The Apollo Project (10 Aug 2003)
A new project begins here at The Front Page -- an attempt to visit every
Apollo command module, roughly in order. Join us, won't you?
Fleeting Shadows (06 Apr 2002)
Available light photography in and around the ROM.
Mummy Talks (06 Apr 2002)
Brief musings on another ROM course, this one about mummies,
Links to older articles.
The Apollo Project
10 Aug 2003
In order to stave off the usual mind-numbing boredom that has come to be
synonymous with the drawing of breath, The Front Page has embarked on a project
-- to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of visiting all of the Apollo command modules. These are the spacecraft
which were flown by NASA to the moon and in Earth orbit, between 1967 and 1974. They are all here on Earth, and
all but one are in North America. In an ongoing series, we will bring you
pictures and riviting commentary, laden with impenetrable, Grade A techno-jargon. So
grab your MSC/KSC TLA guide, and join us as the journey begins.
|Where is it now?
Museum of Science and Technology
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Schirra, Jr., Don Eisele, Walt Cunningham
|When did it fly?
manned flight of a the Saturn V rocket. First manned flight of the Apollo
Command Module (CM). First manned flight following the Apollo 1 fire.
||Apollo 7 Command Module: The crew hatch is
open. Three mock-up astronauts sit in the crew couches; two are visible in
this picture -- they are on their backs, with their heads towards us.
Though the forward heat shield is missing (an artifact of the landing
procedure), the central heat shield is intact.
||Apollo 7 Command Module: The aft heat shield.
The crew hatch is on the opposite side of the CM.
||Apollo 7 Command Module: Right side. The two
black holes just above the aft heat shield (in the center of the picture)
are the positive yaw engines. Window 4 (left of center) has been covered.
Below it and to the left is an air vent. The inside of the crew hatch is
visible at the far left.
||Apollo 7 Command Module: Looking in the crew
hatch. The commander sits in the left seat (not visible), the command
module pilot (CMP) in the center, and the lunar module pilot in the right
seat. The controls in the CMP's hands control the rotation of the ship.
The assembly on the hatch with the gear and handle are part of the
pressure equalization system.
||Apollo 7 Command Module: Detail of the top of
the aft heat shield. Note the tracks that look as if someone ran their
fingers across the shield while it was plastic.
National Museum of Science and Technology
Where Are The Others?
||Chicago Museum of Science and Industry,
|Apollo 9 ("Gumdrop")
||Michigan Space and Science Centre,
|Apollo 10 ("Charlie Brown")
||Science Museum, London, England
|Apollo 11 ("Columbia")
||National Air and Space Museum,
|Apollo 12 ("Yankee Clippper")
||Virginia Air and Space Center, Hampton,
|Apollo 13 ("Odyssey")
||Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center,
|Apollo 14 ("Kitty Hawk")
||Astronaut Hall of Fame, Titusville,
|Apollo 15 ("Endeavor")
||USAF Museum, Wright-Patterson Air Force
Base, Dayton, Ohio
|Apollo 16 ("Casper")
||U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville,
|Apollo 17 ("America")
||NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
|Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
||NASA Kennedy Space Center, Cape
||Naval Aviation Museum, Pensaola, Florida
||NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland,
||National Air and Space Museum,
06 Apr 2002
Don't I ever get tired of these courses? No. No, I don't.
Taking a rest from Egypt for a session, I turned my attention
to the mounting heap of photographic equipment in my study that
seldom gets used. This course, taught by Beverley Galandzy, was
all about how to take decent pictures using available light. And
it allowed us to take tripods into the museum galleries, which
are normally forbidden. That alone, was worth the price of
admission. Fortunately, my picture taking skills improved a bit
too, so that was just fine.
