Magna Carta exhibit at MSP Airport

Ink & Scrolls representative of tools used before the printing press. Photo by Craig Madsen, Thomson Reuters

A new exhibit celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, titled Magna Carta to Minnesota: the Rule of Law, is on view between Gate C6 to 11 in Concourse C at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

“Celebrating the 800th anniversary of the charter is important because its central to how we live our lives,” said Robyn Robinson, Arts and Culture Director of the MSP Airport Foundation, “Americans are fervent about our personal freedoms and civil rights, now more than ever. The exhibit shows us the basics of where and how those rights originated.”

U. S. Supreme Court Bobbleheads: Justice John Rutledge, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice David H. Souter and Justice John Jay (1st Supreme Court Justice). Photo by Craig Madsen, Thomson Reuters

The exhibit, on view through mid-November 2015, includes more than 100 items, ranging from a a painting by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger to bobble-heads of Supreme Court justices.

Gavel on presentation stand presented to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger. The pewter band on the gavel reads: “Turned in 1978 from an elm planted on the homestead of John Jay…CA: 1800.” Affixed to the stand is a sterling silver plate with the inscription. “Presented to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger on Queen Anne’s Day, May 5, 1979.” Photo by Craig Madsen, Thomson Reuters

The exhibit is presented by the airport and locally-based Thomson Reuters.

All photos by Craig Madsen, Thomson Reuters.

Aviation exhibit at Lambert-St. Louis Int’l Airport

Lambert aviation exhibit

What better place to see artifacts from aviation history than in an airport?

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is hosting a new exhibition in Terminal 1 featuring items on loan from the Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum.

On displays: pristine aviation instruments, flight attendant and pilot uniforms, posters and other aviation-related memorabilia, much of it highlighting Lambert’s own history.

Look for an old Ozark Airlines sign, samples of boarding passes from carriers past and present and a lot of items from the golden years of TWA, which once had a hub here. There are also items related to the military here, including an ejection seat from a fighter jet.


Museum Monday: Hawaii by Air exhibit

Hawaii by Air

Courtesy National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

Dreaming of a trip to Hawaii?

So, evidently, are the curators at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

They’ve put together “Hawaii by Air,” an exhibition featuring Hawaiian travel posters, photographs and ephemera that explores how air travel to Hawaii developed and grew, how the travel experience evolved along with the airplane and how air travel changed Hawaii.

Also on display: airplane models, airline uniform badges, historic film footage, a high-resolution satellite image of the islands, broadcasts from a vintage Hawaiian radio show and live Hawaiian plants.

pan am brochure

National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

Hawaii, exhibition notes remind us, is one of the most remote places on Earth. It got its first air service in 1935 and, by 1936 Pan American Airways was delivering passengers on its famous flying clipper ships.

From the exhibition notes:

“Flying to Hawaii was luxurious but expensive; most people still traveled by ocean liner. That changed after World War II, when new propeller-driven airliners and then jets made travel to this remote destination much more common, comfortable and affordable. Hawaii experienced a tourism boom that exceeded all expectations.”

The exhibit runs through July 2015.

Continental Hawaii

National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

A fun review of my Hidden Treasures book

Mary Ann Gwinn, the book editor for the Seattle Times, warned me that the story she was writing about my book – Hidden Treasures: What Museums Can’t or Won’t Show You–  was scheduled to run in the paper today, when everyone’s attention might be on the Seahawks Super Bowl win.

Hidden Treasures cover small

So I was pleased the story actually showed up on-line Saturday, along with a slide-show of some of the treasures featured in the book and a mention of my February 12th appearance at Seattle’s University Bookstore ( 7 pm) – an official Humanities Washington event.

Here’s an excerpt from Gwinn’s story:

“Everybody has something they just can’t find out enough about, even if they can’t explain why. For Harriet Baskas, that thing is museums. Not the mammoth, marble-lined kind (though those have their moments) but the museums of the backwaters, byways and small towns of America, the repositories of a community’s heritage.

The word “heritage” is a big tent. We might be talking about John Dillinger’s gun (the Dayton History museum, Dayton, Ohio). Or a quilt pieced from Ku Klux Klan headgear, stitched together by a Puyallup housewife (Yakima Valley Museum, Yakima, Wash.).


Or a pilot’s manual used by Orcas Island’s “Barefoot Bandit,” Colton Harris Moore (Orcas Island Historical Museum, Eastsound, Wash.) when he taught himself to fly. Or the gravestones of Perry Edward Smith and Richard Eugene Hickock, the killers of the Clutter family, made famous by Truman Capote’s book “In Cold Blood” (Kansas Museum of History, Topeka).

These are items that are considered too expensive, too dangerous, too charged with emotion or simply too weird for museums to exhibit, as Seattle author Baskas amply demonstrates in her new book, “Hidden Treasures: What Museums Can’t or Won’t Show You” (Globe Pequot Press, $19.95). “Most museums will say that they don’t show things because they are too fragile or they don’t have room. I was after all the other reasons,” says Baskas, author of six previous books on museums.

Here’s a link the Q&A Gwinn put together from our chat.