatom Vineyards. Elect Jeffrey’s for Sheriff; Warning: I go from 0 to Bitch in 3.5 seonds; USA Olympics, 2002; Chocolate Makes the World Go Round. TV4UBYU and so on. Useless.  Junk. For the Junk drawer.

DSC07719 (Copy)Laurie and I enjoyed the process. I got my fix of “fur” for a couple of days. Koko sat on my lap for a bit while we watched three episodes of Home Fires on DVD. We cooked and ate well, too. Idiotically, I didn’t take a picture of Laurie, just Koko and Bix.

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In yesterday’s blog my partner was complaining about the photography ban in the famous mansion he was visiting. As prolific travelers and photographers, we come up against bans all the time. My daughter, Kristanne, happened upon two articles on the subject and sent them to me.

First, let me explain that I visited the Louvre in 1987 and I was amazed that they allowed flash photography. They obviously weren’t worried about flash damaging their treasures. Tests have proved that flash is no more damaging than the gallery lighting. Jim and I rarely use flash. I like it in a darkened bar with intended gloom and colored neon lights.

Now, the excuse is, they think you won’t buy post cards or other items in the museum store if you take photos. That doesn’t hold water either. In the Louvre I bought beautiful prints of famous artwork as gifts. I buy post cards all the time. And sometimes books.

Another excuse, the copyright laws are trampled upon. Sure, people in droves are going to take a picture of someones work, copy it, sell it,  and pass it off as their own?  It is ludicrous. I doubt it has ever happened.

Most galleries allow photos, some don’t. The bans are laughable, really, because every gallery, save one exception, where the owners control the gallery, they love it when you photograph their work. They are getting free advertising. You name their gallery and give an example of what they do. If the owners love it, why wouldn’t all artists like it?

And, my final point on the subject, any brochure advertising a mansion, a ghost town, a gallery, an event, a visitors center, shows a picture because a picture entices you to want to see more. Any magazine describing  a circus, an event, a beautiful town, provides a picture. And, most telling, magazines constantly tout food at restaurants. They usually publish a picture and a famous recipe or two. And providing the recipe does NOT keep customers away, as they used to believe.

We obey their bans but our readers who can’t ever get there miss out. That is why I resent the bans.


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This comes from my Smithsonian Magazine. They chose  towns with less than 15,000 population that are big on culture as the 20 best small towns in America for 2013.

What makes a small town big on culture?  Exceptional concentrations of museums, art galleries, orchestras, theaters, historic sites and other cultural blessings.

If the air is a little fresher, the grass greener, the pace gentler than in metropolitan America? All the better.  Generally, they’re devoted to preserving their historic centers, encouraging talent and supporting careful economic growth. There’s usually an institution of higher learning, too.

Most important are the people, unpretentious people with small-town values and high cultural expectations—not a bad recipe for society at large. As a sign on a chalkboard in Cleveland, Mississippi (our No. 2 pick) puts it, “Be nice. The world is a small town.”

Here is the List:

1. Gettysburg, PA.,             11. Galena, IL

Cleveland, MS.,                   Sausalito, CA

St. Augustine, FL.,               Hanover, NH.

Baraboo, WI,                      Oberlie, OH.

Astoria, OR,                         Jackson, WY.

Petoskey, MI,                       Lexington, KY.

Fairfield, IA.,                         Abilene, KS.

Los Alamos, NM.,                  Lihue, HI

Sitka, AK,                            Fredricksburg, TX.

Provincetown, MA.,              Glenwood Springs, CO.

I’m pleased to note I’ve visited Gettysburg, Baraboo, Astoria, Sitka ,Provincetown, Sausalito, and Fredricksburg. And in all cases, I found them delightful. So, traveler, fit one of these in your plans and you won’t regret it.

Read more about the towns they’ve chosen at their link.

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Yesterday, when I got up, the moon was shining through  a bank of clouds. The mist off the river gave the park lighting a misty yellow glow.

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The whole campgrounds looked surreal and beautiful.

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Then, the sun struggled  through the mist in pink and purple hues.

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The WINs were already finished with their hugs and mugs gathering  by the time I was finished with my therapy exercises I do each morning.

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Paul, Garth and the two pats decided to visit Bay City.

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Arlene handed out some persimmons she found. They are very small and of an oriental type I’d never seen before. Pat, on the left,  will be parting from the group after Mardi Gras New Orleans, but will rejoin them again before they head west. We all hugged goodbye and bid them a fond farewell.

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We arrived in Freeport and  got permission to stay for a night at the VFW. I liked Harvey’s hat and took a picture. This is a very active club and we learned that clubs that only serve beer are open to the public. If they serve booze, they are considered private. That is a Texas State rule.This club has computer gambling, as well, and is very active.

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Freeport is a very industrial city and doesn’t have much to see, but we always head for the local museum. The city was organized around its sulfur deposits by Dow Chemical. Dow bought acreage and sold housing lots cheap and got a workforce. It grew from there. DSC01470 (Copy)

A maritime  industry developed.

