Lenin Museum in Tampere, Finland

One of the strangest museums that I have ever visited was the Lenin Museum in Tampere, Finland.  As its name implies, it is dedicated to the first leader of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin.  It is currently the only museum outside of Russia dedicated to him.

Finland has a museum focused on Lenin, because the building that houses the museum used to be the Tampere Workers’ Hall, where Russian revolutionaries, including Vladimir Lenin, secretly met in 1905.  In 1809, Russia took Finland from Sweden in the Finnish War, and moved the country’s capital from Turku to Helsinki (the former is closer to Stockholm, Sweden and the latter to St. Petersburg, Russia).  Because Finland was under Russian rule, Lenin and his comrades felt safer conducting a revolutionary meeting in outlying Finland than on mainland Russia.  The 1905 meeting has even greater significance, because that is where 35-year-old Lenin first met 27-year-old Joseph Stalin, who also attended the meeting in Tampere.  Stalin ultimately became the second leader of the Soviet Union (and a mass murderer).

As you walk through the Lenin Museum, you follow a chronological timeline of Vladimir Lenin’s life.  The displays include photographs, signs, and some objects, which all help flesh out who the man was.  The Museum came into existence after Finland had already gained independence from Russia, but during Joseph Stalin’s rule, so visitors from the Soviet Union would visit Finland to see it. The goal was to bridge the gap between East and West.  However, the Museum now strives to take a more critical approach of Lenin than it did during those years.

Tampere was historically an industrial city, which is why it had a workers’ hall.

Perhaps the strangest part of the museum were the two wax figures near the entrance of the Museum.  One is of Lenin in a motorcycle sidecar, and the other is of Stalin standing nearby.  Visitors are welcome to dress up (put on a leather jacket and driving goggles) and sit on the motorcycle that “drives” Vladimir Lenin’s sidecar, and then take pictures.  Since neither Lenin or (especially) Stalin are viewed favorably by most of the world today, the whole place felt strange to me.  However, it was still historically interesting.

A wax figure of Vladimir Lenin at the Lenin Museum in Tampere, Finland

The Museum’s gift shop was different.  Its souvenirs included a “capitalist pig” piggy bank and stuffed toys of Lenin, Karl Marx, etc.  It also sold Russian nesting dolls of Russia’s leaders, with Vladimir Putin being the biggest “doll,” and Vladimir Lenin nesting as the smallest “doll” inside.  A reverse version of this was in one of the Museum’s displays.

If you ever visit Tampere, Finland, there are many potential museums to visit.  However, the Lenin Museum may be the most unique among them, so is worth a stop.

Sources and Further Reading

“Lenin Museum.” Tripadvisor. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g189948-d297204-Reviews-or10-Lenin_Museum-Tampere_Pirkanmaa.html (accessed May 28, 2020).

Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago

One of the oldest cemeteries in Chicago is Oak Woods Cemetery, which was founded in 1854, but started burying people in 1860.  Located in the South Side of Chicago, it used to be outside of Chicago’s boundaries, but that changed as the city grew.  What I enjoyed most about my visit there was discovering the diverse range of people buried in it.

When visiting an American cemetery, one of the most valuable websites is Findagrave.com.  It is basically a cemetery database.  Anybody with an account can add graves to it.  Some people actually add graves to it for fun, since it is an invaluable resource for genealogical research.  The more famous the cemetery, the more likely most, if not all, of its graves have been added to it.  What is even more amazing is that for famous graves, people often add photos and coordinate locations, so that you can easily find a specific grave using your GPS.  Before visiting Oak Woods Cemetery, I researched which famous people were buried there, and then used Findagrave and my phone’s GPS to find them.

Perhaps what makes Oak Woods Cemetery most unique is that, according to Rick Kogan’s May 31, 2013 article in the Chicago Tribune, it contains the largest known mass grave in the Western Hemisphere.  Known as the Confederate Mound, this mass grave contains the bodies of approximately 4,200 Confederate soldiers from the American Civil War.  The reason why these Southern troops were buried in the North is because they were prisoners of war living in a military prison in Chicago called Camp Douglas.  The conditions at the camp were terrible, however, a smallpox epidemic caused the deaths of most of the Confederate soldiers buried in the mass grave.  These soldiers’ bodies were actually relocated to Oak Woods Cemetery after the Civil War, because, according to the National Park Service, the U.S. Government had to close their original burial place, due to flooding.

