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.”

Airports As Art Galleries? London Says Yes

airports

Airports around the world have a lot of wall space to fill. Cavernous spaces inside terminals often mimic outside parking spaces wide enough for jumbo jets. To fill that space, those who plan airports use huge sculptures, gigantic paintings and other works of art. Now, London’s Gatwick airport will be the home to several works by British pop artist Sir Peter Blake.

Best known for his design of the album cover for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Blake has had international appeal for decades. Unveiling his new London-inspired collection, Blake has created works for each terminal that celebrate all that is great about London, while welcoming visitors.

Being installed in Gatwick’s North and South terminals, the permanent installation shows London through the ages with more than just a photo here or a sculpture there. The collection promises to immerse passengers from the time they get off the plan until they claim their luggage.”This project instantly captured my imagination – a chance to showcase London to an international public and to remind Brits how great it is to be back on British soil,” Blake said in a Breaking Travel News report.

Separate from ongoing efforts to upgrade airport operations, the idea came from an airport passenger panel that wanted visitors or those returning from holidays to get a real sense of arrival in Britain.

Some other airports with great art?

Denver International Airport has permanent art exhibits, including a 32-foot-tall, bright blue, fiberglass horse sculpture with gleaming red eyes called “Mustang.” The 9000-pound work comes from New Mexico artist Luis Jiménez.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has a collection that depicts messages of world peace, community and friendship. Organized by The Colorful Art Society, Inc. and People to People International, the collection changes on a rotating basis.

Philadelphia International Airport also rotates its collection, established in 1998 as an exhibition program on display throughout its terminals. Called their Art In The Airport program, it provides visitors from around the world access to a wide variety of art from the Philadelphia area.

Here’s more on airport art, including the collection at Washington’s Reagan National Airport:



[Photo Credit: Flickr user scorzonera]

10 unusual things to do in New York City

pizzaMany people who visit New York often have the same itinerary: Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Staten Island Ferry. While all of these experiences are worthwhile and should be included in any first-time tour of the Big Apple, here are some fun experiences that can be added to the travel plan to make it a bit more quirky.

Create your own New York-style pizza

New York is world-renowned for its delicious pizza, with many tourists visiting just to sample a slice. Instead of simply trying the pizza, why not learn how to make your own? Pizza a Casa Pizza School will teach you how to make artisanal pizzas without using fancy ingredients or high-tech equipment. Instead, students will learn the school’s genius pizza recipe and how to bring the delightful art home to recreate again and again. Click here for a full class schedule and to order tickets.

Taste the best dumplings in Chinatown

For first-time visitors Chinatown can be overwhelming. Navigating the busy streets, and trying to find the best of what the area has to offer, is basically impossible without help from a local. If you have interest in learning about the history of the area as well as sampling different local specialties, I would highly recommend a tour with Ahoy New York Tours & Tasting. The tour takes you through Chinatown as well as Little Italy and the guide, Alana, is extremely knowledgeable about the area’s past and present. As you learn about the area’s murder-filled and difficult history, enjoy sampling delicacies and Chinese candy. Moreover, if you’d like to solely focus on eating delicious dumplings, for $20 dumpling connoisseur Mark Birch will take you on a dumpling tour to sample the best Chinatown has to offer.

trapezeLearn the trapeze

Trying new things when traveling can make your trip fun and exciting. While many people attempt feats like skydiving, bungee jumping, scuba diving, and hiking, it’s not all that often that you hear a friend talk about how they learned the art of trapeze on their latest trip. Why not be the first? Trapeze School New York (TSNY) has an array of levels and class styles from flying trapeze to silks, and from trampoline to acrobatics. The classes are designed for anyone who has ever wanted to experience flying gracefully through the air. Click here to see a class schedule and sign up.

Explore the city through a scavenger hunt

New York is home to some of the world’s most quirky and unusual scavenger hunts, which are not only fun but an interesting way to explore the city. My favorite is Accomplice, which is “part game, part theater, and part tour”. Basically, participants are sent out on a mission through the city while receiving clues and encountering various cast members along the way. It’s a great way to be an NYC detective for a day while discovering some of the city’s most off-the-beaten path spots. Another great option is Watson Adventures, which sends participants through various neighborhoods, museums, and public spaces to answer tricky questions. Some of their hunts include “Murder at the MET,” “Secrets of the Jewish Lower East Side,” “Haunted Times Square,” and “SoHo Chocolately.”

flea market Browse the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market

Fifth Avenue isn’t the only place to shop in New York, as the city is also home to myriad boutiques, bazaars, and markets. One unique market is the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market that is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9AM-5PM. There are usually about 100 vendors selling vintage clothing, jewelry, antiques, furniture, art, housewares, decor, and more. It’s fun to browse and feels great when you come across an interesting find. Remember that bartering is standard practice here so bring your best negotiating skills.

