Museum Monday

Museum Monday: At SFO, All Roads Lead to Rome

Capriccio view of anicent Roman monuments c 1755. From 17th–19th Century Architectural Souvenirs from the Collection of Piraneseum

The newest exhibition from the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport includes more than 70 artworks and objects depicting Roman architecture and monuments.

Why Rome?

“Rome was the world’s largest city from circa 100 BCE to 400 CE, and the cultural and political center of an empire lasting for more than a millennium,” the exhibit notes point out. “Its territory encompassed nearly fifty 21st century nations that owe much of their culture, religion, political systems, and infrastructure to Roman models. Arguably, Rome resonates most potently in its enduring architectural forms and public monuments, which were first widely disseminated in a very familiar method —through tourism.”

Arch of Titus c. 1830

 

In this exhibit, some items show how Rome’s structures and city places looked way back when. Others depict them as they appeared when the artwork now on display was first created. And many are souvenirs brought home by visitors to Rome.

Temple of Castor and Pollux – c. 1860

 

All the objects on view – and included here – are from the Collection of Piraneseum and curators David Weingarten and Lucia Howard, souvenir collectors of the best sort.

Arch of Constantine – c 1820

All Roads Lead to Rome: 17th–19th Century Architectural Souvenirs from the Collection of Piraneseum is located pre-security in the International Terminal Main Hall Departures Lobby, San Francisco International Airport through August 13, 2017.

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.

Museum Monday: solar system made in Kentucky

kentuck-orrery

While visiting Kentucky last week I spent a few hours with the knowledgeable and very gracious staff at the museum of the Kentucky Historical Center in Frankfort. While there I was pleased to see – and learn about – the orrery pictured above.

An orrery, I learned, is a mechanical model of the solar system. This one was made by Thomas Barlow – a mechanic and inventor who lived in Kentucky – and purchased in 1887 for use at a school in Lexington. It’s unknown how many orreries Barlow (and his son) made in their shop, but today there are only three intact models remaining around the world.

Museum Monday: SFO Museum’s latest offering

Platter, Tomb of the Emperor Shah Jehan (Taj Mahal) pattern c. 1824–30s Oriental Scenery Cartouche series maker unknown possibly Staffordshire, England earthenware, blue underglaze Collection of Michael Sack . Courtesy SFO

Platter, Tomb of the Emperor Shah Jehan Collection of Michael Sack . Courtesy SFO

The newest exhibit from the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport, “From Print to Plate: Views of the East on Transferware,” features early nineteenth-century blue-and-white transferware with scenes of India, the Middle East, and China.

You’ve likely seen examples of transferware or transferware-like plates, but never looked closely at the actual images there. If you’ve got a some time to spend at SFO on a layover, here’s your chance.

This exhibition features blue-and-white wares made by Spode and a number of other British potters featuring scenes of famous architectural views of India, such as the Taj Mahal, drawn from early illustrated books, such as ‘A Picturesque Tour along the Rivers Ganges’ and ‘Jumna in India’ (1824) to scenes of Turkey and China taken from ‘Views in the Ottoman Empire’ (1803) and ‘A Picturesque Voyage to India by the Way of China’ (1810). The prints are alongside the corresponding plates and all come from the collection of Michael Sack.

from Print to Plate

courtesy SFO Museum

 

‘From Print to Plate: Views of the East on Transferware’ is located pre-security in the International Terminal Main Hall Departures Lobby at San Francisco International Airport and will be on view through March 19, 2017.

More images from the exhibition are on line here.

See Neil Armstrong’s gloves & helmet

Neil Armstrong's gloves & helmut - courtesy Smithsononian

Image: Dane Penland, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

In commemoration of the 47th anniversary of the first moon landing (July 20, 1969) the National Air and Space Museum is displaying Neil Armstrong’s lunar extravehicular gloves and helmet for the first time since 2012.

The artifacts recently underwent conservation and will be on view until July 20, 2017 at the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va.- which is just one stop from Washington’s Dulles International Airport on the Fairfax Connector (#983) bus.

Looking forward… Armstrong’s complete Apollo 11 spacesuit will go on display in time for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing in 2019.

In preparation for that anniversary, the museum is asking the public for photos of the spacesuit on display when it was on a national tour back in  in 1970, or of the gloves and helmet on later tours and the spacesuit on display at the Smithsonian between 1971 and 2006.

Neil Armstrong's spacesuit. Courtesy National Air & Space Museum

Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit. Courtesy National Air & Space Museum ,

On its website, the Smithsonian also has a high resolution 3-D scan of the Apollo 11 command module “Columbia,” that allows anyone with an internet connection to explore the entire craft including its intricate interior – something you can’t do when you’re at the museum in person.