Les Musées de Tacoma

OK, why the French? Search me.

As I said in the last post, this voyage is light on photos. Just a few things that caught my eye. If you are in Tacoma with time on your hands, I recommend a visit to both the Washington State Museum of History and the Tacoma Art Museum. Neither is large, but both are interesting.

The coolest thing in the history museum is a huge model railroad depicting the area during the Golden Age of Rail.

This is a roundhouse, used to switch locomotives from one track to another. A locomotive would pull onto the rotating section in the middle, then the section would rotate and send the locomotive off on another track (or into the barn).
Do you remember when harmonic vibrations caused the Tacoma Narrows bridge to fall down? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it, it’s pretty amazing. This recently-found bit of concrete is from the original bridge.
What store would be complete without a good stock of Oregon Lard?
Speaking of disasters, here’s Mt. St. Helens before it blew off its top and one side. It was a really beautiful, symmetrical mountain.
A cautionary tale of what can happen when the rich squeeze the poor too hard.

The art museum has more than enough Chihuly glass, but I guess that’s not surprising considering that he’s a local boy. I enjoyed the early stuff, done before he started churning out tons of squiggly commercial dreck.

You should zoom in on this one, it’s pretty amazing.

There was also a good exhibit about the artistic process, another on the negative effect of overly-romanticized depictions of native people, and a good collection of works by black artists.

I liked this a lot. Looks like a prickly pear cactus…
…but it’s made from pieces of Border Patrol uniforms.
The incomparable Frederick Douglass.
I cannot resist a crow or a raven.

So, that’s it! There’s lots more to be seen in both museums. More to be seen in Tacoma, actually. Plan to have a look around if you’re in the area.

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