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Thread: Rating the Museums

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Rating the Museums

    Maister family vacation travel plans usually revolve around the following activites:
    1) Camping
    2) Touring the parts of towns that one wouldn't normally think to tour i.e. getting a flavor of the real (fill in city name)
    3) Visit museums
    4) Microbrewery tours

    This thread is about third activity. I've been to a lot of museums in my day, and while I enjoyed nearly all of them to one degree or another, I find myself returning to certain museums time and again. Museums in larger cities typically are better funded and offer more interesting exhibits as a rule, but that's not always the case.

    I've yet to visit some of the coolest museums on the planet and two biggest notably missing from my list are the Smithsonian and the Louvre. I WILL visit both before I leave this planet. My favorite museum in the world so far has been the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry - not only can you take an underground tour of a mining operation, but you can also peer through the periscope on an actual captured German WWII sub. Way cool! Been there about four times. My next most favoritest museum is the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum - not only is it free to the public but you can see virtually any aircraft used by the US military since the advent of flight.

    I'll post more about some of the unusual and off-beat museums I've encountered over the years, but first what about you? What are some of your favorite art museums? General interest museums? Community museums? Special interest museums? Has anyone visited any of the various 'halls of fame'?
    Last edited by Maister; 28 Jun 2007 at 1:52 PM.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    The Burpee Museum of Natural History, in Rockford, IL is small, but I was surprisingly impressed when I took my daughter there a few months ago. Even though there are not a lot of exhibits, the ones they do have are top notch. I use to pass it every day coming home from work, but never considered checking it out until my daughter started showing an interest in dinosaurs. They have a juvenile T-Rex there that was the focus of much debate into whether it was a new species or not.

    The Sixth Floor Museum, on the sixth floor of the book depository in Dallas, is wonderful. You can actually look out of the window Oswald was allegedly at (though there is a copyright on the view, so you can't take photos out of it). Lots of Kennedy memorbelia, and old news footage. I didn't see a single dry eye leaving that place. A definite must-see if you're ever in Dallas.

    And ditto on the Museum of Science and Industry. It is probably my fave Chicago museum. There is so much to do in there.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    We just returned from New York last month where we visited the American Museum of Natural History. A classic. I had not been there since I was a kid and wow! what an impressive and utterly huge place. My son loved it, too. I want to go back again soon!

    http://www.amnh.org/
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    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    One I diskliked- Museum of Scottish History, Edinburgh.
    They had great stuff, but there was no real direction or order in the place. One minute you were looking at prehistoric artifacts, the next you were on to the Stuarts. If only they had a planner....
    Do you want to pet my monkey?

  5. #5
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Doubtful as to whether it even qualifies as a 'museum' per se, but has anyone else ever visited the Mount Horeb Mustard Museum in Wisconsin? What a hoot. Ninety million mustard jars line the walls of the place and you can triple your knowlege of mustard in under two minutes. The 'curator' is a genuine cutup and it's worth the trip just to meet the guy. Oh, and did I mention free samples?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Doubtful as to whether or not it even qualifies as a 'museum' per se, but has anyone else ever visited the Mount Horeb Mustard Museum in Wisconsin? What a hoot. Ninety million mustard jars line the walls of the place and you can triple your knowlege of mustard in under two minutes. The 'curator' is a genuine cutup and it's worth the trip just to meet the guy. Oh, and did I mention free samples?
    Free samples of mustard? Do you get a hotdog or anything?
    Do you want to pet my monkey?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    My most memorable museum was the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. I love all the big art museums in NY... but recently I really enjoyed Eastern State Penententiary... as it was a ruin with some renovations. Was just facinating.
    "Yeehaw!" is not a foreign policy

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  8. #8
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia was exceptional. I'm not into boats, but the museum had some interesting historical exhibits, and I learned a lot. Halifax is also a really nice place to visit. I was there for only a brief time - we spent most of our vacation up in Cape Breton - I'd love to go back.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    The Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI
    The Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle, Detroit, MI
    The Valley Camp Freighter Maritime Museum, Sault Ste. Marie, MI
    The Amon Carter Museum, Ft. Worth, TX (unfortunately temporarily closed for repairs to fire suppression system)
    The Kimbell Art Museum, Ft. Worth, TX

