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What’s Your Favorite Museum Exhibit?

Feb 16, 2012

by Chappell Ellison

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Sometimes I find myself missing the excitement conjured by a field trip’s yellow school bus. Bouncing along the road, we’d usually head to a museum where a few blissful hours were spent, running amok and escaping the teacher’s gaze. When I see a group of school children, walking hand in hand through the halls of a museum, I get a little nostalgic, hoping they’re seeing something that opens their eyes, imprinting a memory onto their young minds. “It is as difficult today to imagine a world without museums as it is easy to feel that we have never fully left the first museum we ever visited,” writes art historian Donald Preziosi. For many young New Yorkers who go to the American Museum of Natural History, the sight of a life-sized sculpture of a squid attacking a whale will stick with them forever.

For that reason, I’m obsessed with a new series on Boing Boing that asks: what’s your favorite museum exhibit? Readers have submitted all kinds of favorite exhibits, from the whimsical — John Lennon’s custom Rolls Royce at the Royal BC Museum in British Columbia —  to the downright outlandish — butterflies feeding on the carcass of a piranha, displayed at the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna. Yet the majority of the museum exhibitions highlighted on Boing Boing are mostly intriguing for their initial shock value; a diorama of a lion attacking a camel-mounted courier is enough to make anyone stop in their tracks. It’s funny to even think that such a bizarre moment is forever frozen in an institution, offered for contemplation by patrons.

Such a variety of reader responses invokes the question: what is it that makes an exhibition memorable? For most of us, the answer is found in that moment when a museum display activates the most curious portion of our brain, the part that never truly grows up. “The sheer uncanniness of museums as indispensable institutions in many modern and modernizing societies is a function of their enduring power to define, stage, circumscribe, and haunt our individual and collective lives and dreams,” writes Preziosi. If I go stand under the squid and the whale at the Natural History Museum, I remember the feeling of standing in that same spot when I was six, then again when I was twelve. It’s comforting to know that the whale will always be were I left him, an old friend I can visit if I’m ever in the neighborhood. In that way, a museum exhibit can come to represent your earliest intellectual awakenings, and with each visit, the wonder and the awe are just as palpable.

Is there a museum exhibit that haunts you to this day?

153 comments

  • Thrush

    Anne from Thrush said 4 years ago

    Absolutely! The fetal exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. I'm not sure if it's still there, but I saw the series of human development with actual preserved fetuses when I was about eight years old, and it totally blew my mind.

  • volkerwandering

    Jess from volkerwandering said 4 years ago

    My favorite museum is the Philadelphia Science museum in Pennsylvania. They have/had a giant human heart that you could walk/climb around in. All the while you could hear the THUMP THUMP noise of it beating! At one point, they even had a bicycle on a tightrope that you could ride over a crowd! I don't know if they still do. The Saint Louis children's museum is awesome too. They have a fake forest inside that you can climb, jump, hide and play in! Great times.

  • worksofwhimsy

    worksofwhimsy from worksofwhimsy said 4 years ago

    The Spy Museum in DC is really cool. I love all the James Bond type gadgets they have on display. And I will always have great memories of the interactive exhibits at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage said 4 years ago

    Interesting article. I'd have to say the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and MOMA in NYC.

  • LuckiiArts

    Casey Virata from LuckiiArts said 4 years ago

    Kroller-Muller Museum has an exhibit out on the grass of large metal balls sculpture... Concetto spaziale Natura (1959-1960) by Lucio Fontana in KMM sculpturepark/The Netherlands. It has always stuck with me- and introduced me to the outside exhibit...which I love to this day! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:KMM_Fontana_02.JPG see it here

  • 4EnvisioningVintage

    Tracy from 4EnvisioningVintage said 4 years ago

    The Children's Museum in Indianapolis, IN. It has changed considerably over the years (when I was a child think exhibits with cowboys and indians. Now interactive everything) but it is the largest children's museum in the U.S. It is over 472,000 sq feet! I remember as a child running up the ramps to get to the top floor which held a full size carousel and a huge train exhibit plus a locomotive you could walk through. Also the cave on the first (if my memory serves me) floor was also very cool! There were so many things to look at and interact with if you ever get a chance (even adults) go there!

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 4 years ago

    As fascinating as it may be the bodies exhibit was pretty amazing but staring at someone's insides cut out like art was just a little disturbing.

  • AvianInspirations

    Ashley from AvianInspirations said 4 years ago

    I don't know about haunting, but anything at the Exploratorium in SF is fantastic!

  • kasawonderful

    Jeri Kim Lowe from kimpopshop said 4 years ago

    Love this article. Thanks :) Mine might be the little room that houses Japanese woodblock prints at the RISD museum. Like the squid that's always been there, that room has always welcomed my visits, whether alone as a teenager, or with out of town friends on a Sat. afternoon, or years later with my husband, niece and nephew...it's always there.

  • dieseline

    dieseline from Dieseline said 4 years ago

    Ripleys Believe it or Not!, Ocean City, MD.

  • VeiledIntensity

    Bethany from ParadoxicalPhoenix said 4 years ago

    I love museums!!! I can't say I have a favorite, but I loved browsing through the site to see the favorites of others!

  • EdgarHdez
  • gypsiedoodle

    gypsiedoodle said 4 years ago

    My friend and I would go to the Denver Art Museum back in college (used to be free on Saturdays for Colorado residents...). And I have to say that Linda was my favorite (http://www.denverartmuseum.org/discover_the_dam/conservation/contemporary_plastics). Totally looks like a woman sleeping.

  • slugwork

    Carey Armstrong-Ellis from slugwork said 4 years ago

    When I was little, my sister and I LOVED the lion attacking the camel-rider at the Carnegie Museum!! Gruesome as it was, it fascinated us and we still look forward to seeking it out any time we are in Pittsburgh. Soooo cool!!!

  • Inkd

    Inkd from Inkd said 4 years ago

    I always loved the dinosaurs when I was a kid. But my favorite museum was the Saint Louis City Museum, where the first thing we were told was to go anywhere we could fit, including the ceilings. It's amazing that artists created the entire place.

  • whatnomints

    Sasha from whatnomints said 4 years ago

    I vividly remember visiting the Franklin Institute (in Philly) as a kid during a grade school field trip. There they had a giant replica of a human heart (complete with "wooshing" heartbeat sounds) where you could walk the path that the blood circulates. Over 10 years later, while in college, I had the opportunity to go back and relive my childhood memories - We walked into the Institute and there it was: the giant human heart. I immediately ran over and walked through - It was like I was 8 again.

  • Angelender

    Amber Chambers from Angelender said 4 years ago

    City Museum in St Louis is most amazing but make sure you visit with all day to explore!

  • k8ie

    k8ie said 4 years ago

    The 80 foot long blue whale skeleton hanging in the atrium of the new Beaty Biodiversity Museum in Vancouver, BC,Canada. Everytime I go in it takes my breath away!

  • starstanford

    Star Stanford from Gypsydazzle said 4 years ago

    Years ago The Museum of Fine Arts/Houston had an exhibit of objects that emitted sound. It included pieces of various sizes - boxes, vessels, figures - that you had to hold your ear close to in order to hear a sound. My favorite was a box that had a recording of New York subway sounds.

