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Museums I Love -- with some Photos

by Wife of Bath Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 12:28:42 AM EST

Okay, I finally have done a diary, sprinkling some photos throughout from museums I've visited and loved.  You'll recognize some images, and some may be from exhibits that are no longer around.  I've tried to provide brief reviews of the websites of the museums, as some are fascinating to explore and contain impressive amounts of information.  

I begin in the USA, then on to Europe, hoping this group won't find that too presumptious of me - I LOVE your museums.  I'm hoping some of you will share information that will make my next trip over the pond more memorable, especially if you have tips for Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, Lyon or Paris and environs.

So here goes:

In the USA:  (My apologies, the websites are mostly all in English, unlike most of those for the European museum websites.)

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. -   http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/index.shtm  This is a terrific website with a search feature, calendar, and - best of all, IMHO - a feature entitled "Past Exhibition Resources" which goes all the way back to 1941 and which enabled me to finally determine the source of some of my favorite paintings from an exhibit I lucked into in 1975 when it toured four locations in the USA, Master Paintings from the Hermitage and the State Museum, Leningrad [http://www.nga.gov/past/data/exh400.shtm].

In the general site, click on one of the Permanent Collection's categories, for instance "Henri Matisse, Cutouts" and get a description of the exhibit.  Then click on "Works by Matisse in the Gallery's Collection" to see the list, and click on any of those that are noted as "image available" to see a photo of the work (you can enlarge the thumbnails to a fairly decent size.)

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC  http://www.metmuseum.org/
This site also has a search feature that is very user-friendly.  Enter just the name of an artist, for instance "Jules Bastien-Lepage," and a list of his works appears (they have just the one, Joan of Arc, but it is one of the most breathtaking of the realistic paintings I've ever seen, and is quite large, about 254 x 280 cm.  Go here to see it: http://www.metmuseum.org/Works_of_Art/collection_database/Joan_of_Arc_Jules_Bastien_Lepage/ViewObjec t_enlarge.aspx?depNm=all&Title=Joan_of_Arc&pID=0&kWd=Jules+Bastien-Lepage&OID=110000 054&vW=1&Pg=1&St=0&StOd=1&vT=1&RID=1
My main problem with the Met is that they are open only business hours from Tuesday through Thursday and are closed on Monday, which makes it hard to visit if one is in NYC on business from Mon - Fri.

Contrast that with the Art Institute of Chicago   http://www.artic.edu/aic/index.php, which is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day!  And on Thursdays, they stay open until 8 pm, with free admission to the main gallery from 5pm to 8pm.  On the website, many images can be found (use the search feature) and many can be enlarged and COPIED!  Make your own calendars, coffee mugs, etc., with images such as a 604 x 758 px JPEG image of Madame Roulin by Van Gogh.  

My best experience in about 4 visits:  There was an exhibit of Mary Cassatt, very popular, I didn't think I'd be able to get in as I'd heard the lines were long and I was only in Chicago on business for the week.  After a day cloistered inside a microfilm room at the courthouse, I exited to a terrific thunderstorm and headed straight for the museum on the one night it stayed open until 8 pm.  Thanks to the fierce storm, I had Mary Cassatt almost to myself!  I was holding back tears in front of one of the paintings and an old guard (who sort of reminded me of Lou Gossett) came over and said "don't be embarrassed, these made me cry, too."  
On another occasion I saw an exhibit of tiaras (yes, tiaras) that was gorgeous, especially some of the modern ones by Vivien Westwood, which were also shown at the V&A in London see the web page here

Museum of Modern Art, NYC     http://www.moma.org/    It was here that I saw the Chuck Close exhibit that was truly awesome (sure, size matters.)  And also saw Van Gogh's Starry Night and Picasso's Guernica.  I wasn't prepared for the latter, didn't even know it would be there, and it stabbed me in the heart the moment I came upon it.  
The web site is another excellent one that allows searching, printing and image-saving of many works.  The Chuck Close images on the page that detailed the exhibit had only a few of the works and the images couldn't be enlarged (boo hoo!)

