Friday, May 8, 2015

The Magical World of Museums

Thought for the day:  Too much of a good thing can be wonderful. [Mae West]


From April 26 until May 1, Atlanta held its first Museum Week, in which entrance to a whole bunch of museums was buy one, get one free... or simply free. Doesn't get much better than that, right? What can I say? As far as this space cadet is concerned, our week was... outta this world! (The astronaut suit in that picture is located at Tellus Science Museum.)

How's about a few highlights of some of the museums we visited? Just some stuff you might find interesting. I will acknowledge, even though we visited some terrific museums, the Smithsonian in D.C. is still top dog for me. Never been there? How'd you like to take a virtual tour ? Woo HOO! (Almost as good as being there!) HEY! Wait! What ya doing? Don't go NOW... read my post first. Sheesh. (I knew I shoulda put the link at the END of the post...)

Real museums are places where Time is transformed into Space.  [Orthan Pamuk]

This is an unusual piece of pottery found in the Atlanta Historical Society's museum. (The Swan House, pictured in the header, is also located on the Society's grounds.) Anyhow, back to the pottery. As you can see, it has candle holders, making it a candelabra of sorts, but that isn't why this piece made me smile... it's the common name for this piece. See the face? Well, there's another face on the other side, too. Ergo, it has two faces, so it was commonly know as... (ready?) a politician jug.


Talking about politicians, check this out. Would you believe that wooden box is a ballot box used by soldiers during the Civil War? It's hard to tell in this picture, but that pulled-out drawer contains two different colors of balls... one for each of the two presidential candidates. The soldier/voter would drop his preferred color of ball through the hole in the top of the box to cast his vote. Neat, huh?

It's one thing to read in the pages of a history book about the systematic destruction of Atlanta's railroads and factories during the Civil War, but seeing this railroad tie brings it home. Ties like these became so hot in the fires, they were purposely bent out of shape around huge tree trunks so they couldn't be re-used.

One more thing from the Civil War. It's a little boy's set of clothing. The tag hanging down on it reads, My father was a soldier. 

Sad, isn't it? A hundred and fifty years old, and it's still sad...

No more sad.

Yeah, I know this cut-out at Fernbank Natural History Museum is for kids... but hey! I'm just a big kid at heart.

One of my favorite things about Fernbank is its IMAX theater. When we visited the museum about five years ago, we took a realistic trip through the Amazon rain forest on our anniversary, courtesy of the magic of IMAX. This time, Smarticus treated me to two different movies: one about humpback whales, and the other, called Mysteries of the Unseen World. All about stuff normally invisible to the human eye, whether because it exists outside of our visible light spectrum, or because it moves too fast, moves too slowly, or is just itty bitty. Through time-lapse photography, high-speed photography, an electron microscope, etc, we got to see some really cool stuff. The whales movie was terrific, too, but I reeeeally enjoyed seeing some of the usually unseen things of our world.

Luckily, we caught a temporary exhibit at Fernbank about poisons before it closed down a couple days later. Lots of interesting stuff. I wonder how many people were compelled to say,  Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn, and cauldron bubble when they saw these three witches. (I was!)

One interesting tidbit from the poison exhibit: It seems there was an actual basis in fact for Lewis Carroll's nutty Mad Hatter character. Denton, England, where Carroll was born, was a prime center for hat-making in the 1800s, and the consensus of opinion was that the hatters were generally irritable and peculiar. And for good reason, too. Although I'm not clear exactly how or why it was used, mercury was used extensively during the hat-making process, so most hatters acquired their peculiarities courtesy of mercury poisoning.

Just one more pic from Tellus Science Museum, since I covered this museum at length in an earlier post. (Wherein this old poop touched fossilized dinosaur poop!) Anyhow, this is a 1912 Shaw motorcycle. One of the things I found interesting about it is the chain... it's made of leather!