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I dunno, been to the Louvre, the Met, the Nat Hist in NY, all the Smithsonian. Engaging my kid, our little local museums did the trick. "Hey look, there's our neighborhood 100 years ago!" We had an Orlando history museum open up a few years ago and I guess it was good for me because I grew up with so much of what was on display, Disney, the space program, etc There's big and impressive, then there's down home and (all the transplants won't get it) but the natives will...

  11. #11
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    My personal fave is the Prado in Madrid, but I'm big fan of the local SFMOMA as well. Though not exactly a "museum", I can't wait for the new California Academy of Sciences to open here. The building ($400 million+!!!) and it's green roof of "seven hills" is freaking awesome:

    http://www.calacademy.org/newacademy/newbuilding.php

  12. #12
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in NYC
    Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC
    Cloisters in NYC
    Museum of Natural History in NYC
    Portland Art Museum
    Oregon Historical Society in Portland, OR
    Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI)-hello? they have the Red October submarine!
    USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii-there is a quasi museum before you boat out to the memorial.
    The Children's Museum in San Francisco
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    My list, with a few suprises.
    1) Science and Industry in Chicago-been to it 4-5 times
    2) Shedd Aquarium-Chicago
    3) Louisville Bat Museum-Louisville, KY- A must see for baseball fans
    4) Mississippi Science Museum-Jackson, MS
    5) Colonial Williamsburg-Williamsburg VA.
    6) The shipwreck Museum-Paradise, MI- Near where the Edmund Fitzgerrald went down
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  14. #14
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    5) Colonial Williamsburg-Williamsburg VA.
    I'd quite forgotten about this one. But you're right, I believe Colonial Williamsburg would definitely qualify as a museum.

    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner
    6) The shipwreck Museum-Paradise, MI- Near where the Edmund Fitzgerrald went down
    A fun off-beat one for sure, but I thought could have done without the Edmond Fitzgerald song looping and looping and looping....(maybe the sounds system was broken the day I was there?)
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Flying Monkeys's avatar
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    Here are some on my list...

    South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (supposed to be big time dino place)

    Museum of the Rockies
    What’s in a name? – Your reputation….:)

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek View post
    Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in NYC
    Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC
    Museum of Natural History in NYC
    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    Louisville Bat Museum-Louisville, KY- A must see for baseball fans
    Colonial Williamsburg-Williamsburg VA.
    Agree with these.

    I would add the USS New Jersey - a floating museum itself.
    Oddball
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  17. #17
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I really liked the Valley Camp too when I visited the Soo a few years back. I've been going to the Dossin since I was a young boy, so I guess I am spoiled by that one.

    One that is near my Home is the Henry Ford Museum/Greenfield Village. It has had a lot of changes over the years and is a great collection of technology and americana.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    A fun off-beat one for sure, but I thought could have done without the Edmond Fitzgerald song looping and looping and looping....(maybe the sounds system was broken the day I was there?)
    No, the sound system was not broken, it played endlessly while I was there as well. I actually liked the beach/sand dune area as much as the museum.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  19. #19
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    My very favorite museum is right here in the Detroit area (I may be a bit biased) - The Henry Ford (on the same complex as Greenfield Village). I love the display with all of the locomotives.

    Besides that, I really enjoy the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and there was also a modern art museum in Montreal that I really liked but the name escapes me right now.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Doubtful as to whether it even qualifies as a 'museum' per se, but has anyone else ever visited the Mount Horeb Mustard Museum in Wisconsin? What a hoot. Ninety million mustard jars line the walls of the place and you can triple your knowlege of mustard in under two minutes. The 'curator' is a genuine cutup and it's worth the trip just to meet the guy. Oh, and did I mention free samples?
    My family and I visited Mount Horeb about 10 years ago after visting Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Writght's studio complex in Wisconsin, which isn't that far from there. I think the one mustard I remember was tomato flavored ketchup made from mustard seed (I don't know if they sell it). I8 years ago, I visited some kind of ketchup museum outside of Detroit, I wonder if they would have mustard made entirely from tomatoes.

