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Appleton, WI Day 2 - 06/25/2011

Published at 11:58 PM in , , , ,

Today started with a problem.  Well, really yesterday ended with this problem, and it just carried over into today.  The short version is that the water pump, that pushes water into the plumbing system (not the engine) went out.  Jim took a look at it and there was an electrical component that was old and fell out.   This caused the pump to run all the time, so he figured out how to wire a switch inside the bathroom so that we could manually control it until we could get it fixed.  This was all Friday night.



The Blessed Water Pump



Saturday morning, we found a camping supply store in Appleton.  They carried a water pump like we needed.  So with a quick 15 minute drive, we had the replacement part, although the price tag hurt a little.  This was one of those moments when I was SO thankful that Jim is mechanically inclined.  Who knows how much in labor we saved just because he could install it himself.  Jim wrote in his blog about it, so feel free to read his thoughts.



The History Museum at the Castle
















With this necessary repair completed, we still had a good bit of the afternoon left to see things in Appleton.  We went to the History Museum at the Castle.






While Jim wasn't looking...


This museum is in an old Masonic temple.  It truly looks like a castle - as I'm sure you can tell from the pictures.  Truthfully, it was extremely CREEPY inside.  I wish I could describe it, but it is difficult to put into words.  I never said anything, but each of the kids said something separately about how it was "creeping them out."  






Watching a video presentation about Harry Houdini





Creepiness aside, it was a great museum.  The entire third floor was a Harry Houdini exhibit.  Houdini, born Ehrich Weiss, immigrated at a young age from Hungary with his parents to Appleton.  His father was a rabbi, but was fired from the congregation.  Who knew rabbis could be fired?  Apparently, the story goes that he was just too 'Old World' for the growing city of Appleton and its Jewish residents.  Rabbi Weiss could not easily find work and the family lived in poverty for quite a long time.  They eventually moved to Milwaukee, and then to New York, in hopes of a better life.

This exhibit has been widely criticized by the magic/illusion industry because it tells a lot of the secrets behind Houdini's 'magic.'  He was know as a great escape artist, but this exhibit shows how he did even his most amazing stunts.  It gave quite an insight to Houdini as a person, not just the performer.





The assistant is being locked in the box...





One great part of this floor allowed visitors to put on their own magic show.  You could watch a short video, practice, and then perform your 'magic' trick for the audience.  We had this whole area to ourselves, so Michael was the magician and Rachael and Chrissy were his helpers.  We took a video of it, so I will try to post that.  There are photos in the Photo Gallery that show the trick in a sequence of photos.





How long could I stand the cold that Houdini did?







Does this really need a caption?




The other two floors of the museum were dedicated to sports through time in Appleton and tools and how they have changed in Appleton.  This was definitely worth the visit, and although it wasn't free, they did have a very reasonable family admission rate.  Learn more at The History Museum at the Castle, Appleton, WI.


More photos are in the Photo Gallery.

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