Saturday, April 09, 2016

Two museums make it a good day

We're in the middle of a road trip.  I'm doing this entry from a motel in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Our destination is Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska, but since we really aren't tied to a schedule, I did some Internet searching and found some things to do in Lincoln first.  The first place we visited isn't one most people would be interested in, but I knew Cliff would like it because it is tractor-related:  The Lester F Larsin Tractor Test Museum on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Cliff has a copy of that book on the left in the above picture that he has treated almost like a bible; he's carried with him many times when he's gone "old-tractor-shopping", and has pulled it out often when giving advice to those who seek it.  The book lists the power of various tractors tested at this place.  Now, both he and I thought this tractor-testing stopped sometime in the '70's (because that's as far as that particular book went), but no, the testing still goes on.  Back in 1920, anybody could build a tractor and make whatever claims about it he wanted.  Someone in the state of Nebraska decided any tractor being sold in the state should be tested for power to prevent salesmen from making false claims.  

A student showed us around the small museum.

This shows an 1855 Oliver like ours at home, fitted and attached to the test machine.  They used this same equipment until 2002, I believe the kid said.  

It was rather a lucky "people" day for Cliff, because the student's dad wandered in looking for his son, whom he hadn't seen for a while.  Turns out both dad and son are tractor aficionados, and they had quite a little chat with my husband.

We left the university grounds.  We ate a quick peanut butter sandwich in the car because the Museum of Speed was next on our list of places to visit, and this time of year it's only open from noon to 4:30, Fridays only.  

I didn't expect to enjoy this tour:  I have no interest in racing, and I've never developed an interest in any vehicle that goes over thirty miles per hour.  However, we had a great tour guide, so I was pleasantly surprised.
He volunteers, as all the guides do.  He managed to have a story about any race car or engine in the place, and each story involved an interesting person.  He was very knowledgeable about everything there; he's actually done a little racing himself in the past.  He was so enthusiastic that in the end, a tour that was supposed to last ninety minutes went on for two-and-a-half hours, because as long as he had four people left in the group asking questions, he was willing to stay and answer them.  

I looked up a lot of the reviews about this place, and never found a single negative one.  Most people gave it five stars, and I'm going to also... mainly because of the man who showed us through the place, who made it so interesting.  I love stories and story-tellers.

I'll just throw in a couple of pictures I took, because what's an entry about a race museum without a picture of a race car?

Today, the Nebraska State Capitol, then to Kearney to a highly-rated museum there, and finally, we'll go on to Pioneer Village at Minden.  



Museums are indeed always interesting. These two look like fun. I love the stories the guides tell too. ENJOY the rest of your trip. Be safe heading home.

Margaret said...

I would love the racing museum, and you are correct, an excellent guide can make or break a tour.