    Here are my recommendations (I have yet to travel overseas):

    Any presidential house (Mt. Vernon, Monticello, Oyster Bay, Hyde Park, and the homes of presidents Lincoln, Grant, Reagan (in Illinois), Hayes, Ford, Eisenhower, Cleveland, probably missing a few others).
    Historic Gettysburg, PA
    Metropolitan Museum of Art. NY, NY
    MOMA.
    Art Institute of Chicago (they used to have a whole room dedicated to someone's paperweight collection, I wonder what happened to it)
    Museum of Science and Industry. Chicago, IL
    Merrimac Caverns (very bizarre)
    Empire State Building
    Gatway Arch. St. Louis, MO
    CN tower, Toronto
    White House and the US Capitol
    Smithsonian and any building in DC that gives you a tour
    Westpoint, US Air Force Academy (still have yet to see the Naval Academy)
    Trolley Museum in Union, IL
    Niagara Falls
    Man of the Mountain
    Hershey Chocolate Museum
    Liberty Hall
    Frank Lloyd Wright Studio in Oak Park
    Cantigny. Wheaton, IL
    Chicago Botanical Garden
    Morton Arborteum, IL
    National Botanical Garden, DC
    National Baseball Hall of Fame. Cooperstown NY
    Mt. Rushmore
    National Cathedral, DC
    Cathedrals, basillica's, and shrines in several cities (Denver, DC, St. Louis, New York, Boston, Detroit)
    Capitol Complex in Albany NY (bizarre)

    Those are the ones I remember I enjoyed. Probably saw a few dozen others that I can't remember off the top of my head (nice having an urban historian for a dad).
    Last edited by nrschmid; 29 Jun 2007 at 11:26 AM.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    I've been to a lot of museums, but I think the one that impressed me most was the Holocaust Museum in Washington. Other than that, I like modern art museums like SFMoMA, NYC's MoMA, The National Gallery East Building, and what we have in Boston- MFA or DeCordova.

    I lived in Madrid for a semester in college just down the street from the Museo Reina Sofia which has Picasso's Guernia- one of the most amazing and emotional paintings I've ever seen.

  22. #22
    Storm King in New York is fantastic. Especially the stabiles several of which are by Calder IIRC.

    A small museum in Copenhagen of the work of Danish sculptor Thorvaldsen. Although his style is not necessarily my cup of tea, the museum itself is quite a classic.

    Gettysburg, to me, is a disappointment and will remain so until the landscape restoration program is further along, and the elimination of many of the intrusions onto the battlefield can be eliminated.

    Shaker Village in Pleasant Hill, KY. Absolutely beautiful setting. (Have you been there, WhoseYur?)

    The Pennsylvania Academy in Phila. PA.

    The Soldiers and Sailors Monument and Civil War Museum in Indianapolis.
    Je suis Charlie

  23. #23
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    I'm going to add the Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma City. It's a pretty cool museum of cowboy and native american culture as well as western movies. The museum grounds are pretty nice as well.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker View post
    Shaker Village in Pleasant Hill, KY. Absolutely beautiful setting. (Have you been there, WhoseYur?).
    Yes, several times. Nice place.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  25. #25
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Dad was always a big footlball fan and dragged me and my bro there on a family trip one year. I say it was surprising because I didn't have much interest in football at the time (come to think of it I still don't - but I like watching football more than any other pro sport), but the Hall of Fame was quite interesting - it was filled with stories; stories about exceptional teams and exceptional players and they used multiple medias to relate those stories.

    Big memory - looking at Bronco Nagurski's Championship ring. All joking aside, it would fit handily as a bracelet on a smaller woman.

    Anyone ever make it to the baseball Hall O' Fame?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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