From the Museum of Funeral Customs (RIP).
Unreal has long been plotting a brief jaunt up to Springfield, Illinois, not only to satisfy our Lincoln fix, but also to consume horseshoe sandwiches and visit the Museum of Funeral Customs.
Alas, while Lincoln's tomb, house and museum all still stand and Jane and Michael Stern's estimable Roadfood website has several horseshoe recommendations, we were disappointed to learn that the Museum of Funeral Customs has closed its doors. Forever.
What is wrong with people? How could they resist the opportunity to see a historical exhibit of embalming fluid and a historic replica of a 1928 "prep room"? Fie on you all! (Unreal, of course, is exempt because we weren't really neglectful, just lazy.)
Now, instead of getting a chance to lie in a 600-pound copper coffin or buy a bag of chocolate coffins in the gift shop (sigh), we may just have to settle for the National Museum of Surveying, due to open sometime this year.
Unreal is well aware that suveying is a discipine with a long and honorable history, practiced by many great Americans like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln (at least until his surveying equipment was repossessed
, due to unpaid debts). We even practiced it once ourselves: A temp agency once assigned us to spend a day counting cars in the parking lot of a Hindu temple in order to prove to the town that the parking lot was, indeed, overcrowded and needed to be expanded. Yes, it was marginal participation and clearly did not prepare us to become President or anything. But we enjoyed it. And we got to wear an orange safety vest.
Unlike a funeral, surveying seems like one of those things that is more fun to participate in than learn about via museum exhibition. The highlight of the Museum of Surveying's collection, reports
Springfield's State Journal-Register
, is a big plastic ball onto which cameras project images of the earth's atmosphere and landmasses and, for the little kiddies, the path of turtle migration.
The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History's version of Science on a Sphere, soon to be seen at the National Museum of Surveying in Springfield.
The museum does not appear to be open at 3 a.m., which is when Unreal would find it most useful, but perhaps they could have a live webcam to help the world's insomniacs. It could still be educational: Unreal has learned a lot of interesting things while attempting to cure insomnia, though none immediately come to mind.