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.

March 22, 2009

The Desert Museum

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 8:17 am by classicalmusic

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a zoo. It is also a botanic garden. But when you add up all the fauna and flora on display, what this place really is, is a giant, open air museum.

If you have ever wanted to learn about the desert, this is the place. There are displays detailing every aspect of the Sonora Desert including climate, geology, and history. Staffed by a large number of experts in diverse fields, this place has something for everyone. Whatever questions you may have, there is no doubt that they can get you the answers you need.

The many and varied exhibits reflect the natural landscape of the Sonora Desert Region. It is so realistic that you soon will lose yourself as you wander the many winding paths and end up face to face with mountain lions, prairie dogs, Gila monsters, and more. In fact, the Museum hosts over 300 animal species and 1,200 kinds of plants. The paths go on for almost 2 miles traversing 21 acres of beautiful desert.

The Sonora Desert Museum is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is a member of the American Association of Museums. Few places can entertain both young children and seniors and everyone in between. this place can and will fascinate you and your family for hours. No matter how much time you leave for the museum, you will want to come back again and again.

Just make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat to keep the sun off your face as you walk around the exhibits. Of course if you forget, there is always the ubiquitous museum gift shop.

March 16, 2009

The National Museum of Iraq

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 8:03 am by classicalmusic

Now here is one of the most significant museums of the world, if you can get there.

For the first time since 2003, the Iraqi National Museum is open again. The museum is the collection place for over 5,000 priceless artifacts that date back to the dawn of history. Although thousands more pieces were looted and are currently showing up around the world in the black market, the current collection holds pieces that are a must see for any serious scholar of ancient civilization.

Ancient Iraq played host to many significant empires including those of the Babylonians, Sumerians, and Islamic Caliphate. Long referred to as the “Cradle of Civilization” the land is considered to be where man first developed large scale, sophisticated sedentary communities. Some of the artifacts in the collection date back over ten thousand years! There is even evidence of some of the earliest writing by human beings, etched into stones that are prominently on display on the museum’s ground floor.

A great deal of work must still be done to restore the museum to its full potential. years of neglect and looting have taken their toll. But the museum staff is eager for the challenge and hope to have the entire facility restored within five years. So for the history buff who believes he or she has seen everything, this is one stop you cannot miss.

March 8, 2009

The National Museum of the American Indian, Washington DC

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:55 am by classicalmusic

The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. is the newest branch of the Smithsonian Institution, America’s collective national museum series. The museum is probably the least well known of the National museums, but that’s a shame because it is one of the best. The museum is especially good at highlighting little known episodes in history that provide much greater historical context to the story of the American Indian than one is liable to get anywhere else.

For example, a current exhibition is called “They Came as Sovereign Leaders.” This photo and text exhibit tell the story of President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1905 inaugural parade in which he invited six prominent Indian chiefs to participate. To the new President, including the Indian chiefs was done to add a touch of the exotic to the festivities. Yet the six chiefs believed that they were being invited as representatives of their people to discuss the actual needs of their tribes with the President. This episode, unknown to most Americans, sheds light on what the attitude of the establishment had been toward the Indians. It was done at a time when the Indians saw the federal government taking more and more of their land away without due process — at least from the standpoint of the Indians.

The museum is not immense and all the exhibits can be seen if you give yourself about three hours. The museum is located right on the national mall alongside such famous counterparts as the National museum of American History and the always popular National Air and Space Museum.

It is best to arrive early as the museum can become crowded in the afternoons, especially on weekends and holidays. There is a great bookstore as well as a coffee shop on the premises.

March 2, 2009

The New York Museum of Natural History

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 7:25 am by classicalmusic

There are many museums around the world that bear the name “Museum of Natural History.” Basically, natural history can be a label for a huge assortment of divergent subjects. The history of evolution, ancient cultures, the development of gemstones — all these and a great deal more are at home in any museum of natural history. But, if you had to pick the greatest such museum in the world, the answer would be obvious. It would have to be the New York Museum of Natural History in New York City.

This museum has become so famous that it is known around the world. The collections it hosts are considered among the most complete anywhere. In fact, what is on display at any one time only represents about five percent of the museum’s actual holdings. The rest are carefully maintained in climate controlled warehouses until they are rotated through the museum’s permanent displays.

Many youngsters who live in the New York area will always remember their class trip, a virtual rite of passage, to the museum. By far, the one thing that kids remember most is the incredible dinosaur exhibit. The complete skeletons of dozens of dinosaurs, including the giant Tyrannosaurus Rex and Brontosaurus tower over your head as you walk through. Artwork surrounding the exhibit give you a sense of what it must have been like when these giant beasts roamed the earth.

Don’t plan on seeing everything in one day, it cannot be done. If your time is limited speak to one of the museum’s curators and with a map determine what most interests you. You can even take in a show at the world famous Haden Planetarium if you have time.