I enjoy a weekend of getting your hands dirty and learning about something you've always wanted to know about.
Enter the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis.
The Metal Museum has a rich history that's not without it's fair share of scandal and ghosts.
Opening it's doors officially to the public on February 5, 1979, the Metal Museum has offered artists a place of learning and growth all the while providing the community with a place to see masters in their art as well as learn and participate in the metal working community.
The buildings that are on the property were originally a US Marine Hospital during the Civil War and were used to treat soldiers as well as do research to search for a cure for yellow fever.
The hospital officially closed in 1965 and after some land dividing and renovations the museum was opened to the public. To learn more about the museum and it's grand history check out their website: http://www.metalmuseum.org/history
Nowadays you can drop in and see the art that is on display, bring in something for repairs, have a wedding on the grounds, take a class, or join them for an iron pour. It is an amazing place that is an inordinately large resource to many an aspiring blacksmith.
I was most recently down there taking a MIG Welding class. I've learned to weld before, but this was my first real class.
The classes are small - about 8 people - and there are two instructors. We went through the basic science of how MIG welding works, the types of welders on the market and what the difference is between each type of welder available. I could try and explain the science to you, but let's just go with electrical current, metal on metal, and some sort of conductor. SCIENCE.
Anyways you learn about the different machines and then you get to test them out. Like they just hand them over and you get to play with them. HOW COOL IS THAT!?
After you've played with each machine for a little while they send you out to the scrap pile to test your new skills and you get to make whatever you want and then take them home.
These are the things I made.
If you ever get a chance to go visit the Metal Museum I highly recommend it. Tell them I sent you. Also definitely take a class. You'll learn something new and get to play with awesome machinery, get a little dirty and create one of a kind art.