On the Road with Tom and Gloria travel blog



Entry to museum

Fantastic hats

Garland of roses

Be the jockey!

Champion silks

Derby chairwoman's gown of red roses

Call the race

Aristidies - first winner of the Kentucky Derby

Pat Day - all time winning jockey at Churchill Downs

The track

The famous twin spires

Photo finish booth on top of building

Hats for sale in the gift shop

Royal Armouries Louisville

Popularly known as "The Big Stick"

Flintlock Longrifle presented to George Washington in 1791


"An Honest Day's Work"

Ad for Pony Express

Molly Pitcher at the Battle of Monmouth



A talking book in 1954

Braille uses three times as much paper

Educational materials plus a braille writing machine

I learned soooo much today. I visited three incredibly different venues and thoroughly enjoyed each one.

This morning I toured the Kentucky Derby Museum before walking the grounds of Churchill Downs. Before entering the museum I stopped at the bronze gravesite of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro - an amazing statue because all four feet of the horse are in the air. If you like horse racing you will love this museum - it's terrific! Very interactive . The 360 degree hi def movie "The Greatest Race" relates the life of a Thoroughbred from foal to Derby champion. I was so surprised to learn that the Garland of Roses was made by Kroger florists. (Kroger is a sponsor so I don't know why I was so surprised). The floral designers hand sew 564 Freedom Roses - each one attached to a water vial and wrapped in fabric covered with foliage. After the roses are sewn on 2 1/2 yards of fabric, the fabric is lined with green satin and embroidered with the Twin Spires logo of Churchill Downs and the Seal of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Yesterday when I was on Museum Row I was too late to tour the Frazier History Museum so I made sure to visit today. This is the exclusive home of the Royal Armouries USA and the entire third floor is devoted to Medieval, 18th and 19th Century armament - over 300 artifacts from the Bronze Age through the early 20th century. The second floor is devoted to American history and the weapons used to help shape our nation. They have a gun owned by George Washington, Teddy Roosevelt's "Big Stick" used on African safaris. They also have Daniel Boone's family bible, Jesse Jame's revolver and Mary Todd Lincoln's commitment papers. Too bad my photo of a 1906 "Teddy" bear came out blurry ( what happened?) The story of the Teddy bear is interesting. In 1902 President Theodore Roosevelt went on a bear hunt. Each of his friends shot a bear but T.R. never found one. The staff captured a bear and tied it up so it would be an easy kill for the President. He said that would be unsportsmanlike and when the news picked up the story a cartoonist , Clifford Berryman, drew a cub bear which was associated with Roosevelt for the rest of his presidency. The museum also has an entire section dedicated to the life of a cowboy and the myths that Hollywood has propagated about them. Almost too much information on this floor to absorb in one visit.

The special exhibit was about Samurai - the loyal and self sacrificing warriors of Shogun Japan. Very, very interesting . Photos taken out of context would be meaningless. There was a flow to the exhibit that was wonderful and easy to enjoy.

I was lucky to make the last tour of the day at the American Printing House for the Blind. Totally fascinating! APH is the world's largest creator of educational products for the blind under the college level. The printing of these materials is very labor intensive and time consuming which makes them super expensive. The APH, non profit founded in 1858, is 80% funded by the US government and is supplemented by other retail products and donations. This 90 minute tour was exceptional and I came home with samples of material that teach Braille. Louis Braille was the creator of the tactile code for blind people. Braille's system was introduced at the Missouri School for the Blind in 1854. Legend has it that the students were delighted to be able to write notes and love letters that their teachers couldn't read. Before Braille there were seven different codes for readers for the blind. Braille is based on six dots - my head was swimming when I tried to quickly master writing my name. The tour guide assured us that once you "get it" Braille is a cinch and blind people "read" at lightening speed. I witnessed that when we went to the proofreading room. A sighted person and a blind person sit next to each other, read to each other, and correct any mistakes in the copy. The blind person's fingers were flying across the page.

I went for dinner and thought about my day - it was an awesome one!

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