  • TheHoneyDewShop

    Lisa Dew from TheHoneyDewShop said 4 years ago

    http://www.morsemuseum.org/ This is a special place I'm lucky to live close enough to take anyone who I can kidnap. It's the Louis Comfort Tiffany Museum. It's gem in the middle of Florida.When Louis Comfort's estate burned down the Tiffany Family contacted the Morse family and they lovingly recreated his chapel inside the museum. There is something that changes you as a human, it takes my breath away.

  • thevicagirl

    VaLon Frandsen from thevicagirl said 4 years ago

    I liked it when the MoMA had the architecture exhibt a few years ago. And all the little houses. They were all so cozy, and I still want one of those houses to this day.

  • elizasteindesigns

    Eliza Stein from elizasteindesigns said 4 years ago

    My favorite museum of all time is the Metropolitan. A few people I've taken there for the first time almost had nervous breakdowns when they realized how much there is to see! I love museums, so it's hard for me to choose a favorite exhibit. When I was a kid, I saw an exhibit on Australian Aboriginal art at the UN, and I remember never having seen anything like it before, and in such a great number. The styles and stories behind the work were so fascinating, I could have stayed there for hours on end.

  • IWillFly

    I Will Fly design from IWillFly said 4 years ago

    Oh goodness, I love museums! The Exploratorium and the California Academy of Sciences (both in San Francisco) are two of my all-time favorites. I also got to see King Tut's treasures when they were traveling through the country. Amazing!

  • lizzymoorejewellery

    Elizabeth Moore from lizzymoorejewellery said 4 years ago

    Chaber of horrors in London . . .as a child scary, as an adult awesome! x

  • VoleedeMoineaux

    Hillary De Moineaux from VoleedeMoineaux said 4 years ago

    That was from the movie, "Squid and the Whale."

  • BornAtTheWrongTime

    BornAtTheWrongTime from BornAtTheWrongTime said 4 years ago

    In terms of haunting, I will never forget visiting the National Museum of Health and Medicine. It used to be located at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. but recently relocated to Silver Spring, MD. The medical abnormalities exhibit is not for the faint of heart...especially the preserved human leg afflicted with Elephantiasis. *blech*

  • WingedWorld

    Vickie Moore from WingedWorld said 4 years ago

    I also loved the King Tut's treasures exhibit and saw it in Portland. The Exploratorium in SF had a great exhibit of dinosaurs, including a replica of the Sue T. Rex fossil. A side gallery had incredible Lego sculptures and art.

  • blevison Admin

    Beth Levison said 4 years ago

    My 4-year old's favorite museum exhibit is the one in this picture ... the Squid and the Whale at the one and only Museum of Natural History in NY :)

  • twirlchic17

    twirlchic17 said 4 years ago

    Hands down, the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh PA. Insane!

  • johntran1408

    John Tran said 4 years ago

    At the Phoenix Museum of Modern Art, there is an installation named You Who are Getting Obliterated in the Swarm of Fireflies by Yayoi Kusama. In essence, it is a small room, pitch black with mirrored surfaces and a number of LED light strands. The lights are dynamic, shifting colors very subtly. As you brush past the strands, they move. The effect is magical, like floating in space. It leaves you breathless. my drawing blog is www.j-drawingaday.blogspot.com drop on in and say hello.

  • sismandeer

    sismandeer said 4 years ago

    The Franklin Institute wasn't nearly as clean when I was a kid as it is today. I distinctly recall someone having left human waste (a soiled diaper?) inside the giant heart, back in 1987 or so... I still remember the smell--awful. When I brought my daughter there last year, I was pleased to see how clean everything was, but the sound of the heartbeat was too loud, and it freaked her out completely. We'll have to try it again when she's a bit older. (She did like the skeleton on the elliptical machine.) On the other hand, my little one loves all art exhibits--from the Frank Lloyd Wright library (from the Francis Little house) at the Allentown Art Museum (where you can sit in the library and play with Lucite tiles to create your own Wright-style window), to the newly re-hung portrait of Queen Victoria at age 19 (wow, right?) in the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC.

  • grandmae1

    Ellen said 4 years ago

    I have been to museums,both big and small, all over the United States. The memory I can not get out of my mind is Trigger...Stuffed and very old looking at the Roy Rogers Museum, how sad it made me! Ellen

  • PolClary

    PolClary from PolClary said 4 years ago

    The last time I went to Ireland, my family and I went to the National Leprechaun Museum in Dublin. The entire museum is beautifully designed, each room completely different from the other, with its own style. I think my favourite was the room where the walls and ceiling and everything were made out of copper (because people believed that's how leprechauns lived: sunlight would bounce off the walls and keep their underground homes light). If anyone's ever in Dublin, I recommend it!

  • johntran1408

    John Tran said 4 years ago

    At the Phoenix Museum of Modern Art, there is an installation named You Who are Getting Obliterated in the Swarm of Fireflies by Yayoi Kusama. Essentially, it is a pitch black room, covered with mirrors, including the floors. Hanging at various heights are hundreds of LED lights. The lights shift colors, subtly. As you brush past , they sway. The effect is magical and mesmerizing, like floating in space. I draw every day. Please come by and say hell0. www.j-drawingaday.blogspot.com

  • jhupitr

    jhupitr said 4 years ago

    At the Milwaukee Public Museum, there's an exhibit where a tyrannosaurus is eating a triceratops, gore and all. Totally freaked me out as a kid. http://www.mpm.edu/photos/press/hellcreekColor.jpg

  • wytchywoman

    Jennifer Thomas said 4 years ago

    I will never, ever be able to get the Megadon jaws, fulll of teeth at the American Museum of Natural History out of my head. I remember looking up and being terrified, and the picture of the men standing inside it to give you an idea of size did not help, LOL! For sheer impact though... the Holocaust Museum in DC. To walk through one of the box cars that brought all those poor souls to the concentration camps, and to touch the wood that made up a barrack... That's the type of thing that stays with you for the rest of your life. And lastly, because I am a fangirl!... MoMA. Not only for "The Starry Night", but because in the video collection they have Nine Inch Nails "Closer" (on permanent display I believe?) Gotta love a museum that loves it some Trent!

  • Parachute425

    Terry from Parachute425 said 4 years ago

    At the National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago, there is a 10 x 40 foot installation piece entitled "Above and Beyond" that hangs over the entrance hall that consists of more than 58,000 imprinted dog tags representing each of the service men and women who died in the Vietnam War. The tags dangle from the ceiling above your head and sort of tinkle in the wind, creating an eerie, poignant reminder in the silence of the museum.

  • KKSimpleRegalJewelry
  • vwghiagirl

    Michele Eakin from vwghiagirl said 4 years ago

    The national Museum of Health and Medicine at Walter Reed Medical Center ,the fetus's in jars with scarry abnormalites was unreal...I just couldn't believe those were ever inside of a human being.Also the Steinheart Aquarium in SanFrancisco had a 2 headed live snake and as a 8 year old I was repulsed yet fascinated, as well as their albino Alligator which is still there.

