Confessions from a museum junkie

I won’t even attempt to deny it .. I am a museum junkie. Through my many years of study & work in folklore, archiving and heritage resources (archeological conservation, collections management, cultural resource management, history, cultural geography etc.) I have spent a great deal of time in museums, archives and historic sites. However, as hanging out in museums is one of my favorite pastimes … paired with travel, to me, is bliss. My intense passion for museums is not always shared by my travel companions and I have, on occasion, taken off on my own to get to a museum (or three) that I simply can not miss (and why it is important to always plan time for that into my travel itinerary or to opt for solo travel – but that’s a post for another time). I admit I have a tendency to lose track of time when I am visiting museums and spend too much time at this or that exhibit, sometimes running out of time and not able to see everything I intended to see. Is there ever enough time to do everything when you’re traveling?! Looking back, while I have regrets about my plans being derailed and not getting to a particular museum, or any, while visiting a destination, some of my favorite travel moments involve the discovery of museums I have never heard of before!

Thankfully my family are into museums almost as much as I am & we happily have spent entire days together exploring.  Here is a shot of my boys outside the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester (MOSI) in 2007.  We arrived just after the museum opened in the morning and, other than the museum staff, we may have been the last to leave in the evening.

A great day at the Museum of Science and Insustry in Manchester (MOSI).

We did take a little break from the awesome exhibits & interactive activities for lunch at a nearby local pub The Old Grapes; owned by former actor Liz Dawn of Coronation Street the pub was a little like a museum itself, with photos of Liz with fellow Coronation Street actors & other celebrities.

Here are a few photos from some of my favorite museums from the past few years of travel.

The Maritime Museum (Museu de Marinha) of Lisbon details the history of navigation and exploration in Portugal. The museum, along with the National Museum of Archeology, is housed in part of the neo-Manueline Western wing of the Jerónimos Monastery as well as a modern annex built adjacent to the monastery.

Inside the Museu da Marinha in Lisbon.

Guinness label at the the Guinness Museum inside the Guinness Storehouse at St. James’s Gate, Dublin.

The Faro Municipal Museum (Museu Municipal de Faro) is housed in the Convento de Nossa Senhora da Assunção (our Lady of the Assumption Convent), a 16th Century convent in Vila-Adentro. The museum contains Roman and Medieval archaeological findings as well as numerous art collections.

Mosaic of the god Oceanus, which dates to the 2nd and 3rd century AD, on display at the Municipal Museum in Faro, Portugal.

The Hunterian Museum at Glasgow University is Scotland’s oldest public museum. Founded by Dr William Hunter in 1807, the museum houses his anatomical teaching collection, and other exciting collections such as Roman artefacts from the Antonine Wall, and ethnographic objects from Captain Cook’s Pacific voyages (just to name a few).

The Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow, housed in a neoclassical building in Royal Exchange Square in the centre of Glasgow.

Getting to know Velázquez, Francisco de Goya, Titian, Rubens and Bosch at the Prado in Madrid.

We’re on a boat at the Maritime Museum in Barcelona. This museum depicts Barcelona’s naval history and is housed in the former Royal shipyards, the Reials Drassanes, built between 1283 and 1328 it is a unique example of Gothic Civil architecture (currently under restoration).

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Out with the “Old” and in with the “New” ?

Thinking about today’s #FriFotos theme “Old and New” has me thinking about New Year Resolutions. With the New Year almost upon us (St. John’s being the most easterly city in North America we welcome the New Year in first) I am feeling some (internal) pressure for change or personal improvement. I don’t think I need a complete make-over – but I can think of things I should work on – in particular, the serious case of writer’s block I’ve had for some time now. While I have many things started that I can’t seem to finish, I am determined to overcome this somehow.

When I travel the best souvenir of my trip is always my photos. One of my favorite ways to connect with other travelers & travel professionals on Twitter this past year has been the weekly #FriFotos event founded by @EpsteinTravels. Even when I don’t have time to post my own, I enjoy seeing the photos of everyone’s travel experiences. I’m thinking that maybe turning my #FriFotos into a short post might help me shake that writer’s block.

Back to today’s theme – as a folklorist I study how the “old” and “new” are involved in the creative processes of everyday life — custom, fashion, foodways, language, music, dance, music, architecture and other types of material culture (just to name a few).

As we bid farewell to 2011, here are a few of my travel photos from the past year that embody “old” and “new” :

The Alhambra Palace in Granada was constructed during the mid 14th century - now a mecca for tourists.

 

Flamenco dance performance in Seville.

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona - started in 1882 and still under construction.

Introducing the boys to Tapas in Madrid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Not sure where I’m headed yet …

I love travel .. some places are of more interest than others, but the destination is not always the main reason I travel – but rather the adventures and experiences of traveling. I have traveled extensively since my mid-teens when my family moved to Europe, and have been more than a little travel-addicted ever since.  As I have no idea where or when my next trip will be I will be sharing some of my more recent (and not so recent) adventures and experiences here, along with travel photos, tips & other information.

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