Sunday, June 27, 2010

WOODSHOLE MUSEUM AND OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTE

 Woods Hole Historical Society Museum is a homey little place. Old time pictures of downtown buildings can be viewed here, first. From the museum, borrow an MP3 player to carry with you for a self guided tour around the village to see what those building look like today. Neat.
The building in the background is still occupied as a business. These horses drank from a community fountain still standing today.
The first library, named the "Social Library" was put together by a group of women volunteers with  memberships and donations. Local women were very active in the suffragette movement, as well. High volunteerism, a wholesome sign of the strength and goodness of a community, is still going strong.Three guys and a gal are building copies of old time boats for the museum. All wooden, skillfully handcrafted. A dying art kept alive for the love of the task.
One building houses some dandy old boats. Made of red cedar, heavy and durable, the boat below will probably last forever. Others, typical of the area, hang from the walls. Well done boat models can be seen as well.
 Another building held artifacts of a well known New York Pediatrician who was an avid hobbyist. He lived in the Village and donated his stuff to the historical society.  He designed and made some of his own tools. He dabbled in photography, wood crafts, writing, painting, plant biology and more.
The two tools above? Function unknown.
A sink stand.

His typewriter has two sets of keys. One set for capitals, and one for small letters. Isn't that a hoot?

A short walk away is the Woods Hole Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium. Two different buildings. Both free and educational. A great place to inspire kids.
Scientists and Engineers formed the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in 1930 to study climate and ocean, coastal ocean environs, the fish and plants, and, more recently,deep ocean. First funded by Rockefeller, the institute remains a private, non-profit group that is the mainstay in ocean research today.

In 1865, S. Baird noted  the decline in hunted species of fish. Realize that 8 out of 10 New Englanders fished for a living. The voracious appetites of human nature decreed  the world would provide a never ending supply of bounty from the earth and oceans. In 1871 Spencer Baird  was appointed the first commissioner of the first U.S. Agency concerned with natural resources. His assignment? To determine if fish populations were diminishing, and if so, why?
The evidence was established, but it wasn't until Soviet fishing trawlers began plying U.S. waters that congress got really serious about fishing water legislation. And it took until 2006 for amendments to the Ferguson Act to "...focus more effort on overfishing quickly..."

The museum focuses on their deep ocean vehicle, ALVIN, sent to explore the ocean floor. Descending with an operator and two scientists, it takes ALVIN 6 to 10 hours per trip. Two hours to descend, and two hours back up. No bathroom, no heater. The ALVIN Crew photographed and mapped the Titanic in 1985. A second trip in 1986 was made with JASON, an exterior camera. An excellent film shows the whole trip.
  This picture shows ALVIN with JASON in tow.
 A solid six inch steel mock up of the capsule convinces you it is safe to descend 45,000 feet. It was 2.8 miles to the Titanic. Kids can play with controls of the capsule. Its a marvelous exhibit.
 This core of earth shows sediments that resemble the rings on a tree, which is how you count how many years passed. This core was originally 100 feet deep and showed 6,000 years BC.
You enter the aquarium next to a huge seal pool. Inside many different aquariums feature large fish specimens. In the tide pool above, kids (and parents) can examine live creatures up close.
  We meandered the Shore Road back to Bourne and drove out Wings Neck Rd. to see the lighthouse. The lighthouse is now a private residence. The cove is shallow and choppy. We watched the sailboats run the waters.  
For an interesting time line on natural resources depletion and intervention go to this link:
http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/history/timeline/1870.html

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