  • ingunneythorsdottir

    Ingunn Eythorsdottir said 4 years ago

    If you are interested in Nordic art you should check out this blog http://konsthopp.wordpress.com/

  • LucyandGeorgie

    Keli from LucyandGeorgie said 4 years ago

    It's not a museum, but I loved the Body's Exhibit that we saw while we were in Las Vegas.

  • mamascout

    Amy Bowers from mamascout said 4 years ago

    museum of natural history in nyc. i fell in love with the dioramas. deep, dream inducing love. truly magical - esp the squid and the whale which you used as your image.

  • LavenderThimble

    Michelle from LavenderThimble said 4 years ago

    I loved the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibit when it was at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. I still get chills thinking about some of the clothes that were on display. Such beautiful works of art.

  • demonkitty101

    Sally Kelland from demonkitty101 said 4 years ago

    I love the chamber of horrors museum in London-you can walk down an eerie replica London street,circa Jack the Ripper! There is also a very controversial new museum in Hobart Tasmania called MONA-Museum of Old and New Art.I am not sure whether I like it but it is certainly mind blowing-to all you people not in Tassie,please google it-it is ......different!!

  • saltcityspice

    Katrina from saltandginger said 4 years ago

    Julia Child's classic vintage kitchen, frozen in time and on display at the National Museum of American History, really struck me when I visited as an adult. Her old cooking shows are playing off to the side and as I watched for a few minutes, every single person passing through stopped and stood there transfixed by the sound of her voice. She had such a positive impact on American cuisine in her day simply by being herself, quirks and all - I felt her kitchen embodied those same qualities.

  • maclancy

    Marianne Clancy from maclancy said 4 years ago

    One of the coolest exhibits is in Victoria Canada at their incredible Natural History Museum.

  • MishaGirl

    Michelle from MishaGirl said 4 years ago

    I once visited The National Museum of Funeral History in Houston, Texas. As morbid sounding as that may be, it was so incredibly diverse and fascinating! There were all types of funerary vehicles, from horse buggies to the modern Hearse. Among the many features, I remeber a diorama of a Victorian family in mourning, plenty of memorabilia from Presidential funerals and also some rather whimsical animal shaped fantasy coffins. I don't recall the museum being that big in size, but it was impressive how much stuff they had on display. All in all, it opened my eyes to the rather intriguing business and evolutionary practices associated with, well....with death.

  • samantharose

    Samantha Swanson from 15Clove said 4 years ago

    Edward Gorey museum on Cape Cod, hands down!

  • redstarmama

    Jenn said 4 years ago

    The Getty in L.A., California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, the Armor Room at The Met in NYC, and Noah's Ark at the Skirball Center, also in L.A. I have to say, though, the Museum of Natural History in NYC is exactly what my mind pictures when I think of the word "museum". Love those dioramas!

  • MoiraCatDesigns

    MoiraCatDesigns from MoiraCatDesigns said 4 years ago

    Ironically, I am getting married in this very room--the Ocean Life Room--at the Museum of Natural History, in November. My fiance nearly hit the roof when he found out we could get married in there. Since then, it's been so much fun planning it. We will be using quite a few vendors from here for our own special touches.

  • ViewPatricksArt

    Patrickcollin from ViewPatricksArt said 4 years ago

    I have memberships to all the local museums, spending my free time strolling through the art. My fav right now is Phoenix art Museum, they have a great Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit going on. But my ultimate fav is SMOCA, it is the perfect size for my wandering creative mind.

  • kristahaubrich

    Krista Haubrich from 3317 said 4 years ago

    MoSex, NYC. And the M.I.A., in tropical MPLS, MN.

  • FineRedefined

    GiGi Hilton from FineRedefined said 4 years ago

    Absolutely! The Center for Puppetry Arts Museum in Atlanta. The amount of creativity in the museum coupled with the dynamics of the young minds looking on is almost electric. Haunting, Amazing, Modern, Futuristic, all the things a child or an adult can imagine. So worth a trip ttp://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12110.html And the people that work there are truly devoted artist. Amazing artist!

  • GhostshipPoet

    GhostshipPoet from GhostshipsShantyShop said 4 years ago

    I love all kinds of museums, large and small. I often go to the small town historical society museums of different towns and historic house tours and have a blast. I'd have to say my favorite exhibits are the Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson exhibits at the Concord Museum in Concord, MA. They have Thoreau's furniture from Walden and Emerson's entire study room from his house in the museum. I like to use my imagination at a museum and try to make believe I am in the time period of what I'm looking at. I guess you could say I'm a big time museum geek! For contrast, I love the horror wax museum in Salem, MA too (can't remember the name,not the witch one). Natural history museums are a favorite too. My tastes vary so much.

  • FrancesPhotography

    Frances Seward from FrancesPhotography said 4 years ago

    I think one of the most disturbing or evocative was the SENSATION exhibition including Damian Hirst's work for instance the stuffed shark in brine and and The image of Myra Hindley made out of Children's hand prints. This took place at the Royal Academy in London in 1997.

  • sarahmar

    Sarah Margerum said 4 years ago

    The Metropolitan had an temporary exhibition, Dangerous Liasons, when I was in college. It was so incredible and I so wish it still existed somewhere. My more permanent favorite is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. I will also add that I too have had several encounters with the Giant Heart at the Franklin Institute over the years and it really is a magical experience.

  • JulieAbrams

    JulieAbrams from JulieAbrams said 4 years ago

    City Museum in St. Louis!!!!!!!!

  • margaretgm

    margaretgm said 4 years ago

    The heart at the Franklin Institute has been mentioned more than once here! Wow. That thing terrified me and it smells funny. I took my son some 30 years after my first visit and he had the same reaction. Such nostalgia!!! I could not believe it was still there, with the very same weird smell. I loved the giant, full sized locomotive that was basically built into the building. It really runs. I could go on and on, its a wonderful place with many great memories of childhood visits there with my dad.

  • HandmadeIsAllAround
  • HeatherMcCawArt

    Heather McCaw Kerley from PithAndRootStudio said 4 years ago

    The exhibits that strike a chord when you're a kid can never be matched! In Columbus, Ohio at the Center of Science and Industry there was a "Time Tunnel" with dioramas of scenes from history with tinny, canned music and sound effects. Every time I visited, I couldn't wait to get to the one about the Plague and get delightfully creeped-out by the shadowy figures removing bodies in wheelbarrows. Great article!

  • TypsyGypsyTees

    Bridget McCafferty - Chodak from TypsyGypsyTees said 4 years ago

    Sort of surprised to see so much mention of the Franklin Institute in Philly, and no mention of the Mutter Museum in Philly. .It's the Most amazing, creepy, and thought provoking place ever. I will never forget the first time I saw the wall of fetuses in jars, and the display of the skeleton of a Siamese twin fetus. Also, the display of the human head spliced into thirds and sandwiched between glass . This is the stuff nightmares are made of. Totally beautiful and tragic all at the same time.

  • jshulsin

    jessica shulsinger said 4 years ago

    The musee d'orsay in paris is gorgeous, super plush loveliness, just to be in that space is so comforting and luxurious. At the opposite end of the spectrum are the catacombs in paris, underground tunnels lined with skulls and skeletons, dark and spooky, full of the stories of ghosts.

