Georgina’s big USA Adventure- Day 34

Day 34, October 26, 2023

The first part of today was to travel by Amtrak train from Baltimore Penn Station to New York. The trip took two and half hours including a stop in the big city of Philidelphia. Once we arrived in New York, we had a 20 minute walk with our luggage from the Moynihan Train Hall to our hotel near Times Square.

City of Philadelphia as seen from the train

We had a late lunch in our hotel room before Katherine headed to the Westside Theatre to see her puppetry teacher perform in the musical Little Shop of Horrors as Audrey 2 (Pods 1 and 4). The puppets were built by Monkey Boys Productions. Katherine was really excited to see her puppetry teacher again as they had not seen each other for many years.

  • Katherine outside the Westside Theatre

Here is an example of Pod 2

and Pod 3 of Audrey 2

How the puppetry of Pod 3 works

How the puppetry of Pod 4 works

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Georgina’s big USA Adventure- Day 33

Day 33, October 25, 2023

Today we visited the Maryland Center for History and Culture because they are the current host of the Jim Henson Exhibition- Imagination Unlimted. This is a touring exhibition of the Museum of the Moving Image, and it has a wide collection of works on paper, films, puppets, and costumes from Jim Henson and the Jim Henson Company.

  • Reproductions of Jim Henson's screen prints Hilarity, Melancholy, and Conceit

Katherine really enjoyed looking really closely at how the puppets were built, as well as seeing puppets such as the inchworms in person because she had only ever seen them on television.

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Georgina’s big USA Adventure- Day 32

Day 32, October 24, 2023

Today was our day trip to Washington DC which is the capital of the United States of America. Washington was a 45 minute train ride from Baltimore. We arrived at the beautiful Union Station and since it was a lovely autumn morning, we walked from Union Station to the National Air and Space Museum. On the way to the museum, we walked past the US Capitol building (performs the same function as the Houses of Parliament in Australia), and opposite was the Washington Monument.

  • Union Station inner hall Washington DC

We had a ticket to enter the National Air and Space Museum at 10am, and as soon as we walked in, we encountered the first of Katherine’s must see objects- the filming model of the starship Enterprise- NCC-1701!

Here is what the model looked like while it was in the conservation lab being restored

We then started to explore the museum- only half of it is open as the other half is currently being rebuilt! We saw a huge display space with real planes hanging from the roof, and a huge 747 that had been cut in thirds attached to the wall! In the first gallery, we saw the plane that made the first flight- Orville and Wilbur Wright’s Flyer, and when we moved upstairs, there was a real screen used X-Wing from Star Wars: Force Awakens!

The most exciting space was the Destination Moon Gallery full of objects from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space missions!

We saw the special capsule that was built to hold a chimpanzee to prove living beings could survive in space, Freedom 7 which took the first American Man Alan Shepard into space, but the real highlights were the Apollo exhibits including the Columbia Command module from Apollo 11, the space suit Neil Armstrong wore when he took the first step on the Moon. What was really surprising were the remaining pieces of the F1 engine from Apollo 11 that had been collected from the ocean floor!

  • Mercury Primate Capsule

After the National Air and Space museum, Katherine and I travelled to the University of Maryland to visit the Jim Henson Memorial Statue and Garden. Jim Henson is a major influence on Katherine’s love of puppetry, and Katherine has visited the memorial benches to Jim Henson in New York and London.

  • Dedication plaque

It was a wonderful day trip!

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Georgina’s big USA Adventure- Day 29, 30 & 31

Day 29 & 30, October 21 & 22, 2023

We spent the weekend in Huntsville resting after our exciting day at the US Space and Rocket Center. I caught up our blog of all the adventures we had been on, and Katherine worked on the plan for the coming week as we will be pretty much on the go for the whole week in at least 3 cities. Our next base city will be Baltimore in Maryland, and Katherine is double checking how to get from the airport to our hotel, as well as the plans for our day trip to the Smithsonian in Washington.

Day 31, October 23, 2023

Today has been travel day. We started in Huntsville leaving the hotel at 9:30 and flew from the tiny Huntsville airport to Alanta which is less than an hour away by plane. We had 3 hours to explore the newly expanded Atlanta airport before we boarded our 1 hour 45 minute flight to Baltimore Maryland.

We used the Lightrail to get from the airport to the hotel in Downtown Baltimore- very challenging with the bags as the lightrail had 5 big steps to get into the carriage which is not good for managing a suitcase and dufflebag. However, if you are a baseball fan, we went past Camden Yards!

Tomorrow is our big day trip to Washington DC and the University of Maryland!

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Georgina’s big USA Adventure- Day 27 & 28

Day 27, October 19, 2023

Today was travel day for Katherine and I, so it was a really early start as we needed to be at the airport at 7:30. The weird thing about Grand Rapids is that the sun does not get up until after 8am where we are used to the sun getting up at 6:45-7am, so we left the house in the dark! Our first flight took us from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Chicago, Illinois. We had a 3 hour layover which was a very good thing as we had to walk a long way through multiple terminals from Terminal B to terminal F to get to our next flight. Our next flight is to Huntsville Alabama to visit the US Space and Rocket Center. Hunstville is where US rocketry was developed into the space program. We could see the rocket park from the plane because they have a replica of a Saturn V standing up.

Day 28, October 20, 2023

Today was incredible! We went to visit the US Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville. They have two exhibition buildings, the first building has both historic exhibits as well as full size mock ups of the International Space Station that is used for Space Camp. The second building has the showstopping artefacts including a moon rock, the Apollo 16 Command Module, the largest surviving piece of Skylab that actually fell on Australia, and a real Saturn V rocket lying down on it’s side!