Okay, only one more museum, and it's one of my favorites. Booth Western Museum. It's part of the Smithsonian, and much to my surprise, is the largest Western Museum in the country, which is especially surprising, considering its off-the-beaten-path location  in a small city. (Cartersville.)

There's tons (literally!) of bronze sculptures, both inside and out, and amazing paintings and relics from the western U.S. Although they were all terrific, that wasn't my favorite thing about this museum. My favorite thing wasn't even about the West. It was about...

presidents! (Um, no I wasn't grabbing JFK's butt in this photo... it just LOOKS like I was...)

Actually, there are two exhibits about presidents at Booth. One, a permanent collection, includes an original signed document from every single president... along with some little-known facts about each one. Some really interesting stuff!

And the other, a temporary one, showcases photographs taken by numerous presidential photographers. Some GREAT photos! Some candid, some marking important events, some posed... but all great.

This is the only picture I took of one of the photographs. In general, I chose not to do so, in spite of the fact that other people were taking pictures left and right. But this one, I couldn't resist.

It shows a photographer named Mike tying then-VP Bush's shoe. Reagan and Bush later signed the picture, in which Reagan wrote: Mike! A simple curtsy would have been enough. And Bush added: P.S. There's a 25¢ tip in this for you if they really shine.


So there ya have some of the highlights from our week. I'm only including this one last picture of a wax figure (He looked like a live person... even close up!) just so I have an excuse to use this terrific quote from Dean Martin: There's a statue of Jimmy Stewart in the Hollywood Wax Museum, and the statue talks better than he does.



Before I forget, I'd like to wish all of you moms out there a very happy Mother's Day. (Hmm, I wonder if the Atlanta zoo is offering free entrance to moms again this year.We haven't seen their new state-of-the-art reptile house yet...)


                            Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

One time I went to a museum where all the work in the museum had been done by children; they had all the paintings up on refrigerators.  [Stephen Wright]

66 comments:

  1. Very strange things, but interesting. The bent RR ties are sad, since they also prevented food and other items from being transported.

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    1. Hi-ya. It's good to hear from you again. :)

      Those RR ties fascinated me. I could almost imagine the raging fires it must have taken to be able to bend them like that. And you're right; they are sad. A lot of people suffered because of the destruction of the railways.

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  2. I love museums, and you've provided such a wealth of information that it's difficult to comment. A few quick observations:
    JFK looks so lifelike (and you do,too) - great photo. The Politician Jug would make a great Halloween centerpiece. I'm thinking that perhaps we should go back to using the wooden ballot boxes with the colored balls.
    Might be more accurate than some of the voting methods used today.

    The little boy's Civil War clothing looks quite new - it is well preserved (unlike myself). I've never heard of mercury being used in the process of making hats, but it certainly sounds reasonable that it would render some hatters to go mad.....

    Have a very pleasant Mother's Day, Susan!

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    1. By the end of the week, JFK probably looked more life-like than I did.

      Thanks, Jon! You have a super weekend, too.

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  3. Too many museums are barely enough.
    Mad as a hatter is a very sad saying when the truth is uncovered isn't it. And yes, that small boys uniform is also sad.
    Sadness aside - thank you.

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    1. Yeah, I know! For some things, there's no such thing as "too many" or "too much."

      You're welcome. I'm glad you liked the post.

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  4. A politician's jug! That made me laugh.
    I love the cauldron. I'd love to have one, a really large one with a drainage hole or two and I would plant a dragon tree in it.
    I'd already read somewhere long ago about the mad hatter explanation, can't remember where though.

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    1. I'm glad the politician jug made you laugh; it cracked, me up, too.

      Neat idea for how to use a cauldron.

      You smarty. That was the first time I heard of the mercury poisoning...

      Happy weekend!

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  5. and you finished it all off with a picture of the Geico Gecko...and yes, I just had to hubble bubble along with you lol

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    1. HA! I'm not surprised. (I could practically hear you...)

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  6. Susan we do not the interesting museums you have there... ours are really quite simplistic... it's not like we don't have a rich heritage, maybe we don't have the interest... hmm..

