Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Some Things I Learned on the Road part 1

I was out of the office the past few days as I was lucky enough to attend a Gravestone Preservation Workshop in Montana as well as take a few days for sightseeing/visiting museums. Over the next few blogs I plan to share some parts of this trip.


When I travel I love to stop and read signs -- highway signs, signage in museums, interpretive signs, plaques -- I stop and read them all. Some are confusing. Some are humourous. Some are educational. But only a very few have that perfect mixture of education and humour that make them highly readable and memorable.


This sign stands out as my favourite road sign of all time. It contains an incredible amount of information but also has an irreverent humour that immediately made me know that this was a fun community. It's from Shelby, Montana.

Since I'm not sure how the photo came out here's the text:


"The Oily Boid Gets the Worm

A narrow gauge railroad, nicknamed the "turkey track" used to connect Great Falls, Montana and Lethbridge, Alberta. When the main line of the Great Northern crossed it in 1891, Shelby Junction came into existence. The hills and plains around here were cow country. The Junction became an oasis where parched cow-punchers cauterized their tonsils with forty-rod and grew plumb irresponsible and ebulient.

In 1910 the dry-landers began homesteading. They built fences and plowed under the native grass. The days of open range were gone. Shelby quit her swaggering frontier ways and becmae concrete sidewalks and sewer system conscious.

Dry-land farming didn't turn out to be such a profitable endeavor, but in 1921 geologists discovered that this country had an ace in the hole. Oile was struck between here and the Canadian line and the town boomed again."


While in Cody, Wyoming, I was able to visit the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. With five museums under one roof, it's an incredible organization. Two signs, though, quickly caught my attention. This first sign is outside as you walk up from the parking lot to the entrance. Note the last item that they ask you to leave in your vehicle. I can honestly say in all my years working in the museum, I've never had to request someone not bring a weapon into the Galt.


This next sign was inside the museum. It's an incredibly powerful interpretive sign about why touching of artifacts is not permitted. The top row (behind plexi-glass) shows untouched materials. The bottom row shows the same materials and people are encouraged to touch. The wear and tear on the materials is very evident.
















This next sign is a ghost sign on a building in Butte, Montana. It's a little difficult to read but in the white writing you can make out the name Owsley's. I couldn't resist taking this photograph as our Facility Booking Clerk is Lea-Ann Owsley. Maybe there's a family connection?



















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