DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Oct 6 2010

Museum love: from the odd to the sublime

by Dea Anne M

I love museums. Ever since a childhood visit to the  American Museum of Natural History during a family trip to New York City, I have remained fascinated with collections of all that is unusual and beautiful. I seek out museums wherever I travel.  These days, no visit to NYC is complete without a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but also fascinating is the Frick Collection housed in what was once the home of Henry Clay Frick, an American industrialist and art collector who enjoyed the dubious honor of being called “America’s most hated man.”  Back when I was making regular trips to Chicago, I always planned a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago where must sees, for me, are works by Joseph Cornell and the Thorne Minature Rooms. Of no less interest and excitement in the Windy City is the  Museum of Science and Industry where you can explore the interiors of a  U-505 submarine and a simulated coal mine. In D.C., one of our national treasures is the  Smithsonian Institution. The museum complex includes at least 10 museums on the Mall. All of them are free! Can I say that again? Free! Closer to home, there is the opulent and breathtaking Biltmore Estate (not free…but well worth the stiff admission). Here in Atlanta there is, of course, the High Museum of Art, but we can also enjoy such unique museums as the Apex Museum, the Center for Puppetry Arts, the Fernbank Museum of Natural History , and the Michael C. Carlos Museum.

If you can think of an object, there probably exists a museum, somewhere, that celebrates it.

Shoes? Fit in a visit to the Bata Shoe Museum the next time you are visiting Toronto, Ontario.

Toilets? Try the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets in New Delhi, India.

Barbed Wire? Be sure to check out the Devil’s Rope Barbed Wire Museum the next time you find yourself ranging through McLean, Texas.

Pez? Don’t miss the Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia while popping in on someone in  Burlingame, California.

If you’d rather explore museums, and their collections, from the comfort of home check out these resources available from DCPL.

On DVD, look for:

Sculptures of the Louvre

Museum Masterpieces: the Louvre

For books, check out:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Howard Hibbard

American Museum of Natural History: 125 Years of Expedition and Discovery by Lyle Rexer and Rachel Klein

Art in the Frick Collection: Paintings, Sculpture, Decorative Arts by Charles Ryskamp

America’s Smithsonian: Celebrating 150 Years

Making the Mummies Dance:Inside the Metropolitan Museum of  Art by Thomas Hoving

The Museum Book: A Guide to Strange and Wonderful Collections by Jan Mark

Finally, don’t forget:

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg. This is a book that could make you fall in love with museums all over again.  Not that I need help with that. One thing I know for certain…one of these days I’m going to get to Toronto and see those shoes!

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