At some point or another, it became an unspoken routine.
Hilda and Ed Hawkins would park their Toyota Camry at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, where they lectured three days a week, and Hilda would get out and peer up at the World War II-era crane overlooking the parking lot.
"I know," Ed told his wife. "Don't even say it."
She hardly needed to: Anyone could see the crane badly needed maintenance. Its peeling burgundy paint was giving way to a grimy, brown-and-orange rust, and pigeons had long since laid claim to the operator's cab at the top, flying through an open window to nest.
Now the museum is raising money to restore the...