Art

Museum Monday: Games of Chance at SFO Airport

If, by chance, you’ve got some time before or between flights at San Francisco International Airport, you’re in luck.

That’s because the SFO Museum has just kicked off a new exhibition featuring more than sixty examples of early gambling devices, including the first automatic payout, three reel slot machine.

 

 

According to the exhibition notes, at one time San Francisco was a hotbed for these types of games:

In no part of the world did gambling take place so openly and on such a large scale than in San Francisco during the Victorian era. The city’s residents were largely pioneers or one generation removed from those who risked all to relocate and gamble on a new life in the West. San Franciscans wagered in nearly every possible manner, including horse races, sporting contests, card games, wheels-of-fortune, and impromptu barroom arguments on every conceivable subject. At the beginning of the twentieth century, more than 3,000 machines operated freely, enticing customers from busy sidewalks into the saloons and cigar stores that proliferated throughout San Francisco. “

 

 

The devices on display range from very early models that rely on simple clock mechanisms and a payout by the bartender to automatic slot machines with elaborate carved-wood, cast-iron, or painted-aluminum bodies – and each was designed to part a person with a small bit of their money.

 

 

All the objects in this exhibit (and all photos used here) are courtesy of Joe Welch American Antique Museum in San Bruno, California and will be on display at SFO Airport in Terminal 3, Boarding Area F through June 18, 2017.

You can see descriptions of the gambling devices featured here – and photos of others – in the SFO Museum’s online exhibition.  But I bet the exhibition is far more entertaining if you see it in person.

Groovy sounds in Detroit Metro Airport Tunnel

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Courtesy Detroit Metro Airport

The 700-foot underground tunnel between Concourses A and B/C at McNamara Terminal in Detroit Metropolitan Airport is a big hit with travelers.

It runs beneath the terminal apron and two active runways and, most of the time, the 9000 purple, red, green and yellow LED lights change color in sync with original music composed just for this artwork.

But for the Thanksgiving travel season, the Detroit Free Press reports, the airport has introduced a new soundtrack into the mix that features songs by The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations and other Motown artists.

If dancing your way through the tunnel doesn’t sound appealing – or if flashing lights make you uncomfortable – keep in mind that you can turn the whole dang thing off.

According to a note on the Detroit Metropolitan Airport website:

“Customers may suspend the program for a five minute period by pressing the button marked by signage at each end of the tunnel (to the right at the bottom of the escalators). “

 

 

Oakland Int’l Airport gets a souvenir vending machine

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I became a big fan of the folks at SouveNEAR back in 2014 when they began installing vending machines at Kansas City International Airport to sell very reasonably-priced jewelry, original art, small-batch hand-printed T-shirts and a wide array of travel-sized mementos by Kansas City-based artists and makers.

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Now the company has added 3 art-filled SouveNEAR vending machines at Oakland International Airport : by Gate 7 in Terminal 1 and by Gates 24 and 28 in Terminal 2.

SouveNEAR’s Oakland collection includes bottle cap magnets, flour sack dish towels, jewelry, t-shirts, notecards and more.

Here’s what I’d buy from the machine if I was passing through…

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Czech travel posters on display in … Iowa

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43 Czech travel posters are on view (some for the first time) in a new exhibit at the National Czech and Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The posters are from the collection of George and Nicholas Lowry (father and son owners of the Swann Auction Galleries in New York) who own more than 1000 Czech posters – the largest such collection outside of the Czech Republic.

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Here’s a bit of background from the museum on what makes these images so appealing:

“For a small country, Czechoslovakia produced a large number of posters, owing to a combination of the country’s rich artistic legacy and strong economic climate. The travel posters are a unique form of advertising showcasing the beauty, intrigue, and architecture of the Czech lands, sometimes urging tourists (in German, English or French) to visit such wonders in Czechoslovakia as Brno or Kutna Hora. Other posters extol the sporting opportunities in Czechoslovakia, such as golf or skiing. A few are in Czech, printed to promote internal tourism and travel.”

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Nicho Lowry is a regularly appearing expert on the Antiques Road Show. His dad, George Lowry, was born in Czechoslovakia, and escaped on the eve of World War II and Hitler’s occupation of the country.

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New terminal at Calgary International Airport

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YYC Calgary International Airport opened its new International Terminal yesterday – October 31, 2016 – and it’s full of fresh new amenities and lots of great art.

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Here are some of the tweets the airport sent out yesterday celebrating the milestone and sharing some of the details.