    I love those wax figures that look so real... there are so many talented and creative people in this world.

    I hope you have a fun weekend. with maybe another museum visit ♡ xox

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    1. Well, a "simplistic" museum is better than no museum at all! I wouldn't be surprised if there are more museums around your area than you know.

      You have a super weekend, too. (No museums, but I love the zoo, too!)

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  7. Wow, you've been to a lot of cool museums! Love the lizard :)

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    1. We sure have! (And lots more to go, I hope.)

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  8. Jack looks very happy and proud to be standing next to you.

    When you spoke about mercury poisoning, I remembered back to when I was young and we used to play with Mercury balls. We would roll them in our hands, break them apart and be mesmerized by them. I wonder where we got them. I am now thinking that could explain the state of my mind.

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    1. HA! Poor Jack didn't get a say in the matter...

      We played with mercury as kids, too. Got it from broken thermometers. (And I'm not saying HOW those thermometers "happened" to get broken...) But even worse, I remember playing with it in high school chemistry class. I can't believe the teacher didn't put a stop to it. You're right. It might explain our unusual sense of humor...

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  9. That sounds like an awesome event! I've never actually been to a museum, but I'm the kind of person who would love it.

    I really like the pictures of the witches around the giant cauldron. :)

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    1. Never been to a museum? Wow. I hope you change that sometime in the near future. :)

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  10. lol riding a dino and groping JFK's rear end, you sure don't waste any time hahaha

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    1. Yep, gotta grab a handful of fun whenever you can.

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  11. JFK doesn't know what he missed :)
    Happy Weekend!

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    1. That's right! I give a mean back rub. :)

      Happy weekend to you, too!

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  12. I have only been thru the Atlanta airport. Alas. Sounds like I need to come in for a real visit and hit a lot of museums. I'll pay admission! I'm a big supporter. Civil War stuff fascinates me. IMAX movies are cool. History, photos - you were in heaven. Thanks for sharing - a big kid at heart. Love the Dean Martin quote. Happy Mom's Weekend to you - enjoy

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    1. Yes, yes, yes, you definitely need to spend some time in the area next time. Lots of great museums around, a super aquarium, Stone Mountain... me... :)

      Happy Mother's Day weekend to you, too!

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  13. Love the picture on your header. I've been there! Very cool inside! We've visited quite a few museums since we've been in Atlanta. There's more we still haven't visited, like the Tellus Science museum.

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    1. Thanks. I would have liked to get down below and shot it to catch the cascading water down the terrace in front of the house, too, but I was too lazy to walk all the way down there... or to search for old photos I took of it years ago. Yes, it very cool inside. There was a lot more of it open now than the last time I went inside during the seventies. (Go figure.)

      I think Bubba would especially like the Tellus Science Museum. (Every kid would like to touch fossilized dinosaur poop, right?)

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  14. I could see by JFK's look on his face that something was going on there! :-) I love museums and I am lucky to live in a city where the majority are still free. How much longer? I don't know. We just got a proper Tory government today. God help us all. :-(

    Have a great weekend.

    Greetings from London.

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    1. Yeah, it looks like I was making JFK a little uncomfortable, doesn't it?

      It's GREAT that most of your museums are free. Let's hope they stay that way. The Tories may tack on a fee, but that'd be better than closing them down, like some of the extreme right-wingers here would like to do.

      You have a great weekend, too.

      Greetings back atcha.

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  15. Thank you so much for the virtual tour, I've enjoyed it and learned more. I especialky like that bix usedfor elections. It would have been much easier probably to just have 2 candidates and use colored balls to vote ... ornag d not.

    The bicycle snd the kid's uniform are also impressive.

    Once a year there is a museum night held in our city. All museums are open for free. Of course people haveto stay in line as not everybody can be allowed to be in all at the same time. But that's a great idea.

