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October 22, 2010



The Egyptian mummies, definitely! Some of my stickiest memories of museums come from the Chicago Field Museum and the Egyptian tomb exhibit there. Dioramas too, specifically the Thorne Rooms at the Chicago Art Institute. Anything that provided a "whole," immersive experience particularly--house museums have remained some of my favorite places as I've grown older, but I know it started when I was small. Adsmore in Paducah, Kentucky is one house that sticks out particularly; I loved going back there over and over to see what they changed from season to season.

Martha Evans

My earliest memories: My grandfather had just retired from the Metallurgy faculty at Penn State. At that time, the Mineral Industries "museum" consisted of glass display cases spread along the corridors of the College's headquarters. One might see pottery donated by alumni working at various companies; American scene paintings of Pennsylvania factories and industrial landscapes (now known as the Steidle Collection); dinosaur bones, and huge dinosaur fossil footprints. the Jivaro Indian shrunken heads made the hugest impression on me and my cousins, however. The didactic panel informed us that the hair on those heads kept on growing. Every summer we'd stop by to verify that their hair really had gotten longer. (It was QUITE long, swirled around the base of the armature.) When I read LORD OF THE FLIES as a teenager, I had no doubt that kids really might be quite ghoulish. (A little Halloween anecdote!) We also loved to enter the dark fluorescent mineral room and turn on the special lights to see the colors change. The geiger counter was also magical.

Lisa McNamara

Seneca lifeways dioramas lifesize and smaller! In our Rochester Museum and Science Center we also have Native Peoples dioramas depicting their diversity all across America. They we so skillfully done one could "enter" them with imaginations all fired up easily!
Also, we had nature scenes of woodland flora and fauna so real and closeup you felt you were among the birds and plants-we all walked by and spoke in hushed tones.

Dan Crowther

Well said, Lisa! It was exactly the same with me, albeit at the NYS museum in Albany. "Entering" the dioramas in my mind was the best!

Wendy Barker

Not my earliest museum memory, but the one that had the biggest impression: Seeing an Andy Warhol exhibit at the Los Angles County Museum of Art and wondering what the heck all those cardboard boxes were doing in the gallery. It just looked randomly stacked boxes full of groceries (corn flakes?). I remember having a long conversation with my mom during the ride home about what art is, and can be. That exhibit really opened my eyes to a new way of looking at things.


I doubt that person saw a mummy at the Baltimore Museum of Art. They don't own mummies or Egyptian art. It was probably the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. This is a huge problem we have here at the Walters...yes, kids may remember our cool collection (mummies, arms and armor...both things that the BMA does not own) but later on, they only recall that it was the BMA...they can't remember that it was the Walters! They really think of the two museums as one place, and the name they remember is the Baltimore Museum of Art. It's really a dilemma!

Eric Leyland

I couldn't agree more. My earliest museum memory is a dusty, cavernous hall in Vancouver that was filled with old wooden glass faced cases that were all stuffed with rows of arrow heads and bugs. I still have a soft spot for this out of date exhibit method.

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