Reported (and led by) Carye Bye:
On a busy Pedalpalooza Friday, one day from the fair, the Small Museums & Collections ride II squeezed in between BonB and the Critical Mass Memorial Ride.
The tour began at Laughing Planet Cafe on Belmont where half the group filled bellies with burrito fuel for this tour that would bring us to 5 museums scattered throughout the Eastside & Downtown Portland.
At 1 pm we headed to our first stop (2 blocks away) The Belmont Firehouse and Jeff Morris Memorial Museum. In fact this was a last minute add-in. Don Porth, the museum director, gave us a wonderful guided tour. Highlight: Trying out a smaller version of the fireman’s pole – use your feet! Not recommended with shorts!
Next Stop: Movie Madness, – Mike’s movie memorabilia at Belmont & 43rd. Luckily also at the last minute Mike agreed to tell us about his collection himself. We oohed & ahhed over Julia Andrew’s sound of music dress, Orson Welles Touch of Evil Suit, Psycho Stunt Knifes, Blue Velvet’s ear and more! Mike does such a great job putting up signs and photos showing the movie props & costumes from the films. But it was added bonus to hear him gush about his favorite movie dresses.
Then we bike-bombed from SE to the Hawthorne Bridge. We headed over to the Police Museum at the Downtown HQ building. After all our IDs were recorded (everyone handed them over – so we had no fugitives in the group) we headed up to the 16th floor to meet the museum director Lori who gave us a brief guided tour of police weapons, confiscated weapons (criminals are creative!), and Portland’s First Traffic Light. Sadly the talking Macgruff,the crime dog, was taken off the floor for repair, after scaring a child with a mutating voice the day before.
From here, with 1 bicyclist less, we headed back over the Hawthorne Bridge to the “secret” Kidd’s Toy Museum off of SE Grand. It’s hidden in a non-descript gray business building with a little note on the door. The Banks, locks, and (scary) dolls amused us.
Now after 4 pm. All ditched but the leader +1; so the last two biked off down SE 3rd through produce row towards Stark’s Vacuum Museum at Couch & NE Grand. On the way we made a pit stop at City Liquidators to check out 20,000 chairs in stock, and most importantly “The Stairway to Savings” to the Mysterious 3rd Floor room of chairs. Sadly the file cabinets have been taking over, and the furniture chute was closed up.
And finally the Vacuum Museum, which has 100 or so antique, vacuums, some with tags of explanation. Cool stuff, but would have been more appreciated with a guide. However, the staff of Stark’s was very busy showing rosy-faced families how to buy new vacuums and how to use them on a variety of carpet surfaces. The scene in the store was almost more interesting than the discarded mummies at the back of the store.