Museum exhibits keep holidays magical

Dec. 29, 2013 @ 05:31 PM

Alex Pellom never tires of the Museum of Life + Science in Durham.

Alex, who turns 6 on Thursday, stood nearly transfixed Sunday afternoon as he studied the “saxophone man” at the museum’s newest exhibit – “Springs, Sprockets & Pulleys” by Steve Gerberich.
A push of the button brought the saxophone man to life – his arms flailing with the help of pulleys and gears.
“He still goes back and forth when the machine stops,” Alex said. “I also like the trombone man, and the one that uses drums.”
It’s not surprising that Alex, who came to the museum with his sister and father, Gary Pellom of Durham, would be drawn to the mechanical orchestra fashioned from old parts. He hopes to play in an orchestra one day.
Alex already is more musical than most. His home includes a saxophone, trombone, drums, guitar and piano, and he loves them all.
For Joe O’Donnell of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., the exhibit was a reminder of Rube Goldberg (1883-1970), a cartoonist and inventor.
“I’m really impressed by it,” said O’Donnell, who is in Durham visiting his 2-year-old grandson. “It looks like a Goldberg exhibit.”
Standing at the exhibit’s bowling pin factory, Alexander Lemann of Durham said “automatons are interesting to learn about, with their gears and how they fit together. There’s always something more to see when you move a bit closer.”
New Jersey resident Bill Donnelly, who is visiting family in Durham, said his niece “was raving about” the exhibit and persuaded him to come.
“I think the most fun part is trying to find out what each piece is made of, because when you look at it as a whole, you see what the artist is trying to put out. But when you get into each individual piece, that makes it more interesting. The trombone player, for example, has trumpets for arms.”
Sunday’s early-afternoon rain didn’t kept Cary resident John Brundige from making the trip to the museum with his 8-year-old son, Thomas.
“Somebody has a very good imagination,” Brundige said.
Thomas said he spent most of the holidays at home, and enjoyed the museum’s change of pace.
“We’ve been dog sitting over Christmas – a sheltie and a ball of fluff,” he said. “The one that’s fluffy – he chases you whenever you run. I actually went faster than the dog.”
He said watching the dogs was almost as entertaining as the exhibit.