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And, from museum to museum, it is a given that you will see hurricane damage and a town rebuilding. Freeport also straddles the Brazos river and has weathered floods over the years.

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As usual, I find something interesting I’d not heard  before. An all woman Supreme Court?

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If you travel with kids, this is a great museum for kids. Fun and educational.

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It has a mini planetarium and we enjoyed it just as much as any kid. You lie back on bean bags and the sky story is narrated above you. (There wasn’t a kid, or another person in the museum.)

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The museum had a huge room devoted to U.S. Presidents and elections. A replica of the oval office,  a table sized map of the United States explaining how the electoral college works.

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Pictures of presidents and their most famous quotes while their most famous speeches are broadcast on a video. DSC01473 (Copy)

I had never heard this one from Nixon. I guess this wasn’t his most famous quote. I’m not sure how the quotes were picked. But, they do tell a story of the times.

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We still deal with our liberties today. Have we learned anything from the past?

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The museum was a bit short on artifacts, but I loved this gorgeous old organ. What beauty and craftsmanship to admire.

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And, as a curiosity, this is the hand washing station in the men’s room. I guess you could call it a big sink. Today, we move to Galveston Island.

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Yesterday, the sun shined brightly and we soaked it up. Jim worked on the mal functioning auto lock on the passenger side door of the Bronco. I washed a couple of rugs and hung them out to drain and dry in the sun. It felt good to move about and feel the sun on our faces.

We did the laundry and bought home-made tamales from Rosa’s on the way home. Delicious late lunch. We  sort of melted into the cushions and read the rest of the  day and just snacked for dinner. On the way home I saw a sign for a frame shop, Hall Of Frames. I’m often impressed by the clever names people choose for their businesses. I don’t always get the picture, but I indulge in clever signs whenever I get a chance.

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Dog grooming.

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This sign is in old town Gallup, NM,  outside of a business near a park. I once had a small retail store and I understand this completely.

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Of course, strange but  serious signs are funny too,  like this one on a desert walking trail.IMG_2091 (Copy)

You don’t see one of these very often. It is part of General Patton’s Museum in California where they tested tanks and other war equipment at one time.

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Others are just fun. (The blur is my fault.)

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.In Tombstone Arizona where the waiters and waitresses wear guns, unloaded, I’m sure. The customers are not allowed to wear guns.

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An ad on a T-shirt.

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I think this was a game shop, cards, poker chips etc. in Las Vegas.IMG_3107 (Copy)

Stapled to a power pole in Bisbee, Arizona.

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A cookbook for sale in a motorcycle  museum.

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This curious statement on a business window in Harlingen, Texas,  intrigued me. Driving by it a second time, I found out the new business going in will be a bike shop. Can’t reason it out. Obviously something I don’t know about bikes and bikers.

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Well, this one is easy to understand. It is posted at my Italian neighbor’s house, and she is a hoot.

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Port Isabel & South Padre Island, Texas

Yesterday we drove the motorhome the about 50 miles from Harlingen to Port Isabel, Texas.

We spent the night parked at Wal-Mart in Port Isabel because of its convenient location. Parked at the far edge of the parking lot made for a relatively quiet night’s sleep. We’ll move on this morning to Brownsville about 25 miles distant..

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…


As always, i like to show the view from the dining room window…


It ended up being a full day exploring the local area. The Google Earth image below shows Port Isabel as PI and South Padre Island as SPI. The Rio Grande River enters the Gulf of Mexico from the lower left…


Because I took so many photos yesterday…in this Blog entry I’m going to show you only a couple from each location. To see the rest of the photos you will have to click the provided Picasa Web Album link.

First stop of the day was at the Port Isabel Historical Museum…



To see the other 18 photo I took at the Port Isabel Historical Museum, click this Picasa Web Album link…

The second stop od the day was at the Treasures Of The Gulf Museum…



To see the other 21 photos I took at this museum, click this link…

Third stop was at the Port Isabel Lighthouse which provided a nice view of South Padre Island…



To see the other 7 photos, click this link…

A combination ticket to all three museums for seniors was only $5, You can read about theses museums by clicking their website link…

After the lighthouse it was time for a late lunch at Joe’s Oyster House…



Where we both had…naturally…the delicious grilled shrimp plate for $8.95…


Now it was time to cross the Queen Isabela Causeway to South Padre Island. Here’s an aerial view I picked off of Google Earth…


You can read all about South Padre Island by clicking this Wikipedia link…,_Texas

First stop  was at the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center…



To see the other 23 photos, click this link…

You can read all about this place by clicking their website link…

Then we drove “up Island” to see the beaches…



To see the other 5 photos, click this link…

Enjoying beautiful area locations is another joy of the full-time Rving lifestyle!!!

The red dot on the below map shows our approximate location in the State of Texas. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…


Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein


If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2013
For more information about my three books, click this link:

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