Exhibition Reviews, History Museum

Exhibition Review; Museum of Jurassic Technology

No Comments 12 December 2009

I visited the War museum in Singapore and its own way it reminded me of the Museum of Jurassic Technology.  I thought how could I have forgotten my favorite Museum!

Web Site Link

The Museum is located at:

9341 Venice Boulevard
Culver City, California 90232
Telephone: (310) 836-6131
email: info@mjt.org

One of my favorite museums anywhere!

Just what any museum should do, make you think!  Is this real?  Is this a joke?  Is this Art?  I believe the most important skills in life are:

1. Critical Thinking
2. Tolerance
3. Empathy

The museum calls on the visitor to use the their crtical thinking skills and examine the museum and their own acceptance of information as fact.  The museum is created by David Wilson a conceptual artist.

Wikipedia Link

History Museum, Starting A New Museum

St. Nicholas museum plan would cost $10 million

No Comments 06 December 2009

By Matthew Santoni

“At the foot of Troy Hill, a 108-year-old, ethnically Croatian Catholic church has sat abandoned for five years, its sagging stained-glass windows rattled by traffic rumbling past on Route 28 a few feet away.

But after St. Nicholas Church skirted demolition several times, a study released Friday showed it could see life again as a national immigration museum. It might attract 25,000 visitors a year after $10 million worth of renovations and expansion, said Mark Fatla, executive director of Northside Leadership Conference, which is managing the preservation effort.”

History Museum

NYC Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex to Close

No Comments 06 December 2009

NYC Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex to Close

“NEW YORK (Reuters) – Just one year after opening, the New York City annex to Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will close its doors on January 3, according to one of the corporate partners in the venture.

S2BN Entertainment announced the closure in a statement.

“There is no doubt the economy factored into our leaving, but overall we had a good year,” said Caren Bell, spokeswoman for the 25,000 square foot annex in Manhattan’s Soho district.

The offshoot to the main museum in Ohio opened to fanfare in November 2008 with Mayor Michael Bloomberg hailing it as another cultural destination for the roughly 46 million visitors to New York City every year.”

History Museum

Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race

No Comments 06 December 2009

“Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race” amazing website from the at the Holocaust Museum

Exhibition Narrative from the Holocaust Museum website:

“From 1933 to 1945, Nazi Germany’s government led by Adolf Hitler promoted a nationalism that combined territorial expansion with claims of biological superiority—an “Aryan master race”—and virulent antisemitism. Driven by a racist ideology legitimized by German scientists, the Nazis attempted to eliminate all of Europe’s Jews, ultimately killing six million in the Holocaust. Many others also became victims of persecution and murder in the Nazis’ campaign to cleanse German society of individuals viewed as threats to the “health” of the nation.”

Exhibition Reviews, History Museum

Exhibition Review of the Indonesian National Museum

No Comments 01 December 2009

Medan Merdeka Barat 12
Jakarta 10110, Indonesia

starstarstarstarstar 5 of 5 Stars

Posted: December 1, 2009

Category: History Museum

Museum Generation: Museum 1.0

Admission Price: 750 Rupiah

Size: approximately 150,000  sq. ft. of exhibits

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

My Review:

To be honest wasn’t expecting much and was blown away!  Great Museum!  The Museum is in two parts the original building and the new expansion.  The collection is wonderful and the interpretative signage is very well written.  All of the things I look for; great collection, a mix of techniques for different learning styles, easy to navigate and the collection serves as a tool for learning about the culture.

P.S. I am always a sucker for old wooden exhibit cases


  • Great collection
  • Great Interpretation of collection
  • Way finding could be better
  • Exhibit lighting could be better
  • A great surprise!

History Museum, Natural History Museum, Starting A New Museum

Squaw Valley Ski Museum

No Comments 17 November 2009

By Janet Fullwood
Contra Costa Times Correspondent

“The upcoming Olympic Heritage Celebration is timed to cash in on public enthusiasm for the 2010 Winter Olympics, opening Feb. 12 in Vancouver, British Columbia. And it’s more than just a nostalgia bash. The underlying goal is to raise funds and support for a ski museum to be built at a yet-to-be-determined North Shore location.

The proposed facility, which will incorporate the Auburn Ski Club collection now on display in a deteriorating Donner Summit museum, will take a broad look at the history of skiing in the west, says Linda Williams, project manager for the Olympic Museum Foundation.”

History Museum, Starting A New Museum

Plan to revive Municipal Auditorium to be unveiled today

No Comments 10 November 2009

By Michelle Krupa, The Times-Picayune

“Spearheaded by a pair of Mayor Ray Nagin’s close allies, the Center for Entertainment and the Creative Industry, dubbed CECI, would reinvent the Municipal Auditorium, still shuttered since Hurricane Katrina, as a structure that combines traditional stages with digital production facilities, a merchandise distribution center, a culinary school, a jazz museum and offices for nonprofit and commercial start-ups in entertainment-related fields.”

