Moving the heaviest item in the museum's collection
February 17, 2017 10:02 AM   Subscribe

Did they build the building around it? No, they did not.
posted by dfm500 (24 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
I hope everyone involved remembered to lift with their legs.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:22 AM on February 17 [6 favorites]


Related, for scale: 23 of the Biggest Machines Ever Moved On Wheels

(the article didn't answer my immediate "is 250t heavy for being a locomotive" and "is 250t heavy for a flatbed transport" questions, so I had to Google a bit -- seems the answer to both is "yeah, pretty heavy, but far from the heaviest".)
posted by effbot at 10:31 AM on February 17 [7 favorites]


The breathless tone of that "A Locomotive in a City Street?" headline makes it sound like someone's never been in Jack London Square in Oakland.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 10:39 AM on February 17 [1 favorite]


I appreciate that moving a heavy train engine is difficult, but it doesn't seem so surprising that moving a thing on wheels that was built to move over flat ground is so difficult.

But try moving a goddamn space ship through the streets of LA.
posted by Nelson at 10:42 AM on February 17 [5 favorites]


The locomotive arrived at 7:30 a.m., November 26, 1961. Curator John White describes: "All had gone well to this point but in coming up over the curb onto the museum grounds one of the rear axles of the trailer snapped. The locomotive rocked back and forth. For an instant I thought it might go over on its side, but it did not. We managed to jockey the rig off of the street. There it sat until the next day when repairs could be made."

I can imagine the sharp intakes of breath combined with swearing and "oooooh"s and "hold oonnnnn...."s that happened in those few minutes.
posted by Fig at 10:53 AM on February 17 [1 favorite]


Moving the U-505 submarine at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry must have raised a few hairs as well- it weighs around 700 tons.

Of course, the move I'd really like to have seen was when it arrived at the Museum in 1954- when they somehow got it out of Lake Michigan and crossed Lake Shore Drive with it!
posted by pjern at 11:24 AM on February 17 [7 favorites]


The Baldwin locomotive in the Franklin Institute was moved on relayed tracks and then the exhibit was built around it.
posted by Peach at 11:43 AM on February 17 [1 favorite]


The locomotive rocked back and forth. For an instant I thought it might go over on its side, but it did not.

Oh. Might explain this exhibit at Cite de Train :-)
posted by effbot at 11:56 AM on February 17 [1 favorite]


The Henry Ford Museum has this big guy inside the building.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:01 PM on February 17 [1 favorite]


Something, something, your mom?
posted by blue_beetle at 12:16 PM on February 17


The Henry Ford actually has a number of locomotives and carriges. It's a fascinating series of exhibits if you're into trains at all.

I believe they have a spur line right into that part of the building so they didn't really have to do anything special to move their collection. You can see the giant doors at the back of the hall.
posted by zrail at 12:59 PM on February 17 [1 favorite]


Moving the U-505 submarine at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry must have raised a few hairs as well- it weighs around 700 tons.

Of course, the move I'd really like to have seen was when it arrived at the Museum in 1954- when they somehow got it out of Lake Michigan and crossed Lake Shore Drive with it!


My favorite story about delivering large objects to the MSI is when they landed a 727-200 at Meigs Field, and then shipped it to the MSI by barge. The runway at Meigs was only about half as long as the recommended take-off runway length, so that landing was pretty much guaranteed to be the plane's last.
posted by Johnny Assay at 1:01 PM on February 17 [5 favorites]


This reminds me of the time in the early 90s when I was working at a museum that did an exhibit on the mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang, with terracotta warriors and all. There was one piece--a massive stone lion--that was actually not too bad to get into the building. However, it had to be very carefully situated on the ground floor over one of the load-bearing pillars in the basement to keep it from eventually going through the floor.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:08 PM on February 17 [3 favorites]


This is much better than the way DC moved a locomotive into the basement of Union Station several years prior.

(Incidentally, prior to the construction of Union Station, there was a train station nearly on the mall, very close to the current location of the current American History Museum, and while I'm talking about this, I'll also mention that around that time, the Mall was a much nicer place before some misguided architects in the early 1900s turned it into the sun-parched wasteland that it is toady)
posted by schmod at 4:09 PM on February 17 [1 favorite]


See also the awkward train defenestration in Paris, 1895.
posted by Nelson at 4:23 PM on February 17 [1 favorite]


If you like seeing impossibly large, heavy things and wondering how in the hell they got them situated indoors, you'll enjoy visiting Richard Serra's humongous slabs of steel that are at the Gagosian gallery in NYC. They'll be there for a few more weeks....and the floor is cracking under them.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:33 PM on February 17 [1 favorite]


I've had the fun of assisting in the rigging of a few larger pieces of equipment that had to be moved half way across country - on the initial packaging and the unloading / deployment / assembly of the final project. It is amazing. The drivers and the crews involved know which roads they can take, they know exactly how and when they will stop for fuel, they know everything about how the weight of the product changes the routes they can take, maximum incline and decline - they know everything about how to get it there. I mean, both drivers were catheterized - which seems like an insane level of comment to delivery time and logistics...
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:23 PM on February 17 [3 favorites]


I mean, both drivers were catheterized

Texas catheters, or the tube-up-your-urethra internal catheter?

Either way, I just made a note to self that this is not the career for me.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:07 PM on February 17 [2 favorites]


See also the awkward train defenestration in Paris, 1895.

Caught on video, even :-)
posted by effbot at 6:26 PM on February 17


Trying to find out who built 1401, but no luck. A project when I have more down time.


Peach
I lived a few blocks from the FI growing up and I spent a lot of time as a kid (and adult!) climbing around that beast. Just a wonderful piece of engineering.
posted by james33 at 8:20 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


I used to work at the Franklin Institute and my desk was directly under the Baldwin, which is over 300 tonnes. There is a fair bit of truss-work down there to hold it up.
posted by keeo at 8:34 AM on February 18 [2 favorites]


I had no idea that there was a device called a Texas catheter. I would have believed that was ER slang for, say, a stab wound in the groin.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:15 AM on February 18 [3 favorites]


Trying to find out who built 1401, but no luck. A project when I have more down time.

Museum object page says American Locomotive Company. Richmond Works (wiki)
posted by effbot at 11:15 AM on February 18


zrail If I recall the story correctly, those huge doors behind the Allegheny weren't quite big enough for the engine, and they had to remove the door and the doorframe to get it into the building. The entire rail exhibit is a bit cramped because the 1601 is so much bigger than the engines they'd planned on putting in the building, but no way was the museum going to turn it down.
posted by jlkr at 4:06 PM on February 20


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