Monday, July 26, 2010

city museum

every once in a while i'm in a foreign country, see something, and think: this cannot exist in the u.s. it's too dangerous. there's too much potential liability and the place would be shut down under a mountain of personal injury lawsuits. on saturday i went to the city museum in st. louis and for the first time had those thoughts about something that actually does exist in the u.s.

i don't know how they do it. it's been around for thirteen years and hasn't been bankrupted by personal injury lawsuits yet. it's a bizarre wonderful place. but it's also dangerous, ten stories of things to climb on and crawl into. (12 if you count the two levels on the roof). guests are welcome to climb on anything they find, or crawl into any space they see. the objects are are recycled bits of st. louis' former factories.a lot of the objects are hard metal. while there aren't sharp edges, the hard surfaces are not padded. of the 13 members of our group, every single one of us was bruised by the end of the day. at least one was bleeding. it's a little surprising that no one was seriously hurt.

how else do i describe it? parts of it were like a giant habitrail hamster habitat, with a twisting network of tubes to crawl through, snaking up eight stories up the outside of the building. there was even human-sized a hamster wheel on the inside. (that's where A. lost her balance and fell on her face as the wheel continued to spin, tossing and churning her a bit more).

it is an amazing place. thanks to CaTHY for talking me into flying halfway across the country to see it. i already want to go again. and that's not just because the law geek in me likes that the building used to be the international shoe factory.

(photos courtesy of LF)