  • Walking up to the rocket centre- Saturn 1 and Saturn V can be seen above the buildings

While visiting the Saturn V Hall, we met two rocket scientists who worked on the actual Saturn V- Jay Foster and Luke Talley. Jay worked with Dr Werner Von Braun coordinating supplies and logistics for the whole Saturn development team, and Luke worked on the Instrument Unit of every Saturn V rocket. Listen to Luke explain how the Saturn V worked

Luke gave Katherine some booklet resources about the Saturn V that she will be bringing back to her school.

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Georgina’s big USA Adventure- Day 24, 25, & 26

Day 24, October 16, 2023

  • The 3D printed base and main control handle. The Delrin thumb block has been added.

Today was the big day to finish our mechanical skeleton puppets.

We started off by visiting a local hobby shop to purchase supplies. It was Katherine’s first time in an American hobby store, and the diversity of supplies was amazing! Katherine bought the bolts and washers she needed to connect the arm wires to the hands of the puppet.

To make the arm wires, Katherine cut the length she needed from the coil of wire, but she needed straight wires, so Katherine researched how to straighten wire and found this video which worked for her.

After finishing the assembly of the two skeletons, Katherine and Pam filmed them for Pam’s YouTube channel. Pam created the funny puns on the still pictures from the filming session.

After a long fun day of puppet building, Pam brought out some gingerbread house kits that you can assemble and decorate. Katherine chose the Halloween kit, and Pam chose the christmas kit. Construction only got as far as attaching the roof because gingerbread houses are held together with just icing. The icing has to set before the decorations are added. Katherine decided to use string to hold the walls in place while the icing set.

Day 25 & 26, October 17 & 18, 2023

Both day’s started with Katherine helping Pam in her workshop develop some new puppets for a future project. Katherine had built similar puppets and had photographs in her archive that were a helpful guide for Pam. In the evenings, Pam and Katherine finished their gingerbread houses by using icing as glue and candy as decorations. Katherine tried a fancy basketweave piping tip to create a spooky tree on her gingerbread house. The gingerbread houses will be left on display at Pam’s house until after Halloween and Christmas.

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Georgina’s big USA Adventure- Day 21, 22, & 23

Day 21, October 13, 2023

Today was travel day for Katherine and I from Bozeman, Montana to Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was a very early start so we saw the sun rise over the snow covered mountains of Montana from the plane.

We arrived in Grand Rapids Michigan and were met by Katherine’s puppet making friend Pam Groom of Live Action Puppets. We are visiting Pam for 6 days, helping her with some of her puppet projects, and working on a group project of making a mechanical skeleton puppet for Halloween.

Day 22 & 23, October 14 & 15, 2023

In preparation for our visit, Katherine’s friend Pam suggested that Katherine makes a mechanical skeleton puppet along with Pam as Katherine loves Halloween and puppets. The process was based on a youtube video Pam found of another puppet maker turning a really big skeleton prop into a puppet

The skeleton we transformed was much smaller- only 23 centimetres tall! The process first started with disassembling the whole puppet into all it’s separate parts.

  • Deconstructing the 9 inch skeleton so it can be mechanised.

It’s going to take a couple of days to build this puppet as various parts such as the neck ball, the handles, and the stand all have to be 3D printed.

Georgina Monster


Georgina’s big USA Adventure- Day 18, 19 & 20

Day 18, October 10, 2023

Today Katherine’s friend Frank took us to visit the Museum of the Rockies. The museum has a general exhibitions area which includes local history including an exhibition of artefacts representing the local first nations tribes. The other half of the museum is the hall of the dinosaurs with an enormous collection of dinosaurs including a full T-Rex skeleton as well as multiple Triceratops.

  • A replica of Mike the T-Rex outside the entrance to the Museum of the Rockies

The Museum of the Rockies is famous for the Wankel T-Rex. A replica of the T-Rex stands outside the building while the original skeleton was moved to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington DC

Day 19 & 20, October 11 & 12, 2023

Katherine helped her friend Frank for the last 2 days with a puppet project he was working on and needed her technical knowlege. We did go on a trip to an American Goodwill store and a hardware store as Katherine had never seen a Goodwill store, but had heard a lot about them. A Goodwill store is just like an Australian Salvos or Vinnie’s store.

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Georgina’s big USA Adventure- Day 15, 16, & 17

Day 15 & 16, October 7 & 8, 2023

Katherine and I spent time with her friend Averie helping her with some of her puppet making projects. On the Sunday, Katherine’s friend Averie took us to a restaurant Katherine fondly remembers from her experience at Beyond the Sock from 2015-2019 called Texas Roadhouse. Their rolls have a special glaze that makes them delicious. It was a wonderful rememberance of Katherine and Averie’s time spent at Beyond the Sock.

Day 17, October 9, 2023

Today was travel day from Denver Colorado, to Bozeman Montana. We are staying with Frank, one of Katherine’s puppetry friends from Beyond the Sock, and Stan Winston School of Character Arts.

We had dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant, after which Frank showed us a shop called World Market where we found large jars of Vegemite!

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Georgina’s big USA Adventure- Day 13 & 14

Day 13, October 5, 2023

Since we arrived really late to the hotel last night, Katherine was very tired, so we spent a couple of hours with her friend Averie helping her with building a couple of puppets she needed help with. ,We then went back to the hotel to have an early night as tomorrow we are going to go and explore Denver.

Day 14, October 6, 2023

Today, Katherine’s friend Averie took us shopping so Katherine could get a wet weather jacket, but also we could go and see the famous Blue Bear that is standing outside the Denver Convention Centre staring into the building. The statue is huge, and as a public artwork, it’s proper name is I see what you mean (2005) by Lawrence Argent.

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