Guggenheim Museum, NYC    http://www.guggenheim.org/new_york_index.shtml
Okay, I have a confession.  Despite the large amount of time I've spent in NYC as a tourist and on business, I've been only once to the Guggenheim, and that was for the "Art of the Motorcycle" exhibit with my machine-crazy German husband.  I've never seen such a ... "different" bunch of people at an art museum before, and it was one of their most-visited shows at the Guggenheim.  Groups would be gathered around each motorcycle, crouched down, pointing their tattoed arms at the machines (which added greatly to the art-mosphere, IMO.)  I loved it, especially because I was able to make it happen for my sweetheart.  Their website isn't as much fun as many of those above, but it's serviceable.

Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, NYC    http://www.cooperhewitt.org/
Go for the house itself, the old Andrew Carnegie mansion on Fifth Avenue.  And go on a Tuesday night if you can, as I did, when it's free.  Whoops!  Sorry, perusing the website, looks like they no longer open past 5pm on Mon-Thurs, and no "free" night is mentioned.  It's a small museum, and I'd put it AFTER the others above if I had limited time in NYC, but it's still a lovely place with changing exhibits.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art  http://www.lacma.org/
They also have a good permanent collection and a user-friendly website with the opportunity to save the images on one's own computer (my favorite feature on many sites.)  I think this is where I saw a Jackson Pollack exhibit long ago, but there's an example of my memory failure and they don't have a long-ago exhibits search feature like the National Gallery's.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston  http://www.mfah.org/home.asp?par1=1&par2=1&par3=1&par4=1&par5=1&par6=1&par7= &lgc=0&eid=&currentPage=
This website does those 360-degree panoramas that I love, though these serve mainly to show that the museum has more space than paintings.  They brag at being 5th largest in the USA in terms of space, but the collection can't begin to compare with those in Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C. and such.  As I now live in art-museum-starved Austin, though, I'm quite thankful for Houston's offerings and hereby officially apologize for the previous disparaging observation.

The Menil Collection, Houston http://www.menil.org/home.html    I love this museum primarily for its collection of Rene Magritte, the largest there is of his works, I believe.  

In Europe:

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam    http://www3.vangoghmuseum.nl/vgm/index.jsp?lang=en
It's impossible not to love this museum if you're a Van Gogh fan.  The first time I was in Amsterdam, I visited the museum twice, first as my normal self, then slightly "altered."  It was wonderful both ways.  If you can go only once, I can't tell you which way would be better, as that's a very personal and subjective thing.  
The website is another one of those terrific ones that lets you enlarge and save images.  You can also choose to view the site in a number of languages.

Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam      http://www.stedelijk.nl/   This website is terrific, even allowing one to take YouTube tours.  They also have an archive that provides info about previous exhibitions back to 1996.  

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam     http://www.rijksmuseum.nl/index.jsp
Another confession here: the doll's house of Petronella Oortman is one of my favorite things in this museum, much as I love the art collection, too.  The website is user friendly, in a choice of languages, and offers some audio tour samples as well as interactive panoramas.  

Uffizi Gallery, Florence    http://www.polomuseale.firenze.it/musei/uffizi/default.asp
Okay, personal affliction, I just don't enjoy most "religious" art, though I was wild about Botticelli's Birth of Venus, and I took many photos of the ceilings, which were gorgeous.  The website is in Italian and English only.  I couldn't find a way to actually view the particular works, though information about locations of the works in the museum and of the dates of the works is provided.

Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence  (David)  http://www.polomuseale.firenze.it/musei/accademia/default.asp  This website seems to be operated the same way as the Uffizi Gallery website.  And, of course, if you want to see David, this is where you go.  

