Memory in Perpetuity

Soviet Mig-21 and tail of the Lockheed M-21 Blackbird in the foreground

I recall that the first time I visited The Museum of Flight in Seattle was on a family trip to the city at the age of 14. I remember quite vividly the open floor with dozens of planes sitting under the cast shadows of the many more suspended overhead. Apart from the obvious draw of the planes, the most striking aspect of the museum is how bright it is. Huge extended windows allow natural light across the airframes and a permanent view of the sky to frame them all. Since my first visit the museum has expanded significantly both in it’s physical space and the scope and quality of it’s exhibits, but like good childhood memories, my feelings for the place remain rooted in my own personal nostalgia. Visiting today I experienced the same feeling of awe and possibility that I knew 22 years ago. The Museum is in some ways my first memory of Seattle. On our family trip we visited the Space Needle and Gasworks; we even stayed at the old Four Seasons hotel (A MAJOR coup of luxury for our family, believe me). So I remember seeing the city as a tourist should, the great sites checked off of a list and the beginning of an appetite to know more that directly led to me moving here after college. Having lived here for years now, it’s very easy to take Seattle for granted. My days are filled with routine drives, commutes, trips to the same stores, and activities. I’ve figured out the most efficient routes to get from point here to point there and although I still love to explore it’s usually easier not to. I think it’s an important question to ask how we can make a new experience out of an old one. My thought for the day is that the key might lie in retracing your daily steps back to their origin and to actually look again at your oldest memory of your common places. My family trip had many highlights and maybe I’ll revisit them all again in years to come, but the mixture of machinery, and architecture, and the outright coolness of aviation history at the Museum of Flight still remains as a a creatively rejuvenating destination.

2 responses to “Memory in Perpetuity

  1. Cool man. Yeah I always love visiting the Air and Space Museum over here in VA. Just getting to see all the cool engine parts and space equipment get me very excited to paint it all. Its definitely a place to spark your imagination. Usually though I’m with my spouse and family so I don’t get time to draw but I take lots of pictures. It was strange though the last time I went the Movie Transformers 2 just came out (And they filmed it here for the blackbird part). It was very weird to see their action figures on a display case. I thought that was kinda lame and took away from the whole experience a little. Oh well I look forward to going back. Thanks for sharing!

    • Yah I can agree with that sentiment, it’s nice for a museum to retain it’s focus, especially in these highly marketed times. Maybe a more appropriate exhibit than seeing the toy action figures would have been a technical breakdown of the Blackbird and how it’s parts were used to design the robot in the movie.

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