Tag Archives: museum

Musée Gilles-Villeneuve

Berthierville, Québec

The Gilles-Villeneuve Museum

When we were in Quebec, The Curator, The Brazilian and I visited the Gilles-Villeneuve Museum, which is just north of Montreal.

A real-size bronze statue of Gilles Villeneuve outside the museum

The museum opened in 1988 in an old post office building. By 1995, the museum had outgrown the original building, and moved to its current location. The museum receives, on average, 20,000 visitors a year.

Villeneuve began his racing career on snowmobiles in Quebec. It was his main source of income as a professional driver starting out in his late teens. In 1974, Villeneuve won the World Championship Snowmobile Derby, which only heightened his popularity on the ice.

In 1977, McClaren offered Villeneuve a ride in five Formula One races, making his debut at the British Grand Prix. He finished ninth in that race.

Enzo & Gilles

Dropped by McClaren, Villeneuve signed on to race for Ferrari for the final two races of 1977 and the 1978 season, picking up his first win at the 1978 Canadian Grand Prix. In 1979, Villeneuve finished 2nd in the Formula One World Championship.

In total, Villeneuve won six Formula One races, with his last win coming at the 1981 Spanish Grand Prix.

Gilles Villeneuve died on 8 May 1982. During his final qualifying session at the Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder, Villeneuve came over a rise at 140mph, and hit the back of a slower moving car driven by Jochen Maas. Villeneuve’s Ferrari went airborne for over 100 meters before nosediving into the asphalt and disintegrating as it somersaulted. Villeneuve was 32.

The museum is full of Gilles Villeneuve memorabilia, including his personal Ford 4WD pickup. It’s well worth a stop if you’re in the Montreal area.

Algonquin Logging Museum

Algonquin Logging Museum Visitor Center

Located in Algonquin Provincial Park is the Algonquin Logging Museum. There is a visitor center with a bookstore and theater, but the exhibits are all outside along a 1.3 km loop trail. It’s a beautiful walk through the forest, but keep in mind the ground is uneven, so if you need the help of a cane, do not be too stubborn to bring it along.

Reconstructed “camboose”

During the 1800’s there were periods when over half of Canada’s able-bodied men, worked in winter logging camps. The earliest style of camp was the “camboose shanty”, a log structure with a rough wood floor and central fireplace. A camboose usually housed 52 men, had one entrance, and no windows.

Camboose roof

I loved the simple design of the camboose roof. Cedar logs formed into “scoops”, which provided a strong and waterproof roof.

Door to the horse stable

The horse stable was much like the housing for the men, just without bunks and fireplace. I took the picture, because I liked the hinges.

Horse-powered log lift

Prior to the arrival of logging trucks in the 1940’s, horse power was the means of log transport. Trees would be skidded to a loading area, then loaded by these lifts onto horse-drawn sleighs. The sleighs would then take the logs down to rivers and streams, and then floated out on the swollen rivers with the spring runoff.

Horse drawn V-snowplow

Due to the massive weight of a log-loaded sleigh, the haul roads had to be constantly maintained.

A water tanker

Loads could be as much as 20 tons. To keep the haul roads as slick as possible, crews would go out at night in their water tankers and spread water on the sleigh-runner tracks, which would freeze immediately. This particular tanker held 100 barrels of water.

The William M. “Alligator”

In 1889, hauling log flotillas across lakes suddenly became a lot easier. John Ceburn West had invented the “alligator”, a steam powered tug & winch paddlewheeler. The alligator ran on a 20 hp engine, which powered a paddlewheel on either side of the tug. The engine could be disengaged from the paddlewheels, to power the winch and log boom. The winch held 1.6 kms of steel cable. An alligator, powered by 3/4 of a cord of wood, could warp booms of 60,000 logs for ten hours. The alligator could also winch itself overland from lake to lake. The hull had two steel-plated runners, and progress overland was 1-1/2 kms per day.

The William M. was built in 1905, and is one of only three alligators that survive today in a reasonably preserved state. It steamed around the lakes of the Park’s north side until 1946, when it hauled itself out of the water for the last time. It was put on display in 1960.

Log chute

To float logs over obstacles or low water, a combination dam and log chute was built. This location saw the log chute in use in the 1920-30’s when logs were floated down the creek here.

Looking down the chute, per The Curator’s request

This chute is only 18 meters (60 feet), which would have been shorter than most of the era. Many were 100 meters long, and one (not in Algonquin) was known to be 16 kms (10 miles) long.

