June 22, 2009

The Royal Ontaria Museum

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:29 am by classicalmusic

Museum today is focused on displays of both world cultures and natural history. What makes this museum unique is the way they depict the interactivity of the two. For example, a visitor can learn all about the Inuit Eskimos that live in the far North of Canada, along the rim of the Arctic Circle. This is one of the most inhospitable places on Earth. The climate is extreme year round, with temperatures often plunging one hundred degrees or more below zero. The area is remote and many times the only access is via sea plane. Yet despite the harshness of the environment, people have been living in this place for hundreds of years. How they not only survive the climate but actually live their lives in harmony with their natural surroundings is a focus of the museum. The museum teaches that culture and environment are closely related. This is one of the things that the museum really does best. Yet the Museum is not limited to exhibits like the above. The science wing is an amazing and hands-on center that is especially fun for children. Moderns scientific concepts are explained in a way that kids won’t even realize that they are learning. And of course, the optical illusion exhibit that thrilled me when I was a kid is still there only much better than I remembered. Prepare to be fascinated as you learn that the mind can be visually tricked into seeing things that may not even be there. One could literally spend the whole day just in the modern science wing. Yet that would be a waste. This museum has so much to offer that you really need to give yourself enough time to see everything. Don’t rush. If you need to take a few days. You won’t be wasting your time. Fortunately, the very good cafeteria serves hot food all the hours the museum is open. Take a break and grab some food. It will give you energy and provides a nice break. Thankfully, unlike in many museum cafeterias, the prices are all very reasonable.

June 11, 2009

The Bicycle Museum

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:32 pm by classicalmusic

If you like to ride a bike, here is a great museum for you. The Bicycle Museum is located in New Bremen, Ohio. But they have an amazing website which they have termed the “Online Bicycle Museum.” It has a wealth of information and of you are unable to get to the physical museum in Ohio, the website is a great place to start. Almost everyone has owned a bicycle at one point in his or her life. Yet how often do we consider the history of the bike. Chances are, if you are like most people, you don’t have a clue as to the amazing history of that two wheeled machine you are riding (or once rode as a kid.) You will be amazed when you learn about the bike at the Bicycle Museum. For example, there were bikes as far back as 1816. There is a picture of the 1816 Draissine Bicycle online and a model in the actual museum. At first glance, this contraption looks nothing like a modern bicycle. But when you look close, you see the wheels, handle bar, and seat. All are different from what we use today, but you can see the similarities. One big change is that instead of brakes, riders back then used their feet to stop. Another historical bike is the one named the “Bone Shaker.” With a name like that, I wonder how many were actually sold. This was the first bike to have pedals. The Pedals were connected directly to the front wheel (which was much bigger than the rear one.) It did have a brake, but the brake could not have been very effective on the iron tires and wooden wheels. The above two bikes are just two examples of the historical bikes than can be found in Ohio at the Bicycle Museum or on its website. They are amazing to look at and really make you think about all the history that went into today’s modern bikes. The current design of pedals that push a chain that is connected to gears that in turn push a rear wheel forward may seem common sense. But when inventors set about to try and build the first bikes, they had to experiment with a lot of trial and error before designs that really worked were found. So if you enjoy riding a bike, you owe it to yourself to visit this great museum in Ohio.

May 31, 2009

The National Museum of Ireland

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:52 pm by classicalmusic

If you are visiting Ireland, a great stop where you can spend the whole day and learn about Irish history is the National Museum of Ireland. The Museum boasts a marvelous collection of exhibits and artifacts that teach about Irish history from pre-historic times all the way up to the present day. Actually, the National Museum of Ireland is not just one stop, it is four. In four separate locations — three of them very close to one another, the museum’s collections are on display and one combined price ticket will get you into all of them. The different locations are divided by the contents of the collections. For example, in Dublin, on Kildare Street is the museum’s archeology wing. Ancient irish artifacts are on display, some of them thousands of years old. Through a careful study of these artifacts, archeologists have pieced together the story of life in Ancient Ireland. It is that story that continues to fascinate visitors. Within a few blocks is the Museum’s “Decorative Arts and History” collection. This impressive collection is hosted in a former military barracks. The collection includes examples of silver, ceramics, glassware, weaponry, furniture, folk-life, clothing, jewelry, coins and medals. Each display tells a story so that visitors not only see these objects but get a real sense of how they were used. Probably the most interesting current exhibit is “Soldiers and Chiefs: The Irish at War at Home and Abroad from 1550.” This exhibit catalogs Irish military history from its earliest times. Examples of the real weapons used over the years are fascinating. Other branches of the Museum include Country Life wing which pays homage to rural Ireland and the Museum of National History (also in Dublin). The Museum of National History is closed temporarily as much needed renovations are performed. It is expected to reopen with the year, so be sure to call ahead when planning your trip. If you visit all four branches, you will need more than a single day. If you just have a day and need to pick one, I recommend you choose the “Decorative Arts and History” facility. It has by far the largest and most varied collection. It is especially useful of your priority is to learn about Irish history in an entertaining way that you will not forget. Then if you have time, pop down the street for the Archeological wing. This visit can really complete your Irish vacation.

