Museum Day

Also called International Museum Day, this is celebrated all over the world on May 18. Museums have been special to me since I was a child, for more than one reason.

When I was young, my family wasn’t particularly well off, and most outings we took cost us no more than the gas to get there. I couldn’t guess how many hours I spent in the Rochester, New York natural history museum. There were three floors containing old frontier type buildings and dioramas of Native Americans and other things. But my memories of those are hazy because the room I always wanted to go to was the one that showed the area when it had been under water, I suppose during the last Ice Age. There were giant sea creatures, trilobites, and undersea plants. I could stand and look at those for hours. The same thing happened when we went to the natural history museum in New York City when I was eleven. My folks wanted to see all the different floors; I just wanted to stay in the room with the dinosaurs. I suppose they must have dragged me away at some point, but I don’t remember anything else.

The other reason I’m fond of museums is that when we were in a part of the place that I didn’t care about, I wanted to just rush through and get back to something interesting. At the time, it drove me crazy that Dad stopped and looked at everything, and read every sign, and pointed things out, but what he was teaching me was to stop and learn about other things – to take my time. When I got old enough to understand, I loved him for the quiet lesson.

There are, of course, many different kinds of museums. There are history museums, science museum, art galleries, and those housing anything someone considered worthy of collecting. Celebrate today by visiting a museum. It’s bound to be interesting!

The British Museum – a favorite place

Quotes about museums

Give me a museum and I’ll fill it.–Pablo Picasso

When I was growing up, my mother would take me to plays and museums, and we’d talk about life. Those times helped shape who I became.–Jill Scott

When in a museum, walk slowly but keep walking.–Gertrude Stein

A country that has few museums is both materially poor and spiritually poor…Museums, like theaters and libraries, are a means to freedom.–Wendy Beckett

An art book is a museum without walls.–Andre Malraux

… what is important is not so much what people see in the gallery or the museum, but what people see after looking at these things, how they confront reality again. Really great art regenerates the perception of reality; the reality becomes richer, better or not, just different.–Gabriel Orozco

I don’t want to sound pretentious, but I love art, I like to go to museums, and I like to read books.–Rainn Wilson

The historical museum has to be very conservative and careful in its choices. The modern museum, on the other hand, has to be audacious, to take chances. It has to consider the probability that it would be wrong in a good many cases and take the consequences later.–Alfred H. Barr, Jr.

Museums are managers of consciousness. They give us an interpretation of history, of how to view the world and locate ourselves in it. They are, if you want to put it in positive terms, great educational institutions.–Hans Haacke

Museums should be places where you raise questions, not just show stuff.–William Thorsell

The best museums and museum exhibits about science or technology give you the feeling that, hey, this is interesting, but maybe I could do something here, too.–Paul Allen

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