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    1. You're welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      I expected there to be large crowds at the museums, but much to my surprise, there weren't! No lines at all. We ran into a few busloads of noisy schoolchildren, but they were well-behaved. And friendly.

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  16. Come on. You know you were grabbing JFK's butt. I mean, who wouldn't, given the opportunity? ;)

    And you make a great-looking astronaut!

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    1. HA! I'll never tell...

      Thanks. Must be why my amateur radio call sign is AF4FO... for "Far Out!"

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  17. I keep going back to look at the motorcycle. I was raised on Clarence Young's "Motor Boys" books --from early 1900s-- and found this exciting sentence:
    “Oh, go ahead, ride it home,” put in Ned. “We can manage to find out how it works, and we can get some gasolene over to the drug store.”

    Remember when big items used --like one's 1st bicycle-- used to arrive by rail and we'd wait by the conveyor belt in 1962? What a different and what a lovely world ,eh?

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    1. That motorcycle is definitely cool. I'm not familiar with those books, but I do remember the days when you could buy just about anything "over to the drug store."

      Nope, I don't recall ever getting anything by rail when I was a kid. Our stuff mostly came from the local five and dime... or the mighty Sears and Roebuck. But yes, it was... and is... a lovely world.

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  18. Hi Susan,

    I wonder if you remember me? Maybe not but they have a museum dedicated to my amazingness. Okay, not quite true, they haven't actually built the museum and they haven't actually planned a museum in my honour, sorry, "honor" and sorry to my English, English spell check.

    Thanks for the museum tour and yep, I see you. And yep, a happy Mother's Day, North American style to you and all those mothers out there. Did that sound right?

    Gary :)

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  19. Hi,Gary.

    Of COURSE I remember you. It's good to hear from you again.It's an honour. (See,I can write in Brit-speak, too!)

    Thank you. Yes, it sounded just right. :)

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  20. Happy Mother's Day weekend.

    Interesting pics. I wish there were more museums in my area. We do have some interesting walking and boating tours, though.

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    1. Thanks, and the same to you.

      Walking and boating tours sound like fun, too. Probably healthier, too.

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  21. You really get around, Susan. I mean that in the best possible way.

    I'm not sure which of these exhibits is most fascinating. I think I'd have liked the movie you watched on the unseen things. That would've been cool. Our world is an incredible place!

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    1. Reminds me of an old Dion song: "I get around, round, round, round, I get around..."

      I think you would have enjoyed that movie, too. Every once in a while, it's nice to be reminded just how incredible our world is. Wonder isn't just for the young. (Thank goodness!)

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  22. Great post, Susan! I love museums. I enjoyed seeing what you saw on your visit there. Happy Mother's Day to you too! :)

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    1. Thanks, Daisy! I'm glad you liked it. And a very Happy Mother's Day to you.

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  23. One of the advantages of living in (or near) a big city is the access to great museums. I'm fascinated by the motorcycle with a leather chain. Wonder how long you could ride before things got frayed and stretched?

    And that old-fashioned ballot box seems like a fail safe way to vote. No computers to crash, no chads to hang, no questions about the color of the balls...

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    1. Smarticus would never be happy living in a city, so I'm satisfied with being close enough to one to take advantage of the attractions.

      I wondered the same thing about the leather chain.

      No hanging chads would definitely be a plus.

      Happy Mother's Day! I hope you have a super day.

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  24. You were SO touching JFK's butt.
    Always wanted to know what was at the Smithsonian, so I'm going to take the virtual tour.

    Hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day!

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    1. HA! You're onto me.

      Cool. I hope you enjoyed the tour through the Smithsonian.

      I did! Thank you. I hope you had a terrific day, too.

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    2. Spawn and I LOVED the tour through the Smithsonian! So much more impressive than the museums over here. Thanks so much for the link Susan. :)

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    3. Fantastic! I'm soooo glad you enjoyed it. :)

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  25. I love a good museum. (I also love Mae West's quote.) It's the little details, glimpses into lives of years ago that fascinate me. If you ever want to travel a bit to see a very cool - and free - museum, come to Dayton, Ohio and check out the National U.S. Air Force Museum. If you need a place to stay, let me know - our guest room is usually available.