Alte Pinakothek, Munich    http://www.pinakothek.de/alte-pinakothek/  
Neue Pinakothek, Munich    http://www.pinakothek.de/neue-pinakothek/index_en.php?  
The websites are available in German and English.  They aren't really interactive and you can't visit the works online.  But if you're in Munich, they're worth a visit.  But I prefer the following museum in Munich:

Bavarian National Museum, Munich    Bavarian National Museum  Website in German and English.  I adore museums that display the practical arts and artifacts of life.  This one pleases!  There are musical instruments, porcelains, sculptures, a collection of armor, furniture and pottery.  I recall some very large tables with models of German cities from the Middle Ages, but maybe I'm recalling a different museum.  Alas, I couldn't find a search function.

Kriminalmuseum, Rothenberg-ob-der-Tauber, Germany   http://www.kriminalmuseum.rothenburg.de/   The website, in German, English and (Japanese?) has no search function and is pretty scant, but the museum itself is fascinating, if a bit grotesque.  Being a Baker's wife and a bit of a "Scold", I was particularly amused by the punishments meted out to bakers whose wares were too much under (or over!) weight, as well as the iron masks put on women who lashed out too readily with their tongues.  If you visit this beautiful, if touristy, little medieval village, see this museum and then go to the following to get the bad images out of your head:

Doll and Toy Museum, Rothenberg ob der Tauber  http://europeforvisitors.com/germany/rothenburg/rothenburg-doll-and-toy-museum.htm   This museum is small but delightful, especially if, like me, you are unduly fond of little dollhouses.  The website isn't the museum's, just a visitors' guide recommendation site.

Musee des Arts Decoratifs and  Musee Alsacien, Strasbourg   http://www.musees-strasbourg.org/F/intro.html   This website covers the museums of Strabourg, but these two are the ones I visited and enjoyed, particularly the latter, which was highly educational and fascinating with regard to life through the ages in the Alsace region.  The museum is in an old building of several stories and takes a while to walk through, which is a plus for me.  One sees the implements and artifacts of daily life, wine and beer making, the chandlers' trade, many aspects of life and work.  Just go.  The website appears to be in French only, though there's an upcoming events program that can be accessed in English in a pdf.

I would feel like an idiot giving "information" about the museums in Paris and London to a group of Europeans, so I'll provide any personal highlights regarding the following, and a note about the websites, but am really more interested in learning what truly knowledgeable people have to share about these places:

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris http://www.centrepompidou.fr/Pompidou/Accueil.nsf/tunnel?OpenForm  (in French, English and Spanish)  This site is great, lets you search for and see works online (but no commercial use, please).  I had a truly fun time at this museum, once with my daughter and another time with my best girlfriend, walking through and being scornful of the modern art (some was really good, but a dog bed sitting on the floor in a corner?  Puh-lease!  Okay, I apologize to anyone who enjoyed seeing a dog bed out of its ordinary context and considered it to be art.  It must be some failing in me that I just don't get it.  The building is something to see, for sure. Oh, and my favorite things I ever saw there were some sculptures by Testsumi Kudo.

Louvre Museum, Paris     http://www.louvre.fr/llv/commun/home.jsp   Another good website with self-conducted online tours available.  French and English.  The museum itself?  TOOOO MUCH!!  Save this museum for last so you don't suffer museum fatigue and then fail to visit the other wonderful Paris museums.  Yes, it's wonderful, but overload is a serious problem.

Musee d'Orsay, Paris     http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/home.html (French, German, Spanish and Italian).       My favorite.  The Impressionists, the ability to take non-flash photos, the collections of furniture, the cutaway model of the Opera - it's just wonderful.  The floor plan confuses me, but that's also a good way to see things you think won't interest you as much as others, but then they do.  The views from the terraces are great, too.

Musee Rodin, Paris    http://www.musee-rodin.fr/welcome.htm  The website isn't as manageable as some others for me, but there's a calendar of upcoming events that's helpful.  I don't find a choice of languages, but things seem to be intermingled French and English.  "Maybe I'm doing it wrong," as Randy Newman sang.

