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Travel Log - Kansas City
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Kansas City, May 31

I have been to 18 museums so far in this adventure and I'm learning a few things about museum "management".  One is this--sometimes people collect something and in their compulsions the collections get out of hand and perhaps a spouse may step in and says, "Do something  about this mess or else!" and the collection gets put in a building and the whole exercise is called "a museum." 

Now the person who collected all  this wonderful stuff may not really be interested in having people come  and look at it.  Their "museum" may even appear in some guide books but they do what they can  to deter people from actually finding and viewing the collection.  I found such a museum in Missouri...and since they want to remain anonymous,  we'll help out with that.  But if Independence, Missouri is your destination, you might just want to satisfy your curiosity with a  large jar of Nair from  the drug store and pass on the quirky museum there.

Instead, waste no time in getting downtown to the  Steamboat Arabia exhibit in the revitalized City Market area.  Over 200 tons of buried treasure was recovered--an 1865 time capsule, like finding a 150 year old version of the frontier WalMart.  Truly an amazing story,  this full laden steamboat sunk in the Missouri River.  The river changed course and the land became Kansas farm land.  Then an enterprising family went into research mode and  located the downed sternwheeler!  Painstaking describes the gentle bringing up out  of 45 feet of mud, all the wonderful boots,  china, buttons, hardware, glass,  jewelry--even a doll.  This is a remarkable and authentic presentation that  you will NOT FIND anywhere else in the United States.

And the professional way that everything is presented--this museum gets an A  rating from Alyce.  There is nothing they've done wrong that I can see.  Most remarkable:  they found perfume on board the ship, had it analyzed and then had it recreated.  The brand name is "1856" and it is lovely.  I'm having some shipped home.

At this museum you will learn  that if an oil lamp has TWO  wicks, then it was a whale oil burning  lamp.  One wick, kerosene.  And there were so many boots on board that it will  take 40 years to carefully clean them up and present them for viewing.

What would have happened if YOU had found this treasure?  For Flo  and Bob and their family it changed their lives forever.  Now they are museum owners, curators and managers--the whole family is involved, all the way down to grandson Matt who took my food order for a sandwich.  Matt's going to be off to college soon to study film production--he's the star potential here, a handsome young man who took my picture (with Seno, of course) and his very wonderful grandmother Flo.  She is gracious  and patient and has risen to the challenge  that the Arabia has presented them.  This museum would not be  what it is if this treasure had been given to a different family.  It is a gem to the United States and these people have taken on  the responsibility for it in an  amazing way. 

 

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Gracie hits the back roads of Ladd's Addition.
Goggles in all sizes for all people!
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