Idea Generation and the Museum Visit

A probang.

I love love love going to museums. I always come away from my visit with a host of new ideas. Of course, viewing the frontier medicine exhibit at Ft. Davis historic site in Texas was a bit yuck. Research that makes you go GAG.

An esophagus dilator.

The point that the museum wanted to make with the exhibit was that the vast majority of health problems had nothing to do with being in the military. First things first, please forgive the quality of the photos. Trying to take pictures in the oh-so-sunny mountains of West Texas when everything is behind glass is a challenge. #7, the thing that looks like a paintbrush with a curved handle, is a probang and is used to fish foreign items out of a person’s throat. Yes, a person. The tool is still in use today but with veterinarians. Not sure what people-doctors use. #14 – the thing that looks like an enormous one-ended Q-tip is an esophagus dilator to relieve excess stomach acid. The good news is that the tip is replaceable.

The fort doctor also had to deal with lightning strike, fevers, and tooth aches. Still not sure what I’m going to do with all of this.

My son photographing the observatory in the distance.

Other ideas are more complete when they arrive. We also toured the McDonald Observatory. The exhibits there prompted ideas about the building of the observatory and the creation of the University of Austin’s astronomy departments, a picture book about a boy who lives on a ranch and finds a meteorite, and light pollution.

These ideas may be more complete but they aren’t ready to go. If I can find all of the information I need, they’ll be nonfiction. If information is scant to non-existent, the story might have to be fiction. I still have a lot of reading and ruminating to do.

And wouldn’t it be awful if one or more of these ideas required a research trip?