I love museums! Next to libraries, they’re one of my favorite destinations. I first discovered the awesomeness of museums at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History as a sullen young teen who had recently been forced to relocate halfway across the country with my family. To add insult to injury, I was forced into a family outing to a museum instead of being able to stomp around the house. But how can you not be mesmerized by the dinosaurs, not to mention ancient cultures and other fascinating things? No wonder, Ben Stiller had a hit with “Night at the Museum.” There are so many treasures and stories within museum walls.
I visit Washington, DC as often as I can and always make time for the Smithsonian Museums. Their Natural History museum is tops, and I have a special place in my heart for the Air and Space and American Indian museums as well.
This past weekend, I paid a visit to my local museum, the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History. My kids were regulars there as they were growing up—field trips, summer classes, and regular visits. Two of them even worked as docents for a summer. But it had been awhile since I visited.
Old favorites remained—the mastodon on the first floor peering through a doorway to the dinosaurs who once lived in the region. Some items had been added to the extensive Native American exhibit, and I discovered beautiful sculptures from a Cherokee artist.
There were new exhibits as well. A traveling exhibit on Comets, Asteroids, and Meteors was pretty cool. With my upcoming book release of Cells: Experience Life at Its Tiniest, I particularly enjoyed an exhibit on cells, particularly how the first cells on Earth came to be. Then, there were the peat swamps. Who knew?
I think it’s fascinating that for all the exhibits we do see, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands more, behind closed doors. And for writers, a museum is a playground of ideas. Whether it’s a fictional adventure of museum artifacts coming to life or exploring a piece or idea further. Ugly Bug Contest anyone?