History Museum, Starting A New Museum

World War II museum to dedicate major expansion Friday

No Comments 09 November 2009

By John Pope
The Times-Picayune
November 05, 2009

In its first move across Andrew Higgins Drive, the National World War II Museum on Friday is dedicating a massive $60 million building where visitors can travel forward and backward in time.

Exhibition Reviews, History Museum, Interactive Exhibit Philosophy

Basic World Class

Comments Off 23 September 2009

Khokana Museum Exterior

Khokana Museum, Khokana, Nepal

I am in Nepal, visiting the village of Khokana a small village listed on the Unesco list of world heritage sites. The village is in the Kathmandu Valley, Kathmandu is known as the home of the Kumari Devi.

I came for Durga Puja, an annual Hindu festival that celebrates worship of Hindu goddess Durga.   Here in Khokana they sacrifice three Water Buffalo on the first day of the holiday.  While waiting for the start of the celebration I visited the Khokana Museum.

Visiting the museum got my head spinning, here I am in one of the poorest countries in the world, at a museum with no money, and I am having one of the richest experiences I have ever had at any museum.  The visit got me thinking of so many questions, “What is a Museum”? “What is World Class”?, “Who is your museum staff”, “How far do the “walls” of the museum extend”.  At first they seem to be simple questions, yet here I am in a Museum, this is living history, the celebration going on outside of the doors of the museum is real.  Can a museum be collection of the objects of a culture while the culture is currently active?  My answer is yes, the Directors of the museum a husband and wife who live in the museum, are able to interpret, preserve and collect the artifacts and customs as they participate in the culture.

“World Class”.  I can’t count how many meetings I have gone to, where “World Class” is used as a goal for a museum project.  This museum is lived in by the museum directors and this is a world class experience.  I am fully immersed in this culture, I have learned of their customs and objects, but the house only has four working lights and three working electrical outlets.

Khokana Museum Directors Khokana Museum Directors

“Museum Staff”

Outside of the Museum is the village square where the sacrifice will happen.  I am surrounded by kids all telling me of the happenings of the festival.  The boys are telling me the importance of the blood as an offering and that no one can touch the man that will transport the blood to the temple.

“It’s about the story”

Most importantly the Khokana Museum has reminded me that the exhibits of a museum are there to tell the story of the museum.  Too often we display the objects as if the objects are the story, instead of placing the emphasis on the story being told.

Exhibition Reviews, History Museum

Leading Visitors Through a Historical Journey to a National Heartache

No Comments 15 July 2009

Click on image for slide show

“Lincoln’s presence may hover over Washington, but there is no museum dedicated to him. Right now, the working theater is a kind of living museum, its shrine overlooking the stage, no matter what play is performed.”

Photo: Andrew Councill for The New York Times

Article By Edward Rothstein
New York Times
July 14, 2009
Link to article

WASHINGTON — Museums are increasingly becoming like theaters, their once-staid display cases giving way to extended narratives and elaborate special effects. But now, after nearly two years of renovations, a theater has become more fully a museum. It is being incorporated into an expanding multibuilding exhibition that will recount a tale as resonant and dramatic as any ever staged: Lincoln’s presidency and assassination.

In February Ford’s Theater, where the murder took place on April 14, 1865, reopened as a fully functioning theater doubling as a memorial exhibit. The presidential box where Lincoln sat with his wife, Mary, watching a comic play as John Wilkes Booth put a bullet through his skull overlooks the stage and has itself become a permanent set, draped with flags and decorated as it was that evening.

On Wednesday a 7,000-square-foot exhibition space opens — Ford’s Theater Museum — through which visitors will proceed before emerging into the theater itself. Before the extensive renovation the museum simply displayed the extraordinary collection of objects belonging to the National Park Service, which is a partner with Ford’s Theater Society in the enterprise.

Many of these objects have been so well preserved because they were evidence in a murder investigation: the guns and knives belonging to the conspirators, Booth’s diary and confession written as he was on the run, his thigh-high boot, slashed open by a doctor (his name was, yes, Mudd) treating the leg that the assassin injured leaping to the stage from the president’s box.

But as the museum’s director, Paul R. Tetreault, explained, traditional displays could do little to explain the significance of these objects, the events they reflected or the achievements that made the killing such a trauma. They presumed an understanding but did not create it. So in consultation with the historian Richard Norton Smith, a $3.5 million transformation of the museum has taken place, leading the visitor though a historical journey.