Inside the blacksmith shop

The blacksmith shop was from the 1940’s. The hand-powered, wall-mounted, drill press is purely for my enjoyment.

A “saddleback” locomotive

As late as 1959, log drives were made on some Algonquin rivers, but logs had been moving by rail long before that. The Ottawa, Arnprior, and Parry Sound Railway was completed in 1896 by timber barron J.R. Booth. At their peak, six different railroads operated in Algonquin Park. This locomotive was built in 1911 in Montreal. It’s a “saddleback”, due to its water tank mounted over its boiler. It originally ran on wood, but was later converted to coal.

International logging truck

The first trucks came into Algonquin in the 1930’s, and were used initially to pull sleighs. By the 1940’s the trucks had become powerful enough to haul the logs themselves. Horses were still used in the bush to skid the logs out, but even that ended by the 1950’s, with the introduction of the first mechanical skidders.

1953 International Harvester

William H. Seward House

The Seward House

Built in 1816 by the future father in law of William Seward, the Seward House is now a museum.

William H. Seward

William Seward was the governor of New York State, a U.S. senator for New York, and probably best known as the U.S. Secretary of State as a member of Abraham Lincoln’s “team of rivals”.

The Seward library

Seward led a fascinating life. He was not a big man in stature, but he was certainly a bold man who dominated the politics of his era.

Leave your sword with the bear at the door.

Seward lost to Lincoln in the presidential election of 1860, but then became Lincoln’s Secretary of State.

Painting depicting the signing of the purchase of the Alaska Territory

We took the tour of the house, led by a volunteer guide. It’s well worth the hour it takes to conclude the tour. The price was $10 with the AAA card.

The House holds a lot of Seward family heirlooms. William Seward took the home over from his father in law, and Seward’s son followed him, and his grandson took over the home from there. William H. Seward III donated the house to the foundation.

The purchase of Alaska is prominently displayed throughout the tour. One member of our party tried to get the woman at the desk to let me look through the photo album in the glass case. She politely declined.

There is a Native Alaskan kayak displayed from the ceiling in the carriage house. The kayak was given to Seward during his visit to Alaska in 1869.

A parlor in the house. Seward passed away while lying on the couch in the picture, although the couch was in another room at the time of his death.

Seward’s office, which is the room the former Secretary of State died in.

Glenn Curtiss Museum

Hammondsport, New York

On our way to Geneva, NY we stopped in to the Glenn H. Curtiss Aviation Museum. Curtiss was one of aviation’s early pioneers, and this little museum is well worth stopping for.

Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny”

The 1917 Curtiss “Jenny” is a beautiful plane. Often called the “Model T Ford” of the air, the “Jenny” had a major contribution to early aviation.

A P40 Warhawk undergoing restoration

In the back room is a P40 Warhawk undergoing a major restoration. This particular P40, was involved in a mid-air collision in 1945. It crashed into a Florida swamp, and sat there until 1986, when the plane was taken out piece by piece. The museum is the 4th owner of the plane, having purchased it in 2011. Restoration is expected to be completed in 2-3 years.

There are several classic, early motorcycles in the museum, including a 1907 Curtiss. The 1907 was powered by a 40HP, air cooled, V8, and was capable 140 mph.

The Curtiss Triad was the first U.S Navy aircraft. It was could take off or land on water or land.

The Collier Trophy, presented to Curtiss in 1911

The 1914 Curtiss America Flying boat has a 72′ wingspan on the upper wing, and a 46′ lower wing span. It is powered by two Curtiss OXX6 engines, which are hand crank started. The massive float plane’s restoration in the museum shop was completed in September 2007. The plane was taken out for a test flight later that month.

A 3/4 scale P40E Warhawk and a WWII era Ford jeep.

Hemingway Museum

Located in Oak Park is the Ernest Hemingway Museum. Most of the exhibits focus on Hemingway’s Oak Park years, but there is information that explores all facets of his life. There are two videos playing on a loop, one of which is exclusive to the museum.

The Isle, an exhibit in the center of the museum, covers Hemingway’s time with both the Kansas City Star and the Toronto Star, as well as his love of nature, and how he incorporated that into his writings.

It was an unexpected gem in Chicago, and I highly recommend it if you are in the Oak Park area.

A block and a half from the museum, is the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway. A Queen Anne style house, built in 1890 by Hemingway’s grandparents. The home was purchased by the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park in 1992. A major restoration was then started to bring the home back to the condition it was in when the Hemingways resided there.