  • SongandBranch

    Karen Dorweiler from SongandBranch said 4 years ago

    One of the pivotal moments of my childhood - age 7, traveling to Seattle to see the King Tut exhibit. Consequently believing that Seattle was filled with treasure for a couple years. Later on, moving to Seattle as an adult, apparently still subliminally believing there is gold in Seattle. Still have not found any. I also worked in a natural history museum for a couple years - the behind the scenes is fascinating and I highly recommend it to everyone! You see the weirdest things that never go on display - you see the things that are too far gone, too delicate, too precious and too disputed.

  • glusk

    Tara Galuska from GluskDesigns said 4 years ago

    My favourite exhibition so far in life has been the Love Lace Exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Australia. It takes a look at lace in the most exciting way and there is even some human hair knit into the shape of human organs!

  • elleestpetite

    Donna Thai from PetiteCuisine said 4 years ago

    I wish I had gone to more museums when I was growing up. . .

  • kasiakasia

    kasiakasia said 4 years ago

    Mary Kings Close in Edinburgh, Scotland! :D Not the most shocking exhibits, but it really does make an impact.

  • KatesSummer

    KatesSummer said 4 years ago

    For me it's less the exhibitions and more the smell of the first museum I went to (and the only one in our small town of East London, South Africa)..sort of mothballs and dried pine needles. They had a really cool coelacanth exhibit, with a life size example. It used to scare the nonsense out of us school kids!

  • goodbeads

    goodbeads from goodbeads said 4 years ago

    Very dangerous for me!!:)

  • heirloomsbylaurie

    Laurie Olson Williams from heirloomsbylaurie said 4 years ago

    I adore museums, and will happily explore them until my feet are aching and my head threatening to explode from all the new "stuff" in it. That said, there are things that stand out: Recently: The Museum of Natural History in Washington DC. They have a coelacanth! Which is much, much bigger than I ever expected it would be. SO. cool! Also the male African elephant in the rotunda, and the development of humans exhibit. Overall, a really amazingly cool place. Not so long ago: the Monet exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the traveling Egyptian exhibit from the Victoria and Albert at the same place (different years). This is where I discovered I'm one of the people that they put the ropes and shields up to guard against, as I REALLY wanted to touch some of the stone carvings in the Egyptian exhibit. The papyri were AMAZING. And the Monet exhibit -- let's just say that I adore the reproductions of his work that I've seen, and the real thing just blows me away. Again, leaning over the ropes to examine the brush strokes.... As a child (and still): the triceratops at the Children's Museum in St. Paul, MN. I just love those dinosaurs for some reason, possibly because they are/were big, chunky, living TANKS of creatures. The dino exhibit at the Natural History Museum in DC was amazing too -- just WAY too crowded the day I went. Still got to see some crazy wonderful things. Just wish I'd had more time to explore that trip.

  • MariaHelenaPhoto

    maria helena from MariaHelenaPhoto said 4 years ago

    The KGB museum in Vilnius, Lithuania, haunted me for a long time after visiting it. This museum of Genocide Victims is in the heart of Vilnius in the original KGB headquarters building. The building itself is beautiful from the outside, and the street is peaceful and lovely, making it all the more shocking when you step inside and get a glimpse of what took place up until the 1990's (!). The KGB cells in Tartu, Estonia, are also shocking. They too are in the basement of a building close to the city center. Emotionally exhausting museums, but I do recommend both, especially if you want to understand Europe.

  • bluebirdknits

    Mary Lawson from bluebirdknits said 4 years ago

    I have been to the Spy Museum, MOMA, and the Morse Museum (that houses mostly stained glass from Louis Comfort Tiffany. It is located in Winter Park, a part of greater Orlando.) I have a bunch of favorites, but one that stands out in my mind was in St. Petersburg, Florida, and it was a traveling exhibit called "The Treasures of the Czars." I mostly remember a white wedding dress, that was embroidered with gold thread. It was so intricate, and beautiful.

  • 1AEON

    1AEON from 1AEON said 4 years ago

    The MET and the Natural History Museum in New York on V day:)

  • LindattiDesigns

    LindattiDesigns from LindattiDesigns said 4 years ago

    great topic! I will always be fascinated with the La Brea Tar Pits at the Page Museum in Los Angeles. This is a real excavation of a tar pit located right in downtown L.A. nestled near the Los Angeles Museum of Art and prestigious Rodeo Drive for goodness sakes! Besides the ancient tar pit with manmade models of mammoths and saber-toothed cats, there is a real working excavation in progress for the public to view, along with amazing exhibits of many ancient fossils. To think of mammoths, giant sloths, saber-toothed cats, dire wolves and the like who roamed only 11,000 years ago where our modern bustling Los Angeles now sits is kind of mind-boggling. Anyway, I will always remember our school field trips to this museum, and continue to take my children there since school cutbacks no longer support such trips.

  • poirotonflute

    poirotonflute said 4 years ago

    I adore the House on the Rock in Wisconsin that is full of many haunting displays. For me, the most memorable is the giant whale sculpture which the entire three story boating room is built around. At one point, the whale leans over the walkway, and would be touchable, if not for the curved plexiglass serving as likely feeble shield to pedestrians and tourists below. This room fills me with anxiety, as I walk past the whale giant, leaning over me on one side, with displays of misfortunate maritime journeys on the other. The House of the Rock always seems steps away from eating you alive, or keeping you as a display.

  • mirabellamorello

    mirabellamorello from mirabellamorello said 4 years ago

    So many wonders to choose from! Still madly in love with "El Jaleo" at The Isabella Stewart Gardner in Boston (and fell in love with it all over again when it was on loan/being restored by The National Gallery in Washington), The Gamefish from The Renwick Gallery in Washington, all of the Pierre Bonnards at The Phillips Collection, also in Washington. As for exhibits, I think the most memorable for me were an exhibit of Wayne Thiebaud's work at The Phillips sometime in the 90's, an exhibit of Joseph Cornell's work at The National Portrait Gallery in 2007 and an exhibit of pre-Raphaelite work at The National Gallery, including the beautiful, intense Ophelia by John Everett Millais. Exhibits that were so influential that they inspired me to go home and create, like those, are so rare, but so amazing. Living in Washington for 15 years, I was treated to more wonderful art than most people could be in a lifetime and I have considered myself extremely lucky for the experience! And when my husband moved to Washington, he was lucky enough to get a job at The International Spy Museum and go across the street to the (at the time), newly renovated and re-opened National Portrait Gallery on his lunch breaks nearly every day! Such a treat!

  • cadreams

    one of a kind wearable art from cadreams said 4 years ago

    Not an exhibit per se-but I am always awestruck by 'Winged Victory' at the Louvre. I really want to see the Tut exhibit-and I'm sure that will be my favorite!

  • sarebecca86

    Sarah van Rijsewijk and Shannon Lewis from LudosLair said 4 years ago

    Etsy-ers will love this! There was a natural 'coral reef' exhibit in the Museum of Natural History in DC- completely made from volunteers out of crochet! There was some similarity in the natural pattern of crochet and the natural growth of the reef as I recall. From afar- it was identical to an underwater reef- and even when you got close some of the fun yarns used had startling similarity! Even better- all those super colorful unique pieces were crocheted by volunteers! Love.

  • nothingtralala

    Heather Parr from nothingtralala said 4 years ago

    The Iron Lung exhibit on the medical floor of the Science Museum in London used to really disturb me as a kid. I'm not sure if it's still there, but the thought of it still bothers me...

  • 9design

    Paul Coyne from 9design said 4 years ago

    My Favorite museum exhibit can be found in probably all museums, it's not one particular item it's a collection... TOOLS.... I love to see old tools from throughout the ages just to compare with what we use today in some cases our tools don't differ that much, most museums have exhibits of some description of tools. It might sound a little un-interesting but to somebody that makes with their hands you have to respect practices before our time and if you think about it we would not have the tools we have today if the tools of previous time were developed upon.

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery said 4 years ago

    In my town we used to have an exhibition at the local museum of taxidermy animals created by a Victorian, it always used to freak me out I'd hate to stand in front of the glass cases. To be honest I still do, its their eyes as if they're locked in motion and at any moment will 'wake up' and be alive again.

  • sianykitty

    Siany from sianykitty said 4 years ago

    Last summer I attend the exposition at grand palais, an expo by Anish Kapoor, they installed this huge giant rubber and name it Leviathan. It's amazing! we stayed until night just to see how the monster look in the dark!

  • lithiascreations

    Lithia from LithiasCreations said 4 years ago

    Its awesome to see so many people commenting on places I've been: The human heart exhibit in Philly, the Museum of Natural History in NYC, and the Medical Museum at Walter Reed. Elephantitis leg, the completely tattooed human torso SKIN, the siamese babies; everything was so facinating! And to think that someone donated those to science! That always stuck me as so incredibly cool. I was lucky enough to grow up within driving distance of D.C., and my Dad made sure to have memberships to the National Geographic Society as well as the Smithsonian Institute. I can't tell you how many countless days we spent as kids roaming the halls of the Air & Space Museum, Natural History Museum, American History Museum & the like. Best exhibit? Yup, has to be 'Star Wars' at the Air & Space museum. I was so enthralled with the models and science that went into producing the movie. Great, now I need to go on a day-trip. ;)

  • nomadcraftsetc

    Janelle and Jason Ethridge from NomadCraftsEtc said 4 years ago

    WOW! so many museums to put on my list! Our local museum that is my favorite would have to be tinker town-it is a place that someone built in their backyard where this man put together a small town with lots of different components-antique dolls, matchboxes, lighters, toys, paper epherema(spell?), coke bottles, wagon wheels and so on and so on. It is like a real life I Spy book. It isn't science-but it is awesome!!!!

  • sweetseasons

    sweetseasons said 4 years ago

    The Mutter Museum in Philly. It started as a medical training museum in the 1800s, and is filled with examples of medical oddities. One of the exhibits consists of drawers filled with objects that have been removed from people's stomachs.

  • busterandboo

    Buster and boo from busterandboo said 4 years ago

    My kids loved everything at the Please Touch Museum in downtown Philadelphia, when they were little. But, as others have said - the HEART at the Franklin Institute is the best. First experienced during a 3rd grade class trip - never to be forgotten!

  • YvonneLaubeDesigns

    Yvonne Laube from YvonneLaubeDesigns said 4 years ago

    I'm not sure if this counts as a museum exhibit but back in the late 80's I went to Russia and went to Lenin's tomb. I had not idea what I was in for but we queued in a line and were monitored closely by security guards with machine guns. You were filed through a very dark hall with several turns until you came across Lenin, completely preserved, in a glass coffin. He was lit with a glowing beam of light and was laid out in a suit (military? - can't recall) in a red velvet cushion. I remember it was such an odd thing to see (as I had never seen a dead person prior to this) and to have on display. The whole experience was like Snow White - I kept thinking someone was going to wake him up.

  • alicealice1

    Alice Alice from alicealice1 said 4 years ago

    The holidays often go to museums, because a lot of valuable species can only be seen in the museum, human beings must care for nature

  • skeptis

    Eco Retro Bling from skeptis said 4 years ago

    The Chicago Shedd Aquarium was and still is my favorite place. As a child I was totally mesmerized! My sister was all about dinosaurs and I was all about sea creatures. The large ornate Shedd aquarium building is all dark inside illuminated by tanks full of strange and beautiful creatures. Every time I'm in Chicago I have to go!

  • Sugarbowl

    Sugarbowl from Sugarbowl said 4 years ago

    I loved coming to the Littleton Museum (Littleton, Colorado) as a child, and seeing both the wonderful exhibits and the living history farms, with the blacksmith hammering away, and the old farm houses. Now, I work there full-time with the collections!

  • hellflower

    hellflower said 4 years ago

    4 all time that have stayed with me forever: the first King Tut exhibit in DC when I was small, the wooly mammoth at the Smithsonian's Natural History, the body at the Smithsonian that had turned to soap, and the Bodies exhibit on my 30th birthday in London.

  • hollysuzanna

    hollysuzanna said 4 years ago

    The Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibit was the best exhibit design I have ever seen! The mannequins appeared real and you felt like you were in a boudoir and at a fashion show!

  • gypsiedoodle

    gypsiedoodle said 4 years ago

    There was a Remington exhibit at the Denver Art Museum several years ago that was amazing - it was all his night-scene paintings. The way he was able to capture a camp fire or light coming from a building or the moon was breath-taking.

  • corrnucopia

    corrnucopia from corrnucopia said 4 years ago

    It will always be the rocks and gemstones at the State Museum in Albany for me. Many many years ago on a high school field trip I lost myself to those beautiful pieces of nature. After awhile I realized that I was the only one around. Needless to say I made it back to the bus while they were doing another head count trying to figure out who was missing! Looking forward to taking my own kids there next week and happy I won't have to worry about missing the bus :)

  • bunnywithatoolbelt

    Hilary from bunnywithatoolbelt said 4 years ago

    The Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore is fantastic. Another I have enjoyed for many years is the Thorn Miniature Room at the Art Institute of Chicago.

  • amberdustw

    heather from amberdustw said 4 years ago

    Anyone here who is into strange museum exhibits MUST visit The House on the Rock in Wisconsin. I don't think it's an actual museum, but this place is very very weird & cool. Just go to google images and see. I spent a whole day there with my aunt when I was 13 and have tons of photos and such. My favorite was the giant whale sculpture that you could stand next to and it looked like it was coming to eat you. It has a whole carousel with any animal but horses. And an infinity room that is in the point that sticks off the rock. You can walk to the end and look down through the floor to the ground waaaay beneath at the bottom of the cliff.

  • beeanddew

    Edna from beeanddew said 4 years ago

    Yes! At some point in the 80s, in Washington DC, I saw an exhibit of folding screens - some historical, some contemporary, some by famous artists. What fascinated me about it was how one form/shape/object could have so many variations. That fascination has stayed with me to this day! Hmmm... I've got that catalog around here somewhere....

  • manicarteest

    Jessica Ludwick from manicarteest said 4 years ago

    The pregnancy part of the bodies exhibit made me kind of sick but I'm in love with the small worlds exhibit at the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio. Wish there was a little more to look at.

  • DaisyandJess

    Daisy and Jess from DaisyandJess said 4 years ago

    Love the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, UK http://www.prm.ox.ac.uk/ The Ghost Forest Project is amazing http://www.ghostforest.org/ And the whole of the V&A in London, UK is wonderful.... http://www.vam.ac.uk/

  • spaceoddities

    Andrea from thebookishlife said 4 years ago

    I agree with amberdustw - the house on the rock is amazing,..and quirky and disenchanting but just so so fabulous. It is a must see!! I am also severely excited to check out the Collections at the Marion. E. Wade center in Wheaton, IL next week. There is a museum with collections from 7 British authors including Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. It will be so magical to see the Narnia wardrobe with my kiddos!

  • bestlovedchild

    Cathryn Lane from BestLovedChild said 4 years ago

    There was a dinosaur museum in Vernal, UT when I was a kid. (May still be there). It had a huge "life-size" brontosaurus statue in the front. We would travel from our home in Utah to my grandmother in Colorado frequently and even if we didn't visit the museum we would have lunch at the picnic tables near the brontosaurus. I thought of him as a "him" and felt I owned him. When new research came out that they put the wrong parts together to make "my" dinosaur and I felt like he had died. A dinosaur will always be the one I lunched by and played on.

  • DorianD

    DorianD said 4 years ago

    Mingei Museum in San Diego! Beautiful handmade "folk art" of all kinds in an area of small museums by the San Diego Zoo. And a gift shop where one can buy awesome similar items. Love it!

  • marryjames

    MARRY JAMES said 4 years ago

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  • PowerOfTheCrystals

    PowerOfTheCrystals from PowerOfTheCrystals said 4 years ago

    What a wonderful shot! I love calamari and I remember when I use to have to clesn them fresh before prepearing my meals. There are many fascinating dishes you can make with squid and fish dishes. This is a totally awesome photo! I Love It! Blessings To You All

  • slinkymalinkicat

    slinkymalinkicat from slinkymalinkicat said 4 years ago

    My favourite is the case of hummingbirds at the Natural History Museum in London. It's just breathtaking.

  • feast4oldeyes

    feast4oldeyes from feast4oldeyes said 4 years ago

    I firmly agree with"sismandeer" above. There are so many museums along the east coast......one of my favorites to visit with babies & toddlers...The Please Touch Me Museum! Everything is scaled down to their size and they can actually "get into" a car...a grocery store, shopping carts, a full octaves piano...motor bikes ,gardens....everything and they can touch everything! The other fav is The Barenhauf Museum in the Pittsburgh,Pa. area. It contains an entire mansion home filled with secret rooms and some of the most unusual musical instruments you've ever seen. A must see,but call ahead to reserve a tour.

  • viperxmns

    Mark Strauss from viperxmns said 4 years ago

    The squid and whale one at the AMNH as posted above is one of mine for sure.

  • 02nvrmor

    Kelly R from 02nvrmor said 4 years ago

    I have to say one of my favorite places is the Field Museum in Chicago. The lions have always haunted me especially after "Ghosts in the Darkenss" came out based on those two lions. They always seem to watch you as you pass. Also the Egyptian Exhibit always spooked me as a kid I was facinated but it was eerie to think about the organs actually being in the earns and a person right infront of you. My Husband has worked on many museums from a scenic art stand point, such as the Spy Museum, so it's always fun for me to see the work put into the exhibits as well. I guess I am just and all around museum lover.

  • bstudio

    Bren from bstudio said 4 years ago

    While traveling in Great Britain, we happened upon a museum of curiosities in Arundel. It was filled with just that, two-headed animals of all sorts, kittens set into tableaus such as a classroom scene, anything weird could be found there. What an afternoon we had!

  • LaurelCanyonBeads

    LaurelCanyonBeads from LaurelCanyonBeads said 4 years ago

    The full whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling at the whaling museum in New Bedford, Ma. Still dripping oil when i was there! The whole museum brings Moby Dick to life ...and a real slice of our grisly New England past. (This museum is a must for whale lovers, and all people interested in and supporting animal rights!)

  • channingtaylor

    Channing Taylor from channingtaylor said 4 years ago

    The Panorama at KU's Natural History Museum featured in the boingboing article is definitely one of my favorites...I walk past it almost daily and am often too busy or caught up in something to go inside. But this article reminded me of how peaceful and fascinating the exhibit, and whole museum, are...think I'll be going this weekend!

  • aurorafossilmuseum

    Andrea Stilley from aurorafossilmuseum said 4 years ago

    The wonderful skeleton of a juvenile whale on display in the Aurora Fossil Museum Learning Center. It is wonderful to have a fossil that can demonstrate how the bones of the neck and chest cavity are linked. Come to see this and many other wonders.

  • Zalavintage

    Zane Saracene from Zalavintage said 4 years ago

    The Walter Reed is creepy and so is taking a class at the Natural History Museum on a quiet winter evening. MOMA is startling and the Louvre is amazing. When we visited my daughter was around 13 and everyone was talking da Vinci code and Mona Lisa, running around Paris chasing clues. As we walked up a stairway to the portrait hall leading to the lines to the Mona Lisa, she said something about Lorenzo da Vinci, her young voice echoed on the marbled stairs and everyone turned to look and then everyone laughed, one of those had to be there moments in time.... Funny you're talking about art today, I stopped in to pay gym fees at the local YMCA and viewed some watercolors done in an art class and displayed in the hallway. They were exquisite seasides, flowers, Americana and a pair of old gardening shoes in a bucket; beside them were quotes from great artists the one that stuck with me said simply "stop thinking, just paint" and I can't remember who said it, does it even matter?

  • QuiltsByPaula

    Paula Casill from QuiltsByPaula said 4 years ago

    Funnily enough, for me it's the very exhibit you have pictured in this entry! I remember being a girl scout and going to the Natural History Museum in NYC for an overnight stay. We slept under the giant whale, which was awesome. A few years ago I went back with a friend, and was really looking forward to my giant whale. While browsing through the ocean tableaus, I wandered into a dark corner and saw something large and looming out of the corner of my eye. Poorly lit, spooky, and just a little bit terrifying -> don't ask me why, but the giant squid attacking the whale just sends SHIVERS down my spine. I can't think of it without shuddering a little.

  • CopperheadCreations

    Sarah from CopperheadCreations said 4 years ago

    One of my favorites (because it is both intriguing and hilarious) is this exhibit of ancient weaponry. You see these Japanese swords and body armor that are just ridiculously crafted, sparkling, and as sharp today as they were a thousand years ago. Right next to it are the European weapons and body armor from the same era. By comparison, they look like something I would have made in 1st grade out of popsicle sticks and tinfoil, and gotten a gold star for out of pity alone. It's still impressive for what - and when - it is, but it's just so funny to see them juxtaposed that way... what an interesting view of the resources the two cultures had, and their discipline.

  • pixestreasurechest

    Michele Delp from pixestreasurechest said 4 years ago

    As a child the mummy at my local museum (Reading Museum) intriqued me, and to this day, it still does. They also used to display a shrunken head, which I would take my son and nephew to see...it was totally fascinating to them...and freaky to me. Museums have always been one of my favorite places to seek out.

  • andichrisman

    Andi Chrisman from acpaintedpages said 4 years ago

    At the art museum in Raleigh, NC ou had to walk pretty far out of the museum to get to this grey dome with a small hole in the top. When you climbed inside (there was a door -- lol) you could see the shadows of the clouds surrounding you. It was a very interesting and different exhibit. I doubt I'll ever forget that experience.

  • tidalice

    Almost Sunday said 4 years ago

    I grew up (and still am) near Washington DC, so all of the Smithsonian museums on The Mall have a special nostalgic place in my heart, but the most impactful exhibit I've ever seen was when I visited the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid when I was 11 and saw the Picasso's famous "Guernica". Maybe a little heavy subject matter for a kid, but I thought it was mindblowing. I knew I wanted to be an artist since before I could speak, but seeing this massive, incredible work by one of the famous greats definitely sealed in my mind as to why.

  • miamiasma

    Mia from miamiasma said 4 years ago

    Bishop Museum in Hawaii has a to-scale humpback whale suspended from the ceiling in their Hawaiiana section. I've always loved the whale, and can remember staring at it and wondering about it as a child. Who made it? How did they hang it from the ceiling? What would happen if it fell? Is that really what a whale would look like up close? After watching the "Night at the Museum" movies, I found myself laughing at the thought of going to Bishop Museum at night and talking to that whale. That whale was the coolest thing, and it still is!

  • laceylamb

    Heather from HBoydStudio said 4 years ago

    When I was about 10, my dad and I went to see Rodin at the Oregon Art Museum. It was amazing and I will never forget the Gates of Hell.

  • LizaMarie

    Lisa Valdez said 4 years ago

    Not exactly an exhibit, but I have always LOVED the musical stairs at the Boston Museum of Science! Why aren't all stairs like that? Why aren't computer keyboards like piano keyboards? Think of all the tactile things in your life that could be improved by adding a tone!

  • HelloMountains

    Audrey from HelloMountains said 4 years ago

    I love the Galeries de Paléontologie et d'Anatomie Comparée in Paris, with many bones, skulls, skeletons, organs and fetus in jars! Very beautiful!!

  • j9patty

    j9patty from j9patty said 4 years ago

    While all of the displays at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum are emotionally charged, it's the shoe display that struck me the most. The number and smell of all of those rotting shoes will never leave me. That has been the most impactful display I've viewed in any museum. I also remember well the first time I saw the prenatal exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. I was both appalled and fascinated by the display. Not considered a museum, but one of my most favorite places to visit, and a place I've gone to over and over is the Dana Thomas home in Springfield, Illinois. A Frank Lloyd Wright home, it contains, I believe one of the most intact collections of original furniture designed for the home by the architect.

  • thewomensrepublic

    Sara Brazil from SararaVintage said 4 years ago

    I love love museums, the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian is a must! The folk art exhibit in Atlanta's Snite Museum really tells the story of the southern artist. I think that it is also important to look around and find those outdoor museums such as the Native American Mounds in various parts of the U.S., Georgia is home to many examples such as the Etowah Mounds. Unconventional sites such as historic homes which dot the landscape of the hudson valley north of NYC are also key. NYC is full of the best and brought us Savage Beauty which was epic:) I can't wait to see the new Council of Fashion Designers of America exhibit, celebrating 50 Years, at the FIT in the city.

  • hjcoffman

    Heather Coffman said 4 years ago

    Because I work as a registrar for a museum, I would say every exhibit I install and deinstall are my favorite. I have special memories, stories, tears, and lessons learned every time.

  • theglasshour

    Goodkat from theglasshour said 4 years ago

    The King Tut exhibit is my favorite! I traveler to NY,NY for one half of it and Denver,CO for the other half. Now one of the halves is in Seattle, WA and i might have to go there too! I think the exhibits at FIT are extraordinary, and my favorite standing museum is the Crime and Punishment Museum in Washington DC!

  • HoneyBScrapbooks

    LORI BUSHNELL from HoneyBScrapbooks said 4 years ago

    My all time favorite is the Smithsonian in DC ~ in particular the President's Wives. Each First Lady is featured with her clothes, jewelry, china, etc. I spend the most of my time in this section each time we visit. It's amazing to see the changes of times and styles thru the years.

  • Shortcakegreen

    Shortcakegreen said 4 years ago

    I have two because I am forever unable to play favorites. I was lucky enough to see the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibit at the Met in NYC last year and, in that moment when I walked down the hall and was confronted by the gleaming unreality of the red microscope slide and ostrich feather dress set in a blank painted niche, I finally "got" it. It only got better as I went deeper into the exhibit. It was easy to forget the cramped quarters and the stress of getting there in the first place as I leaned close and watched my breath stir feathers and lace. The other gem that stays with me is the Sherlock Holmes Museum in London, a truly wonderful place that remains too-little-known. Standing there in the recreated sitting room of Holmes and Watson and letting my eye roam and pick up all of the details that pointed to the stories... Then the bedrooms and the trophy room and the binder of letters to "Mr Holmes". That one put me in tears, honestly.

  • charlottehills

    Charlotte Hills from HillsofNottingham said 4 years ago

    You cannot beat the shrunken heads at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford: a truly eclectic and fabulous museum. My son described walking into it as "It's just like Hogwarts"

  • dianekirse

    Diane Kirse said 4 years ago

    Several years ago I was in Washington DC at the Museum of Natural History and they had an exhibit of LIVE cockroaches from around the world including HISSING roaches. I though I was going to have a panic attack. I ran for the door to get out of there. I was afraid they were going to come out of their enclosures. Some of these things were HUGE.

  • lizhutnick

    Liz Hutnick from LizHutnick said 4 years ago

    When I walked into the Metropolitan Museum in NY I cried, the art was so beautiful.

  • redemptionart

    Connie Haskell from redemptionart said 4 years ago

    I love the display of ancient Hawaiian artifacts at the Bishop Museum on Oahu. Especially the stone potty bowl with human teeth embedded in the rim...it was used in the prisons for their enemies to use. And then there is the letter about her homesickness from Princess Kaiulani when she was sent to England to be educated. So glad people have worked so hard to preserve Hawaiian history.

  • Beadhouseuk

    Inessa Williams from InessaWilliams said 4 years ago

    Great topic! Recently i visited Childhood Museum in London. Fascinating exhibitions! But what astonished me most were monkeys teeth necklace and earrings made of birds heads. http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003370446488

  • mulvaneyneaves

    mulvaneyneaves said 4 years ago

    At the Museum of London Docklands there is an original gibbet of the type used for displaying the bodies of hanged pirates and other criminals up until the early nineteenth century. Visitors of all ages love to stare and imagine. For sheer horrible fascination, I love the 'Hand of Glory' in Whitby museum, North Yorkshire, England. This is the mummified hand, cut from a hanged criminal, index finger dipped in wax and burglars used to light it when they entered a dwelling. It was supposed to cast a spell keeping all the inhabitants asleep while the robbery took place. You couldn't use any old hand; it had to be cut from a hanged man!