Oak Woods Cemetery’s Confederate Mound

In 1895, an ex-Confederate group in Chicago erected a monument over Oak Woods’ Confederate mass grave.  In response, the following year, a Southern abolitionist erected a cenotaph (empty tomb in honor of a person or group) at Oak Woods in honor of Southern abolitionists.  Oak Woods also has a smaller monument over a mass grave of Union soldiers.

The Abolitionist Cenotaph at Oak Woods Cemetery
Oak Woods Cemetery’s Monument over the Graves of Union Soldiers

Ironically, Oak Woods not only houses dead Confederate troops, but also some famous African Americans.  My favorite person buried at Oak Woods is the Olympic running champion, Jesse Owens.  He famously represented the United States in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany, where he beat a German runner, and thus disproved Hitler’s belief in the superiority of the “Aryan” race.  Other famous African Americans buried at Oak Woods include Harold Washington, Chicago’s first African American mayor, and Ida B. Wells, a journalist and civil rights activist.

The diversity of Oak Woods Cemetery does not end with Confederate soldiers and Civil Rights activists.  Not far from the Confederate Mound is a separate Jewish cemetery.  However, it is maintained by several synagogues instead of by Dignity Memorial, which maintains the rest of the cemetery.  Sadly, because of the huge expense of maintaining graves, and because the Jewish cemetery is older, the graves are in poor condition.

Oak Woods Cemetery’s Jewish Section

Last but not least, another famous person buried at Oak Woods Cemetery is Enrico Fermi.  He is the Italian scientist who created the first nuclear reactor, meaning that he helped create the atomic bomb.

Oak Woods Cemetery clearly shows that once we are dead, we are all truly equal, no matter what notions we may have about it while we are still alive. If only people could get along in life as they do in death.

You may also be interested in my post about Graceland Cemetery.

Sources and Further Reading

“Confederate Mound at Oak Woods Cemetery Chicago, Illinois.” National Park Service. https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/national_cemeteries/Illinois/Confederate_Mound_Oak_Woods_Cemetery.html (accessed May 29, 2020).

“It Tells His Life Story: Abolitionist Shaft in Oakwoods Erected by T.D. Lowther”. Chicago Tribune. June 9, 1896.

American Experience: Jesse Owens. Directed by Laurens Grant. Boston: WGBH, 2012. 

Kogan, Rick. “Camp Douglas Effort Stirs Ghosts of the Civil War.” Chicago Tribune. May 31, 2013. https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-xpm-2013-05-31-ct-ae-0602-kogan-sidewalks-20130531-story.html (accessed May 29, 2020).

“Oak Woods Cemetery.” Dignity Memorial. https://www.dignitymemorial.com/funeral-homes/chicago-il/oak-woods-cemetery/6248 (accessed May 29, 2020).

“Oak Woods Cemetery.” Find A Grave. https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/173554/oak-woods-cemetery (accessed May 29, 2020).

“Oakwoods Cemetery.” Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois. https://jgsi.org/OakOakwoods-Cemeterywoods-Cemetery (accessed May 29, 2020).

Arlington National Cemetery

In the United States, the last Monday of the month of May is Memorial Day, in which everyone takes off from work to remember those who died in various U.S. wars.  Originally called Decoration Day, this national holiday began in 1868 to commemorate those who died in the American Civil War (1861-1865).  However, eventually, the holiday evolved into remembering those who died in any U.S. war. 

The American Civil War also gave birth to Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia, which is arguably the most famous cemetery in the United States.  Although it is currently closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic (except for those who have family members buried there), during normal situations, it provides daily bus tours to visitors.  Because of its vast size of 624 acres, with over 400,000 burials, the tour only covers several major highlights.

