Archive for the ‘Museums’ Category


Driving by the Milwaukee Art Museum on Saturday morning, the contrast of the open soleil against a brilliant blue, cloud-streaked sky was more than I could bear. The Wabi Sabi staff car made a sharp unplanned right, nearly missing the entrance, but was rewarded with an unlimited view of the building, sans visitors and assorted cars.

Of course, I ended up zeroing in on the wings as they stood poised against the sky, like impossibly graceful birds.

Windhover Hall, a mind-boggling component of the Milwaukee Art Museum complex, is the portion of the museum visible above made up of blue-tinted glass. The Burke Brise Soleil is a moveable sunscreen with a wingspan of 217 feet that fits over Windhover Hall and opens and closes twice a day. Both the Hall and the Soleil are part of the museum campus called The Quadracci Pavilion and were designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.  The entire structure is an incredibly arresting sight, poised on the shore of Lake Michigan and often appearing on the verge of taking flight.

For views of Windhover Hall from the inside the building, check out these earlier posts:

Six images

I offer you an antidote for yet another gloomy Midwestern winter day:


The Centre Pompidou in Paris, housing the Bibliothèque Publique d’Information (Public Information Library),  the Musée National d’Art Moderne (which is the largest museum for modern art in Europe,) and IRCAM, a centre for music and acoustic research.


The brightly colored exoskeleton of the Pompidou is actually a color-coded display of  its mechanical systems: blue pipes are for climate control, green for the plumbing, yellow pipes carry the electrical wires, and safety features, such as fire extinguishers, are in red.






More aircraft engines from the EAA Museum in Oshkosh.


















I’m not sure, but I think I have just succeeded in making an aircraft engine look sexy.





Details of Marinoni’s rotary letterpress printing machine. (1883)





Plus…though I cannot correctly identify the proper name or purpose of the Centrifugal Frammis avec Wires et les Numbers Totally Random in my post from Monday, I will share that this next device sat on the top of it. Looks pretty darned electrical to me. And the whole thing was housed in the wing designated Mechaniques.


Seriously? That’s still not enough information?


I give and I give and I give…


Machine for reeding linen, 1810…assuming that my spotty notes are somewhat accurate.  I did try to find other images of such a machine online–for confirmation–and was not able to, so I expect you’ll just need to trust me on this one.


Such a utilitarian machine, yet created with such fine detailing. I find the marriage of  beauty and function here to be wonderful. Did you catch all the engravings? Not sure about the significance of the dragon but it does seem to be original to the piece.




Let me give you a sense of the physical setting here.  Room after room in the three story building looked like this:


Windows! Lots of windows spilling sunshine onto warm wooden floors. Outside walls were lined with orderly display cases and this interesting set of narrow rail tracks ran through the middle. Since the tracks often ended at a wall, we concluded that it was an artifact from an earlier time.

Smaller machines and devices generally were in the glass cases. Bigger machines, like this one, dominated the centers of the rooms.


Sorry, but I don’t document well when I am in an altered state of Photo-Joy. I do not know what that wonderful circle is, but I think we can all agree that it is a thing of beauty.

I can identify the next three. (I’ll bet you could, too, without my input.) They were a part of the Communications wing and are examples of early movie-making equipment.




Still to come: gears, gears and more gears.