Where Will You Go For Free Museum Day?

Cartoon Art Museum - free museum day
Flickr, Kim Smith

Whether you are traveling in the U.S. or having a staycation this Saturday, be sure to include some culture. September 28 is Museum Day Live! (aka Free Museum Day), when museums all over the country open their doors without charging admission.

The annual event is inspired by the Smithsonian museums, which offer free admission every day. You’ll have to register and download your free ticket in advance, which will get two guests in free to participating museums.

A few of our favorite museums participating:

Chicago
Smart Museum of Art
The University of Chicago’s art museum is always free, but this weekend is also the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, and museum-goers can also enjoy free concerts in the sculpture garden.

Dallas/Ft. Worth
American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum
Regular price: $7 adults
Serious airline nerds, frequent flyers and those on a long layover can check out this museum of aviation and American AIrlines history, just a few miles from DFW airport. Exhibits include a rare Douglas DC-3 plane.

Las Vegas
Burlesque Hall of Fame
Regular suggested donation or gift shop purchase: $5)
What’s Sin City without a little strip tease? See costumes, props and photos documenting the history, traditions and stars of burlesque dance.
Los Angeles
Grammy Museum
Regular price: $12.95 adults
Pop music lovers can check out four floors of music exhibits and memorabilia. The current exhibition features the career of Ringo Starr, including an interactive drum lesson with the Beatles‘ rhythm man himself.

New York
Museum of Chinese in America
Regular price: $10 adults
Learn about the immigrant experience in New York’s Chinatown in a building designed by Maya Lin. Current special exhibitions on the glamour of Shanghai women and the role Chinese-American designers in fashion. Follow it up with dim sum in the neighborhood.

San Francisco
Cartoon Art
Regular price: $7 adults
Take your comics seriously? This is the art museum for you, with 6,000 works of cartoon cels, comic strips and book art. Best. Museum. Ever.

Washington, D.C.
Museum of Crime and Punishment
Regular price: $21.95
Value the free admission and your freedom at a museum dedicated to criminals and police work. Fans of police procedural TV shows will enjoy the CSI lab and the filming studio for “America’s Most Wanted.”

ABBA Museum To Open In Stockholm

abbaDancing Queens, get dancing, an ABBA museum is opening in Stockholm.

ABBA The Museum will open its doors in the Swedish capital on May 7. It covers the complete history of the disco group and will display their gold records, crazy ’70s costumes, and even reproductions of their recording studio and dressing rooms.

As visitors pass through the museum they’ll be treated to different music in each room. One room is dedicated to ABBA’s song “Ring, Ring” and has a phone that ABBA band members will occasionally call to have a talk with fans.

The Museum is a part of the new Swedish Music Hall of Fame, which has exhibitions on the history of Swedish popular music, a Hall of Fame dedicated to Sweden’s stars, and temporary exhibitions.

You’ll have to be a real ABBA fan to visit this place, though. Adult tickets cost 195 krona, or $29.54. At least the tickets get you into the Swedish Music Hall of Fame too.

[Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons]

Travel writing: how not to do it

We’ve had some interesting posts on travel writing lately, including Don George’s secret formula for writing a successful travel narrative and Pam Mandel’s report on Book Passage. While studying good writing is vital to learning how to write, it’s also important to study bad writing so you know what not to do.

Talented writer Steve Almond tackles this for us with his hilarious skewering of Toto’s 1982 pop hit Africa. I never liked this song, although it was the background theme to far too many high school memories. While this is a song and not a travel article, it includes many of the mistakes sloppy writers make when covering travel in general and Africa in particular. Watch, laugh, and learn.

Thanks to my friend Hannah for showing me this vid!

Lady Gaga now a waxwork model at eight Madame Tussauds museums

Lady Gaga, lady gagaAh, Lady Gaga, what would we do without your telephone hats and nude suits?

Now the famous wax museum Madame Tussauds has unveiled Lady Gaga models at eight of their branches: London, New York, Las Vegas, Hollywood, Amsterdam, Berlin, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.

The figure at the London branch has the crazy suit shown here: a telephone hat designed by Philip Treacy and a midnight-blue Armani suit. Keeping up with Amsterdam’s debauched reputation, the museum there has a Lady gaga in a nude body suit, white jacket, and a rather phallic-looking purple hairdo. The other outfits are equally outrageous.

Hopefully her penchant for crazy clothes will continue, but not so much that she’ll have to be stripped by flight attendants like she was in March.

[Photo courtesy Madame Tussauds]

ABBAworld opens in London

Get ready, ABBA fans, because ABBAworld, the first official (and band-supported) ABBA museum has just opened in London.

The interactive museum will contain 25 rooms full of ABBA memorabilia, including behind-the-scenes footage and interviews, never-before-seen music videos and photos, and clothes, instruments, and personal belongings from each member of the band. In one room, you’ll even find the helicopter pictured on the cover of the “Arrival” album.

Visitors will have the chance to feel like a part of the group too, as they see images of themselves projected into music videos and photos and onto album covers (which fans can then access online afterwards). The can test their trivia knowledge with quizzes, remix their own ABBA tunes and even be a “dancing queen” up on stage with a holographic projection of the band.

The exhibit is open daily now through March 28. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster for £21.45 per adult and £14.30 for kids.

The exhibition is expected to visit other cities, but so far no others have been announced.