Perhaps one of the most important stops on the tour is Arlington House, since it is a mansion located on the cemetery grounds that predates the Civil War.  Once the Civil War began, the United States’ government took over this strategic location near the country’s capital.  However, they chose to make the land surrounding the mansion a cemetery, in order to prevent its owner from eventually returning to it.  Its owner was the Confederate General Robert E. Lee.  He inherited the house from his wife, who was herself a descendant of George Washington’s wife, Martha (from Martha’s first husband). 

During the Civil War, the U.S. government buried soldiers from any rank at Arlington.  However, as time passed, the Cemetery gained prestige, and now has a more selective process of who can be buried there.  Among the famous men buried there (as mentioned on the tour) are General John J. Pershing who served in WWI, President John F. Kennedy and his brothers Robert and Ted (the former two served in WWII, and the latter enlisted after the War), and President William Howard Taft.  President Taft never served in the military, so I am not sure how he ended up at Arlington.  However, he is the only person to have served as both the U.S. president and the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.  Finally, Audie Murphy is buried at Arlington.  He was the most decorated soldier in WWII.

John F. Kennedy was actually a war hero during WWII. The 1963 film PT 109 tells that story.  After the War, Audie Murphy landed a career in Hollywood.  The 1955 film To Hell and Back is an autobiographical movie that stars him.  I have watched both films a while ago.  I do not remember them well but do remember thinking that they were mediocre but interesting films.

Perhaps the most famous site at Arlington National Cemetery is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  This tomb began in 1921, with the remains of four unidentified dead soldiers from World War I.  Unidentified soldiers from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War were subsequently added to the tomb.  Volunteers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment guard it 24/7, in rain or shine.  Seeing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and its guard is perhaps the highlight of the Arlington National Cemetery tour. 

Since the Cemetery is currently closed, you can download the app to have a free tour from home, or find the same information on a site called ANC Explorer:  https://ancexplorer.army.mil/publicwmv/#/arlington-national/ You might also be interested to know that during this pandemic, the Cemetery decided to open its 105-year-old time capsule.

Sources and Further Reading

Arlington: Field of Honor. Directed by John B. Bredar. New York: National Geographic, 2005.

“General Information.” Arlington National Cemetery Tours. https://www.arlingtontours.com/general-information (accessed May 24, 2020).

“History of Arlington National Cemetery.” Arlington National Cemetery. https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Explore/History/History-of-Arlington-National-Cemetery (accessed May 24, 2020).

Machemer, Theresa. Arlington National Cemetery Opens Its 105-Year-Old Time Capsule.” Smithsonian Magazine. May 20, 2020. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/arlington-cemetery-opens-its-105-year-old-time-capsule-180974924/?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=socialmedia&fbclid=IwAR3C6LRxI9DqfUV_Cxd2IP4a1nvDd1zBrzsj-cHAsuPiuGhrYrBHG_Fzyhc (accessed May 24, 2020).

PT 109. Directed by Leslie H. Martinson. Burbank, California: Warner Bros., 1963.

Sorto, Gabrielle. “What You Need to Know about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.” CNN. May 27, 2019. https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/27/us/tomb-of-the-unknown-soldier-trnd/index.html (accessed May 24, 2020).

To Hell and Back. Directed by Jesse Hibbs. Universal City, California: Universal Studios, 1955.

Van Vleck, Jennifer Leigh. “Arlington National Cemetery and the Origins of Memorial Day.” Arlington National Cemetery. May 21, 2020. https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Blog/Post/10817/Arlington-National-Cemetery-and-the-Origins-of-Memorial-Day (accessed May 24, 2020).

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

The state of Indiana annually hosts one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world: the Indianapolis 500 (more commonly known as the Indy 500).  The race’s name derives from the fact that it is held in Indiana’s state capital of Indianapolis, and that the racers drive around the racetrack 200 times, equaling a distance of 500 miles.  The Indy 500 usually occurs during the United States’ Memorial Day Weekend, so was originally scheduled for May 24, 2020 this year.  However, due to the COVID-19 situation, it has been postponed to August 23rd.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The Indy 500, along with France’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race and the Monaco Grand Prix make up the Triple Crown of Motorsports.  The Indy 500 is the oldest of these three automobile races.  Because of its importance to the history of automobile racing, a Museum dedicated to the Indy 500 opened in 1956, known as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.  Since 1976, the Museum has been located at the center of the actual racetrack.  Although located on site, it is run by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation, Inc., which is independent of those who run the actual Indy 500 race.

