Museums hold the secrets of the past, the present and oftentimes the future. Often thought of as boring, and perhaps the last thing on anyone’s mind when looking for places to see or things to do. Forget the stereotype and discover for yourself a treasure house of knowledge, see history memorialized, experience the awe-inspiring feeling as you wonder through the land of antiquities, explore space and all its wonders, bask in the glory and unmatched beauty of the masters of the arts; with so much to choose from, museums can be a holiday in and of itself.
Local Family and Kid-Friendly
If you are state-side and either traveling to or live in the Washington, DC area, there are many museums and attractions sure to peak your interest. The National Air and Space Museum will capture the attention of the young and old, with a close-up vista of thousands of artifacts, free educational programs, guided tours, flight simulators, over a dozen exhibition galleries, an up close and personal view of the Wright Brothers Flyer, and for the history buffs, you can get an early accounting of flight and the airplane of yesteryear. Families will be delighted with the hands-on activities at Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region as they explore nature and science. If you want to see real money being printed, try the Bureau of Engraving and Printing; a few more to add to your list are the Washington Navy Yard, National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of the American Indian, and if you are curious about how George Washington and his family lived, you can visit Mount Vernon and see the beautifully restored mansion he and his family lived in. Your checklist should also include the U.S. Capitol, the White House, the National Zoo, the National Archives, and why not top off your to-do list with a little magic at the Good Night Magic Castle and Museum in Beltsville, Maryland.
The friendly staff at the Crich Tramway Village in Derbyshire are readily available to answer your questions as you explore tramway history of a by-gone era for a truly unique experience. The re-creation of a historic village will fascinate you with authentic ornaments, and street names; restored buildings add to the authenticity and charm of the time.
Step back in time at the Geffrye Museum in London, with objects and rooms beautifully recreated, you will span about 400 years of history of period rooms starting around 1600 up to the present time. As you walk through the museum, you will be immersed in the domestic period rooms and gardens, you get a glimpse into the lives and gradual changing lifestyle of a time of old well preserved and not forgotten.
A kid-friendly museum in the Wellington Region of New Zealand is the Wellington Cable Car Museum, very suitable for all ages, showcases a colorful history, and offers spectacular views from the lookout.
The Prado Museum in Madrid and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao Spain should be on your list of the must-see, where some of the best known art works are on display. The exquisite, alluring contours of the Guggenheim Museum is an art form in itself.
Explore the masters on display at the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, established by Catherine the Great in 1764. Another 18th century museum is the Louvre in Paris, sitting on the grounds of a former royal palace, where the famous Mona Lisa is housed.
If you find yourself in Cairo, the Egyptian Museum is one of the best, with a comprehensive collection of antiquities; it is home for many of the artifacts collected from the Valley of the Kings, and the Tomb of Tutankhamen, the museum has a room dedicated to royal mummies, as well as heirlooms from the last two dynasties of ancient Egypt.
Off the Beaten Path
Now if you are ready for something truly different, even somewhat weird, and want to forego the ordinary, a trip the Museum of Funeral Carriages in Barcelona might do the trick. The exhibition gives the visitor an insight into funeral carriages dating as far back as the 18th century; and that is only after you are guided to the basement, after reporting to the Municipal Funeral Services, and the museum is unlocked by a security guard.
In keeping with an underground experience, Paris Sewers Museum in Paris might interest you. The subterranean experience is a guided walking tour of the many networks of tunnels that will introduce the visitor to the life of sewage disposal and drainage systems dating as far back as the 13th century.
A bit offbeat is the Dog Collar Museum in Leeds Castle in Kent. The exhibition claims to have a very large, fascinating collection of dog collars. There is even a Parasite Museum in Toyko for those a bit more adventurous into the world of weird, but not before a trip to the Currywurst Museum in Berlin, that showcases and honors the sausage, where visitors can learn all about that culinary delight. While back in Boston there is no short supply of bad art in the Museum of Bad Art in Boston, showcasing bad art in all forms which may even raise a chuckle or two.
Experiencing the past and the dissemination of knowledge through museums is a priceless experience. The list goes on and on, whatever you are looking for in a museum, you are sure to find it.