Museums and May

mailCATXSV20Yesterday was International Museum Day. When I discovered that fact, I couldn’t have been happier to have the perfect excuse to plunder Austin on exhibit. That’s just the nerd I am.

To observe the occasion I decided to visit a couple of local spots – a difficult choice, given the volumes housed in the area, not to mention state.

But there are more days in the year. More weekends to fill. More blogs to post at some later date. For now, a brief sidetrack:

mailCAXAXN25

(After driving my otherwise reasonably temperature controlled vehicle around town for an hour or so) It’s mid May. Balls to that!

Back on track –

I settled on the Austin Museum of Art’s Arthouse – one of two locations housing its works, and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. Both, as it turns out, illuminating and entertaining choices.

When I stepped into the Arthouse, I was personally welcomed by its staff, briefed on the exhibits, and told admission fees were waived in celebration of Museum Day. (Classy first impression, check!)

The first exhibit, “Constructed Landscapes” by Seher Shah, was both aesthetically interesting and intricate in its simplified form.

Oh hell, I’m no art critic. But I did like it. Here it is:

mailCAO7HNH7

Then I wandered into a short film exhibit, featuring Cinthia Marcelle and Tiago M Machado’s “O Seculo.” It was about ten minutes of trash being chucked into a street, complete with sound. I’m told it represents the industrial growth of the twentieth century. I consider myself a thoughtful, fairly open minded person in these matters. I sat through it twice, just to give myself time to mull it over. I get it – sort of. But the mundane presentation left me underwhelmed. Maybe that was the point.

A still:

mailCA70B2VM

Finally, the interactive work titled “Temporary Insanity” by Pinaree Sanpitak consisted entirely of varying orb-like shapes meant to represent the female form, which responded to movement by rocking, humming, and creating their own rhythm. A concept I would have enjoyed exploring on my own… as it was, I found myself in the company of polyester-pantsed, sensibly shoed seniors who clapped, stomped and shouted at the artwork in an attempt to coax responses.

“Pearl, which one you wanna talk to?”

Oh well.

On second thought, what a fabulous idea for a children’s experience. Field trip, anyone?

mailCATY52DR

Next stop, the Bullock Museum, featuring the “Story of Texas.” The three level building houses a comprehensive history of the state, from native roots

mailCAB7Y7Y0

to pirates – or rather, their remains

mailCANFF2J7

to missions

mailCA5S2YUS

and the moon.

mailCAF2BHJB

I was one of about 5 people NOT there to see the IMAX version of the new Star Trek movie… Although that would be cool, too. I found it a very well presented experience, far more impressive than even swelling Texas pride, more informative and thoughtful than so many stereotypes might offer. I feel all citizens, no matter where, should make the effort to learn about the places they inhabit. I know I plan to continue to do so.

Thinking back, there are other places that made big impressions on me over the years. A short list of some of my favorites:

The Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola, FL

The Hershey Museum, Hershey, PA

The Ben Franklin Museum, Philadelphia, PA

The Smithsonian Museum of Art and National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.

The Delta Blues Museum, Clarksdale, MS

The D-Day Museum, New Orleans, LA

The Pink Palace Museum, Memphis, TN

The American Textile History Museum, Boston, MA

The Natural History Museum, Salt Lake City, UT

The Field Museum, Chicago, IL

There are too many!

What are some of your favorite museums? Maybe they’ll be next on my list.