Visitors to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum must drive through the racetrack’s main entrance in order to get to the Museum’s parking lot.  Once at the Museum, visitors can choose different bus and golf cart tours around the track.  However, since I have never even watched an Indy 500 race, I did not bother paying for a tour.  Instead, my visit solely consisted of visiting the actual museum building. 

The Museum includes the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame, which is a large plaque that contains the names of different race car drivers.  However, the main exhibit at the museum was a room full of race car winners from different decades.  Not every Indy 500 race car winner is there, but many are there, including the first winner from 1911.  Walking around the room is like walking through an Indy 500 timeline. It is interesting to look at how race cares have changed over the years.  The Indy 500 has faithfully occurred every year except during parts of WWI (from 1917 to 1918), and WWII (from 1942 to 1945).  Other points of interest at the Museum are a temporary exhibit section, an 8-minute video about the history of the Indy 500, a race car driving simulator, and a variety of other race cars and suits.

This is the first Indy 500 winner, the Marmon Wasp, which is believed to be the first car to have a rearview mirror. Ray Harroun drove it.

Sources and Further Reading

“1911 Marmon Wasp.” Historic Vehicle Association. https://www.historicvehicle.org/national-historic-vehicle-register/vehicles/1911-marmon-wasp/ (accessed May 15, 2020).

“History of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.” Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. https://indyracingmuseum.org/about-us/museum-history/ (accessed May 15, 2020).

Horner, Scott. “2019 Indy 500: What You Need to Know about the Triple Crown of Motor Sports.” IndyStar. May 14, 2019. https://www.indystar.com/story/sports/motor/2019/05/14/what-is-motor-sports-triple-crown-fernando-alonso-indy-500/3574885002/ (accessed May 15, 2020).

Terrence J. O’Brien Water Reclamation Plant

Did you ever wonder where sewage water goes, or what happens to water that has been flushed down the toilet?  I had the privilege of visiting the Terrence J. O’Brien Water Reclamation Plant to learn more about this.  This facility serves approximately 1.3 million residents living in both the northern part of Chicago and in seventeen of its northern suburbs in Cook County.  People can request tours to see this water reclamation plant, as well as others in the Chicago area.  However, I visited the plant during Open House Chicago, which is a weekend event that happens every October in Chicago in which different buildings, museums, etc. open up their spaces for free to the public.

Terrence J. O’Brien Water Reclamation Plant in Skokie, Illinois

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) began in 1889.  Among its early projects was reversing the Chicago River so that it flowed away from Lake Michigan (Chicago’s source of drinking water) rather than towards it.  As Chicago grew in population, so did its need for reclamation plants.  The Stickney Water Reclamation Plant in Cicero, Illinois was built in 1930, and is among the largest in the world.  The Terrence J. O’Brien Water Reclamation Plant was built in 1928, and originally called the North Side Sewage Treatment Works.  It was renamed in memory of a Board Commissioner in 2012.  Although people can tour Chicago’s water reclamation plants, they cannot tour the plant that deals with Chicago’s drinking water, due to security concerns.  This is the Jardine Water Purification Plant, located north of Navy Pier.

My tour of the Terrence J. O’Brien Water Reclamation Plant began with watching a video, which provided an overview of the water reclamation process.  This video is available on YouTube.  Next, we walked over to the areas mentioned in the video.

Although we walked to this section last, the first step in the water reclamation process is to remove the largest sewage materials, which, according to my guide, can include strange things like dead rats.  The waste is first removed in the Pump and Blower Building.  From there, the largest material waste goes down a tube, southeast to the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant in Cicero, Illinois.  At that facility, waste is transformed into compost.

