Children, a Really Cool Museum, and a Cold

I’ve had a cold. It was a humdinger of a cold but it wasn’t covid. I know this because I went and got a test immediately after waking up with a sore throat that I knew was going to become something else. But getting the test was kind of interesting so I wanted to share how that worked.

I called my doctor’s office and said I had a sore throat. I said that I knew something was coming on and needed to know what it was to see if I needed to be cancelling plans for Labor Day weekend. I was so absorbed with the idea of covid that it didn’t dawn on me that I’d be cancelling plans anyway. No one wants my cold either.

They said to come to the office and pull up around back. This was my view. A friend of mine called it sketchy when I texted this picture to her.

The interesting thing was the number of other cars there. There were at least six when I pulled up and several more came in while I was getting tested and talked to a doctor. The nurse said that they are seeing more patients this way than inside. It’s apparently a sign of the times that no one in my circles is talking about. It turns out that the number of infections is ramping up in my area. No one is talking about that either.

I’d had a busy weekend before coming down with my cold.

I went and saw Gypsy Geoff perform at the Piedmont Arts’ 60th Family Day celebration. This turned out to be an exclusively kid-centric event, so I didn’t return with photos. I don’t photograph other people’s kids. I think that there’re laws about it and it just seems creepy in general so I avoid taking pictures of kids.

Geoff’s performance was fantastic though. When I walked up, he was spinning plates and telling the kids that this would work for all of their dinnerware at home too. He spun things. He balanced things. The video below is of his finale. He then did an encore of adorable puppeteering.

Gypsy Geoff Puppeteering

Afterwards, I checked out the Leaves Exhibit at the Piedmont Arts building.

Piedmont Arts

They had a traveling exhibit open. It is called “Leaves of the Tree” and is the work of Charlie Brouwer and Jennifer L. Hand. Piedmont Arts regularly has interesting exhibits and this one is leaving October 9th. I am not sure of the etiquette of photographing inside the Arts building so I only snapped a couple of shots.

The centerpiece of the exhibit is a man made tree trunk surrounded by dozens? hundreds? of handmade paper leaves suspended from the ceiling. It was very intricate and I never could get a snapshot that captured the overall effect.

Leaves Exhibit at Piedmont Arts

The art on the walls was varied and is well worth seeing. My tastes are simple. I took only one close up shot of my favorite piece – a single dried leaf cross-stitched with the phrase “This time This place”.

My Favorite Piece

Just down Starling Avenue – a beautiful road, by the way, filled with older two-story brick homes now used as professional offices – is the Virginia Museum of Natural History.

Martinsville is difficult to peg as either a small town or a big city (for the area). As a matter of fact, they are currently trying to lose their “independent city” status and meld back in with the county. It’s all very confusing but no one would dispute that Martinsville used to be a lot bigger. My personal opinion is that it is back on an upswing. But the whole point of this prologue is to say that the natural history museum here is big. It is connected to the Smithsonian in some way. This is not a dinky little museum.

Greeting Dino

There are a lot of ancient bones on display. There is the often photographed dinosaur that greets you as you come in but there are also fully articulated bones of water dwelling – are they still called dinosaurs? – critters hanging from the ceiling. I took a ton of photos of the different dioramas but can’t include them all or the page won’t load. I have posted them to the Martinsville/Henry County photo album on the blog’s Facebook Page.

Ancient Beavers

There are, of course, educational placards everywhere. It is, after all, a museum.

But, as I look through my photos, I notice that there seemed to be an underlying theme to them. I am suddenly feeling very sorry for muskox.

Diorama of a Muskox Being Eaten

This is a muskox.

Here we have a muskox being attacked by lions. It might not be a muskox, but it looks very much like the first two.

Muskox Attacked by Lions

And then there was this poor fellow on the wall.

He Looks Sad

The museum has exhibits that change out from time to time and the exhibit on the day that I was there was of big cats. A neighbor recently reported seeing a mountain lion less than a mile from my home about two months ago so, while most of the cats they had were not really relevant to our area, this guy was.

Mountain Lion

The cats exhibit was well done and there were a lot of them.

There was a whole pride of lions and, behind them, some leopards? cheetahs? going after a gazelle in a tree.

The exhibit changes in October, I think. Friday, October 15th, they are having a Dragon Festival. There will be dragon displays and art, a full sized dragon sculpture, fire performances, blacksmith presentations, stilt walkers, medieval LARP performances, sci fi and fantasy authors, live music, a beer & mead garden, a ren faire marketplace, and more.

Exactly what is life-sized for a dragon?

I am pretty sure that I caught my cold taking one of the photos in this post. I am also pretty sure that I will be attending the Dragon Festival. All of these locations require masks and I did wear one when I was there.

For this next trip, I’m stocking up on hand sanitizer.