Location Seed: The Museum of Natural Disasters.

Museum of Natural Disasters – Google Docs

The Museum of Natural Disasters

(Sioux City, Nebraska)

If anybody looked very closely at the Museum of Natural Disasters’ books — mind you, nobody has been allowed to do that since 1958 — they’d be confused at how the museum manages to stay in operation.  It’s not a bad museum, you understand.  It’s a perfectly good kid-friendly institution that helps teach natural science via fanciful and exciting dynamic exhibits.  Which is a fancy way of saying that the museum educationally blows things up for kids.

The exhibits are fascinating.  There’s the Shake It Off Room, where you can walk through the San Andreas fault finally shattering and turning California into a muddy offshore island.  There’s the Baking Soda Volcano That Ate The World, which regularly shows the number of states that the Yellowstone Caldera could potentially eat (wear a coat, kids!). There’s an inexplicably-licensed display where the Scooby-Doo Gang try to solve the New Madrid Earthquake Mystery, a water room which features pressure water jets forcing new channels for the Mississippi River, the Asteroid Strike room, the Tsunami Room, the somewhat dated Stop the Reactor Meltdown display, the more recent Sea of Grey Zombie Apocalypse room, the Apocalypses Race diorama, and the latest one: The 72-Hour Pandemic suite. That one’s lots of fun; it uses multiple computer displays to get the entire room involved in stopping a simulated multiple-site outbreak of a mutated swine flu.  The kids love it.

Anyway, the Museum’s nice and everything, but who’s paying for it? It’s not taking federal or state aid and the museum’s official entry fee is Whatever You Can. That’s not enough for the site, the generous equipment and maintenance budget, the healthy salaries, and of course the three Cray Urika-GX computers in the basement.  Of course, the only way anybody would know about that last feature would be by looking at the books; and, again, doing so is a federal felony under a secret provision of Title X of the National Defense Education Act of 1958.  Which was not affected by President Kennedy’s limited repeal of Title X in 1962. In case it comes up, or something.

Mind you, even if there is a government conspiracy involved here it’s hard to see what the actual problem is.  Silly adventurous types will want to find out.  Smart adventurous types will want to leave well enough alone.  And sensible adventurous types will simply patiently wait until they’re dragged into whatever sudden peril the Museum finds itself.  It’s simpler in the long run, really.

1 Comment

  • junior says:

    This one actually makes a limited amount of sense, in a non-conspiracy fashion. I can see this as a government project to develop ideas useful in combating disasters on a massive scale. Kids (who aren’t yet locked into the same thinking patterns as adults) come up with ideas, that are then analyzed by the computers in the basement, and the results are run through simulations to figure out which ideas might actually work in a real world disaster.

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