Inside Terrence J. O’Brien’s Pump and Blower Building

What does not go to Stickney ends up going through the rest of the Terrence J. O’Brien Water Reclamation Plant.  First, the water goes into circular vats, where the remaining solids sink.  The secondary treatment includes microorganisms that “eat” away the bacteria.  Lastly, the water gets pumped into an Ultraviolet Wastewater Disinfectant Facility, where UV light helps kill additional bacteria.  Completed in 2016, this is currently the largest UV disinfectant facility in the world.  Once the water treatment process has finished, the water flows into the North Branch of the Chicago River, located across the street from the Terrence J. O’Brien Water Reclamation Plant.  Apparently, the water exiting the Reclamation Plant is cleaner than the River, which is believable, because the North Branch of the Chicago River never looks clean.

This is Step 2 of the water reclamation process, where the water is aerated so that the microorganisms eating the bacteria can thrive.

People riding the Yellow Line (Skokie Swift) of the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority), which is the elevated train (the “L”) that connects Chicago to its northern suburb of Skokie, have a great view of the Terrence J. O’Brien Water Reclamation Plant.  Since this is an elevated train, it passes right over the facility.

Sources and Further Reading

“Facility Tours.” Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. https://mwrd.org/facility-tours (accessed May 8, 2020).

Fore, Allison. “North Side Water Reclamation Plant is Renamed to Terrence J. O’Brien Water Reclamation Plant.” Patch. November 16, 2012. https://patch.com/illinois/chicagoheights/bp–north-side-water-reclamation-plant-is-renamed-to-76d7ad1a48 (accessed May 8, 2020).

Garcia, Evan. “World’s Largest Ultraviolet Disinfection Facility Tackles Chicago River.” WTTW. March 23, 2016. https://news.wttw.com/2016/03/23/worlds-largest-ultraviolet-disinfection-facility-tackles-chicago-river (accessed May 8, 2020).

MWRD. “Terrence O’Brien Water Reclamation Plant Video Tour.” March 11, 2019. Video, 7:41. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJ4IbCBf7g0 (accessed May 8, 2020).

“One Water Spotlight: Stickney Water Reclamation Plant.” US Water Alliance. http://uswateralliance.org/resources/one-water-spotlight-stickney-water-reclamation-plant (accessed May 8, 2020).

“Terrence J. O’Brien Water Reclamation Plant.” Open House Chicago. https://openhousechicago.org/sites/site/terrence-j-obrien-water-reclamation-plant/ (accessed May 8, 2020).

“Our History.” Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. https://mwrd.org/our-history (accessed May 8, 2020).

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

One of the most popular tourist destinations in Jerusalem is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, located where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected.  It was built during the reign of Constantine the Great in the 4th century A.D., destroyed several times, and rebuilt or enlarged several times.  Currently, the Church is closed, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  The last time the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was closed to the public was in 1349, also due to sickness: the Black Plague. 

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the domed building to the left.

I have been inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre several times, but still consider it as confusing as a maze.  Therefore, I unfortunately cannot provide directions on how I arrived at any of the interesting places that I have seen there.

Several different church groups have a section of the Church allotted to them.  These are the Greek Orthodox Church (they are easy to identify because their priests have ponytails), the Roman Catholic Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Coptic (Egyptian) Orthodox Church, the Syrian Orthodox Church, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.  The latter four are known as “Oriental” Churches, each using liturgy in languages unique to themselves (Armenian, Coptic/Egyptian, Aramaic, and Ge’ez, respectively). 

The most crowded part of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a small building inside the high-domed Church, which is allegedly over Jesus’ tomb.  You must stand in line to enter this little building, known as the Edicule, where a priest directs the visiting pilgrims.  I did not enter the Edicule, so cannot share more information about it.  There are other ancient tombs nearby the Edicule, which you can find by entering a nearby doorway.  The Church of the Holy Sepulchre also includes a stone where the cross was said to be, and a variety of different relics (I remember a bone being one of them, but do not remember more).

Since the early Christian church endured enormous persecution when it began, nobody can be sure if the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is over the actual place where Jesus died.  However, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is built over ancient tombs that may date to that period.  Jesus is believed to have been buried outside of Jerusalem’s city walls.  Since the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is inside the walled Old City of Jerusalem, this may seem confusing.  However, the current walls of the Old City were built during the 16th century under the Ottoman Empire.  I was told that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre would have been outside of Jerusalem’s city walls during the Roman era.

