Museum: Shrine of the Muses; a place for inspiration and education; holds and preserves items of value; encourages the study of objects of scientific, artistic or historical interest.
Saturday started off in a spectacular fashion. As a volunteer for Historical Reno Preservation Society (HRPS) I was invited to join a small group of fellow history lovers for a private tour of University of Nevada Reno’s Mackay School of Mines, and more especially the Keck Museum. By the end of the morning my head was bursting with new information and admiration. Our guide, Garrett Barmor; museum administrator, started us off outdoors at the foot of the statue of John Mackay, one of the big four magnates of the Comstock Lode.
A few photos of the beautiful lines and shadows within the building:
One of the most voluptuous displays is in the lower level of the museum: the Mackay silver. John Mackay had this made as a gift for his wife. The work was done by Tiffany’s, and they also designed a custom monogram. Interestingly enough, the monogram is the same font Tiffany’s used for the New York Yankees logo.
On the the lowest level, which is actually housed within the foundation, we were fortunate to get to tour an area that is closed to the general public. There we got to see the seismic isolators that were installed to insure the preservation of the original building in the event of an earthquake. At one time the building was shut down because it did not pass earthquake standards. It was slated to be razed, but locals (largely HRPS) rallied to encourage the Nevada Board of Regents to find a way to retrofit the structure and make it usable once again. They did!
For those of you in Reno, UNR is holding “Day at the Museums” on May 2, 2015. All eleven of the school’s museums will be open. Most are free admission and there will be hands on activities, scavenger hunts, food trucks, and special offerings for kids. For those of you outside of the area here is a link with more information: http://www.unr.edu/keck. Enjoy!