On Tour: BLAST! in Allentown, PA

13 Apr

Inner workings at the Silverball Museum

On the way to Allentown, we took an excursion to Asbury Park. Highlight was the Silverball Museum on the boardwalk. It’s full of gorgeously maintained vintage pinball machines.  The space reverberates  with that familiar clanging noise and each machine is accompanied by a detailed description of its history and playing strategy. Turns out the owner also owns the Cluck U Chicken Company. His daughter is autistic, but he discovered that she responded well to pinball machines. So he started buying them for her. The collection evolved into this museum. Fun to see the complicated inside of one of these machines.

Da Vinci Science Center

Two hours on the road, brought us to the Da Vinci Science Center, right near Dorney Amusement Park in Allentown, PA.  BLAST! has exposed me to a network of these affiliated organizations, such as The Franklin Institute in  Philadelphia and the Coca-Cola Science Center in Georgia.  They always have the most fun, interactive exhibits and are a great way to get young people excited about science. Which of course is exactly what we want to do with  BLAST! as well.

Inside the Da Vinci Science Center

As might be expected at a science center, most of the questions after the screening were about science. There was even a scientist in the audience who asked a technical question about what kind of detectors the telescope used.  Uh-oh. Since I’m not a scientist myself, these are the times I wish my astrophysicist brother Mark (who stars in BLAST!) were with me. When we appear together, I pass those questions on to him. But this time, I had to channel him and remember how he has answered these questions in the past. Hopefully, I did OK, but I can just picture him shaking his head…


Struggling with those science questions!

My cousin Colleen Dooley happens to live in Allentown. She came to the screening with her husband Peter, their daughters, Kate and Caroline and friend Emily. I haven’t seen Kate and Caroline since the were 5 years old. Now they’re 17 and almost as tall as I am!  We all went out after the show and had a great time catching up!


Emily, Paul, & Cousins

Next up Erie, PA, near the Canadian border in the northwest corner of Pennsylvania.  First plane ride of the tour!

Post by Paul Devlin, OSIP touring filmmaker

To read all posts by this filmmaker, please click here!

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