[meteorite-list] A Nininger Moment #7

From: almitt <almitt_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 10:18:29 2004
Message-ID: <3E563D8B.807605EA_at_kconline.com>

Subject: A Nininger Moment 7
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 03:15:39 -0500
From: almitt <almitt_at_kconline.com>
To: Alan Mitterling <ALMitt_at_kconline.com>

                                The Nininger Museum part 2

After the arrival of the Nininger's and their collection, came the task of setting
up display cases for their museum, fixing up the rented building for the public,
general cleaning up and painting to give a more professional look to the museum.
The museum was without electrical power and was open as long as there was
enough sun-light to illuminate the displays. Often its opening was when visitors came
and were wanting to see the great collection under glass or was closed early on days
of a lack of visitors. They cooked on a gas butane stove and used gas lanterns to
see during the evenings. The inside walls were painted white to provide as much
light as long as the days would permit. The main floor space was twenty by forty

The tower was used for storage space and their bedroom was sixteen by
eighteen feet with bookcases place to separate the kitchen. A small window
opened west at the foot of the bed. Public rest rooms had been installed in
former storage space and opened out into the exterior of the building.

About half of the tourist that would turn into the museum would read the
admission sign of .25 cents for adults and .15 cents for children, would turn
and leave without checking the magnificent display. The first day they had a
total of sixty customers who toured their display and seemed well pleased.
Admissions steadily increased the first year with as many as a hundred on
occasion. The Nininger's sold literature and specimens to help supplement
their income to customers and by mail order. Many of the visiting public
included strange stories of meteorites that Nininger would recognize as a
mistake. A sense of humor was required to deal with these stories and
correct the error in such a way that the customer was not offended. Inside
of the museum a customer could heft in their hands a meteorite from outer space.
The center of the museum was some large Canyon Diablos from meteor crater
the center piece for the museum. Often school groups would come out on tours
as well as visiting former college students that Harvey had taught. In all some
33,000 paid admissions were recorded on the books the first twelve months
with visitors from every state, forty three foreign countries, fifteen colleges
and high schools, a few groups of scientists as well as other miscellaneous groups.

In all the museum operated on route 66 for three years before the interstate
drastically cut the museums business down to half which made it less feasible to
maintain and support the Nininger's. At its peak the museum housed some 5,000
meteorites from 526 different finds or falls. It had displays on various stages of
weathering of meteorites as well as shapes and sizes. A greater variety of specimens
were present than at any other institution larger or small. The museum had been made
not only to support the Nininger's but to provided a much needed education on
meteorites that was not present in even the better colleges and higher education
facilities of the day.

Source: Find A Falling Star By H.H. Nininger

Received on Fri 21 Feb 2003 09:54:04 AM PST

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