Our visit to Dublin included a morning in the National Museum of Ireland’s Archaeology building. Fittingly, the structure of the space combined elegant nineteenth-century cast iron with modern additions.
This flint knife, ringed by other pieces of sharpened stone, struck me as a bit like a king being bowed to by lords and ladies.
These woven metal buttons are incredible pieces of detailed structure built from many hours of human effort. Funny to think that we marvel over the structures produced by techniques like 3D printing, when humans have been inventive with forms and materials for millenia.
This array of Viking-era swords, in various states of oxidation, has a delightful rhythm.
Among them, this sword and its hilt of non-ferrous metal is excitingly less degraded.
Too much Tolkien makes every dark stone bracelet look a bit sinister.
On a lighter note, the runes carved into this deer antler read, “DEER ANTLER.”
As a child, I loved the “Incredible Cross Sections” books. In the Aviation Museum of Lexington, I came face-to-face with the real-life equivalent in this supercharger cutaway. I love the way the red paint shows which components have been cut away to reveal the interior.
In the era before digital (a.k.a. glass) cockpits, a face-full of instruments are the norm. As I constantly have to remind my students in lab classes, a machine is something that produces things (including movement) while instruments measure things.
The new Sony camera and its drastically improved signal:noise meant the opportunity to capture the Aviation Museum of Kentucky freed from the constraints of tripods.
Part of a series of works by Dan Flavin, featured in the National Gallery Salm Palace in Prague.
Displaying Andy Warhol’s correspondence in these hanging frames within a Prague museum makes a three-dimensional timeline of his life between two continents.
From the Aviation Museum of Kentucky, this AH-1 Cobra was fortuitously placed relative to the flag.
The early stages of flight produced such remarkably fragile vehicles; when placed against the jet fighters of later periods, aircraft like this one look like insects.
In a museum full of twentieth-century aircraft, this F-4 Phantom stood out for its enormous size.
When I think about experimental vehicles, I tend to think of hypermodern materials: carbon fiber composites and titanium alloys. This experimental seaplane at the Aviation Museum of Kentucky, on the other hand, gets some serious mileage out of wood.
With the move to online classes, the availability of a cool Zoom background has become paramount. This jet engine has become my new go-to.
My favorite aspect of visiting aviation museums as a kid was an opportunity to sit in decommissioned aircraft and work the controls. It turns out that’s still fun as an adult.
In this image, visitors walk through “Demon of the Growth” in Salm Palace, part of the National Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic. Though this sculpture may look enormous, this portion on the staircase is only a small part of the multistory piece that extends painted spheres (mostly balls for athletics, as far as I could tell) around the museum and even out some of the windows. I’m put in mind most of some kind of gray goo scenario, with out-of-control self-replicating machines on the loose in the museum.
Standing behind the F-14 Tomcat at the Aviation Museum of Kentucky, the brain has a tough time comprehending just how enormous the nozzles on the hot side of the jet engines really are.20
The sleek shape of the Cobra made it my favorite helicopter as a kid. (Every kid has a favorite helicopter… right?) A contrast is revealed with the maintenance panels opened and the complicated mechanical components of the powerplant on display.