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Bastoszak, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Miles Davis’s Childhood Home to Become a Museum

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Bastoszak, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Though he made a name for himself in New York City, legendary trumpeter Miles Davis never forgot his roots. The son of a dentist, Davis spent his formative years in East St. Louis, Illinois—which is where he first began honing his craft and where, on his 13th birthday, Miles’s father presented him with a brand-new trumpet. Though the jazz great’s childhood home has been vacant for several years, a nonprofit group known as HOME (short for House of Miles East St. Louis) is planning to turn the storied property at 1701 Kansas Avenue into a museum and music education center for children.

The brainchild of Lauren Parks and Jasper Gery Pearson, the idea to transform the space began back in 2011, though reconstruction on the property didn’t begin until this month. The plan is to gut the property's interior, then restore it to what it looked like in the 1920s, when Davis called it home (he was born on May 26, 1926).

In addition to providing visitors with an intimate glimpse at how the budding musician lived, including his connection to the city, Parks and Pearson plan to develop a host of educational opportunities for kids that will include music classes, obviously, but history and community stewardship programs, too.

“We’re looking to give our kids a little sense of home,” Pearson told St. Louis Public Radio. “That’s why we called this place HOME, House of Miles East St. Louis. So when you think of home you think not only about the front door and the back door, but the whole community.” 

HOME is in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign to raise $50,000 to complete the project, which they hope to open to the public in the fall. Think of it as the birthplace of the Birth of Cool.

[h/t Curbed]

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Natural History Museum
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Animals
London's Natural History Museum Has a New Star Attraction: An Amazing Blue Whale Skeleton
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Natural History Museum

In January 2017, London’s Natural History Museum said goodbye to Dippy, the Diplodocus dinosaur skeleton cast that had presided over the institution’s grand entrance hall since 1979. Dippy is scheduled to tour the UK from early 2018 to late 2020—and taking his place in Hintze Hall, The Guardian reports, is a majestic 82-foot blue whale skeleton named Hope.

Hope was officially unveiled to the public on July 14. The massive skeleton hangs suspended from the hall’s ceiling, providing visitors with a 360-degree view of the largest animal ever to have lived on Earth.

Technically, Hope isn’t a new addition to the Natural History Museum, which was first established in 1881. The skeleton is from a whale that beached itself at the mouth of Ireland's Wexford Harbor in 1891 after being injured by a whaler. A town merchant sold the skeleton to the museum for just a couple of hundred pounds, and in 1934, the bones were displayed in the Mammal Hall, where they hung over a life-size blue whale model.

The whale skeleton remained in the Mammal Hall until 2015, when museum workers began preparing the skeleton for its grand debut in Hintze Hall. "Whilst working on the 221 bones we uncovered past conservation treatments, such as the use of newspaper in the 1930s to fill the gaps between the vertebrae," Lorraine Cornish, the museum's head of conservation, said in a statement. "And we were able to use new methods for the first time, including 3D printing a small number of bones missing from the right flipper."

Once restoration was complete, Hope was suspended above Hintze Hall in a diving position. There she hangs as one of the museum’s new major attractions—and as a reminder of humanity’s power to conserve endangered species.

"The Blue Whale as a centerpiece tells a hopeful story about our ability to create a sustainable future for ourselves and other species," according to a museum press release. "Humans were responsible for both pushing the Blue Whale to the brink of extinction but also responsible for its protection and recovery. We hope that this remarkable story about the Blue Whale will be told by parents and grandparents to their children for many years to come, inspiring people to think differently about the natural world."

Check out some pictures of Hope below.

 “Hope,” a blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling of Hintze Hall in London’s Natural History Museum.
Natural History Museum

“Hope,” a blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling of Hintze Hall in London’s Natural History Museum.
Natural History Museum

“Hope,” a blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling of Hintze Hall in London’s Natural History Museum.
Natural History Museum

“Hope,” a blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling of Hintze Hall in London’s Natural History Museum.
Natural History Museum

[h/t Design Boom]

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iStock
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History
Century-Old Graffiti Written by Hotel Waiters Discovered on the Walls of Florida Museum
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iStock

Today, the historic Hotel Alcazar building in St. Augustine, Florida exists as the Lightner Museum, which is dedicated to fine and decorative 19th-century art. But when it was first built in 1888, the luxurious hotel served as a playground for sun-worshippers on holiday. More than 25,000 guests flocked to the Alcazar during the 1890s to waltz across its grand ballroom, enjoy its bowling alley, and splash in what was then considered the world's largest indoor swimming pool.

Not surprisingly, hotel life at the Alcazar was different for its staff, many of whom were immigrants from Ireland or Italy. These seasonal workers lived in a dormitory on the hotel's fourth floor—and their graffiti, recently discovered by a mason repainting rooms, sheds new light on what it may have been like to wait on America's vacationing elite.

According to The St. Augustine Record, the mason was sanding and smoothing the hotel's plaster walls when he noticed faint penciled words—some hidden inside closets—that had been whitewashed over decades earlier. Dating all the way back to 1915 (the Alcazar closed in 1932) are servants' names, signed next to a year. Other workers sketched their work schedules, restaurant menus and prices, and even poetry across the walls.

And of course, there are complaints about the guests—some of whom were probably not accustomed to the practice of tipping, according to Lightner Museum curator Barry Myers. "They were more polite than we are today, so the rudest comments described customers as ‘a pain in the neck' or a ‘pain in the back,'" Myers told The Record.

So far, workers have discovered graffiti in three of the museum's 44 fourth-floor rooms that once housed staff. Museum educators have instructed workers to leave the markings alone, and are working on translating phrases written in Italian and Spanish. They plan to incorporate the century-old scribbles into a living history exhibit—and if even more writing is discovered, open the fourth floor to visitors.

Learn more about the historic discovery by watching The Record's video below:

[h/t The St. Augustine Record]

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