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Tiki Central Forums » » General Tiki » » The moai at Smithsonian's natural history museum.
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The moai at Smithsonian's natural history museum.
mbonga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 04, 2005
Posts: 556
From: La Mesa, California
Posted: 2006-01-15 02:47 am   Permalink

There was a post here in May 2005 about the moai at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. I took some pictures of that moai today when I was at the museum, and posted them in the following folder. I was too lazy to make a web page with links and thumbnails, especially since I expect to be adding a lot more pictures in that and related folders soon.

http://www.simnia.com/tiki/NMNH/EISF/

There was also a post here in March 2005 about the pacific islands culture exhibit in the Smithsonian. I also have several photos of that exhibit, but it may take me a few days to find them and post them. I also came across a new statue in the Hirshhorn modern art museum recently that looks like a tiki of a frog, even though it wasn't meant to be, so I'll post that too for the heck of it, when I can find it. This forum has gotten me to looking for tikis everywhere I go.

I take frequent trips to the Smithsonian so if anybody has any specific requests for photo subjects, photo angles, different camera settings, or whatever, just let me know and I'll see what I can do. I have a digital camera with lots of memory sticks, so it doesn't cost me anything extra for more pics. For example, I probably should have tried a flash on this moai, since it's a little dark, but I'll try that next time I'm there.

[ This Message was edited by: mbonga 2006-01-15 02:49 ]

[ This Message was edited by: mbonga 2006-01-15 02:49 ]


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Tiki-bot
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2002
Posts: 1345
Posted: 2006-01-15 09:09 am   Permalink

Nice pics - thanks for posting them.

I dunno, but that moai looks lonely and forlorn, and maybe a little humiliated, like he's dreaming of being back on the island. Or I could just be projecting. There's just something sad about him. Having a moai in the Smithsonian is kinda like that scene in Greystoke where they put Tarzan in a tux and all he can do is think about being back in the jungle.



[ This Message was edited by: Tiki-bot 2006-01-15 09:10 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Tiki-bot 2006-01-15 09:11 ]


 
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teaKEY
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 09, 2004
Posts: 3664
From: The thumb !
Posted: 2006-01-15 09:46 am   Permalink

He's just a baby. I want my baby back, baby back, baby back, baby back, baby back, baby back ribs, I want my.

A little sad I would say. All Moai look best outdoors. He my want to go back to the island but its not like they need him back. Seeing like how they have like 900+


 
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Matt Reese
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 09, 2005
Posts: 1155
From: San Diego
Posted: 2006-01-15 11:14 am   Permalink

Thanks for the post. I like to see people getting exposed to such a good moai without stomping all over Easter island.

 
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mbonga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 04, 2005
Posts: 556
From: La Mesa, California
Posted: 2006-01-15 11:55 am   Permalink

Yeah, he looks lonely to me, too.

I went back to the museum again today and got some more pics, and looked for the Pacific islands culture display, but it was gone, removed for a sea exhibit that won't open until 2008, I was told. All good things must pass. The only thing left vaguely related is a big Yap stone coin. I'll put some pics of that in a nearby folder soon, in case somebody's interested. I think those things are cool, like Nan Madol, stick charts, and other Micronesian stuff. Thanks for the interest.


 
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El Bastardo
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Aug 27, 2005
Posts: 47
Posted: 2006-01-15 2:36 pm   Permalink

I always imagined that they were much larger.

 
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mbonga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 04, 2005
Posts: 556
From: La Mesa, California
Posted: 2006-01-15 2:57 pm   Permalink

From the photos I've seen, most are much larger, and tower high over a standing person. This must be a small one. The sign says it's from a "rare inland site." If it had been much bigger, the Smithsonian probably would've had to leave it alone. The Smithsonian apparently preys on the small, the helpless, the injured moai...


[ This Message was edited by: mbonga 2006-01-15 15:01 ]


 
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Johnny Dollar
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 01, 2003
Posts: 2962
From: Baltimore, Maryland, PNG
Posted: 2006-01-16 05:42 am   Permalink

consider it 'progress' or whatever, but if that is all that is left of the pacific cultures exhibit at natural history, that is kind of sad.

the backstory is that the pacific cultures exhibit at the national museum of natural history in d.c. had been there as long as i could remember, and judging from the vintage of the finishes and exhibition style had probably been installed in the mid 1960's if not earlier.

when i was working at my previous job, one of our clients was the smithsonian institution. as an institution they have scores of buildings and facilities that they must constantly maintain, and within the past decade, add a "shopping opportunity" to at every turn

i was excited when i found out that the pacific cultures hall was going to be one of my projects. as i read the scope of work i found that this hall was the remaining space in the natural history building that still had the asbestos-based 'popcorn ceiling' that was a popular midcentury finish. of course, we now know that asbestos is not as minty fresh as we might once have thought.

