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  • Oklahoma City National Memorial & MuseumOklahoma City National Memorial & Museum Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    The Oklahoma City National Memorial and museum is located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and is a grand memorial that gives the utmost honor to the survivors, victims, rescuers and other people that were forever changed by the tragic events of the bombing that occurred on April 19, 1995. It sits downtown on the former site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building that was destroyed by that horrific bombing. The National Memorial was started on October 9, 1997, after Bill Clinton signed the Oklahoma City National Memorial Act of 1997, and as is tradition with the National Park Service historic sites, placed on the National Register of Historic Places on the same day. The National Memorial Museum and the Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism make up the components that have been placed in the old Journal Record Building that sits on the north side of the memorial grounds. It was officially dedicated on April 19, 2000, the fifth anniversary of that terrible bombing, and the museum was dedicated the next year. The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial holds the following sections that sit on 3.3 acres of land, and is open every day of the year, 24/7; the Field of Empty Chairs, which is 168 empty chairs that have been hand-crafted from bronze, glass and stone that represent those people that lost their lives on that fateful day. Each bombing victim's name is etched in the glass base, and these chairs are the empty chairs that every family that lost a loved one faces each time they sit down for a meal. They are arrayed in nine rows that symbolize the nine floors of the building, with each person's chair sitting in the row/floor where they worked or was visiting when the chains of events occurred. The westernmost line of five chairs represent the five people that were not in the Murrah building when the bomb went off, but two were in the Water Resources building, one outside near the building, one rescuer and one in the Athenian building. The nineteen small chairs represent the children that were murdered in the senseless bombing, as were three unborn children that died with their mothers, and are listed with their mothers on their chairs. The Gates of Time are huge twin bronze gates that frame the moment of devastation; 9:02, and are the formal entry into the memorial. On the eastern gate is 9:01, the last moment of peace for these folks on this earth, and on the other gate is 9:03, when the first seconds of recovery began, although for many, there never will be. Both of the time stamps have been inscribed in the inside of the monument and face each other as well as the Reflecting Pool. On the exterior of the gates is inscribed; "We come here to remember Those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity". The Reflecting Pool is merely a thin layer of water that flows over a polished black granite slab, going east to west, down the middle of the memorial which had been part of Fifth Street. Visitors that come here and look into the pool will see the reflection of a person that has been changed by domestic terrorism. The Survivor Tree is an American elm tree that stands on the north side of the memorial, and was the only shade tree in the parking lot that was located across from the building, and workers would come in early just to get a spot that was shaded by this tree. There are photos of the city that are from the beginning of its statehood, which is about 1907, and the tree is shown in it, which means it is now about 103 years old. Although it is old, it had been neglected and also taken for granted before the bombing, but after surviving the blast, although being heavily damaged, it was cut to gather some of the evidence that had blown into its branches. The Survivors wall is the only remaining original part of the Murrah building and is located on the southeast corner. It has become the Survivors Wall and has many panels of granite that was saved from the building inscribed with the names of the over 800 survivors from the building and the area around it.

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  • Science Museum OklahomaScience Museum Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    The Science Museum Oklahoma is located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and is home to the Kirkpatrick Planetarium, a domed theater and other exciting galleries involving science. It started as the Kirkpatrick Planetarium in 1958 and then moved to a more permanent dome at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds; in 1962. That same year, sometime later, the Oklahoma Science and Arts Foundation was started, and in 1978, they changed their name to the Omniplex Science Museum and moved to the newly constructed Kirkpatrick Center museum, that included the Kirkpatrick Planetarium that moved in. The Oklahoma Air and Space Museum was included in 1980, then the Kirkpatrick Gardens and Greenhouse in 1985, and finally, the Omnidome Theater opened there in 1998, which was the state's first big-format, dome-screen theater. The Omniplex changed its name to the Science Museum Oklahoma in 2007 and began adding many new venues that did include a kid-friendly space display and three more new art galleries, making the complex one of the most diverse science centers in the country. The area known as the Kirkpatrick Air and Space museum saves and gives honor to the many contributions that the state's people have given to the exploration of aerospace. The artifacts that are included in this display are the Apollo Lunar Module that was copied and constructed by Canadian inventor William Lishman, the Apollo Command Module simulator and other relics that reflect the state's aviator Wiley Post. Many of the relics are now on loan to the Oklahoma History Center that opened in 2005. This area contains the Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame, that contains a new second floor display that has biographies and pictures of the inductees. The main exhibit hall has numerous displays that include full-scale models of the Gemini, Mercury and Apollo capsules plus the real Apollo Command Module Simulator that was used to train the Apollo astronauts. In the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum, there is a marvelous display that pays tribute to the art and technology of photography, and is home to the world's biggest "photo-mural" which is a laserscape of the Grand Canyon. It also contains a big collection of original Kodak camera equipment and prints. The Red Earth Museum looks at the Native American lifestyles and cultures with many artifacts and artworks displayed that include a large collection of cradleboards from a lot of Native American tribes around the nation. The International Gymnastics Hall of Fame is also found inside the museum and showcases collections of awards, apparatus, medals, a library and different pieces of sculptures. It is devoted to showing honor to those that have improved the sport of gymnastics that include; Mary Lou Retton, Nikolai Andrianov, Vera Caslavska, Nadia Comaneci, Bart Conner, Valery Liukin and Olga Korbut. The dome theater is the only one of its kind in the city and has a huge format theater that shows 15/70 mm film; with the projector's bulb being 15,000 watts.

January 11, 2011