Friday, July 28, 2006

Podcast #36 - The Titanic - World's Largest Museum Attraction - Branson, Missouri

Hello. The summer of 2006 History Hits the Road tour traveled to Branson, Missouri last week for a visit to the new Titanic - World's Largest Museum Attraction. This museum is a must for anyone visiting the Branson area. I have always had a special interest in the Titanic. As a young boy growing up in a small town in Nebraska, I can remember going to the library and repeatedly checking out an old book about the tragety of the Titanic. I can also remember as a 6th grader when they found the Titanic on the ocean floor and reading about it in National Geographic. So last fall when I saw a booth at the NCSS Convention about a new Titanic museum opening in the spring of 2006 I knew I had to check it out. This past week I taught a workshop in Webb City, Missouri on podcasting, blogs and video editing so I took the family down to Branson and we visited this the museum.

Once in Branson you can't miss the museum. The building itself is a half scale model of the Titanic - over 100 feet high located right on Highway 76 on the Branson strip. As you enter the museum you are presented with a boarding pass containing background information on an actual passenger. You will discover more about the fate of your passenger later in the tour. The museum itself is a very respectful and well documented collection of over 400 authentic artifacts from the ship and it's passengers. My personal favorite was the dinner menu. You will also view a collection of photographs taken by a priest onboard the ship, an amazing 18 foot model of the Titanic, and replicas of the cabins for third and first class. The museum also features interactive displays that engage and education. The water the night the Titanic sank was 28 degress (salt water does not freeze at 32 degress) and you can place your hand in water at that temperature and see how long you can tolerate it. You also have the chance to climb on deck at various angles as the ship sank that night. While you are taking in the exhibits you may encounter Captain Edward Smith, portrayed by Lowell Lylte, who will relate the current status of the ship on the way to America or a story about a passenger. You can also try your hand at sending an SOS message from the bridge and walk the grand staircase. I would recommend planning about 2 hours to go through the exhibits and even then you may want to come back again - I know I plan to return at a later date to see anything I may have missed.

After walking through the exhibits with my family I was very fortunate to sit down and visit with John Joslyn, the President of the Titanic Museum and Lowell Lylte, the actor who portrays Captian Edward Smith. Listen to the podcast, check out the link to the museum in the show notes and then make plans to visit this excellent attraction.

If you have any comments or suggestions please leave a comment at the end of this entry or e-mail

Direct link to listen to Podcast #36 - The Titanic - World's Largest Museum Attraction in Branson, Missouri - MP3 Format (39:09 minutes)

Show Notes to Podcast #36:

Official Site - Titanic - World's Largest Museum Attraction - Branson, Missouri
Wikipedia entry for the RMS Titanic

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Podcast #35 - Highlights from the NECC 2006 Exhibit Floor in San Diego

Hello. Spending a couple of days decompressing after getting home from NECC in San Diego. As always, one of the best things about NECC is the exhibit hall. This year's conference boasted more than 500 companies and over 1,300 booths. Of course there is the thrill of filling your conference bag with cool pens, t-shirts and sample CD's but it is also great to visit with some of the people that provide us with resources that we can use in our classroom everyday. Last fall at the National Council for the Social Studies conference in Kansas City I recorded short visits with some of the people on the exhibit hall floor and I recieved some great feedback from people who were not able to attend but learned about some new resources from the podcast. Last week in San Diego I decided to do the same thing at NECC and did some short interviews with some of the vendors of products I thought my listeners might find helpful. These six are only a small slice of what the exhibit hall floor was like but I encourage you to check out the show notes to learn more about their services and products.

Please send any comments or feedback to

Direct link to listen on your computer to Podcast #35 - Highlights from the NECC 2006 Exhibit Hall Floor in San Diego - MP3 Format (19:45 minutes)

Show Notes for Podcast #35:

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Podcast #34 - Touring the USS Midway in San Diego at NECC 2006

Hello. Just getting everything unpacked from a great week in San Diego attending NECC 2006. It was a great conference with some amazing converstations centering around web 2.0, blogging, podcasting, web applications, etc. I will have more to report on NECC later this week, including some thoughts from the sessions I attended and the people I met. Today I want to share another adventure from the History Hits the Road Tour 2006. The teachers from our district who attended NECC stayed on the harbor and each day on our way to the convention center from our hotel we would pass by the USS Midway - an aircraft carrier which saw service from World War II through Dessert Storm. Before we returned to Kansas City on Friday, Marty Kelsey (another Liberty teacher) and I toured the ship. It was such a thrill to walk on the flight deck and think of all the amazing history that took place on this ship. Not only did this ship see action in war, it also picked up the astronauts as they returned from the moon. The Midway was in service for 47 years and was home to over a quarter of a million sailors in her career.