May 24, 2009

The Museum of Tolerance

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:29 am by classicalmusic

One of the most intriguing concepts in museums is the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. What started as a monument to victims of the Holocaust has become a major institutions that teaches topics on a global scale.

The Museum boasts that it is not a museum of artifacts and documents, it is a museum of emotions. What this really means is that the visitor is thrust into a world of hate and forced to confront whatever personal prejudices he or she might have.

For example, one exhibit is set up as a 1950’s style diner. At each table, a conversation can be heard that would have been typical of the time. Racism and prejudice are served up along with sandwiches and then the visitor gets an opportunity to join the conversation. No one walks away the same after a visit to this “diner.”

Another exhibit teaches about global intolerance. Displays that document the genocides of Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur are gripping in their directness. A visitor realizes how intolerance can lead to murder on a grand scale when left unchecked. Yet, it is not an exhibit of despair. The visitor is encouraged to come up with solutions for these vexing situations and is then shown how these issues can be dealt with.

Of course, the Museum is grounded in its best known exhibit, that dealing with the Holocaust. yet rather than just displaying the “shock value” artifacts of other Holocaust Museums, the Museum of Tolerance tries to show the human side of the tragedy. How unchecked anti-Semitism led to whole-scale murder. Gripping pictures show how typical people were dehumanized and treated as animals.

The lessons of the Museum are clear. Any type of intolerance — when allowed to grow — can lead to genocide. Seemingly innocent jokes told to friends at a diner, can be the foundation of mass murder. Hopefully, the visitor will leave the museum as a different person and will always be on the lookout for intolerance.

May 17, 2009

The Ice Cream Museum

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 7:20 am by classicalmusic

Who were the first people to eat ice cream? If you said the Ancient Egyptians, you are either very smart or you have recently visited America’s Ice Cream and Dairy Museum at the historic Elm Farm in Medina, Wisconsin. This unusual museum is housed in the renovated Elm Farm dairy plant. Elm Farm was the last family owned dairy in all of Medina county. While Medina was at one time the country’s largest dairy farming community, one by one the family farms closed down, unable to compete with the giant dairy agro-businesses that were taking over the dairy industry. Finally, only Elm Farm was left. Elm Farm showcases the history of the dairy cow, ice cream and milk, from its beginnings in ancient Egypt through its evolution in America. Kids and grown ups alike will love seeing one of the largest collections of ice cream and dairy antiques and collectibles in the country. Some of the things you will see on your visit to the Elm Farm Dairy Museum include a 1890 milk wagon, milking machines, the first milk trucks, butter churns, cream separators, cheese making equipment, and a display of a 1940’s dairy plant, signs, artwork. Kids can even climb on a lot of the exhibits and try their hand at the real butter churn. Of course the main attraction at the museum is the exhibit showcasing the history of ice cream. As you go through the exhibit, you start learning about the earliest beginnings of ice cream to the present day. Kids can learn about the ice cream parlors that are now all but obsolete yet used to be such an important component of American culture.

May 11, 2009

The Tobacco Farm Museum

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:57 am by classicalmusic

Although it may not be for everyone, anyone who wants to understand the culture of family tobacco farms in North Carolina must visit the Tobacco Family Farm Museum in Kenley, North Carolina. For over twenty years, the Tobacco Farm Museum has been preserving the history and cultural heritage of tobacco farmers living in Eastern North Carolina. The museum was actually initiated by a few local families who were proud of their past and had a strong volunteer spirit. With modern technology rendering the way of life of their parents and grandparents obsolete, these families wanted to be able to show future generations this special history of the Eastern North Carolina tobacco farms. The museum is now internationally recognized and accredited. Thousands of visitors every year come to Kenley to learn about the old family farms. The museum’s staff continues to interpret and present this important rural legacy to all those who come. When you visit the museum, it looks more like a farm than an actual exhibit. The farm includes a homestead with detached kitchen, a smokehouse, the barn where tobacco leaves would be left to dry, and even the outhouse is restored. (Don’t worry, a more traditional bathroom is available for all visitors who need to use the facilities. In total, the museum is over 6,000 square feet. In addition to the permanent exhibit, the museum hosts rotating exhibits on farm life, southern medicine, domestic skills, rural social life, and artifacts. Overall, the visit results in a great time for the whole family. You almost forget that the purpose of the museum is educational.

