Wednesday, July 8, 2015

ROAD TRIP! More Museums Worth a Special Visit

My family and I are off to visit friends and relatives in Detroit, so of course my mind heads in the direction of interesting places to visit.  I've written about "Museums Worth A Special Trip" in previous ExhibiTricks posts (see here, here, and here!) but I thought summer travel season would be a good time to pick up the topic again.

So here are some Summer 2015 "Museums Worth A Special Trip" suggestions for your reading (and hopefully, road tripping!) pleasure:

Since I'll be heading to Detroit, I would be remiss if I didn't mention one the great Art Museums in this country, The Detroit Institute of Arts (aka The DIA.)  As if the spectacular Diego Rivera murals weren't reason enough to visit the DIA, in recent years the Museum was completely redesigned, both physically and conceptually to enhance visitors' experiences.

This summer, The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. has a special immersive (literally!) exhibition called The BEACH that fills the massive central space of NBM with nearly one million plastic balls that create a giant playground to wade, dive, or swim through!  In addition to the rollicking fun of the BEACH, you can also enjoy the other architecture-related exhibitions nestled into NBM's amazing building. 

While we're on the East Coast, if your travels bring you near the Boston area, be sure to check out The Discovery Museums in Acton, Massachusetts.  Pound for pound, still two (a children's museum and a science museum on the same "campus") of the most charming museums around. Packed with simple, elegant, and inventive exhibit ideas and playful spaces.

Whenever people ask me if I have a "favorite" museum, I generally say I have too many "favorites" to pick just one, but, if pressed,  The City Museum in St. Louis, would definitely make my top three.  How can you not love a museum that did an exhibition about toasters? With someone inside who will make a piece of toast for you using an antique toaster? A phantasmagoria filled with slides and tunnels and shoelace making machines and ... check out this video to get a sense of the place!

Now let's bop across the Bay Bridge to Oakland, California to visit the Oakland Museum of California  (aka OMCA.)  This museum has reinvented itself in recent years with lots of community involvement.  It's worth checking out the book, How Visitors Changed Our Museum, to find out more about OMCA's exhibit process and products.  The museum is divided into Art, History, and Natural Sciences, and each part reveals truly interesting and innovative approaches.

Of course my Museums Worth a Special Visit list could include many other worthy institutions (like The Exploratorium and The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum)  but I'd like to crowdsource my Summer 2015 list a bit. 

So, what are some of your favorite museums to visit and recommend to others?  Let us know in the "Comments" section below!

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