Tombs inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

I had the opportunity to go on the top of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre’s smaller dome, because I had a wonderful professor who received permission to take her class up there.  This dome was part of the section of the Church owned by the Greek Orthodox Church.  In addition to going on top of the dome, we also went into a little room below it, where people work on repairing broken icons that churches send to them from all over the world.  My professor also took us to a part of the Church’s roof that is accessible to the public, and is the section owned by the Ethiopian Church.  Additionally, she took us to a water tunnel beneath the Church.  However, I, unfortunately, cannot remember how to find any of those places.

The roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre’s smaller dome.

Whether you are Christian or not, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is worth the visit.  If you are lucky, you will hear a church procession singing beautiful liturgy.  You will also smell spices, probably frankincense, throughout the entire building.  However, you must also be prepared to see visitors lighting candles and kissing various objects, which may be strange to people who do not follow those traditions.

A view of the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City from the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Sources and Further Reading

Encyclopaedia Britannica. “Church of the Holy Sepulchre.” https://www.britannica.com/place/Holy-Sepulchre (accessed April 10, 2020).

Vaiciulaityte, Giedre. “The Muslim Keymaster of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre Closed Its Doors for the First Time Since the Black Plague in 1349.” Boredpanda. April 8, 2020. https://www.boredpanda.com/church-of-the-holy-sepulchre-key-master/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic (accessed April 10, 2020).

Shure Inc. Archives

In 1925, Sidney N. Shure founded a company in Chicago that supplied radio parts.  Eventually, the Shure Radio Company evolved into a company known for its high-quality microphones.  In 1939, the company created a microphone known as the Unidyne, which eventually became its most iconic one.  Not only did famous rock stars, such as Elvis Presley, use it, but so did John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. during some of their famous speeches.

This is a 1993 U.S. postage stamp of Elvis Presley singing into a Shure Unydine microphone.

With several international offices and thousands of staff, Shure Inc. has a library that provides resources for its many employees.  Therefore, Shure Inc. has a librarian who manages all of these resources, many of which are databases and ebooks.  The librarian is also the company’s archivist.  I was privileged to have the opportunity of visiting the (usually inaccessible) Shure archives with an archivist group.  The archivist/librarian led the tour.  However, it was also led by another Shure employee who is currently creating a digital collection of their archival materials, since having that information handy is beneficial to their staff. 

Shure’s headquarters were originally located in Chicago, and then in suburban Evanston, Illinois from 1956 to 2003.  They then moved to their current location in another Chicago suburb, Niles.  The public area on the current building’s main floor has a mini display about the history of Shure, which the archivist created.  She walked us through this display before taking us to the actual archives.  In addition to collecting their many models of microphones, the archivist collects microphones that survived unusual situations unharmed.  People often send these microphones to them.  For example, one microphone survived being run over by a truck, and although slightly bent, still worked.

In addition to seeing the actual archives, our tour also included Shure Inc.’s top-notch recording studio, where staff test the quality of their newly-created microphones.  However, the best part of the tour included a stop in one of their many anechoic chambers.  Anechoic means “no echo.”  Basically, this is a heavily padded room, where Shure staff can test the quality of their microphones and headphones.  The room was extremely quiet, so once we exited the anechoic chamber, the surrounding noise in the room outside was dramatically noticeable. 

Anechoic Chamber

Although microphones may not seem important enough to have their own archivist, the fact that NASA, the United States army during World War II, and famous musicians have all used Shure microphones, means that the company’s impact on history has been significant enough to document it.

Sources and Further Reading

Holmes, Allison Schein. “Wrap Up for Shure Inc. Archives Tour and Photography Demonstration.” Shure. November 18, 2019. http://www.chicagoarchivists.org/news/8127341 (accessed March 27, 2020).

“Mysteries and Treasures in the Shure Archives.” Shure. January 27, 2016. https://www.shure.com/en-US/performance-production/louder/mysteries-and-treasures-in-the-shure-archives (accessed March 27, 2020).

Rochman, Davida. “Shure History.” Shure. https://www.shure.eu/company/history (accessed March 27, 2020).