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Before there was a [US] national museum, we had a nation of savers

"In the early 1800s, a hammer was kept near Plymouth Rock for the pilgrim who had forgotten to bring one. By the end of the 19th century, what was left of the rock was fenced off within a memorial." "The United States, it turns out, was a nation of casual plunderers from the start. Visitors to Mount Vernon snapped splinters from the moldings; beachgoers in Massachusetts chiseled off chunks of Plymouth Rock; tourists snipped fabric from the White House curtains. By the early 19th century, newspapers were referring to illicit souvenir hunting as a “national mania.” " [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 12, 2013 - 49 comments

 

Panoramic Virtual Tour of Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Take a Panoramic Virtual Tour of Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Available as a full-screen virtual tour starting entry rotunda and navigating from there, or jump to individual rooms.
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 14, 2011 - 7 comments

Stinson Reliant and the Mail Pick-Up Service

From May 12, 1939 to June 30, 1949, a fleet of Stinson Reliants were used for a unique form of mail pick-up and delivery: skyhooking. Similar in notion to the mail-on-the-fly and mail cranes used along rail lines, the Reliants would fly low, deposit one load of mail and pick up the next, without stopping, providing mail service to rural communities. The Smithsonian National Postal Museum has a 39 minute documentary presentation on YouTube, but it's a guy talking over powerpoint slides, which is pretty dry. Instead, here is a modern news report with interviews of a skyhook pilot and old newsreel footage.
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 19, 2011 - 24 comments

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