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items tagged with Putnam Museum

Four Stories and Seven Hours or So – Notes on a Quadruple Feature: "Divergent," "Muppets Most Wanted," "The Earth Wins," and "God’s Not Dead"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-03-25 20:01:29

Theo James and Shailene Woodley in DivergentMarch 24, 10:30 a.m.-ish: After several days spent visiting friends in Ohio – among them, now, my hosts’ adorable 17-month-old daughter – I return to my movie-reviewing duties filled with fresh perspective and hope for the future. Then I see Divergent, which earned $54.6 million over the weekend, and is already green-lit for two follow-up films. Well, the feeling was fun while it lasted.


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Get Her to the Greeks: "300: Rise of an Empire," "Mr. Peabody & Sherman," and "Titans of the Ice Age 3D"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-03-10 01:35:07

Eva Green in 300: Rise of an Empire300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE

No movie that opens with Gerard Butler being beheaded, even off-screen, can be all that bad, and so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised by the not-so-bad-ness of director Noam Murro’s 300: Rise of an Empire. I still am, considering how little fun I had at Zack Snyder’s smash-hit predecessor from 2007, yet personally speaking, it’s not hard to identify what makes this CGI-heavy bloodbath an overall better time – a much better time – than 300. But we’ll get to her momentarily.


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Loki Here: "Thor: The Dark World," "Jerusalem," and "About Time"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-11-10 16:47:34

Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth in Thor: The Dark WorldTHOR: THE DARK WORLD

As the comic-book demigod Loki, the nefarious thorn-in-the-side to the Avengers and adopted brother to Thor, Tom Hiddleston, in the Marvel Studios movies, exudes a teasing, seductive malevolence. With his sharp, angular features and chilling gaze that suggests he might prefer eating you to killing you, he’s a wonderfully unstable and hypnotic screen creation. Yet the brilliance in Hiddleston’s interpretation is that his Loki is also so damned charming. The character may forever be planning destruction or plotting revenge – specifically against the golden-haired preferred son with the red cape and hammer – but Hiddleston’s bearing is so smooth and relaxed, and his wide grin so infectious, that you almost can’t help rooting for him, especially because he also, generally, gets his movies’ best jokes.


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Heavy Metal: "Iron Man 3" and "Space Junk 3D"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-05-06 02:01:48

Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 3IRON MAN 3

Iron Man 3 begins with narration by Tony Stark, the superheroic multi-billionaire voiced and eventually embodied, as always, by Robert Downey Jr. His tone is steady and somber as he makes ominous pronouncements about the uncertain state of the world and how we each create our own demons and such, but before long, Stark’s more expectedly breezy, wise-ass nature takes over – he stumbles over his words and realizes his blathering isn’t really going anywhere, and quickly puts a kibosh on the opening address. The whole routine is reminiscent of Woody Allen’s hilariously neurotic “Chapter one ... ” intro at the start of Manhattan, and immediately suggests that this second sequel to 2008’s effects-laden blockbuster will be both deathly serious and happily insouciant. And it is. I’m just not completely convinced, in the case of Iron Man 3, that that’s a good thing.


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Pivot and Progress: The Putnam Museum Looks to Remake Itself with a STEM Learning Center
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: News/Features

Category: Local News

2013-03-21 11:37:44

(To read the sidebar about the renovation of the Family Museum in Bettendforf, click here.)

This past weekend, we brought our daughter to Davenport’s Putnam Museum and did the full tour. We saw Flight of the Butterflies 3D on the Giant Screen, walked through the new Bodies Revealed show, and saw all the cultural-, regional-, and natural-history displays that visitors have known for decades, from the mummies to the Asian artifacts to Bix’s cornet.

But what kept Emily’s attention was the Spark Learning Lab, a modest career-themed room with the goal of preventing high-school drop-outs.

Our daughter is five and in no danger yet of dropping out of any school – or pursuing any career beyond princess-ing. And the Spark Learning Lab is geared toward fifth- and sixth-graders. But she loved the lab’s drawing program with the dual touch screens (one on the computer and one where the picture was being projected), the construction-plank set (which she’s playing with on this issue’s cover), and the feature that allows visitors to build tube structures and – with the help of a blower – either launch table-tennis balls or keep them aloft.

One station in the room lets visitors connect batteries to simple electrical devices, and another shows how structures they build with Lincoln Logs or those aforementioned planks might fare in an earthquake. The “concentration station” fosters communications skills, as one person describes a block structure and a partner tries to build its twin using verbal instructions alone.

If you want to see where the Putnam is headed, you can look at the conceptual drawings – posted in several locations – of its planned STEM learning center. The $1.5-million project is currently in the fundraising phase, and the museum expects to open it in June 2014. Putnam President and CEO Kim Findlay said adding the STEM center to the Putnam now is “the right time and the right thing for the community and the museum.”

But you’ll get a hands-on sense of the Putnam’s direction in the Spark Learning Lab. Larger-scale hints are available in the interactive components of the current Destination: Space exhibit, with its compressed-air tennis-ball launcher, and a bicycle wheel and rotating platform demonstrating angular momentum.

Implicitly and explicitly, all of these draw a line from playful exploration to science to careers, and that’s what the STEM center will do on a much grander level. It’s an attempt to transform the nearly-century-and-a-half-old Putnam from “nice to necessary,” to use a phrase that’s common in the museum field these days.


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