Exhibits

Lost airport amenity: Lindbergh’s monocoupe leaving St. Louis airport

For years, the 1934 Model D-127 Monocoupe once owned by aviator Charles Lindbergh has been on display at St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL), over the Concourse C security checkpoint in Terminal 1.

But the airplane, which has been on loan to the airport from the Missouri Historical Society since 1979, is coming down for good on Tuesday June 12 and put away for what is described as a “much neeed rest.”

“The 1934 Lindbergh Monocoupe is an exceedingly rare aircraft in that it still retains its original fabric covering,” said Katherine Van Allen, managing director of museum services for the Missouri Historical Society, in a statement, “In order to ensure that this unique piece of history is preserved for future generations, the Missouri Historical Society is removing the plane to a humidity and climate-controlled storage facility in accordance with present-day best practices in collections care.”

 

According to the Missouri History Museum, which received the plane in 1940, Lindbergh flew this airplane regularly, but didn’t really love it.

And even though he’d had it personalized extensively, he wrote that “It is one of the most difficult planes to handle I have ever flown. The take-off is slow…and the landing tricky…[it] is almost everything an airplane ought not to be.”

Still, it is an aviation treasure. And one that could have been lost to history back in April 2011 when a tornado hit the airport, doing millions of dollars of damage. By luck, Lindergh’s monocoupe had been moved to a storage facility just a few weeks before, in preparation for scheduled terminal renovations.

Here’s a video of the plane being rehung in the airport in 2013:

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When you visit STL,  you’ll still see an airplane suspended from the ceiling over a Terminal 2 checkpoint. That plane is also owned by the Missouri Historical Society, but it’s a 1933 Red Monocoupe 110 Special with no link to Lindbergh.

 

Charming chess sets on display at St. Louis Lambert Int’l Airport

Whether you’re a fan of playing chess and collecting chess sets or not, you’ll likely be intrigued by the exhibtion of 16 chess sets and artifacts on loan from the St. Louis-based World Chess Hall of Fame that are now on display at St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

Capturing Imagination: Pop Culture and Chess includes beautifully-sculpted, resin chess pieces including Avengers: Infinity War with characters Thor, Spiderman, Captain America, Iron Man and Black Panther. Other sets feature Hello Kitty characters on a chess board that doubles as a collector’s tin and cast and hand-painted pieces from Winnie the Pooh.

There is also a Star Trek tri-dimensional chess set with precision-cast pieces coated in sterling silver and 24-karat gold and sets that features chess pieces portraying Snoopy, Fred Flintstone, Miss Piggy, Big Bird and Bart Simpson.

Capturing Imagination: Pop Culture and Chess is on display at the Lambert Gallery in the Terminal 1 Bag Claim at St. Louis Lambert International Airport through November 4, 2018.

Beckoning cats at San Francisco Int’l Airport

A new exhibition from the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport features a wide variety of maneki neko – those beckoning cat figurines we see today in the windows of Japanese and Chinese restaurants, inviting customers to step inside.

From the exhibition, we learn that the tradition of making beckoning cat figures dates back to the late Edo period (1615-1868) and through the years these auspicious objects have been made in ceramic, plaster, copper, bronze, wood, stone and iron.

In many cases, you’ll see the cat holding up its left paw in an effort to bring luck and good fortune to a business. Sometimes the right paw is raised – which is meant to invite good fortune, health and happiness into a home.

The colors of the beckoning cats also have meaning: white represents happiness and satisfaction; black symbolizes safety and is a way to drive away evil; and gold symbolizes money and fortune. The bibs on many maneki neko also hold meaning and are often painted with coins and other traditional symbols of luck and fortune.


Maneki Neko: Japan’s Beckoning Cats is located post-security in Terminal 2, on the Departures Level of San Francisco International Airport through August 26, 2018. All the maneki neko are from the collection of the Mingei International Museum of San Diego. And all the photos here are courtesy of the SFO Museum.

Cool, coin-op machines on view at San Francisco Int’l Airport

“Futura” -1950s; Gypsy Fortune Teller – 1932. Courtesy SFO Museum

The newest exhibition offered by the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport is about coin-operated machines, which smartly combine mechanical novelty and automated convenience. 

Lukat “The Lucky Cat” (1952) dispensed gum and a prize ticket.

“At the drop of a coin, they vended goods, provided entertainment, and offered potential jackpot payouts and free merchandise,” the exhibit notes tell us, while incorporating “decorative graphics and innovative mechanisms that captured the attention of people worldwide.”

‘Whiffs of Fragrance” 1916- dispenses a bit of perfume. Courtesy SFO Museum

Take a look as some of the cool coin-operated machines from the Joe Welch American Antique Museum in San Bruno, California on view for free (no coins necessary) in the pre-security International Terminal Main Hall Departures Lobby at San Francisco International Airport.

“The Automatic Age: Coin Operated Machines is on view from December 16, 2017 through August 5, 2018

Fresh art & culture at Pittsburgh Int’l Airport

Just in time for holiday travel, Pittsburgh International Airport has installed about a dozen new art and cultural exhibits – and fun stuff for kids – in the terminal.

New displays include:

Three new installations from the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh in Kidsport in Concourse C;

 

Rotating items from current and upcoming fine art and fashion exhibitions at The Frick Pittsburgh in Concourse B

 

 

Two installations from Carnegie Mellon University – EarthTime in Concourse D and IntraFace in Concourse C

  • The Innovation Studio at Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh’s Cabinet of Curiosities in Concourse A;
  • Trashbot recycling installations near the Airside food court area and at Starbuck’s in Baggage Claim; and a display about innovation and entrepreneurship from Innovation Works in Concourse C;
  • A wall wrap with socioeconomic and demographic data that represents Pittsburgh from Pittsburgh Today.