Museums: do you love them or hate them?
A trip to a museum is not everyone's cup of tea. Some people love going to museums and poring over all the different artefacts on display. Others absolutely hate it and would far rather stay at home, with an episode of their favourite TV show. Increasingly, museums are being seen as outdated and boring by today's youngsters.
Museums are typically seen as educational, either to develop knowledge gained at school in particular subjects, or to enhance knowledge of other cultures. Some museums are very interactive, with quizzes and activities to participate in. Others have lots of information, which many people find tiring to read.
I must admit, I am not often enthused by a trip to a museum. Often, there is just too much to take in - too many things to see and too much information to read. However, there are always exceptions. I have just returned to the UK after travelling around Canada and the USA. Whilst there, I visited lots of museums with my boyfriend. Some were fantastic and really interesting; others were less exciting.
In Chicago, we visited the world-famous Art Institute of Chicago. It was filled with paintings, drawings, sculptures and installations by a huge variety of artists, such as Picasso, Monet, Matisse and Dali. There was a mixture of traditional and modern art, including colourful stained glass windows, tribal art and sculptures and abstract art. I liked seeing the paintings by Monet (who is known for his paintings of water lilies, a flower which grows on ponds) and some of the strange modern art.
When we were in Washington D.C., we visited a few of the Smithsonian museums. These are all free to visit - which is great if you just want to see a few things, and not spend all day inside. The Air and Space museum was particularly good: it had lots of aircrafts and rockets on display, interesting information and also some interactive sections. We also went to the National U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Naturally, it was sad to read about the horrors of this tragedy which affected so many people. However, it was also incredibly interesting to read the stories of those who survived the Holocaust, as well as those who helped others.
I also enjoyed visiting the Old Fire Station in Philadelphia. Inside there were old fire engines - which looked like horse-drawn carriages! - and equipment which they used to use. You could even try on a fireman's uniform! This wasn't a museum which I would have thought of visiting myself, but it was recommended by locals. It turned out to be a really worthwhile visit!
Last but not least, I also found the 9/11 Memorial and Museum to be of great interest. This museum is dedicated to those who lost their lives, as well as their families, when the Twin Towers in New York City were attacked by terrorists in 2001. It tells you how the terrorists planned the attack, how they hijacked the planes, and ultimately what happened as a result of their actions. Surviving pieces of the towers are shown in the museum, alongside damaged fire engines and donated clothing and shoes worn by survivors. It was a truly thought provoking visit, which made me value my own life that little bit more.
I think museums play an important role in preserving artefacts of historical significance for future generations. Whatever your interests, there is likely to be a museum for you. You can visit waxwork museums to see models of your favourite celebrities (and get photos with the Queen!), science museums for a more hands-on, interactive visit and so much more! Best of all, if you're ever in the UK, many of them are free!