May 3, 2009

The Lofotr Viking Museum

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:18 am by classicalmusic

Do the tales of the ancient Viking fascinate you? Well, if you happen to be in Norway, you must go the the Lofotr Viking Museum in Northern Norway. This museum is actually a reconstruction of a Viking Chieftain’s home in Norway. It is a small village and volunteers wearing period costumes wander about and teach visitors about the ancient Viking way of life. See the wooden vessels upon which the Viking set out from Norway and sailed the world. Learn about the agriculture that was the basis of Viking communities. While the men went to sea frequently, the woman made sure that there would always be plenty of food harvested from the communal farms. When the men returned from their conquests, there would be communal celebrations lasting several days in a row. You can experience all that at the Lofotr museum. You even get to eat the hearty Viking soup in the celebration hall as you learn more about the Vikings. Did you know that long before Europeans sailed the oceans, the Viking were already crossing them in their tiny ships? How could these ships stay afloat through Atlantic Ocean storms. The Viking volunteers explain everything to you and if you still have questions, they will be glad to answer them while you eat your delicious and hearty Viking soup. Just don’t leave without your Viking t-shirt. You will want to tell everyone back home where you were and what you did. When you finish at the museum it is just a short drive to the world famous Norwegian fjords. Stay at any one of the dozens of great spas in Northern Norway and your trip will be complete.

April 26, 2009

The British Museum

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:40 am by classicalmusic

One of the most famous museums in the entire world is the British Museum in London. Admission is free and you can spend literally days going through the exhibits. If you only have one day, don’t even try to see everything. Choose a few of the exhibits that interest you most and spend your time there. It will be a much more rewarding visit. One of the most famous exhibits is the huge collection from ancient Egypt. You will see artifacts dating back tens of thousands of years. There is also a fascinating model of the ancient Pyramids at Ramses. Of course there is also the mummy section where real, mummified remains of ancient Pharos are preserved. It is both interesting and a bit morbid. Not to be done is the wing focused on Ancient Greece. See how ancient Greek art developed and learn about Greek mythology. To the Greeks, their Gods were everything and they developed a very complicated understanding of nature based on divine force. Other models shed light on the ancient Olympic games and the first real world wars — those between Greece and Carthage. Throughout the museum, the history of British colonialism enfolds in rich diversity. How one little island could end up having dominion over so much of the world is a wonder. yet the museum pulls no punches. Clearly displayed are examples of when colonials had a detrimental effect on native cultures and societies. If you are visiting London, by all means spend some time here. you will learn much about the British Empire and much of world history. You can easily come for the day since there are well supplied areas to eat and there is a truly extraordinary gift shop. Besides the usual tourist fare of t-shirts and key rings, you can purchase great books about all sorts of subjects displayed in the museum, including the Egyptian mummies.

April 5, 2009

The Intrepid Museum

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 7:51 am by classicalmusic

If you like military history, you must visit the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York. The whole museum is on board the former U.S. Navy aircraft carry Intrepid. The Intrepid was one of the Navy’s longest serving aircraft carriers and saw action in many of the wars fought by America. Now you can learn about the Intrepid and what life was like for the thousands of sailors and airmen who served on her over the many decades the ship was in service.

On the flight deck, there are replicas of all the different type of aircraft that have been stationed on board the Intrepid. This includes both fixed wing aircraft as well as helicopters. Some of them are open so you can actually sit in the cockpit and try imagine what it would be like to flight a fighter plane or rescue helicopter.

The Intrepid took part in several recoveries of space capsules back in the early days of space exploration. Long before the space shuttle landed on runways out in the desert, the space capsule was the only part of a spaceship that could be recovered. NASA programmed the landings to occur in the middle of the ocean to minimize the risk. It was up to the aircraft of the Intrepid to quickly find the capsules and rescue the astronauts inside. A replica of one of the capsules along with the recovery gear used sits on top of the Intrepid flight deck for all to see.

The museum shop is a great place if you are any sort of military history buff. you can also buy gear like sweatshirts and caps there. All of them have the logo of the Intrepid on them and all the proceeds go to support the museum. If you are in New York, this is really a must see, especially if you have kids with you

March 29, 2009

Museum of Money

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 7:06 am by classicalmusic

The American Museum of Finance is appropriately located just steps from Wall Street, the world’s financial capital. Now at a glance, it may seem odd to have a museum dedicated to the complicated subject of world finance. Yet step inside and you will see that the exhibits of the museum make the subject matter come alive. For example, the image that everyone has of Wall Street is of a place where technology allows massive amounts of money to be moved in split seconds by frenzied traders speaking on two telephones at once. Yet Wall Street and the stock markets have been around much longer than high technology. The exhibit “Trading on the Street” documents that more than 200 year history of the exchange. It shows what the market was like when instead of instant messages runners literally ran carrying scraps of paper between traders. Forget about the iconic electronic “ticket,” originally stock prices were written on a giant chalk board. Another exhibit explains a modern event, the current credit crisis that is affecting world wide finance. The exhibit traces the crisis back years and compares it to the Great Depression. After seeing this exhibit, you will be much relieved that the current situation is nothing like what happened in the 1930s. Everything is laid out in easy to understand and realistic displays. If you get hungry, do not fear. The museum is located just steps from Wall Street and some of the finest dining in new York is available just around the block. Go for a few hours in the morning, grab a quick bite, and then return for a little more time in the afternoon. Seeing the whole museum in one day is definitely possible and worthwhile.

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