Learn about NYC’s quirky history at the City Reliquary

While the MET, MoMA, and Museum of Natural History are all worthwhile museums, there is another more unusual type of museum that is definitely worth checking out on your next trip to New York– City Reliquary. Here you will find odd New York artifacts including everything from old photographs and videos to the bones of subway rats to pigeon feathers and bed bugs. On certain nights there are also events where collectors will “show and tell” their unique items. Best of all, there is no outrageous admission fee; instead, you can leave a donation and even grab a beer for $3.

green-wood cemetery Take a trolley tour of Green-Wood Cemetery

While wandering around a cemetery probably isn’t what you picture when you think of your ideal vacation, Green-Wood Cemetery is worth the visit. The 478-acre Revolutionary War site was actually founded in 1838 as one of the country’s “first rural cemeteries” and, due to its international fame and beauty, came to be a “fashionable place to be buried.” In fact, it is Green-Wood that actually inspired the creation of many of New York’s famous parks, including Central Park and Prospect Park. Some features of Green-Wood include 19th- and 20th-century statuary and mausoleums, glacial ponds, picturesque paths, valleys, and hills, in addition to its rich historical background.

Check out an improv show

Instead of shelling out a ton of cash for a Broadway performance, a great and budget-friendly alternative is to check out an improv comedy show at one of the many great theaters in New York. For $10 or less, you can see up-and-coming comics try out their funniest, raunchiest, and most outlandish routines, while often inviting audience members on stage and incorporating them into the act. Some of the top improv comedy venues include: Upright Citizens Brigade, the Peoples Improv Theater, and Magnet Theater.

beatles Enlighten your inner Beatles fan

New York is home to many iconic Beatles locations and holds a lot of history for the band. Signing up for an Ultimate Beatles Tour can help you learn more about New York as well as Beatlemania while exploring sites like the Ed Sullivan Theater (shown right), Carnegie Hall, the Plaza Hotel, Strawberry Fields in Central Park, and the Dakota Apartments.

Explore art, nature, and design at the High Line

Built in the 1930’s, the High Line was once the site of an off-the-ground freight train system that was built in order to remove dangerous trains from the streets of the industrial district of Manhattan. Today, the site is an elevated park that is home to some of the most beautiful flora, public art, and architecture in the city. Walking on the High Line will allow you to not only see some great city views, but also, learn about the interaction of art and nature through exhibitions. Additionally, visitors can hike through “woodlands” and relax on aesthetically-pleasing park benches. Click here to check out a map of the High Line.

More Maine travel: Backstage Pass: Rock & Roll Photography

Maine has been on my radar lately. My husband has talked about heading there this summer. A friend who I don’t hear from often emailed me about skiing in Maine which prompted a post on skiing in Maine. The options for Maine skiing will take you right on into April.

Then while researching for a post on maple syrup festivals I found Maine is involved with the maple syrup action as well. Today while drinking my morning cup of coffee and reading the paper, I came across a travel brief on a photography exhibit at the Portland Museum of Art.Backstage Pass: Rock & Roll Photography” has pulled in a record number of visitors. That info prompted a trip to the museum’s Website for more information.

The collection is a mix of 268 photographs that are privately owned. These are not standard, promotional type photographs, but intimate looks at the lives of the artists. Each give an indication of the relationship between the photographer and the subject whether it be Madonna, the Beatles, Johnny Cash, Jimmy Hendrix or Elvis Presley.

From the description of the exhibit, it seems to me that part of the appeal of this exhibit is that it triggers off the viewers own memories of different times of one’s life when certain musicians were important to one’s own development. There’s a certain wistfulness I’ve always felt from seeing photos of people that were taken in our pasts. Here’s a link to some of the images in the exhibit.

Although there’s no way I’ll make it to Maine before the last day this exhibit is open on March 22, it does give me the hankering to head to Cleveland to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

A Day in the life of Abbey Road time lapse

If you keep watching this video of people crossing Abbey Road The Beatles’ style, you’ll notice patterns. Some people organize themselves just like The Beatles did in their iconic photograh of the Abbey Road album cover.

The time lapse photography is set to the song “Garble Arch” by the music group Blame Ringo. Look for the near misses. Some people were almost clocked by vehicles that sped through the crosswalk. One guy does a bit of flashing at oncoming traffic.

There is something about this video that’s mesmerizing.The time lapse photography is set to the song “Garble Arch” by the indie band Blame Ringo. In case you have a hankering to cross Abbey Road yourself, it’s located in the the city of Westminster section of London outside the entrance of EMI’s Abbey Road Studios