London:  (Again, who am I to comment on this stuff?)

British Library   http://www.bl.uk/  Great online resources, very searchible, more oriented to actual research, I think..  Exhibits are brainy, IMHO, geared more for adults.  It's also peaceful and quiet and pretty and the little café is nice, as I find to be generally true in most of the British museums.

British Museum    http://www.britishmuseum.org/default.aspx  Website can be accessed in German, French, Spanish and several others.  I personally make sure to hit the V&A, Tate, Portrait Gallery, and Imperial War Museum first.

National Gallery     http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/  Good website in 6 languages, upcoming events, how to plan your visit, etc.  I'm very sorry to be missing a current exhibit of art that's come out of primary schools!  It closes July 13, 2008.  Lots of Important paintings.  I could be wrong about the Dutch realists I loved being at the Tate Gallery, they may have been here.

Tate Gallery     http://www.tate.org.uk/  Excellent website with searchable features, calendar, covers a number of Tate museums.  It also can be accessed in plenty of languages  Lots of wonderful art in the Museum, some of my favorite Dutch realists.  And to cater once again to my stomach, the cafeteria is terrific, always has some yummy vegetarian soup choices.  Lots of clever and educational gifts for the little ones in the gift shop.

Victoria and Albert Museum       http://www.vam.ac.uk/  I hardly know where to start, this museum (and others now part of it) have provided me with so many thrills.  The website is loaded and comes in plenty of languages.  I particularly love the collection of glass and porcelain through the ages, the clothing exhibits, the Frank Lloyd Wright furniture - I know I'm leaving out a lot of things, but it's there for you to find your favorite parts and the website can help.  

Barbican Centre         http://www.barbican.org.uk/  Okay, not really a museum so much, lots of activities in the performing arts and film categories and delightful.  You can keep up with the schedule on the web site, which is wonderfully informative, but of course the events favor English speakers, as does the website.

Cabaret Mechanical Theatre       http://www.cabaret.co.uk/  This is precious, just for fun, located at Covent Garden (last I knew.)  The website is fun, too, let's you take an online tour of some of the little devices which are part of the exhibit.  Oh my goodness!  The Mechanical Theatre has greatly expanded since my last visit, and seems to be opening up and touring EVERYWHERE.  Click on "Exhibitions" to see.  It's espcially great for children.

Dulwich Picture Gallery    http://www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk/  I include this small gallery because of my best (male) friend Andy Archibald, the poet, who was a professor of English (and director of the plays) there for a good while, who gave us a personal tour.  But don't miss any of the other museums and such mentioned in this diary in favor of this gallery - my personal advice.

Imperial War Museum    http://www.iwm.org.uk/  I learned more about the Spanish Civil War at this museum than I ever learned in school, in a special exhibit that had a big re-creation of Picasso's Guernica.  The special exhibits are painstakingly done, and if you are avoiding the place because you think it might celebrate war, I would advise that it seems to be more anti-war.  One drawback; I couldn't find a way to access the site in other than English.  But the website is comprehisive and notes the upcoming exhibitions.

Museum of London     http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/English/

National Portrait Gallery      http://www.npg.org.uk/live/index.asp  I don't know where to start with how much I love this place.  Once saw an exhibit on the work being done to give new faces to disfigured people - a bit graphic, but moving and uplifting.  I simply love the portrait of Steven Hawking, which reminds me of the tone of a self-portrait done by my Dad.

I think the portrait gallery may be re-opening in a new location in December 2008, so check before you go.

Tate Modern    http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/  Lots of languages for this website, which is also informative and has a good calendar.  Lots to love in the museum, and plenty at which to scoff, if you're a "limited" fan of the very modern art scene, which is often the case with me, I confess.  But scoffing can be fun, too, especially if you're doing it with friens.  The "Street Art" thing they have going now looks wonderfully intriguing, wish I were there.

Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood  (I get the feeling it's now part of V&A)   http://www.vam.ac.uk/moc/your_visit/index.html
I love this place, especially for the toys and doll houses, musical instruments through the ages.  It's a bit out of the way but worth the trip.  The sites I included give reviews, but I've discovered that you should go to the V&A website listed with that museum above, which includes this on its site.

So... that's all I have time for.  I hope y'all will give me some good suggestions for must-see things (not just museums!) in the places I mentioned at the top, and thanks ahead of time.

Karen in Austin  (almost midnight, off to bed.  Thanks to In Wales for inspiration and encouragement)

When I travel I enjoy museums
. for the most part 25%
. only if I can enjoy them alone 12%
. if I can have a guided tour 0%
. less than dental surgery 0%
. if it's raining, too cold or too hot outside 0%
. only to impress a museum-loving companion 0%
. almost always 56%
. other 6%

Votes: 16
Results | Other Polls
Oh there's some excellent museums there, and  I  just haven't seen enough of the museums outside the UK. I could spend hours sitting in the Turner section of the National gallery in London.  Sitting above my desk here I have four postcards on the wall from the National portrait gallery (I wont provide links as they're rather anal about that) but if you want to see which ones they are NPG p951 NPG p717(8)npg p293  and NPG p212.

to add to your museum collection when you're visiting the wilds you must add the Pitt-Rivers museum in Oxford to your list http://www.prm.ox.ac.uk/ it is the museum that just seems to have escaped from a Victorian childhood dream. Wander round the displays and pull out the draws under the cabinets to expose an endless stream of remarkable objects.

Outside of the UK

The Bardo museum in Tunis is frequently missing from peoples lists. The second largest antiquity museum in Africa after Cairo, It's packed with Islamic art and sculptures recovered from Roman and Carthaginian sites The thing to go and see there is the truly impressive collection of Mosaic floors.

Another museum that everyone should visit is the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Its packed with works of art and items that are amazing, the Artemision bronze and the Mask of Agamemnon

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 11:41:19 AM EST
Nice list!  I'd add the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, where I could literally spend weeks exploring and not get bored.  It's chaotic and confusing, and the signage is mediocre at best, when it exists at all, but that's sort of what Egypt's like, so it doesn't bother me.  I'm not looking forward to when they move it out to some horrible new modern monstrosity they're building out in the desert.  See it now, before it's too late....

Also, in Paris I really enjoyed the Picasso museum.  It seems that some of the major works on display are rotated, so I'm looking forward to seeing it again on my next visit too.

In Washington, although it's not a museum, I really like the U.S. Botanical Garden.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 12:04:28 PM EST
On another note, I have to say that some museums make me profoundly uncomfortable.  This happens with "cultural" museums more often than art museums; they tend to just remind me of the exploitation and cultural looting of the colonized world by its colonizers.  Some of the most offensive examples of this have been finally allowed to return home, but most governments have been less shamed by the display of looted objects than by that of human beings or their remains.  While I love the Egyptian Museum, I don't feel nearly the same way about seeing ancient Egyptian artifacts displayed in London or Paris, given the way that so many of those artifacts got to those capitals in the first place -- facts that are rarely if ever disclosed in the displays.  I found it  jarring to see Native American artifacts in the British Museum, completely devoid of any context.

Even when it comes to art, I think it's important that Guernica be displayed at the in Spain rather than in Paris.

Here's a good NPR radio story about the controversy over the U.S. National Museum of the American Indian, which gets at many of the issues I'm talking about.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 12:31:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that's what's made me skip the ancient artifacts parts of museums in favor of regional artifacts, as in the Strasbourg museums I mentioned.  I get the same feeling at Versailles when I walk through the rooms thinking "thank goodness their heads were cut off."

Karen in Austin

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 02:17:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Louvre Museum, Paris     http://www.louvre.fr/llv/commun/home.jsp   Another good website with self-conducted online tours available.  French and English.  The museum itself?  TOOOO MUCH!!  Save this museum for last so you don't suffer museum fatigue and then fail to visit the other wonderful Paris museums.  Yes, it's wonderful, but overload is a serious problem.

Or do it the proper way : live in Paris, buy a yearly pass, see it bit by bit, a few rooms at a time...

I find out that spending more than two hours in a row in a museum tires the eyes both figuratively and literally...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 02:18:26 PM EST
one of my favorite museums...which l'm unlikely to get back to...here in the states is the Dali Museum in st. petersburg, florida.

the one in figueres is visiting as well, if you're in spain,

by town on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 03:13:55 PM EST
Hurrah! I am glad you found the time to put this together, it's a great diary!  I'll need to think some more on some of my favourite places but here are a few.

I know I am biased but I really enjoy the Cardiff museum, and it is free.  It is big enough to spend a day in and has a good range of stuff to look at from dinosaurs to pottery to art but it isn't too huge or overwhelming.  It's easy enough to pop into for a quick wander.

Also near Cardiff is St Fagans which is an old Welsh village, showing you how everything looked and how people lived in the 1600s or thereabouts.  Very quaint. I enjoy going there.  There are a number of Welsh museums, Swansea Waterfront, Big Pit (looking at our mining industry heritage) that are worth a visit.  Big Pit lets you go into the mine but it is still working I think so you can't wear anything with batteries, no watches and for me, no hearing aid. This website gives a summary of some attractions, but plenty more older built heritage via CADW.

I really enjoyed the Smithsonian Museums in Washington DC.  I visited some of them 3 or 4 times over two trips out there.  Wasn't as taken with the Air and Space museum as I'd expected, since it is similar in many ways to the Science museum in London, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

I loved the American Art Museum for some of the huge scale spaces and exhibits. Lots of abstract work at the time which I enjoyed a lot.  Also the American History Museum was great. Fonzie's jacket!

I can't remember which building it was in but when I went a few years back there was a photography exhibition of old American movie theatres that had since been turned into something else or destroyed totally.  It's stuck with me ever since, a great exhibition.  The many monument parks were amazing too.

In the UK a lot of National Trust properties are great to visit, giving a real insight into British history, architecture, culture etc/  Some gorgeous properties and grounds, parks and so on.  I've actually not visited any since I was a kid and must remedy that. That'll do for now!

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 03:49:25 PM EST
Thanks!  St. Fagans sounds just my cup of tea.  And the hike out to the waterfalls is always a good enough reason to visit Wales.

Karen in Austin

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 04:46:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And a very nice cup of tea you can get there too. With scones and jam and cream.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 05:51:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In NYC there are a couple other good museums. The Neue Galerie on the Museum Mile in a nice old mansion dedicated to early twentieth century Austrian and German art. A bit to the south in an even nicer mansion there's the Frick with a small but utterly amazing collection. And the building is pretty nice too. Completely unknown, and with a great collection of Spanish grand masters is the Hispanic Society  just south of Washington Heights in upper Manhattan. Very good, no need to worry about crowds. North of Washington Heights are The Cloisters located in a beautiful park far above the Hudson at the northern tip of Manhattan. It's the Met's medieval art collection.  Finally, a good thing to do if you're traveling to NYC is to check out the Sotheby's and Christies auction exhibit schedule. It's free and there's often good stuff.
by MarekNYC on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 03:58:18 PM EST
For any of you visiting the Met, take not that the ticket price (currently $20) is suggested only in reality you can pay whatever you want, though you do have to pay something, even if it's only a penny. If you're on an extended NYC visit, that allows you to pop in and out of the Met for snippets the way New Yorkers do it, rather than exhausting yourself trying to see its vast displays in one swoop.
by MarekNYC on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 04:04:35 PM EST
Dang, in 2003 (I think that's the last time I was there) the suggested price was only $5... talk about inflation.

I've realized my poll answers included "for the most part" and "almost always" which are practically the same.

Karen in Austin

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 05:09:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Enjoyable read...
I never was in the US but some of the European places you visited I know very well...
Your <slightly "altered"> visit to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam made me laugh....think I know the feeling.
Curious how people living thousands of miles apart once were standing on the same tile enjoying the art collections.
Thanks for your diary.

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 04:43:37 PM EST
amazing. I rarely use the word 'incredible', but it comes to mind in that case - incredible that it could be made by a human being out of stone.

Also in Florence - the Museo Nazionale del Bargello. Speaking of David, there's Donatello's. Rather different from Michelangelo's. Plus unfinished pieces by Michelangelo that look finished to me. Some Cellini pieces that could be alive.

Musee d'Orsay - my wife's and my favorite, too. Pisarro's work especially.

Here's one for you - if you ever get to Buffalo, NY, check out the Knox-Albright Museum. Actually, I haven't been there in 40 years, so I may be doing some false-advertising. We're going on a bike ride along the Erie Canal in October, so I will check in and let you know the current caliber of their material.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 08:09:22 PM EST
Ok, so here in Colorado we have some small art museums, mostly concentrating on Western art (cowboys & indians), but we really can't compete with even fairly small museums on the east coast. (Worcester, Massachusetts, for example, has a terrific art museum.) With that said, here are a few museums in Colorado that are worth a visit if you ever come out here.

1. Colorado Railroad Museum. This is right down the street from the Coors beer factory in Golden, a western suburb of Denver. It's got a comprehensive collection of mountain railroading equipment, including tons of narrow gauge rolling stock as well as some standard gauge stuff. The maintenance shop alone is really interesting, and the rest of the museum is basically like an abandoned railroad yard with rows of engines and cars. (If you want to see them running, go to the Cumbres and Toltec railway in Southern Colorado.)


2. Anasazi Heritage Center. Near Dolores, Colorado, in the southwestern corner of the state, this museum has a huge collection of pre-Colombian artifacts. This area is so littered with indian artifacts that you can't stick a shovel in the ground without digging something up, and it all goes (in theory) into this museum.


3. May Natural History Museum. This one is just outside Colorado Springs, and it's like going back into the 1950s. Bugs. Lots of bugs.


4. Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave. Also just outside of Golden, on top of Lookout Mountain, this neat little facility has Buffalo Bill's grave, a small shop, and a good museum. Buffalo Bill ran a traveling "Wild West" show in the late 1800s (it even went to Europe a few times) that featured fancy horse riding (Hopalong Cassidy, Wild Bill Hickok), trick shooting (Annie Oakley), and lots of real native Americans (Sitting Bull). Why do we have horse blankets hung on the walls of our suburban houses? Why do we wear bolo ties in the legislature? Why do we wear boots to church? Because Buffalo Bill told us to, that's why.


by asdf on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 09:55:38 PM EST
Wow.  That is a lot of museums.  When I travel, I prefer to sit in a cafe or park and watch people.  I skipped the Louvre in Paris.  My favorite part of the d'Orsay were the street performers outside (a mime and a string quartet) and a couple of fabulous men inside who complemented me on my outfit.  It was a coup.

When I actually live somewhere, I like going to the museum.  It doesn't feel like something I have to do before I leave, but an oasis of calm and civilization where I can take a break and reflect.

When I was a kid, my mom took me out of school all the time to go to museums.  We often went to The St. Louis Art Museum, which isn't bad for a small museum.  Plus, it's regularly on the itenerary of travelling exhibits.  The day I skipped school to go to the Met's Costume Institute exhibition was one of the most perfect days of my life.

I think taking kids to the museum is a nice thing.  We also went to the Eugene Field House & Toy Museum a lot.  

In St. Louis, there is also The City Museum, which is not really a museum, but it's a huge trip.  Technically, it is for kids.  But ... I guess I like to play.


