Museums

MuseumsVatican-Museums

It is a steamy grey day in Wisconsin this morning, so my mood is drifting towards indoor activities. I confess a love of museums.  I am of the mindset that every museum has a kernel of knowledge for me to gather. Granted, some museums are pretty trivial and some are beyond splendor but I am willing to give them all a try, from the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum in Hayward, WI to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, NY.

I inherited my appreciation of museums from my father.  He was a college history teacher and my role model for life long learning.  As a child we traveled the country exploring museums, restored historical homes and battlefields.  For a little more contemporary activities we would tour the local industry, steel factory in Detroit, Hersey’s plant in Hersey, PA, Miller Brewing in Milwaukee, WI.  Obviously my dad had no love for amusement parks. 🙂

My dad and I were perfect museum companions because we could spend hours exploring every inch and reading every plaque while the rest of the family sat in the car vowing to leave us. Unfortunately, my own children and spouse have continued this attitude.  So for the sake of family contentment I have learned to “skim” museums.  In return they skim amusement parks.

As with any beloved entertainment, there are occasionally a few duds and regrettably a few biggies that you miss.  Two that come to mind are the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and The Lourve in Paris.  In both cases we had only 12 hours in each city and we were trying to squeeze too much in.  In Florence my dad and I were with a group and could choose how we wanted to spend 12 hours in Florence.  It seemed obvious to hit a world renowned museum like the Uffizi.  But it was a beautiful sunny day in Florence and the Uffizi was dark and dreary.  It has a remarkable collection of Renaissance art most notably works of Da Vinci. However, after the sparkling marble wonders in Rome this simply fell short and too late we realized this was not where the iconic David statue was housed. We are museum junkies, not necessarily art connoisseurs. Luckily we finally gave up and headed out to the open air markets where I redeemed the day by shopping for a sweet little red leather jacket.

The day in Paris was similar in that we were trying to see a year’s worth of city in 12 hours from an on/off tour bus.  My husband and I had started the day in London at 4AM riding the Chunnel train to Paris.  We had explored the luxury jewelry district, snacked on the Avenue Foch in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe, oohed and ahhed in Notre Dame, climbed the Eiffel Tower and rode the tour bus right past The Lourve, sound asleep. Well some day I will return.

It seems that highlighting some of my favorite museum experiences fits well with the  Curiosities Page. So be sure to check here as you head to a destination to find the best museums.