It all started when I caught wind of the #museolutions Twitter hashtag. I had to get in on it- this was a resolution I could actually keep! So I set a goal for myself in 2016: “More.”
How did I do? In 2016, I visited 28 new museums, historic sites, and cultural centers.
What did I do differently? I decided to take a more mindful approach to visitation, keeping at the forefront of my thoughts that each space is constructed deliberately. In considering exhibits this way, I think I discovered much about what makes sites and exhibitions enjoyable, relatable, and educational (for myself, anyway). I also think this slowed-down approach helped me to just take in and enjoy my surroundings. I deeply appreciated every single institution that I went to this year, and I made it a point to share the love via social media and word of mouth.
What did I learn? I realized that while I do learn from these sites (and I value that greatly) I also get a good deal of satisfaction from experiencing the power of place. That sort of memory seems to be the kind that stays with me. I don’t remember the object labels at the Tate Britain but I remember standing dazzled in its long lovely galleries. I remember feeling so saddened that so many of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens, established as a peaceful link between immigrant groups, seemed so neglected even in their centennial year.
What’s next for 2017? While I think my 2016 museolution of “more” was worthwhile, I realized that I don’t think I need a motivator to visit more museums! I love doing it anyway. So this year, I’m going to make my museolution “giving back” to the museums and cultural institutions that I love. I want to advocate for their funding, to become a member of the places closest to my heart, and to volunteer my time and energy.
If you’re interested, here’s a list of the 28 new places I enjoyed in 2016, arranged by state/country:
- Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum
- Renwick Gallery
- The Octagon Museum
- Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture
- White House Visitor Center
- Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
- Lower East Side Tenement Museum
- Neue Galerie New York
- Women’s Rights National Historic Park
- Corning Museum of Glass
- The Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia
- Independence Seaport Museu
- Philadelphia History Museum
- The Barnes Foundation
- Eastern State Penitentiary
- Temple Contemporary
- Longwood Gardens