I took some audio from veterans who served as tour guides aboard the ship. Each person who pays for addmission to the ship also is given a small device that allows them to follow along with a self guided audio tour. This device is a product of Antenna Audio. It allowed you to listen to an audio tour of various parts of the ship. For example, if you were standing on the flight deck and wanted to learn more about the plane you were standing in front of you could simply type the number on the display into the device and it would load that portion of the tour. I realize that these devices are used at museums around the world but I thought this device was very well organized and easy to use.

The podcast contains audio from some of the veterans onboard and a short clip from the preprogramed audio tour. There was a little wind so the audio from the flight deck does have a little "noise" in the background. The podcast answers some interesting questions, such as:

  • How does a plane take off from the flight deck of a carrier?
  • How does a fighter pilot go to the bathroom while in flight?
  • What do you cook for the thousands of sailors onboard?
  • How do you organize the planes taking off and landing on the flight deck?
  • What happens if you try to take off from the flight deck and you left your parking brake on?

If you have any comments or questions please feel free to contact me at

Direct link to listen to Podcast #34 - Touring the USS Midway in San Diego at NECC 2006 - MP3 Format (19:44 minutes)

Podcast #34 Show Notes:

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Podcast #33 - Opening Night of NECC 2006 - A Global Event

Hello from San Diego. I just got back from the opening night of NECC and wow is it great to be here. Our school district has sent seven teachers and administrators to NECC to learn more about using web 2.0 tools, video, podcasting, blogging, distance learning, software, hardware, etc. Tonight we took a shuttle over the convention center, got registered and then walked over to the Gas Lamp district for a little food and conversation. We then headed back to the convention center to grab a seat to watch the fireworks over the harbor - I know, this conference stuff is hard work! I couldn't miss out on a golden opportunity to podcast so I started walking around and randomly asking people what they were excited to see at NECC this week. I soon discovered just how global this conference really is - in a manner of minutes I had visited with participants from Canada, Louisiana, Japan, Illinois and Oklahoma. It was pretty cool. The other thing I noticed was the fact that when I mentioned that I wanted to ask them a question for a podcast - not a single person asked me what a podcast is! Last year almost everyone would have first asked what a podcast is before answering any questions. That is real progress. I hope to do quite a few interviews with NECC participants to give you a feel for what is happening in San Diego this week. I have also included some pictures from walking around today. San Diego is a beautiful city and I can tell this will be an amazing week. All aboard.....

Direct link to listen to Podcast #33 - Opening Night of NECC 2006- A Global Event - MP3 Format - 9:10 minutes

If you have any questions or comments please send them my way at
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The picture of the ship is of the Star of India in the harbor at San Diego - we saw it on our walk back to the hotel after fireworks.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Podcast #32 - Getting Ready for NECC 2006

Just a couple of days until NECC starts in San Diego. The NECC site has a great online conference planner and I've been checking out which sessions sound best for me. If you're planning on attending NECC please consider blogging/podcasting about it and using the tag "necc06" so that everyone can share in your efforts. Check out the links below to help you prepare. You can also leave a comment about what you are really excited to see this year in San Diego.

Direct link to listen to Podcast #32 - Getting Ready for NECC 2006 - MP3 Format (12:30 minutes)

Show Notes for Podcast #32:

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Podcast #31 - The Spirit of Louisiana Steam Engine in Liberty

This spring the community of Liberty hosted a wonderful visitor from New Orleans - the Spirit of Louisiana steam engine. During the months of May and June the steam train was visited by thousands of people. The train then moved on to Kearney, Missouri for their 150th birthday celebration. I was able to visit the train on two occasions - during our Spring Festival and then later in June before they left. This episode contains some interviews during the Spring Festival. Be sure to check out the show notes as well. The Kansas City Star newspaper did a great video on the train while it was in Liberty and you can stay in touch with the travels of the train after its stay in the Liberty area. It was such a great experience to see an authentic part of American history.

If you have any comments or questions please contact me at or leave a comment of this post.

Direct link to listen to Speaking of History Podcast #31 - The Spirit of Louisiana Steam Engine in Liberty - MP3 Format - (12:30 minutes)

Show Notes for Podcast #31: