This story arrived via Roger Smith’s Global Museum, a terrific weekly compendium of newspaper articles about museums worldwide. I hope the link to the Daily Mail stays usable because it’s worth reading the article for the interesting selection of museums and the magnificent photos that accompany it.
Ms. Gordon’s suggestion that museums allow us to do the impossible – travel back in time in places far, far away – got me to read the piece because, for me, that’s the real appeal of natural history museums, not big screen theaters or flashy multi-media labels and guides.
The world’s top ten museums
By Sarah Gordon
Last updated at 12:55 PM on 14th July 2009
Museums are the closest we will ever get to time travel. Only within the hallowed walls of a museum can we trace the history of a civilisation and have an idea of how it worked.
Every town and city throughout the world seems to document its past in some way or other, but several museums have become so famous that they are destinations in themselves attracting millions of visitors who flock from across the world to view their exhibits.
After much discussion, TravelMail has selected our ultimate list of world-class museums that everyone should visit in their lifetime…
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-1197889/The-museums-the-world-best-rest-.html?ITO=1490#ixzz0LqRerY9x
My favorite is the photo of the 94-foot-long blue whale model suspended in the Hall of Ocean Life at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. I’m not sure if this is the same whale I recall from visits as a child back in the 1950′s and 60′s. I think not — I’ve a vague memory that AMNH commissioned a new whale when the exhibit hall was refurbished more recently. A slightly firmer memory – from one of my more recent visits is that MY WHALE is suspended from the ceiling of a restaurant at the museum, delighting visitors of all ages.
No visit to my grandparent’s home in Highbridge in the Bronx was complete without a subway ride downtown and a visit to AMNH. Naturally, we could not leave the museum without stopping in the old Hall of Ocean Life and a wave and a kiss blown to the gallery’s cavernous upper reaches for the whale. Now I realize the whale is the creation of skilled artists and designers guided by the knowledge and special insights of scientists. I don’t remember whether I understood this in 1957 or not but there’s still something about that whale that throws an enchantment over its space.