  • angelpaws014

    Ana from angelpaws014 said 4 years ago

    Being a native New Yorker, I have to say I remember that squid and Blue Whale exhibit. There was also one with the giant squid that was very, very dark - showing only the eye of the squid. Its purpose (thinking about it as an adult) was to show that they lived in deep water so they were not often seen. I always visited that exhibit, it was such a source of mystery, and almost frigtening for a child that I will never forget. One other (appropriate to this site) and notable mention is the gemology room. There is a giant slab of Jade in that room that I just used to love to glide my hand across its georgeous surface. Hmm, makes me think I always had some kind of latent love for gems...maybe that why Im doing the jewelry thing now. Cool. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  • SaurianStudios

    SaurianStudios from SaurianStudios said 4 years ago

    The mineral exhibits at the Museum of Geology in Rapid City, South Dakota are truly a 'hidden gem', in that you wouldn't expect such an incredible collection to be in such a small town. I'm a little biased for working there, but the specimens are truly world class, and the staff are all wonderful students from the South Dakota School of Mines that are practically falling over themselves to convey their love of the science to others. Best of all it's free to visit! Anyone that visits the Black Hills should make a stop, and leave plenty of time to discover all of the hidden treasures in the exhibits!

  • aprilowencreations

    April Owen from SparklingLakeDesigns said 4 years ago

    I have 3 favorites. The first one that always comes to mind is the Night Watch by Rembrandt. I stood there in utter amazement. The second one is the mural-sized triptych of Water Lilies by Monet when the exhibit came to Chicago.. I went back that same day just to stand and gaze. There wasn't supposed to be any tickets available but I went anyway hoping against hope that I could get a ticket . The first time they had tickets at the museum. I wanted to go back just to see the Water Lilies but didn't have a ticket so I went to leave and a man was selling his on the street across from the museum! The third on is the Venus de Milo at the Louvre Museum. I didn't get to see much of rest of the art because I walked around and around her for two hours.

  • woodcliff20

    woodcliff20 said 4 years ago

    The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is my favorite - especially the Cast Court Gallery. I could spend the whole day in there. Just gorgeous stuff! I also love the Natural History Museum in Dublin, Ireland - referred to by the locals as the "dead zoo." Going there is like taking a trip back in time to the Victorian era. They must have thousands of stuffed animals and specimens behind cabinets and glass cases. The building's architecture is equally impressive, and I don't think much has changed since the museum opened its doors in 1857. Thirdly, I'd recommend the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. Their period rooms on the first level are fantastic, and it really feels as if you're in Europe.

  • vintagexcitement

    Pat Carroll from vintagexcitement said 4 years ago

    There is an unassuming little museum in Bristol, Ct., the American Clock and Watch Museum that I love to visit. Entering the old home brings back memories of a simpler time. I remember my great aunt having a grandfather clock in her livingroom where her cat used to perch, looking down at me with those bright green eyes. I always tried to reach high enough to pat my observer but she always withdrawn before I could touch her soft fur. This museum is inviting and full of fond childhood memories.

  • nicolerisinger

    Nicole Risinger from SoSewOrganized said 4 years ago

    The "Wall of Babies" at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. A friend and I stood their in utter silence, unable to even speak. It was truly an emotional experience as well as a one-and-for-all knowledge that an unborn baby is not just tissue. I would love to go back to that exhibit one day and take it all in again.

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    AJ Marsden from OnlyOriginalsByAJ said 4 years ago

    Having grown up in a small town in WI, we didn't have the opportunity to go to museums very often. We did, however, make it to the House on the Rock outside of Madison, WI. Some of the old toys in that museum were very creepy! But it was still fun :)

  • KaylaEJenkins

    Kayla Jenkins from ClowderNine said 4 years ago

    This is a 3-way tie for me. I love love love the Hall of Biodiversity at the Museum of Natural History in NYC. I love it so much that I photographed it and put it on one of my cards (and on the back of my business cards too!): http://www.etsy.com/listing/85078540/museum-of-natural-history-spectrum-of Also, I've never had a more exuberant encounter with art than when I stumbled upon Alexander Calder's Circus at the Whitney a couple of years ago. It's back up right now and I highly recommend it for anyone in the NYC area! Lastly, the attic space full of Louise Bourgeois works at Dia: Beacon (an hour and a half north of the city on the Hudson) is truly magical--I have dreams about the giant spider sometimes. Has anyone ever been there?

  • MyZebraLovesMe

    MyZebraLovesMe from MyZebraLovesMe said 4 years ago

    For me, the Museum of Natural History in New York City had the most amazing dinosaur exhibit but at the entrance to this exhibit were a pair of giant tusks that always took my breadth away!

  • DOTTO

    NICOLE Dotto from DOTTO said 4 years ago

    any- a n y -exhibit with dinosaurs. I am equally fascinated and terrified by those beasts. but isn't everyone, really?

  • ElenaMary

    Elena Mary Siff from ElenaMary said 4 years ago

    Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles..the trippy-est museum ever! http://www.mjt.org/themainpage/main2.html

  • NicoleNicoletta2

    Nicole Nicoletta from MintMarbles said 4 years ago

    interesting article...after all these years, i still can't get away from european paintings at the MET

  • SeaSand

    Claudia Sandoval from SeaSand said 4 years ago

    Being a curator, I have seen and worked on many amazing exhibits! But one of my favorites has been the René Magritte Exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art!

  • dvaart

    David Ackerman from DVAPublication said 4 years ago

    My favorite is the blue whale at the museum of natural history. I actually have a friend who is deeply afraid of whales and thinks that the sperm whale/giant squid display is horrifying.

  • AmberGypsySky

    Amber Archibald from GypsySkyCreations said 4 years ago

    My favorite was probably when I was very young and into impressionist artists. There was a Monet exhibit here in Buffalo at the Albright Knox. My mother took me and I was thee happiest little clam you ever did see :)

  • zipit

    zipit from zipit said 4 years ago

    There is an exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum, WI where they have a TRex devouring another dinosaur (triceratops, I think). As a child it was always so completely horrifying to be standing in this prehistoric jungle with loud angry dinosaur noises blaring from every direction and staring at this half eaten bloody dinosaur corpse with blood and guts spilling everywhere hoping they weren't REAL and that you weren't going to be NEXT. Scary as it was, it was always the first place we wanted to go when we went to the museum. Next was the shrunken heads :)

  • elisebee

    elisebee from elisebee said 4 years ago

    The "Suprasensorial" exhibition at MOCA circa last year...! Very neoconcrete and participatory interactions with light and space (a.k.a. Giant blue noodles, a rainbow room that changed color, a public swimming pool and a mirrored room). It was so touchy feely.... (:

  • HeatherLucille

    Heather Atkinson from HeatherLucille said 4 years ago

    The Jeff Koons exhibition at the MCA in Chicago in 2008. This was the only venue for this mind blowing collection of a contemporary master. I was in awe, practically drooling over the artwork and squealing like a fool.

  • soveryhappyart

    Diane from soveryhappyart said 4 years ago

    I LOVE museums and have seen so many incredible exhibits over the years. I have to say that the collection of Matisse paintings at the MOMA and the Greek sculptures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art are two of my all time favorites.

  • ScribblesnScraps

    Emma Palmer from ScribblesnScraps said 4 years ago

    I have found the bodies exhibit very intriguing, but I must say that museum of failed inventions in Austria is the museum I would like to visit most.

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