It’s a neat house, and well worth the time to tour it. Price of admission to the museum includes the tour of the home. You are free to return a second day to take in all of the exhibits and videos. The volunteers are first rate, and very knowledgeable.

“The Farthest North Auto Museum”

Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum

Between hockey tournaments, we stopped by the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum. The museum is one of Fairbanks’ lesser known gems. It is quite the collection of classic vehicles. The Curator, of course, wanted to see the three midget cars, and I pretty much wanted to see everything.

Three Midgets
Fountainhead’s three midget racers

The three midget racers include a 1934 Wetteroth-Offenhauser, a 1937 Winters-Ford Midget V8-60, and a 1938 Southwest Chrome Special Elto. The Offenhauser had been driven by Bob Swanson.

1906 Pope-Toledo
1906 Pope-Toledo Type XII 7-passenger Touring

One wing of the museum has a collection of cars with Alaska ties. It includes a 1906 Pope-Toledo, which was the first production car to arrive in Fairbanks. Also included is the Sheldon Runabout, which was the first car built entirely within Alaska. It was “manufactured” by Bobby Sheldon in 1905 to impress a young lady. The Sheldon Runabout is on loan from the University’s Museum of the North.

1932 Chrysler
1932 Chrysler Custom Imperial Series CL Convertible Sedan

The ’32 Chrysler is one, absolutely beautiful car. I bet it’s damn fun to drive as well.

1927 Stutz
1927 Stutz Vertical Eight Custom Series Black Hawk Boattail Speedster

As I’ve posted on here before, I’ve had a life-long, yet sadly, long-distance love affair with Stutz. Look at those lines. Beautiful.

1919 McFarlan
1919 McFarlan Type 125 Sport Touring

The McFarlan was once owned by actor Walter Reid. Reid, who starred in over 180 films during the silent film era, was obsessed with cars and racing. Sadly, the actor died in 1923 at the age of 31. The vehicles, especially in this wing of the museum, have been moved closer together to accommodate the private events that take place during the fall and holiday seasons. Unfortunately, some of the vehicle locations did not provide outstanding cameos. This was one such case.

Roaring Road
Walter Reid in “The Roaring Road”, 1919

Due to the tight schedule we were on, we stopped by the museum on a day that they were closed because of winter hours. Luckily, we ran into the Fountainhead mechanic, and he gave us a quick, private tour. For which, we were both extremely greatful. The Antique Auto Museum is well worth checking out when in Fairbanks. I can not say enough, and will certainly be paying them another visit. Probably during regularly, scheduled hours.

Fountainhead is a working museum. In other words, the vast majority of the cars here, are operated at some point during the year. There are only a few exceptions to that rule. In all, the collection has over 80 vehicles at this point.

CCC Museum

CCC Museum
The CCC Museum, built by the CCC in 1939

Within Highlands Hammock State Park is the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum. The CCC was started in 1933 as a part of FDR’s New Deal during the Great Depression. Originally, the program provided jobs to men between the ages of 18-23, it was eventually expanded to the ages of 17-28. The main target of the work was environmental: reforesting, erosion control, parks, flood control and similar projects.

CCC Barracks
Barracks life in the CCC

The young men were provided food, shelter, clothing and a small payment of $30, of which $25 went directly to their families. The CCC was in every state and territory, and at any one time 300,000 men were in the program. Over the nine years leading up to WWII, 3 million men went through the CCC.

Florida CCC display

I’ve seen CCC works all around the country, and several parks within Florida have signs of the Civilian Conservation Corps having been there. The enrollees were called Roosevelt’s Tree Army by some, due to the 3 billion trees planted by the CCC in a major reforestation plan for the country. The CCC was responsible for over 1/2 of the country’s reforestation.

CCC Monument
Dedicated to all CCC enrollees who were injured, disabled or lost their lives performing their duties. Especially those 228 CCC members who lost their lives in the three Upper Keys Camps, Florida on 2 September 1935 in the Labor Day Hurricane.

CCC Poster

It’s a neat, little museum, and the volunteer I spoke with served at Eielson AFB in 1958, before Alaska was granted statehood. There were several volunteers there who had been involved with the CCC as young men. A common theme was that they had lied about their age to get in; also that it did them a world of good. One mentioned that a side effect of the CCC program was that the majority of those men were later involved in WWII, and that the CCC allowed them to adapt to the military rather quickly. Something I had not considered before.

Noted CCC alums: Alvin C. York, Raymond Burr, Robert Mitchum, Chuck Yeager, Stan Musial, and Walter Matthau.