to that end, any work in the ceiling nowadays required extreme measures to prevent any asbestos from being disturbed and being released into the air, so that a workman won't breathe it and turn into a radioactive slime monster because of the space spores contained within the minerals.

the project required additional updated lighting in the ceilings, so we designed an extensive network of plastic partions and a filtration system, complete with specifications written by an industrial hygiene engineer. we submitted the documents to the smithsonian and never heard anything about it.

sometime in march 2005, i was in the natural history museum and noticed that someone had removed the lava rock from the base of the moai. i felt a disturbance in the mana... as if thousands of slit drums were drumming out and then suddenly silenced. i thought... 'what if they decided that the cost of replacing the light fixtures was too high, and they're going to gut out the entire hall and exhibit?' so a couple days later, since i had my contractor's pass which allowed me in before the public, i went in and tried to document the exhibit as well as i could. sadly in the dimly-lit hall, attempts to document the items in the glass cases were mostly unsuccessful. but i did my best to capture the images for posterity.

about that time i started urging people to go see the exhibit before it was too late. i am glad pablus and others did get to see it. i never returned to find out what had happened, but since talking with tikifish and now reading this post, it seems that the smithsonian did follow through with their more extreme measures.

all of the pictures i took are at the FOM website galleries, but i suspect they might be not totally accessible to the public. a selection of the photos are at 'locating tiki'
here. if the ohana wish it, i could post the approximately 40 photos to this thread.

_________________



[ This Message was edited by: Johnny Dollar 2006-01-16 05:57 ]


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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11192
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2006-01-16 06:05 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-01-16 05:42, Johnny Dollar wrote:
here. if the ohana wish it, i could post the approximately 40 photos to this thread.




We wish it.


 
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mbonga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 04, 2005
Posts: 556
From: La Mesa, California
Posted: 2006-01-16 06:22 am   Permalink

Not just kind of sad: very sad. I would have loved to have seen a display that I knew had been around for so long, especially on that topic. Even that outdoor stone head is gone. At least you got some decent photos of the display before it was removed.

This modern trend of "progress" really gets me down, and this is just one example. You're right: more gift shops everywhere (the most extreme case of this I've seen is Downtown Disney, which stays open even after they've forced everyone out of Disneyland itself!), and the quality of merchandise has clearly fallen everywhere over the decades. Even the Western Cultures exhibit was closed in the museum when I went yesterday. There's a new mammals exhibit that is a little too slick and contrived for my taste, mostly about African animals, and of course some crowd pleasing manatees and dolphins. The Atrium Cafe' used to have delicious mesquite flavored sandwiches, but the last time I ate there they wanted $4 for a tiny bottle of juice, the mesquite sandwiches were gone, my substitute sandwich was lukewarm, and both employees were rude or inconsiderate.

P.S.--I thought I had photos of the Pacific cultures exhibit, but after looking at your photos, which don't look familiar at all, I may not have those photos after all. There's a chance I may never have seen the Pacific exhibit, after all. I'll have to spend some time looking.

[ This Message was edited by: mbonga 2006-01-16 06:27 ]


 
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pablus
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 23, 2003
Posts: 2155
From: www.crazedmugs.com
Posted: 2006-01-16 2:45 pm   Permalink

Good photos J$ and mbonga.
I had a chance to see that exhibit. It was very moving to me and I spent a lot of time there.

Thanks especially for the shots of that uke.

[ This Message was edited by: pablus 2006-01-16 14:47 ]


 
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Johnny Dollar
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 01, 2003
Posts: 2962
From: Baltimore, Maryland, PNG
Posted: 2006-01-17 07:26 am   Permalink

r.i.p., smithsonian institution pacific cultures exhibit…




































































































bonus non-tiki big stone head (also reportedly removed)





_________________


 
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tikifish
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2720
From: Toronto,Canada
Posted: 2006-01-17 07:34 am   Permalink

No, I saw that Olmec head when I was there, it was outside, on the lawn. Better than a lawn gnome anyday.

 
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Johnny Dollar
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 01, 2003
Posts: 2962
From: Baltimore, Maryland, PNG
Posted: 2006-01-17 08:04 am   Permalink

thx fish!

compare the differences in context :


i’m a badass! punk.


waitin’ for the wife to get outta the bathroom… dum de dum de dum…


 
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mbonga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 04, 2005
Posts: 556
From: La Mesa, California
Posted: 2006-01-17 09:54 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-01-17 07:34, tikifish wrote:
No, I saw that Olmec head when I was there, it was outside, on the lawn.



Hmm. I'll have to make another trip up there to look for it. I've been in and out of both the north and south exits recently and I didn't see that stone head, but it's possible I missed it somehow.

Nice pics, Johnny Dollar. Seems like I catch everything too late. I'm just too busy, with too many job problems and moving problems. I looked up tiki bars in the DC area recently, too, but the only one mentioned was the Politiki, which is now gone. I just want to move back to California, where "I'd be safe and warm if I was in L.A. ..."


 
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