Museums

Travel Tidbits from Airports Near You

Jonathan Mehring / Red Bull Content Pool

Earlier this month, celebrity skateboarders and skateboard crews from across the country rolled into the old terminal facilities – and even onto the tarmac – at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. They were there for Red Bull’s second Terminal Takeover.

Here is a short video of pro skateboarder Jake Wooten showing off his skills – and the airport terminal transformation – from last year’s event. And below, a link to a story we prepared for The Points Guy site.

Celebrate Museum Month – at the airport

Many airports around the country have official museums and museum programs. Stuck at the Airport will highlight as many as we can. But Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport gave us a head start.

Recognize any of these stuffed animals?

Museum Monday: All things Edgar Allan Poe

The Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia will be celebrating its 100th-anniversary April 28 through October 31, 2022, with an exhibit highlighting dozens of recently acquired Poe artifacts.

The list of artifacts includes Edgar Allen Poe’s pocket watch, which he owned while writing The Tell-Tale Heart, a horror story that, repeatedly mentions a watch.

“That means this might just be the very watch Poe was envisioning when he described the old man’s heartbeat as ‘a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton.’,” says Poe Museum curator Chris Semtner.

“The Tell-Tale Heart’ is a classic story we have read in school, heard at Halloween, and even seen recreated on The Simpsons, and having the watch is like holding a real-life piece of that story.”

The gold watch is engraved with “Edgar A. Poe.” And in 1842, Poe gave the watch to one of his creditors to pay off a debt.

Other new-to-the-museum Poe artifacts include his engagement ring, the earliest surviving copy of the last photo ever taken of Poe, and a piece of the coffin in which he was buried for the first 26 years after his death.

Exhibit notes declare the ring “sad evidence of the tragic love story of Poe and his first and last fiancée, Elmira Royster Shelton.”

The couple was engaged as teenagers, but Shelton’s dad broke it off. Poe and Shelton got engaged again, in the last months of Poe’s life. He gave her this ring with the name “Edgar” engraved on it. But Poe died just ten days before their wedding day.

The coffin fragment comes from the original coffin in which Poe was buried on October 8, 1849. In 1875, Poe’s body was moved across the cemetery from his unmarked grave to a better location where a large monument could be placed over his grave.

When the coffin was lifted from the ground, this piece fell off and was later owned by a
president of the Maryland Historical Society,

“Poe wrote so many stories about being buried alive that it seems only fitting that
we have a piece of the very coffin in which he was buried,” says museum curator Semtner.

Fragment of Poe coffin

The Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond features permanent exhibits of Poe’s manuscripts, personal items, clothing, and even a lock of the author’s hair. The exhibit of newly-acquired artifacts opens with an Unhappy Hour on April 28.

Opened in 1922, the Poe Museum is comprised of four buildings surrounding an Enchanted Garden constructed from the building materials salvaged from Poe’s homes and offices.

Travel Tidbits from SFO + Finnair +Indiana State Museum

SFO’s Wag Brigade Gets a Bunny

Most airports that had them before the pandemic have now brought back their teams of stress-busting therapy animals to the terminals.

A great example is SFO’s Wag Brigade, which is made up of about a dozen cute pups, a pig named LiLou, and the newest member of the team, a 28-pound Flemish Giant rabbit named Alex the Great. Look for them all next time you’re in SFO.

Finnair handing out Nort Pole Diplomas

Yes, even adults love getting a set of plastic wings when onboard some airplanes. But Finnair has brought back a cool amenity for travelers: a certificate for passengers who have flown over the North Pole.

Back in 1983, when Finnair became the first airline to fly non-stop from Europe to Japan, passengers on the carrier’s Tokyo flights were given a certificate for flying over the North Pole.

Now, Finnair is using that polar route again in order to avoid flying in Russian airspace. And the carrier has brought back the certificate – plus some Moomin stickers.

On March 9, flight AY073 from Helsinki to Tokyo Narita headed towards the North Pole, instead of heading East. With this flight, Finnair resumed its service to Tokyo Narita, skirting around Russian airspace that closed on February 28.

