Do You also Wish that Museums have Adult Swim?

You remember adult swim? That time at the community pool when kids HAD to get out and adults took over. Those 15 minutes that lasted f.o.r.e.v.e.r. but gave you the chance to go to the snack bar and get Funyons and Fun Dip.

Funyons and Fun Dip

Images courtesy of Bing.com

Well, now I understand the glory of adult swim. Grown ups like to get in the pool, too (it’s hot, see), and it’s rather hard to enjoy a swim or a float when kids are flailing all around; cannonballs a flyin’; all that giggling.

I understand this now because evidently I am a grown up. Some people call me “ma’am.” They’re younger than I am. Yet some people ask where I go to college. They’re older than I am and are fooled by the freckles and misguided by the fact that I travel solo.

But I digress.

The Brilliant Idea

Let’s institute adult swim in museums!

It’s not fair (she says while stamping her feet) that kids get access to all of the interactive exhibits. I want to learn, too (she says in a pouty way).

When the museum is 100% kid-oriented, no problem, I’ll read over your head, hopefully I already know it, I can go to Wikipedia.

When the museum is really an adult museum and they added features to entertain kids to minimize parental exasperation, then let’s find a way to share, shall we? Enter adult swim. The curators blow the whistle and the kids go to the gift shop while the adults get to play with the exhibits. Everybody wins. Including the economy!

The Origin of the Idea

The Corning Museum of Glass (Finger Lakes region of NY) was the inspiration for this brilliant idea. There were all these cool demonstrations of glass doing things but I don’t know what things because I was raised with manners to let children go ahead of me. And there were so very, very many children. Did the Pied Piper lead a field trip?

Tidbits Gleaned from the Museum

  • add plastic to glass and it’s stronger and bendy – enter car windows
  • bake certain kinds of glass longer and they go opaque – enter Pyrex and the photo below
  • the gallery with 35 centuries of glass art and history was beautiful and overwhelming. If it were just 34 centuries I think it would have been enough.
  • the art of glass blowing is stunning, challenging, and magnificent. The exhibit featuring contemporary works deserves the same adjectives.
Pyrex Casserole Dishers at the Corning Musuem of Glass

Bake Pyrex dishes at different temperatures and the glass will go from transparent to opaque. (Pictures courtesy of Flickr)

The Big Ah-Ha of the Day: Fiber Optics

I am the least sciencey person, so let’s see if I can get this right.

Data, like digital TV, the internet, and phone calls, are now being delivered via fiber optic wires vs copper. Fiber optics are made of glass and are 3x stronger than steel. A single glass strand is a bit thicker than a human hair.

One fiber optic wire can hold 500 million phone calls at a time, vs a copper wire which delivers one at a time. We have not yet met the limit of data that even a single strand of fiber optic wire can carry. Part of the reason that we haven’t reached the capacity is that only metro areas are just starting to use it. That installation reality is also why HD TVs can sometimes wig out and “tile”–because a copper wire is used somewhere in the transmission and it can’t handle the data transfer fast enough.

I asked the question, why is it called “optics” when it’s about data? Optics implies visual to me. The answer has something to do with binary code. In the moment I thought I understood, but looking at my notes, I have no idea. Do you? If so, please enlighten in the comments.

Breaking Glass

This was a fascinating demo. Had I known how fascinating it would be, I would have video’ed it for you and then edited it shorter. But alas, didn’t occur to me. So I found a decent and relatively short video on YouTube. It’s worth the watch – I promise. You learn about glass in houses, cars, planes, etc., and how they break–or don’t.

Blowing Glass

If you’ve never seen glass blown before, it’s an art itself, not just the final product. To be clear, I did not film this video, it’s courtesy of YouTube.

***

I’m not sure what question to ask today. What do you want to say?

4 Responses

08.16.12

PL, you forgot that school doesn’t start in the NE until after Labor Day. That was probably all those parents getting in the “summer enlightenment” trip that they hadn’t yet done! If you start after school begins then at the most you might have to tackle one or two field trip groups!

As a parent, I thought that was so funny because I feel that exact same way when I go to museums, especially in DC. I am definitely a tactile learner too. LOL.

Lovely pictures of glass. Another place on my list (thanks to you) to go—after Labor Day, of course!

I’m in favor of an adult day, not just a swim. The last time we were at the aquarium in Atlanta, it was so packed with children and people pushing babies in strollers that it was an obstacle course. Most museums have delights for all ages, and I’d enjoy the opportunity to devote full attention to the exhibits instead of having to maneuver around kids.

Jeannine – to be honest, I thought about adult days, too. But the reality of travel would be frustrating. I’m in town on Sun and adult day on Mon. grr. Not to shoot down your idea, to show you that I spent WAAAAY too much time thinking about this. PS – I love my nieces and the children of anyone reading this!

Yeah, I know it’s completely, utterly impractical. But one can dream, can’t one?

I love my nieces and the children of other people, too. I really do. And sometimes, all adult time is good.

Travel on!

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