Here are two that I think turned out well:
||As you enter
the ROM galleries, you pass by two large staircases that
were built around two crest poles -- one Haida, and the
other Nisgaa. This picture is a detail from the Nisgaa
|I took this
picture of a ladybug across the street from the ROM. It's
the sort of shot I seldom try for -- macro lens on a
windy day. I was originally going for just nice picture
of some leaves; the ladybug just happened to be in the
way. How it came to be in focus and centered is a holy
from this course for me was "Go big or go
home." Fine advice that I took to heart in both of
the pictures here. Perhaps the other thing I learned (or started
to learn) was when to walk away from a shot that you just
can't make. By that, I don't mean the ones that don't
have enough light (I take those anyway and hope for a
miracle in the developing room), but those where I can't
find a suitable way to frame the subject, or those that
just don't have any subject at all. Just walk away and go
look for a better picture.
06 Apr 2002
After the great success of Whatever Happened in Ancient
Egypt, I signed up my mom and myself for Gayle's next course
at the ROM called Mummy Talks. What else should you
bring to a course on mummies?
This time, Gayle was joined by fellow historian John Ide whose
background is more in art history than Egyptology per se. And so
we talked about the process of mummification, and the impact they
had on Western culture of the 19th and 20th centuries. All really
quite interesting, and a fabulous excuse to get out of town and
do something about a million times more worthwhile that watching
Ever wonder why we call a mummy a mummy? The word mummy
is from the Arabic mumia which refers to bitumen, which
is what some people thought Ancient Egyptians were covered in
during the embalming process. You can tell this factoid at dinner
parties to fill an awkward silence if you like.
There are two stories about this course that I want to tell:
the first is about the oddest evening I've had in ages. It
started out with a quick visit to the Chapters bookstore on Bloor
Street, just east of the museum. We zipped up to the top floor to
find a great line of people waiting to see Sophia Loren. She was
there, in person, signing her new cookbook. We jockeyed around a
pillar and there through a clot of bodies was Loren. Live. In
"Huh," I said, trying to recall a single film I'd
seen her in. Of course I know who she is, and that she's an icon
of Italian cinema, but really, I was more interested in knowing
about the people she had worked with. Ah, Marcello. And then we
had to go. The down escalator swept us very close to the table
where she was sitting, and looking up as I descended, I thought,
"And now I'm looking up Sophia Loren's skirt. Huh."
In class that night, we got to touch some very old artifacts
from the ROM's collection. Stuff so old, that the gulf of years
has only the barest of meaning to me, being more of an abstract
We also had a guest speaker, William Jamieson, who is a
collector of shrunken heads. How do you go about collecting
shrunken heads, you may ask. It turns out you put an ad in the
Globe and Mail and sit back and wait. If memory serves, I think
he got his first two in about three weeks. Since then, he has
been to South America to visit the descendants of the peoples who
made them, and through other channels, had added to his
collection. And he brought some by to show us. Real live shrunken
heads of dead people. Huh. By far the oddest three experiences to
have in a single evening.
I doubt the other story I wanted to tell will be of much
interest to you, but I rather like it, so here it is. We were all
in the Egyptian gallery one night -- this is excellent by the
way, being in the museum after hours is one of the greatest
thrills you can have. Really. We were in the gallery gathered
around the cartonnage of Djedmaatesankh. There's her on the
right. We were talking about images of women using post cards
that featured photographs and paintings of women from the last
hundred years or so. The card I had was of a painting from early
this century, done in an impressionist style. It's a sunny
morning. A young woman, or so you suppose because her face is but
a suggestive pink smear, is en route to church. The title on the
back alluded to a particular ceremony that slips my mind. There
are trees and shadow and large swaths of dappled colour, and
perhaps a priest off in the corner waiting to usher the woman
into a church. For me, this picture was all about memory. Take
this morning: a very special day in that woman's life. Were she
to remember it, no doubt it would be bright and glowing, just
like the painting. But after enough years, would she still be
able to recall the priest's face? Or the material her dress was
made out of? Or is there just the pastel recollection of the day?
As time goes on, memories fade and change, and maybe that's just
how it's all supposed to work, in the same way that death is a
natural part of life. Even a photograph loses its meaning once
the people in it have passed from memory. Maybe you have a
picture yourself of you and barely remembered childhood friend.
Arm in arm on a bright summer afternoon, staring at the camera.
of Djed (About Djedmaatesankh)
Shakespeare And The Elizabethan World (06 Apr 2002)
Whatever Happened In Ancient Egypt (06 Apr 2002)