Where We’d Go: Indiana State Museum

Now that the Stuck at the Airport museum team is back in the field, we’re adding a stop to the Indiana State Museum to our list so we can see the exhibit about Major Taylor: Fastest Cyclist in the World.

Museum Month in Seattle & San Diego

Two great cities are running promotions this month offering serious deals for anyone who loves saving money on admission fees at museums, aquariums, and other attractions.

San Diego Museum Month

Following a seriously scaled-back version in 2021, San Diego’s Museum Month is back for 2022. Through February, the program offers half-price admission at more than 45 local museums, historic sites, gardens, aquariums and other cultural destinations throughout San Diego County.

The list includes the Comic Con Museum, the San Diego Natural History Museum, the San Diego Museum of Art, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, and many more.

How to Participate: San Diego’s Museum Month pass is available for free at all Macy’s store locations in San Diego County and at 75 area libraries Each Museum Month pass can be used for up to four half-priced admissions at any of the participating museums. Additional fees may apply for special exhibitions and events at some museums. Passes are good through February 28, 2022.

Seattle Museum Month

Not to be outdone, Visit Seattle, more than 60 downtown hotels, and over 30 area museums are hosting Seattle Museum Month. The program offers half-price admissions to anyone booking a room at any participating hotel during February.

How to Participate: Book a room at one of the participating downtown Seattle hotels and be sure to ask for the pass at check-in. A family or group of four can receive up to 50% off when visiting museums and attractions such as the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Pinball Museum, the Museum of Pop Culture, the National Nordic Museum, and many others.

The museum review team at StuckatTheAirport.com tested out the Seattle Museum Month pass with a staycation at the Sound Hotel in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. We visited the Seattle Art Museum, the Seattle Aquarium, The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific Amerian Experience, the Seattle Pinball Museum, and MoPop in two days.

And with all the money we saved on admission fees we were able to buy ourselves a very nice meal.


 

 

Museum Monday: World’s Largest Cast Iron Skillet

Stuck at the Airport’s correspondent for Museums and Roadside Attractions is planning a summer trip to South Pittsburg, Tennessee for the planned opening of the Lodge Cast Iron Museum.

We’re already intrigued to learn that South Pittsburg, TN has been home to Lodge Cast Iron since 1896. And we’re looking forward to seeing rare cast-iron collections and exhibits about the history of the company, the “making of” cast iron items, and an exploration of ‘Cast Iron Culture.’

Mostly, though, we’re looking forward to seeing the World’s Largest Cast Iron Skillet.

The skillet measures over 18 feet from handle to handle and weighs in at a whopping 14,360 pounds.

World’s Largest Frying Pan

While Lodge Cast Iron may currently lay claim to the World’s Largest Cast Iron Skillet, there have been some contenders over time.

Our favorite is the giant frying pan in Long Beach, Washington.

Created in 1941 for the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce. A pan claiming to be the largest frying pan in America was used in the annual Clam Festival in Long Beach during the 1940s.


Courtesy University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections

According to Pacific County Tourism Bureau, the giant frying pan was created in Portland, Oregon in 1941 to help promote the first annual Clam Festival.

At that time, the pan weighed in at 1,300 pounds and was 10-feet wide and 20 feet tall.

Back then, this was a working pan. During the clam festival, the pan was used to make a clam fritter out of 200 pounds of clams. The creation required two garden hoes and 4 two-foot X two-foot spatulas. The following year, 20,000 people showed up to eat a giant 9-foot clam fritter.

Here’s the recipe if you want to try it at home:

Chef Wellington W. Marsh’s Giant Fritter Recipe

  • 200 pounds of clams
  • 20 dozen eggs
  • 20 pounds of flour
  • 20 pounds of cracker meal
  • 20 pounds of cornmeal
  • 10 gallons of milk
  • 13 gallons of salad oil

The giant frying pan became a tourist attraction. It went on tour throughout the Pacific Northwest and made an appearance in Los Angeles in 1952.

For a long time, the pan hung outside Marsh’s Free Museum in Long Beach (home of Jake, the Alligator Man), but it rusted over the years. Today only the pan’s original handle remains, and the pan’s replacement is made of fiberglass.