November 22, 2010
Nights at the Museums
It is in his knowledge that man has found his greatness and his happiness, the high superiority which he holds over the other animals who inhabit the earth with him, and consequently no ignorance is probably without loss to him, no error without evil. - James Smithson
For my taste, The History Channel is spending a bit too much time on truckers, pawnshops and street gangs. I prefer to take my history straight, but that's just me. While the new series on the Travel Channel is far from an in-depth, "Ken Burnsian" documentary, it does swing open the doors on some of the stories behind the objects in America's great repositories of the past. And, if that creates an interest in history in someone who had mistakenly thought the topic dull, well, I'm all for it. Of course, it doesn't hurt that they are going to feature Chicago's own - even if it is a little recent.
The Travel Channel's fascinating series, Mysteries at the Museum, takes viewers on a captivating tour of America's past by uncovering secrets from museums across the country. The program explores the strange and curious remnants of America's past, often accompanied by scandal, mystery, and intrigue. This week’s episode, Volume Four of the series airing November 23rd at 9 E/P, will feature some of the nation’s most revered museums, including the Chicago History Museum.
Go behind the scenes at:
The History Museum at the Castle: In the History Museum at the Castle in Appleton, Wisconsin, a plaster bust is modeled after Harry Houdini, who has long passed on but whose mysterious talents still baffle the mind. Is it possible that this bust is actually possessed by the spirit of this famous magician? The answer lies in the suspicious circumstances that surround Houdini’s death.
The Henry Ford Museum: In Michigan, the Henry Ford Museum showcases an artifact that soared high above the roadways in 1926- a unique airplane named “The Josephine Ford”. At the time, the intrepid pilot of this airplane set out on a death defying flight to the end of the earth with one goal in mind. What was this pilot’s goal and why is his journey still shrouded in mystery?
Coos Historical and Maritime Museum: Located on Oregon’s rugged Coast at the Coos Historical and Maritime Museum, there is a peculiar object that looks like a piece of farming equipment, but in fact, it’s actually a piece from a diabolical weapon of mass destruction sent here by America’s former enemy. How did this artifact cause the only deaths resulting from enemy action to occur on mainland America during World War II?
The Chicago History Museum: A plain scrap of fabric, emblazoned with a striking design located at the Chicago History Museum was one of the banners designed for protests at the infamous 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Who made this flag and how did it play such a large role in changing the direction of our country?
Fall River Historical Society: The Fall River Historical Society in Fall River, Massachusetts houses an artifact that may have been the murder weapon in one of the most notorious unsolved murders in American history. This hatchet head was the key piece of evidence used against Lizzie Borden in the murders of her parents; but did she really commit the heinous crime?
National Museum of American History: Among the many thousands of objects at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution, is a worn and weathered eighty year old briefcase. This attache once belonged to a lifelong politician and diplomat and held countless, top secret and sensitive government documents. Why do curators at the Smithsonian believe this briefcase was party to one watershed event that changed the history of the planet?