Monday, October 3, 2011

Smithsonian Museum Day: Various

About a week ago I went back to the The Morgan Museum on the Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day (this year it was September 24, 2011).  Ok, so this is not specific to NYC.  In fact, this was a special event day that was available all over the country.  But I thought I would a least let people know that this day of free museum entry to hundreds of museums was available to everyone.  That's right--free admission--to some of the best museums around the country.

I really wanted to re-visit The Morgan and see what had changed since my last visit, and I was not disappointed.  First I had a light lunch in the beautiful cafe, seated with a friend just in front of a gorgeous fireplace.  Then we went exploring. 

While photography is not generally permitted, the current exhibit of "Drawings for The Living Word" by Xu Bing in the entrance lobby area can be photographed.  While I could not fully capture the magical nature of how the Chinese calligraphy transformed in "flight" into birds, I tried to impart bits of the scene (see photos throughout this post).  I had vaguely known that some Chinese characters were originally derived from pictograms, but this art installation really brought it home.  The wooden Chinese letters hung in the air by transparent string changed steadily until they became little wooden birds.  Truly, you should go to the museum to see this first hand.  It is breathtaking.

There were other great exhibits (permanent in the older parts of the museum and temporary/changing in the newer parts of the museum), but I won't go through it all here.  Needless to say, I am a huge fan of this museum and highly recommend spending a couple of hours here (the collections are diverse and the museum size is very manageable--unlike the Metropolitan and the Natural History, which could really take a few days to see everything), especially if you get to visit for free!

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