Saturday, May 15, 2010

Get Amused

Magnet # 242:  Montgomery Museum of Fine Art Photo

Material:  Plastic

Purchased By:  Me

Here's a head's up - International Museum Day is coming up next week, on May 18. This is a great time to check out any nearby museums you've been curious about. The theme for this year is "Museums for Social Harmony," and museums from all around the world will be participating, with some even offering free admission.  Have a look at http://icom.museum/doc/imd2010_links.html if you'd like to learn more.  This is a great time to figure out which museum to check out if you want to join in on the fun.

One fact that has been driven into me ever since I started this blog is that while most museums tend to be centered around art and history, there are still quite a few museums with more unusual collections.  For example, there are some that are completely centered around food and drinks, like Austin, Minnesota's Spam Museum, a free stop where visitors can learn about the history and production of the bizarre, yet popular, meat product.  New Orleans, Louisiana is home to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, where folks can learn about all sorts of southern cuisine, including Big Easy favorites like po'boys and and beignets.  And let's not forget about condiments - Mount Horeb,  Wisconsin is home to the Mount Horeb Mustard Museum.  It was founded by the local attorney general, who decided to amass the largest collection of mustard ever to cheer himself up.  You can wash your meal down with a trip to the World of Coca-Cola Museum, a popular tourist destination in Atlanta, Georgia, where visitors can try out samples of the soft drink from all over the world.  I went there years ago, and had a pretty fun time.  And for dessert, try the Jell-O Museum in Le Roy, New York, which is filled with all sorts of memorabilia of the sweet treat, or the nearby Hershey Museum in the appropriately named Hershey, Pennsylvania.  There, they can learn about the life of founder Milton Hershey and see how his chocolate treats are made.  There are also museums devoted to all sorts of famous folks that aren't really historically significant the way political leaders or military generals are, but are beloved nonetheless.  For example, there's the Mary Kay Museum in Addison, Texas that's devoted to the lady and her makeup.  I've mentioned Richmond, Virginia's Edgar Allen Poe Museum on here before, but the city of Baltimore, Maryland has its own museum dedicated to the horror writer.  Smithfield, North Carolina, the birthplace of actress Ava Gardner, has an Ava Gardner Museum that pays homage to its most famous resident.  The "Unsinkable" Molly Brown's former home in Denver, Colorado has been converted into a museum about her life, as has author Margaret Mitchell's old home in Atlanta, Georgia.  And there are still so many more museums centering on so many different interests - music, cars, dolls, animals, ships - the list goes on and on.  Pretty much, if you have an interest, there's probably someplace that has a collection surrounding it.  Hmm - I wonder if Louise Greenfarb, owner of the world's largest magnet collection, would be interested in opening a museum sometime?

The Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, which is featured on this magnet, is more of a traditional museum, but it's still a pretty nice place to visit.  It's free and has a nice collection of works from artists such as John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, and Edward Hopper.  It dates all the way back to 1930, but the museum moved to its very impressive current location in 1988.  It has played an important role in my life - I visited its old location and was at that groundbreaking ceremony and still have a balloon from it (yep, I collect lots of stuff).  But just after my high school graduation, I was visiting the MMFA with my family and happened to get into a conversation with one of its workers in the children's section of the museum, ARTWORKS.  When she learned I was an art student, she encouraged me to apply for a job there.  I got it and spent the next few years overseeing ARTWORKS and doing art projects with its young visitors.  I had a really great time meeting nice people and learning quite a bit.  So when I moved to Savannah, of course I wanted a magnet from the MMFA to proudly display on my fridge.  But they didn't have any, so the nice lady in the Museum Shop had to put up with me begging for them on subsequent trips there.  Finally, she told me that they'd created some new magnets of the museum - and yes, my persistence might have been a factor.  But I'm so pleased to have a magnet of a place that's been so important to me.  The Montgomery Museum of Fine Art is an excellent place to visit on International Museum Day, if you're anywhere nearby.  If not, consider checking out a local museum near where you are.  Museums are great places to learn all sorts of new facts and just have fun, so get out this Tuesday and try a new one.  You should have a great time finding out what sort of interesting collections are available right in your backyard!

3 comments:

  1. Museums are a painless and even fun way of learning about all kinds of topics - I always try to include a visit during vacations. There are so many subjects to dabble in!

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  2. And plenty of them are free to the public - even better! I like to see museums on trips myself - it really is an enjoyable way to learn about all sorts of matters.

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  3. We'd be more than happy to send you a magnet from the Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield, NC! Just send your mailing address to avainfo@avagardner.org and we'll gladly help add to your collection!

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