A Tale of Two Museums

This vacation we’ve really been trying to vacate. Sitting out by the pool. A little shopping. An occasional meal out. Reading. Relaxing. Futzing on the computers. Doing jigsaw puzzles. Playing the occasional game. In other words: doing what one normally does in Palm Springs when it is 108° out!

However, we did take some time to see two museums.

Palm Springs Art MuseumThe first was the Palm Springs Art Museum. The museum was free Thursday evening before the street fair, so we wandered over to see what it was like. In short: very very nice. I normally don’t like art museums — I’m not into static pictures. PSAM had a lot of nice modern art. One piece that still sticks in my mind is a sculpture of an old couple on a bench that was so realistic you were expecting them to breath. I also enjoyed a lot of their contemporary works, and we really enjoyed their exhibit of contemporary modern glass. Some other scultures that stick in my mind (they aren’t on the website) was a large fiberglass structure of a manga-style dog; a very realistic nude reclining woman sculture, a glass box that created a virtual hole, a bronze sculture of four garbage bags that were extremely realistic. Another interesting bronze was on the website: a horse that appeared to be made out of driftwood, but was really made from bronze casts of driftwood.

Palm Springs Air Museum of FlyingToday, we went to see a very different museum: the Palm Springs Air Museum of Flying. This was really a misnamed museum: it wasn’t a museum of flying — it was a museum of World War II and World War II aircraft (in fact, if you look at the images of the planes, you’ll see it was once called the WWII Air Museum, but they probably had a conflict with the one in Camarillo). There was loads of history at this museum, but the real focus was the war. There were two wings: one that focused on the Navy (i.e., the Pacific war), and one that focused on the Army (i.e., the European war). They had a large roster of planes — most of them capable of operation — including a B-47, a C-17, B-25, P-47, and many more. They also had lots of war material and related cultural ephemera. What was missing here was information on flying. How did the use of aircraft in war develop? A few of the carriers were shown carrying biplanes — what were they used for? How did the material used for aircraft change? How did development of military aircraft influence later commercial aircraft? What about use of aircraft in other wars, ranging from early WWI usage through the Korean, Vietnam, and subsequent conflicts. This is what was missing. In some ways, it was like the experience at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, where the focus was much more D-Day as opposed to the broader war.

Music: Rockin’ the Uke (Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer): A Flea and a Fly In a Flue