Alabama

Alabama Museum Day

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Austin in the Mirror, Asian Exhibit (Berman)
Austin in the Mirror, Asian Exhibit (Berman)

Okay, Austin and I are officially becoming museum snobs!  Ha!  Because of the rain last week, we spent an extra day in eastern Alabama and hit up two more museums.  Here are just a few of our photos from the Anniston Museum of Natural History and the Berman Museum of World History.  Admission to Anniston was only $9.oo for the two of us (military discount, regular admission is $6 for adults/$4 children), and Berman was only $2.00 (Special pricing of only $1.00 per person on Thursday afternoons.)  The museums share a parking area, and share grounds with a beautiful city park and gardens.

http://bermanmuseum.org/

http://www.annistonmuseum.org/

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The Heart of Dixie

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Located in Alabama, near the home of the Civil Rights Institute, is the beautiful mountain crested sanctuary of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham, a church with a proud history of uncountable contributions to the promotion of racial equality in the South.  Nestled in the woods, it is surrounded by patios with full gardens and a scrolled gateway, welcoming even in the stark of winter.

Photo credit: www.uucbham.org
Photo credit: http://www.uucbham.org

On my visit,  the Rev. Lone J. Broussard spoke about “Our Blue Boat Home.”  Although the song of the same name (by folk singer Peter Mayer) is familiar to most Unitarians, Rev. Broussard stressed the need for our faith to overcome our “compassion fatigue” as related to the ongoing issues of global warming, and to humankind’s limitless reaping of the earth’s bounty without regard to her future.  While requesting such a task, she also explained how the possibility of self-sufficiency has been achieved by many, including the Danish Isle of Samsø, a model for eco-friendly living as well as progressive example to us all.

Metaphorically speaking, she went on to describe the “elephant in the room” that sits and makes himself at home, eventually wandering off when ignored, well expressing our own convictions as they come and go with whatever happens to be the ‘popular’ cause of the day.  Yes we need improved gun regulations, and yes we need to be concerned with equal rights, and yes we need an end to war–but what are these issues without a home for humankind and the abundance of life that we share our earth with?

In ending, Rev. Broussard asked the old question, “How do you eat an elephant?”  (Of course, the answer is one bite at a time!)  However, I would love to now ask that we all invite Mr. and Ms. Elephant into our homes for tea, questioning them in detail, inquiring, drilling and finding our compassion once again within their stories.

To learn more about the UUC of Birmingham: http://www.uucbham.org/

For information on the Isle of Samsø: http://www.visitsamsoe.dk/en/

Peter Mayer’s website: http://www.petermayer.net/news/

To hear Peter Mayer’s “Blue Boat Home”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtZUM0JhLvc&list=PLD5C3A9F3B5204E83

U.S. Space and Rocket Center

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Davidson Center

What fun!  Here, on a cold, rainy day, at the home of Space Camp and “Rocket City,” (Huntsville) Alabama, Austin and I enjoyed a full day of continuous interactive learning at the “Math Alive” exhibit presented by Raytheon, and at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration.  Though not cheap, costing us $41.oo (with discounted purchase at Redstone Arsenal ITR) for admission and one IMAX movie, this was the best math learning experience that Austin has ever had.  Even he stated as we left that he “didn’t once get bored.”  An impressive statement if you know Austin well!

Rocket inside museum
Rocket inside museum

Favorites were the IMAX presentation, “Magnificent Desolation,” about the surface of the moon and the astronauts’ advantages and difficulties getting around and working while on the surface, also, even though very difficult, the F-18 Flight Simulator was a fun test on patience and multitasking.  There is even a full size Apache simulator but it comes with a 13-year-old AND 5′ tall requirement in order to be able to operate it but Austin is neither quite yet.

Electronic mirror
Electronic mirror
Designing a skateboard
Designing and testing a skateboard
Piloting F-18 Flight Simulator
Piloting F-18 Flight Simulator

Unfortunately for us, the campus was so large and with so many interactive stations that we couldn’t get to them all, and with the rain on us we spent very little time outside at the numerous displays.  But what could be a better problem than having so many learning opportunities at one site that as hard as you tried, you couldn’t get to them all?  In the end, we both agreed that if ever back in Huntsville, this will again be a must visit!

Inside shuttle
Inside shuttle
Music as math
Math as music and music as math
Inside workings of rocket
Inside workings of rocket