Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Beyond the Job, Part 2: Arts and Sciences

This is the second part to my report on the Leadership Ann Arbor Quality of Life Day. You might want to read part 1 first.

After getting mildly damp in our abortive attempt at a nature hike, we all boarded a bus and headed out to the University of Michigan's North Campus. There we went in for a tour of the Arthur Miller Theatre.

Let me take this short moment to tell you that I actually went to classes on North Campus. Imagine my surprise when we pulled up in the parking lot where I used to park. Half of the lot was gone, to be taken up by this huge building. Heck, I was on that campus only a few months ago and I hadn't seen the construction. Sometimes I think I've got to get out more.

Oh, well, back to the story.

The theatre is the only one named for Arthur Miller, who was an alumni of U of M. It hosts a variety of performance venues as well as instructional and training facilities. We also learned that most of the performance venues in town are actually owned and run by the University. According to our host, Russ Collins, the unusual thing about this setup is that the U allows other theatrical groups to to use the space. The next time you come out to attend a play at the Power Center, or a concert at Hill Auditorium, give a nod in the general direction of the administration building.

Ann Arbor Hands-on MuseumOnce again dashing through the rain, we all hopped back on the bus and headed downtown. Our next stop: The Hands-on Museum.

What a blast.

My only disappointment was that we were only allowed to stay for about 30 minutes. I found so many displays which captivated my attention. I wanted to play with them all. Of course, I had to play nice and not knock any small children out of my way. I think I managed nicely, thank you.

According to, Pam Smith, the Director of Public Affairs & Marketing, over its 25 year existence, the HoM has hosted about 3.2 million visitors. Currently the annual total is over 210,000 (and half of them are from outside Washtenaw county)!

On top of the too-numerous-to-mention science exhibits, I loved the pieces of antique fire-fighting equipment which dotted the building. Apparently the HoM's home is a former firehouse and when the designers built the HoM, they took great pains to maintain the bones of the old structure. One of the rooms evenhad an old firepole in it (which several kids we attempting to scale).

After our hosts dragged us from the fun-filled halls of the Hands-on Museum, we took a quick tour of the local farmers' market and then headed off to lunch.

Which was good because I was very hungry!

Tomorrow, the woes of the Film Festival.

So, have you ever been to the Hands-on Museum?


Larc said...

We have talked about going there for a field trip, but it's just a little too far from Hamtramck. I think we do have to take Coral there sometime, though!

Spencer said...

Anybody in Ann Arbor who has kids and hasn't been to the HOM is a bad parent. Or something like that.

We were family members for years. We had at least one kids birthday party there, as I recall. Besides getting us in for free, the membership also gave us free or discounted admission at museums all over the country. Some years, that more than paid for the cost of membership. Not to mention that we were helping to support a wonderful institution.