Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Historic Site, a Museum, and a Fair

Most of what we did today we completely made up along the way and it all turned out roses. After waking up in Lawrence, Kansas we did some strolling along a street with lots of very college town shops.

We both agreed that the neighborhood reminded us of the Loop in St. Louis only much less scary. I even got to do some profitable book shopping. Hurray!

We then hit the road and headed towards our only actually planned destination: Wamego, KS.

We weren't driving long before we hit our first detour: a sign for the Brown v. Board of Education
National Historic Site in Topeka. It sounded cool plus Lydia is a teacher so I figured she'd be even more interested.

This creepy black baby-doll had was accompanied by a sign that read:

This doll is one of four that Kenneth and Mamie Clark used to conduct their study on the damage done to black children by branding them with the inferior status implied by segregation. Starting in 1939, the Clarks used these dolls to test some 200 children, including 16 black children aged 6 to 9 in rural Clarendon County, South Carolina, the week before the Briggs case was argued.
 "The conclusion I was forced to reach was that the children in Clarendon County, like other human beings who are subjected to an obviously inferior status in the society in which they live, have been definitely harmed in the development of their personalities." Dr. Kenneth Clark testimony, Briggs v. Elliot, 1951.

When we finally made it to Wamego we popped in to the OZ Museum. The Wizard of Oz is credited as the only time the state of Kansas has ever been or will ever be mentioned in a movie ever. Ever.

From the outside, I was a bit iffy on whether the OZ Museum was going to be worth the $8 admission, but it ended up being pretty darn cool.

They had lots of neat memorabilia from the books as well as the movie.

I liked Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum's life story because he was really hustling. He seemed to be doing lots of random odd jobs until he found something completely awesome to make his career. At one point he was a traveling axle grease salesman. It doesn't get much worse than that.

There was a little sign in the museum that explained that the Emerald City in the books was likely inspired by the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, often referred to as the "White City". Baum traveled to Chicago to see the fair. An additional fun fact was that in Baum's first book the city wasn't green, but anyone who entered was forced to wear green tinted glasses which created the illusion that the city was emerald. That sneaky wizard!

Even the museum's closed sign was fun!

Across the street there was a nice little yellow brick road leading to a park.

Well we only had a couple of things planned to do in Omaha and we still had an extra day to burn, so we decided to tour a bit of Nebraska's hinterland. In particular the Sandhills sounded like they might be worth a look. Why not? Well as we drove I passed a billboard for the Nebraska State Fair on the highway. I noticed that it was in progress, but didn't think much of it. A little while later we stopped at a Walmart for some snacks or something, and just for giggles I checked where the fair was going to be held. It was taking place in Grand Island, Nebraska. The city we had just stopped in. We both laughed when we saw the sign in the Walmart parking lot that read: "State Fair Shuttle". Let's go!

We arrived pretty late in the day due to the total lack of planning that had taken place, so we only had an hour before all of the exhibitions closed. We booked it.

This was a combine simulator which may win for dullest video game ever.

Clown garbage can. Who's laughing now?

Lydia wanted to walk around and look at this building full of quilts. I was glad she suggested it too because there were lots of patterns and fabrics and each color had a really significant zzzzzzzz.........

I had to admit that this Lego Star Wars quilt was pretty killer.

Sky ride!

There was a building full of pigs and cows about to or recently having given birth. There was a crowd gathered around one mother pig that looked like she was about ready to start launching little walking ham sandwiches at any moment. I can't say I've ever actually witnessed any sort of birth take place and I didn't want to ruin my winning streak today. I enjoyed watching these little guys battle for milk though.

There were some recent chick escapees present as well.

Why not?

This sheep needed some supervision. Not my souvenir cup!

How would you like to be a corn judge?

Once we were satisfied with seeing every last display we could relax and stuff our faces with fair food.

I read about the stuffed cucumbers while still on the shuttle bus and was happy to find them. There were a couple choices... chicken salad and a something else... but I chose seafood salad. It was really delicious and unusual, and its healthiness was completely out of fair-food character. The guy pumped it full of filling with like a food-grade caulk gun. Appetizing.

We had a beef sundae, which was beef, mashed potatoes, cheese, and a cherry tomato with some toast on the side. People used to call me "beef sundae" in college.

What a day!

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