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  • Molly Brown House MuseumMolly Brown House Museum Denver, Colorado
    Perhaps not everyone watched the movie extravaganza, Titanic, so you might not have heard of Molly Brown, the unsinkable Molly Brown as she was known, but just relax and listen to her story as it unfolds, and don't think that because she was a wealthy woman that she was born with a silver or gold in this case spoon in her mouth. No, Margaret Tobin Brown was born to Irish immigrants, Johanna and John Tobin, in 1867, in Hannibal, Missouri. They were hard workers, Irish Catholics like so many that came to this country in the 19th century to find freedoms and wealth, or to at least live in an environment that allowed those wonderful ideas to flourish. Molly attended school until she was 13, and then began working in a factory for pennies and long days under harsh conditions that would exist until the 20th century when workers fought with life and limb so we could enjoy the fruits of their endeavors. Molly moved west with her brother Daniel to Leadville, Colorado. After arriving, she went to work in a department store, and became active in her church community; all the while seeing the hardships and lifestyles of those that came to find glory and gold and wind up down and out. She began to help at the soup kitchens and other charity works, in the meantime meeting J.J. Brown, a mining engineer, with decent prospects, but not a fortune. They courted through the summer, and were married on September 1, 1886, she only 19 and he 31. Moving closer to J.J.'s work in Stumpftown, since most miners and their families tried to be as close to their work especially in winter when traveling became frigid and difficult. Although all the working conditions were very hard and terrible, the occasional success that happened kept all working for that one moment of glory and riches. Then in 1893, it all fell with the silver crash, and amidst this incredible poverty and despair, J.J. was working as a mining superintendent, when he came across a vein of gold in the Little Johnny Mine, whereupon the owners gave the Browns substantial shares in their new enterprise, the Ibex Mining Company; making the Browns instant millionaires. The next year, 1894, they bought their Denver home on Pennsylvania Avenue and watched the city explode with raw materials and smelting furnaces all around the area. By moving to Denver, the Browns didn't leave the chaos of poverty and homelessness, as slums grew up around the city's outskirts; more specifically the children and soon reformers, that grabbed Molly's attention. As her interests in making life better for these folks, she thought about running for office, although the fact that she was a woman didn't bother her or others, it did offend her husband and many of his associates, so she dropped out, but continued to learn more about the ways and means of politics. The Browns new wealth allowed them to become more philanthropic and able to travel the world. In 1902, she and J.J. went on a world tour that carried them to Russian, Japan, India, France and Ireland. The trip helped their tenuous relationship, but in 1909, after 23 years of marriage, they signed a separation agreement. They would never divorce, and J.J passed on in 1922. She got a cash settlement and the house in Denver, with a monthly allotment of $700 to allow her to keep traveling and helping others.  Then in 1912, with renewed independence, her daughter Helen and friends, J.J and Madeleine Astor, they took a trip to Egypt, Rome and then Paris; when news of her grandson's illness caused her to return on the first ship available which turned out to be the new Titanic. The technologically advanced ship was a modern wonder, that cost $10 million to make and at 882.5 feet was boasted as the most unsinkable ship afloat. Having been warned of possible ice in the waters, the ship was hurrying to make a momentously fast trip and just before midnight of April 14, she hit an iceberg. She was relaxing in bed, reading, when the jolt threw her from the bed, with little thoughts as to what happened. After the crash, she heard a lot of commotion outside in the hallways and went to see what was going on, and saw a man in terrible shape, telling her to get her life saver. She helped other passengers board, and then she was dropped four feet into a lowering lifeboat, number 6. The craft was designed to hold 65, but when it left the shipside it held 21 women, 2 men and 12 year old boy. They all rowed for hours, and at 4:30 AM. saw a light coming from the approaching ship Carpathia and were all saved. Molly was tired, sore and cold, but still gathered her strength to help those that could only speak a little English and gathered blankets and supplies for the women and others that were rescued. Many had lost everything they held dear, and were without money or clothes for the new country. Molly rallied the other first class members to donate funds for these poor people and before the ship docked in New York, had raised $10,000 to help. Her experiences are quite well known, but the aftermath and what she did in helping the survivors lifted her into the national limelight for the first time. Her story is a marvelous one of survival and self sacrifice that gained her much during the remainder of her life.

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  • Denver Museum of Nature & ScienceDenver Museum of Nature & History Denver, Colorado
    The Denver Museum of Nature and Science has become an exceptional resource for science education in the Rocky Mountain area, with numerous programs, activities and exhibitions that allow visitors to experience the beautiful natural wonders of the state, the globe and the universe. It has six main areas of study; with IMAX films, lectures, classes, exhibitions and programs that relate to one of the following; zoology, anthropology, space science, geology, health science and paleontology. The building houses half a million square feet of space that contains a million pieces that includes natural history relics, and anthropological materials, archival and library resources that continue to bring visitors from all over. Almost 200,000 students and teachers avail themselves of the sources found here each year with many outreach programs and distance learning for all the community. It began in 1900, with marvelous views of the Rocky Mountains and the city of Denver and three various names; the Colorado Museum of Natural History, the Denver Museum of Natural History and finally the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Its beginnings can be traced to Edwin Carter, who loved nature, the birds, mammals and fauna of the state and dedicated his life to collecting anything related to that end; which was housed in a log cabin and now is the biggest natural history museum in the western parts of the United States. Its permanent exhibits include the Discovery Zone, Wildlife Exhibits, Egyptian Mummies, Space Odyssey, Expedition Health, Prehistoric Journey, Gems and Minerals and North American Indian cultures.  The Gates Planetarium, that sits on the complex grounds, is one of the most sophisticated planetariums in the world, with an authentic and accurate view of the universe and marvelous infrastructure to inform the public about science stories and assisting visitors to experience the universe and all its secrets. The planetarium has a perforated metal dome that is 56 feet in diameter and tilted at 25 degrees; with images coming from NASA and other leading research facilities; a 16.4 surround sound system with Ambisonic-- 3-D spatial sound and a unidirectional, semi-reclining stadium that seats 125 seats and 4 wheelchair spaces.

January 11, 2011