The exhibition, below the theater, opens with an image of the train that brought Lincoln to Washington for his inauguration in 1860 and then presents a deft history of the Civil War and Lincoln’s life in the White House. It ends in a hallway in which parallel walls chronicle the activities of April 14 for Booth and Lincoln, before they came together in the theater to which the hall leads.

After a guided tour of the theater by a park ranger, visitors then cross the street, just as Lincoln’s injured body did that night, to enter the Petersen House, another part of this museum complex, in which historically costumed park rangers give an account of the events of Lincoln’s final night in the cramped back room.

In 2010, Mr. Tetreault says, construction will begin to transform the building next to the Petersen House into the Center for Education and Leadership; it will include resources for teachers, but also exhibitions that will examine the aftermath of the assassination and Lincoln’s legacy.

So the opening of this museum in Ford’s Theater provides the framing of an ambitious narrative, in which these two primal sites provide the focus. There is much stagecraft in this, of course. Even the theater, for all its impact on visitors, is mostly a re-creation: in the 19th century it was gutted to create a government office building that was later damaged in a structural collapse. But the care taken during the theater’s first major restoration during the 1960s and the attentiveness of its latest revision reincarnate the historical aura.

The museum space, the newest addition to this multibuilding project, is also strong and is designed to attract a wide cross section of the million or so annual visitors now expected at the site (300,000 came just to see the theater since its recent reopening).

It begins with a light touch: the first image we have of Lincoln shows an unrecognizable life-size figure draped in a military cloak and wearing a “Scotch plaid cap” — just as a New York Times reporter mistakenly described him — trying to stymie any assassination attempts as he entered Washington for his inauguration. (The description, we are told, “had no basis in fact” — though that didn’t prevent the exhibition from tapping into the myth.) But the brass knuckles and goggles in a display case really were given to Lincoln by his bodyguard; apparently they were never used.

Then, keeping the wry tone, displays describe the conditions of 1861 Washington — the malarial Potomac Flats, the open sewer running along what became Constitution Avenue, the “marble stump” of the Washington Monument, abandoned for lack of money. We then see a gathering of life-size statuary, pompous, preening and supplicating, a representative “swarm of office seekers” who crowded the new president’s schedule. Information about Lincoln’s Cabinet is presented in files, displayed in a … cabinet.

But matters turn somber soon enough: we learn a bit about the tensions between North and South and the events at Fort Sumter and get a compact history of what the exhibition calls “The Improvised War” — at least during its first years. One display features the roster of military leaders Lincoln dismissed before Ulysses S. Grant was able to draw the war to its conclusion. Another reproduces the view that Lincoln might have had from the Oval Office as a video recounts the layers of decision and conflict that made the middle of the war so terrible.

“If there is a worse place than hell,” Lincoln is quoted as saying after the defeat at Fredericksburg, Va., “I am in it.”

And along the way there are glimpses of domestic life (and tragedy) at the White House as well as a defense of Mary’s Todd Lincoln’s enormous home-decorating expenditures that points out what a sorry state the presidential residence was actually in when the couple arrived. Another series of displays compactly reviews Lincoln’s steadily evolving views on slavery (and includes a video about his encounters with Frederick Douglass).

This is a lot to cover in a small space, and there are times when ambition would have been greater fulfilled if it had been more moderated; as it is, the latter years of the war become a bit muddled in the viewer’s mind. And though there is an account of the contention in the North about the Civil War in a display about the 1864 presidential campaign (along with some sheet music for a campaign song I’d very much like to hear: “Abraham the Great and General Grant His Mate”), we are not fully prepared for the intensity of hatred and resentment of the conspirators. They are given their own separate space in the exhibition that is meant to evoke the boarding house of Mary Surratt, at which they met.

Here, life-size figures of the plotters stand ominously about as a display case shows relics of the assassination and the thwarted escape, including the revolver used by Lewis Powell during his attempt to kill Secretary of State William Henry Seward, Dr. Samuel Mudd’s medical kit and the compass that the fugitive Booth misread, thus ensuring his eventual capture. Here, rather than providing too much narrative, the museum presents too little, particularly given the spectacular events that unfolded.

It may be that that chronicle is being left for the park rangers to outline in the Petersen House, as they did on my visit there. And perhaps, too, it would be too jarring suddenly to walk into the theater where the assassination took place, after one had already been led to its aftermath.

These are also matters of emphasis, and when, a few years hence, the last act of this museum drama is completed, the plotting may be more meticulously worked out. In the meantime the museum provides a lively and vigorous survey. In its last display case, the original door to the president’s box is shown, along with the pine bar Booth used to jam it shut — objects that become creepier once you’ve seen the place where it all happened.

Ford’s Theater Museum, at 511 10th Street NW, Washington, reopens on Wednesday; fordstheatre.org.


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