Then I grew up and moved to Chicago and joined the church of The Art Institute. Or at least that's how I think of this museum.  It's currently being revamped and everything's a wreck and in shambles.  But when it is not, it is a MAGNIFICENT museum.  I don't think Europe has anything on us.  Some of my favorite bits are the photography exhibit downstairs, the Japanese prints, the Chagall stained glass and the Thorne miniature rooms, which are the most enchanting and weird things ever.  They freak me out and make me want to climb inside and live in one.

I'm not a huge fan of modern art, but if you are ever in Minneapolis, The Walker Center is actually worth going to, I think.


Then I went to Russia and saw more museums than I ever needed to.  But some were worth it.

The Tretyakov is a manageable gallery, and the home to one of my favorite paintings, Mikhail Vrubel's Lilacs.  At the time it was also nice to visit because of its location in a charming historic little Moscow neighborhood.  Though who knows what developmental atrocities have befallen the area now...

Of course, you have to go to The Hermitage.  Like the Louvre, you'll never see it all.  But the very coolest part about it is that while you can see all kinds of amazing art, you can see them in the building the Bolsheviks stormed when they took over the government!  All while being scolded by mean babushki who will kick you out if you breathe wrong.  Imagine how different history would be if these ladies had been guarding the rooms of the Winter Palace so fiercely back in the day!


In Paris, I prefer Rodin.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 02:07:49 PM EST
I adore The Art Institute, and stained glass and miniatures are among my favorite things to see in museums, along with clothes-through-the-ages, or Mardi Gras costumes and such.  I think I got my museum habit from my father, who's an artist and avid museum-goer.  I particularly like going by myself to museums so I can linger where I want, sketch out a costume or piece of furniture, and quit when I want without feeling that I'm inconveniencing someone else.  

Alas, as I mentioned, Austin is a tad deficient in the museum realm compared to the other listed places.  Maybe that's why I'm always moved to tears when Judy Collins sings "My father always promised us that we would live in France."

What is this hyperlink of which you speak?  My limited literacy is showing through.  I will learn it before the next post, and I very much appreciate the suggestions and tips for improvement.  And your generous recommendation.  Thanks again.

Karen in Austin

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 05:15:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rather than writing:

"National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. -   http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/index.shtm"


"National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C."

They show you how to do it here.

Easy but tedious.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 05:25:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
THAT's a hyperlink... and it was right under my nose.  It is much nicer, keeps a flow going.  Many thanks!

Karen in Austin

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 06:45:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, I know (Oh, do I know...) it is a time consuming pain in the ass, but if you could hyperlink things, it would make reading so much easier.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 02:09:22 PM EST
but just think of all those other things you will come across looking for those places that aren't linked.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 02:17:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here in Detroit, we have the Detroit Institute of Arts. You can go see it (which I recommend) if you're ever in Detroit (which I do not recommend).

I have some pictures of the Hatshepsut exhibit at the Met from two years ago, and also some pictures of the masters, impressionists, Rodin, and more from the same trip. The Met is not to be missed if you're in NYC.

I can confirm that Das Kriminalmuseum's web site is also in Japanese (in a grainy, text-as-jpeg image - nice).

Il faut se dépêcher d'agir, on a le monde à reconstruire

by dconrad (drconrad {arobase} gmail {point} com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 10:56:46 PM EST
I'm curious what they would have included in a Hatshepsut exhibition, given that most of the images of her were destroyed by her successor.  The Met web site says it included at least three statues of her, which would be pretty interesting.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 03:53:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 11:12:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll have to go back and look at my pictures (it was two years ago, now), but my memory is that it was a pretty wide-ranging exhibit with all sorts of artifacts from many periods of Egyptian history. I don't particularly recall what they had that dealt specifically with Hatshepsut — it seemed like that was just the headline to get people in the door, if you know what I mean. (Then again, it wouldn't surprise me if I missed the main attraction of the exhibit while I was staring at all the minutia, either.)

Il faut se dépêcher d'agir, on a le monde à reconstruire
by dconrad (drconrad {arobase} gmail {point} com) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 07:06:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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