New York City – museums

3 08 2007

New York City has quite a few museums, some of them very famous.  We went to several of them, and I was amazed at how large they were.  In some of these buildings the lobby is almost as big as the four-story building I work in.  Even the design of the buildings — inside and outside — is something to see; they just don’t make buildings like that anymore.

One museum we visited was the .  This was my first visit to a large art museum.  We saw some famous old paintings, such as Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night, one by Picasso, and several by Claude Monet.  Some of those were good, but I didn’t see why some were famous.  I saw some by Raphael, from the 15th and 16th centuries, and they were really good.  Actually, the ones I liked best were usually not the most famous ones (although Raphael is famous).  But a large section of the museum is devoted to modern art (hence the name), and it was somewhat like I expected, but even worse.  Some of the displays looked like a junk heap from a farm, yet it was supposedly famous and great.  Seriously, some of it looked like the artist collected scrap metal from the junkyard and threw it on the ground.  They wouldn’t let you take pictures of the modern “art” (probably because they knew some people would make fun of it).  (You can see some of the “junk” on their website, under Richard Serra, on the sixth floor exhibit.  Judge for yourself.)  I took some pictures of the famous paintings, but they won’t allow the use of a flash, so the photos are of reduced quality.

We also went to the .  They have 5,000 years of art.  We didn’t get to spend a lot of time there, but there were large collections of artifacts from historic civilizations such as the Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Egyptians, and Israelites.  It was neat to see artifacts from Biblical times and to ponder how people lived back then.  I remember seeing some sculptures and columns from the Greek , which was built in the 5th century BC.  It amazes me how people built such elaborate and detailed buildings with the limited tools they had at that time.

My favorite of the museums we visited was the .  It is dedicated to Theodore Roosevelt, and it was featured in the movie Night at the Museum.  It was founded in 1869, and it contains 32 million specimens and artifacts, including the world’s largest collection of vertebrate fossils.

dinosaursThey have a large collection of dinosaur fossils, which was interesting to see.  We even got to see a Tyrannosaurus rex, made from real fossils.  There was a section devoted to meteorites, and I looked for one that resembled the strange rock I found in the yard of my last house, but didn’t find one with exactly the same texture (although one was somewhat similar).  There was a hall of ocean life, which included a 94-foot-long replica of a blue whale.  There was a hall that had replicas of many different animals in their natural habitat.  There was also a hall devoted to human origins, which claims to be “the most comprehensive evidence of human evolution ever assembled”.  (I was not convinced.)

We saw a show in a planetarium in the museum called Cosmic Collisions, narrated by Robert Redford, which showed how our moon was created when a wandering planetoid struck Earth some five billion years ago, which created thousands of small rocks that orbited around the Earth, eventually crashing into each other and exploding, creating one large chunk of rock that we call our moon.  (They presented this as fact, but there was a lack of evidence.)  They also showed a recreation of the meteorite impact that hastened the end of the Age of Dinosaurs some 65 million years ago, which cleared the way for mammals to live.  (I didn’t buy that, either.)  They said this presentation was based on “cutting-edge research”, some seen for the first time.

Even though some of the exhibits presented speculation as fact, I still enjoyed seeing it.  I believe the creation account of the Bible (sometimes called Intelligent Design), but I like studying science.  I could’ve spent a few days in that museum, because there was so much to see.

If you go to New York City, I recommend checking out some of these museums.  Even if history and science weren’t among your favorite subjects in school, it’s a lot more interesting to see it in person than in a book.




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