Category Archives: taken by me

Huzzah!

Last week, I had the pleasure of seeing the USS Constitution “sail” through Boston Harbor for the last time for the next 3 years.  The weather was glorious and I timed it just perfectly to be able to see the ship as she passed Faneuil Hall and Old North Church.

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Also got to hear the Dropkick Murphys as they played on the deck.

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Sooo many people were on board the ship, over 500 people.  When I went on my turnaround, there were many fewer people and you could wander the deck a lot easier.

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The Constitution then fired a 17-gun salute near the Coast Guard base.  When she was built and launched, it was around that part of the North End.  Hearing the cannons was fun, but you could also feel it inside your knees.

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Spectacle Island

Many of my adventures have taken me onto boats for this summer…and my trip to Spectacle Island was no different.

Spectacle Island is a 15-20 minute ferry ride out of Long Wharf in Boston and is part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. Today’s island has been reshaped over the years with dumping, erosion, and the fill from the Big Dig to become one of the highest points in Boston Harbor.

The National Park has a green visitor center that has CLIVUS toilets, expansive views of the city, and covered picnic area.

There are a number of trails to walk along and view the city or the lighthouse.  One of these trails takes people along the shore that is scattered with rocks and the occasional dead fish:

The other main feature of the island is the trash that is coming out of the ground and washing up on the shore…seaglass and pottery shards. As an archaeologist, I am always looking down on the sand at the beach for seaglass and random things. At Spectacle, you don’t even have to search…it is all there, but not for the taking.

The ferry to the islands is almost done, just about another month. I hope to get back out to George’s sometime before then to find the dark space again!

Mahna Mahna

If you have time, I strongly suggest that you go over to the Museum of National Heritage in Lexington to check out the “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World” exhibit. It runs through June 27, 2010 and is awesome if only for the ability to be near a bunch of actual Muppet puppets.  I had already seen Oscar up close and I think I get to count Big Bird since I met and shook hands with Carroll Spinney, but I also got to see Kermit, Bert/Ernie, Rowlf, and my favs the Mahna Mahna guy and the Snowths.  There were also a few others that I did not recognize immediately because they were used for commercials, but had many features of later Muppets.

Now, you aren’t supposed to take photographs (Even though it is an exhibit by the Smithsonian and they let you take gazillions of photos) but I still did. I’m sneaky like that 🙂

A short description:

The Museum is pleased to announce that we will host “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World” from April 3, 2010 through June 27, 2010.  The exhibition features 100 original artworks, including drawings, cartoons and storyboards that illustrate Henson’s talent as a storyteller and visionary. Among the variety of exhibition objects are puppets and television and movie props, photographs of Henson and his collaborators at work and original video productions, including excerpts from Henson’s early career and experimental films.”
You can also download a podcast about the exhibit or borrow a player for free from the people at the museum. You just have to leave your ID with them.


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I love that Ernie has his Rubber Duckie with him. They should have put bottlecaps in for Bert.

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This now adorns my cell phone wall paper. I love Rowlf…he is a wonderful straight line guy.

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Love love love!!!

Lowell National Historical Park

Yet another field trip to another National Park, this time Lowell. Not a lot of people would think that Lowell would have a National Park, but it is a great example of what happened all around the country during the Industrial Revolution.  Not only are a lot of the buildings still there, many of them have been revitalized into new spaces.

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Excavated by two of my professors (One from UMass Boston and another from Boston University) the Boott Cotton Mills Museum presents the history of the Industrial Revolution in a way everyone can understand. By using the oral histories left behind by former workers and actual artifacts from that time period, you can really get the feel of what it might have felt like.  Inside the Boott is a room with a number of machines that are needed in the process of the creation of fabric.  Here is a video that has only a few of the machines running:

Lowell is also known for having one of the best education centers in the National Park Service and they provide a huge variety of programs for children to attend and learn math, history, language arts, and science during.  One of the programs has children weaving on a loom:
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They are also in possession of Jack Kerouac’s backpack from when he went off on his tour of America. Not only was Kerouac an important poet and writer, he was also a native son. At one event, they gave away bobbleheads of him 🙂
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There is also a lot of artwork in the surrounding area and a stage for performances during the summer.
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All in all, Lowell is an awesome National Park and quite worthy of a visit. Go in the spring when you can ride the canal!

Dry Dock One

Sometimes I get to do really fun stuff because of work…on Saturday, under blue skies and with no wind, I got to go into Dry Dock One at the Charlestown Navy Yard and learn all about its history.  Not only did we get to go into it, we got to spend about an hour wandering around, taking pictures, looking at fish and crabs, and climbing up and down the edges. It was awesome.

We found really interesting objects inside the dry dock (a skull!! How did that get there? Seems to be a prey and not a predator like I originally thought) and saw lots of numbers around us.

Most of these had fallen off of the walls as the epoxy used to secure them to the surface dried and cracked in the heat and cold. I sooo wanted to take a few home with me.

Then, we went into the Caisson…this is the thing that keeps the water out of the dry dock, and I was inside of it. It is actually very clean inside, which was slightly impressive.  It is also impressive that so little metal is keeping the ocean out of that dry dock.

Next field trip may include the Chain Forge and the Rope Walk…and a trip to Lowell to look at their education program. Sometimes I love my job.