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items tagged with Putnam Museum

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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Webb’s Slinger: "The Amazing Spider-Man," "Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection," and "Rescue 3D"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-07-05 18:53:56

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in The Amazing Spider-ManTHE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

The Amazing Spider-Man is, without question, the absolute best superhero movie to be released this week. Of course, I say this not having seen Katy Perry: Part of Me yet, but I also say this because it’s polite, whenever possible, to begin a review with words of high praise, and in this instance, I’m going to have a tough time coming up with others.


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The Passion of the Cristero: "For Greater Glory," "Chernobyl Diaries," and "Tornado Alley 3D"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-06-04 02:24:36

Andy Garcia and Mauricio Kuri in For Greater GloryFOR GREATER GLORY

To my considerable chagrin, before seeing For Greater Glory, I had no knowledge of the Cristero War that serves as the film’s subject – a brutal conflict between devout Roman Catholics and the Mexican government that, in the late 1920s, claimed nearly 100,000 lives. Consequently, I thank director Dean Wright and screenwriter Michael Love for their two-and-a-half hour exploration of this years-long struggle, a movie that’s intensely informative and sincere, and mostly engaging. If only it weren’t also so sentimental, and so manipulative.


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Demographic Party: "Project X," "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax," and "Flying Monsters 3D"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-03-04 22:39:58

Jonathan Daniel Brown, Oliver Cooper, and Thomas Mann in Project XPROJECT X

In director Nima Nourizadeh’s teen comedy Project X, three nerdy high-school pals in North Pasadena decide to make names for themselves by throwing a wild party, and then throw the party.

Now that we’ve dispensed with the plot, let me try to explain why, through almost its entire running length, this movie made me want to repeatedly plunge an ice pick through my skull.


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