The Boston Museum of Science was, without a doubt, my favorite museum growing up; even more than the Children's Museum. Yeah, the latter had more things to play with, more of the "hands on" exhibits, but the Science Museum had the coolest things to see. It was there that I saw a huge pendulum slowly swing back and forth, and knock over little domino-like tiles. I didn't understand it at the time, but apparently, it was proof that the world rotated.
The coolest thing about the museum was the way it changed its exhibits from time to time, and added things that were informative, but also fun. One time, they had this machine that taught you about how a power plant worked, by making you the man in charge of the power grid! Then there was a car driving thing that let you see what the effect of driving on ice or driving drunk, or both, would have when you tried to stop. I got to tell you, that convinced me of the dangers of drinking and driving long before I would ever get behind the wheel for real. As did the human organ displays, mainly the diseased lungs that showed the results of years of smoking. My God, to see the build up of tar in those; after that, I'd never touch a cigarette in my life!
But, the coolest thing that ever came to the museum, was the dinosaur. Now, I'd seen dinosaur bones before; they were over at the Natural History Museum, and I'd always loved them. I was a boy (after all), and what little boy doesn't love dinosaurs? They were the coolest creatures that every lived; giant lizards with horns and plates, and some with big, sharp teeth! Is it any wonder "Jurassic Park" was a hit? In my day, we didn't have that movie, but there was "When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth". I think I saw it about ten times down at the old Regent's Theater in Arlington.
Well, one day, my Mom read that the Science Museum was going to get a real dinosaur, a Tyrannosaurus Rex! It would not just be a skeleton, it would be a re-creation. For the first time, I could see what a dinosaur really looked like. She showed me the picture in the Boston Globe; it showed the pieces being shipped to the museum. My Mom obviously saw the look of pure glee on my face. It did not take a rocket scientist to put two and two together, and know where I wanted to go.
So, at long last, it arrived at the museum. Me, I was ready to see it the next day! Of course, that couldn't happen, what with school and all. But, we finally did get to the museum. Once there, I made a beeline for the dinosaur display. There it was, in all its glory, the great T-Rex. I just stood there for the longest time, gazing up at it. At that moment, I wanted to be a paleontologist in the worst way. Of course, I was just a kid, so I also wanted to be a fireman, policeman, and several other things before the year was over.
Still, that day, that moment, that memory burns bright in my mind. Many more visits to the museum would follow, and I never failed to have a great time.
Click here for more by AJ Robinson.
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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