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    1. If you're talking about the museum at Wright-Patterson, we've been there... and LOVED it. The largest amateur radio hamfest in the country is held in Dayton every May, and when we went to the fest to celebrate our anniversary one year, we visited the museum, too. Only downside of that trip was the loooooong drive up and back. It was a bit much for a few-day stay. :) But, gee, now that I know your guest room is available, we can stay for a couple weeks next time. HA! (Just kidding!)

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  26. Lol, I came back from the virtual tour to read the full post. Awesome!

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    1. I'm glad to hear you took the virtual tour. I hope you enjoyed it!

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  27. What a delightful post! As I mentioned last week, I love museums. Almost more than museums, I adore pots (yes, with an ’s’). The politician jug instantly made me smile, the little guy’s suit of clothing tugged on my heart strings, and the three witches reminded me of home. How can one not love museums???

    Must confess, though, the museum tour was a show stopper. I’ve always dreamed of visiting the Smithsonian—now I can. Thank you.

    Did I mention how fabulous you look in a space suit?

    Hope your Mother’s Day was chock-full of happiness!

    VR Barkowski

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't love museums, but different strokes for different folks, I reckon.

      Super! I'm glad you like the Smithsonian tour. It's the most wonderful museum I've ever attended. Much too much to see in a single day, so when we lived in Baltimore, we had to make a lot of return trips. (Oh darn.)

      Well, thank you. (The space suit didn't make me look fat...?)

      Mother's Day was terrific. I hope you had a great day, too.

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  28. Fun fact: Before I became a full time writer, I worked on voting machines. Often I'd have to support elections to make sure they ran smoothly. And let me just say, people do NOT understand electronic voting. At all. I kinda feel like going back to colored balls would be a huge step up from what we have now. Colored voting balls are pretty much impossible to screw up.

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    1. I'm not at all surprised that a lot of people don't understand electronic voting. Some people had/have trouble with the ol' "mark your choice with an X" paper ballots. (Which we still use in our local city elections.)

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  29. My Grandfather would have loved the Western Museum. I've been to many with him, but not that one. Loved the prices were discounted or free. I'm getting spoiled in London since many of the museums are free here.

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    1. My father would have loved the Western Museum, too.

      Not only does London have free museums, but there's so much MORE history there, too!

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  30. Look at you grabbing JFK, Jr.'s hiney!! ;) Kidding, I read what you wrote, I just laughed because I didn't even think that until you said it. And the little outfit for the soldier's son really is sad.

    I like museums. Fortunately everyone else in the house does too. :)

    BTW, Hope you had a great Mother's Day!!

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    1. I'm just a dirty ol' lady...

      Thanks. I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day, too.

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  31. You look adorable in the astronaut suit, Susan! You and your hubby were wise to take advantage of the special museum days! I also loved the Smithsonian museums. My favorite museum in Chicago is the Museum of Science and Industry. I enjoyed it growing up, and it was even more special when we explored the underground coal mines with our boys. Hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day, Susan!

    Julie

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    1. Hi-ya, kiddo. It's good to hear from you again. I hope your mom is doing better now.

      Our younger son went to college in Chicago, and he used to love some of the museums there. And other attractions, as well. Heck, he even liked the COLD weather!

      I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day, too, Julie.

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  32. Now I'll have to make a point and go - want to take hubby to the clock museum up the road in Columbia. His mother left him a clock with an old lady sitting in front of a burning fireplace rocking in her chair - needs repair, been meaning to do it forever. Love the politicians jug!

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    1. Great! Can't say that I've ever been to a clock museum before, but if one were nearby, I'm sure I'd be willing to make time for it... (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

      Your husband's clock sounds very unusual. Have you ever taken it to an antique shop to try to learn more about its origins?

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