Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Stegosaurus in the Snow

Just before Christmas, we took Duncan to The Berkshire Museum, in Pittsfield, MA, for their annual Festival of Trees. We hadn't been there before, and I think if we lived closer, we'd be pretty regular customers. They have decent science exhibits for the little ones and some art galleries as well. They aren't the Met or the AMNH, by any means, but they do host a variety of traveling exhibits. Now, they have a mummy exhibit and an armor exhibit. We didn't even try to look at the art; we knew the trees and maybe the science would be all Duncan would be able to manage. To my surprise, he didn't enjoy the trees as much as we did. He spent most of his time on that floor looking for his admissions badge that he had lost before we even reached the second floor landing. (Truthfully, I lost mine too, but I found it, quietly and discreetly).  After Jamie and I dragged Duncan through the trees, we visited the animal exhibits. He looked at some taxidermied animals ("those are statues, Mama?"), listened to bird calls, and looked at dinosaur bones. He was disappointed that there wasn't a complete dinosaur skeleton, but what can you do? Finally, we visited the live animals, the touch tank, and the fish, which he thought were fun to watch.

I sort of forgot about my camera after taking pictures of the trees. And those shots are not fantastic either because I was using the manual settings on my camera and didn't realize everything was out of focus. I was amazed at the number and variety of trees. Some were pretty standard: trees from businesses decorated either ornately or with their business paraphernalia; trees from schools decorated with ornaments made by the kids. Others were a little more innovative; I wouldn't have wanted them in my house, but they were fun to look at in the museum. I came away with a few good decorating ideas and a few ornament crafting ideas (though I will not be using a garland of condoms - you can't count on people not to take some, apparently).  Here are a few things I enjoyed.

This was from Adams. The garland, the topper, and the white balls are all either knit or crocheted.

There was a gorgeous tree from one of the local photograhers that was decorated in wedding photos. I loved that one but my pictures were terrible. This one was decorated in frames that contained tiny jingle bells.

This one was made of plastic spoons. I hope they were recycled.

There were at least four full rooms of trees. The center of this room was full of 1 ft. trees decorated by local school children.

This one is not gorgeous by most people's standards, but it's made from completely organic materials and recycled packaging of organic products sold at a local coop.

This tree had lights that were run on a battery that stored energy generated by riding the bicycle (just like Ed Begley's famous bike he uses to make toast). Duncan and Jamie both tried it; neither could illuminate the tree. I love the shot, achieved by complete, dumb accident.

Not Christmasy, but Duncan loved the Hall of Innovations, which highlights innovators from the Berkshires. It's a very hands-on exhibit that lets kids draw, explore music, etc. I don't remember what this was. I think it was a spider, but it could have been a monster. Both were popular that day.

And what Christmas field trip would be complete without a boy and his stegosaurus in the snow?

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