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Tales from the Museum Store: What’s the science behind a yo-yo?

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It was fairly busy at the Museum Store that day.  We had several school groups in and I was rushing to the back to wrap something for a customer.  As I hurried by the children’s area I overheard a conversation between two young patrons. 

DSCN0731 One of the girls was about 15 years old.  Her hair was pinned in a loose bun on top of her head the way teenage girls like to do.  As I walked by her, she was trying her hand at a yo-yo.  She turned to her companion and said, “What’s the science behind yo-yos?”  I smiled to myself for two reasons.  The first reason was that I really didn’t have an answer for her but the second reason was that I was thrilled to hear the question in the first place.  Her question represents the true role of the Museum Store; provoking thought, discovery, and further educating Museum guests.

DSCN0734The next time I saw the young lady she was at the cash wrap where we have plenty of impulse buy items.  As she continued to browse, she picked up a tin of mints from the counter.  The mints she picked up happened to feature on the cover J. Howard Miller’s iconic “We Can Do It!” image.   The mints are cleverly called “empowermints.”  She looked at me and declared, “I’m a feminist.”   For many women, including this young lady, both this image and Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter represent strength and empowerment.   little girl with rosieThis young woman is at an age where she is shaping her ideas and interests.  I hope her visit to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Museum Store is a memorable part of her journey to become whatever she hopes to be.  I have a feeling she is well on her way to becoming a strong and determined scientist, physicist…maybe even an artist. Certainly a lover of art!

By the way, what IS the science behind a yoyo?  I now know by way of a fun article titled “What makes a yo-yo yo?” If you would like to explore the answer to this question too here’s a link.  And to all of our Museum guests, both young and old, I invite you to keep asking questions, learning, and discovering during your next visit to the Museum Store.

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