Photo time! Asian Art Edition

A couple of weekends ago we took advantage of free admission day and visited the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Wikipedia tells me this particular museum houses one of the most comprehensive Asian art collections in the world with over 18,000 pieces (some dating back 6,000 years). I’ve been to a lot of museums and this one was pretty typical – exactly what I expected, I mean. They had some very interesting pieces, including some unlike anything I’d seen before. I especially enjoyed the juxtaposition of modern and antiquarian works in the same gallery space.

Bonus: The wonton soup from the café was unexpectedly delicious.

Nostalgia Week: Art!

My daughter’s illustration of her family. Bo was the cat; you can tell because he has extra legs. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to date this so I can only guess she was maybe three years old.

She was never really interested in taking time to draw people, so everyone looked like this for several years. Dad kind of looks like Mr. Potato Head missing his parts.



Something Different Saturday Review: Museum-Go-Round

TripAdvisor released their 2014 for best U.S. museums a few weeks ago. There is nothing I love to do more than visit a good museum. Let’s tackle the list and compare notes. Have you been to any of these? What did you like? Hate? Would you recommend it?

I will say I already have a complaint with the list; it lumps all different kinds of museums together when they could stand on their own as individual categories (art, history, etc.)
The list! In reverse order because it is more dramatic that way.

25. The Henry Ford (Dearborn, Michigan)
I’ve never been to the Henry Ford, but it has been a secret dream of mine to work there someday. Guess I should visit first.

24. National Museum of the U.S. Air Force (Dayton, Ohio)
Heard great things about this one, but never seen it for myself. Actually – insert gasp here – I’ve never been to Ohio at all.

23. National World War I Museum (Kansas City, Missouri)
OMG. I love this museum. Anytime anyone mentions Kansas City or military history, I take the opportunity to sing the praises of this World War I Museum. I even have two converts who visited on my recommendation and fell in love too. It was informative, engaging, and great for a wide age range.

22. Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
Another I haven’t seen. My parents went however, and found it very moving.

21. Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix, Arizona)
Never even heard of it. Anyone been?

20. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville, Arkansas)
Always great to see a local place on the list! If you remember from a few months ago, we finally made it to Crystal Bridges for the first time earlier this year and it did not disappoint. Plus, free! Read about my trip here.

19. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, Illinois)
Another one already on my to-visit list.

18. Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, Massachusetts)
Never been and it probably wouldn’t be on my to-do list. What does it have to offer that the other art museums on this list don’t?

17. The Ringling (Sarasota, Florida)
Never heard of this one either. I looked it up – the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Yes, that Ringling family. Yes, it does include a circus museum. And a 56-room palace, and gardens, and a historic theater, and an education center. I really sounds like something I would enjoy, so it will be added to the to-visit list too.

16. Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago, Illinois)
Love, love, love this museum. Really. It is excellent for kids and adults. The first time the husband and I went, we didn’t even have a kid with us. It was still just that good. Take your family to this museum.

15. Ground Zero Museum Workshop (New York City)
I haven’t been to NYC post 9/11, so I certainly haven’t seen this. But . . . hmm, I’m really not sure what I think. From what I can read online, this is a for-profit museum set up by a photographer. It is not the official 9/11 Museum (the one that has had all the controversy recently over items being sold in the gift shop).

14. United State National Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington DC)
I can still remember the way I felt walking through this museum. I’ve only been once – fifteen years ago – so you can imagine the impact it had on me. So incredibly moving.

13. Smithsonian Museum of National History (Washington DC)
A classic! Fun, but super busy if you try to go anytime there are tourists in town (read: anytime).

12. National Naval Aviation Museum (Pensacola, Florida)
Never been. I’ve always kind of thought once you’ve seen one historic airplane, you’ve seen them all. Maybe this museum would change my mind? I doubt I’ll ever find out.

11. Frick Collection (New York City)
I didn’t think I had heard of this one, but a quick visit to the website made me realize I did know it. It house European art in a gorgeous historic home.

10. Newseum (Washington DC)
Sadly, I have never been to this one either. It was on my hope-to-do-list for my recent DC trip, but I just never made it. Maybe next time!

9. Arizona-Sorona Desert Museum (Tucson, Arizona)
Another one that is foreign to me. The website says it is a “zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, natural history museum, and aquarium.” Sounds pretty neat.

8. Chihuly Gardens and Glass (Seattle, Washington)
I have never been to this one. I’m a big Chihuly fan though, so I’m sure I would enjoy myself.

7. USS Midway Museum (San Diego, California)
Nope, never been. Revealing fact about me though – I used to work for a submarine museum and have a soft spot for the Navy.

6. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (Washington DC)
Another classic. It wasn’t my favorite to visit, but it still excellent.

5. National Gallery of Art (Washington DC)
Yes! One of my favorite art galleries.

4. The National World War II Museum (New Orleans, Louisiana)
This one is great for kids all the way up to WWII veterans. Some of it could use some updating, but the recent additions are spectacular. It is a full-day’s activity, for sure.

3. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Hmmm . . . how have I never been to this one? It just seems like someplace I would have visited.

2. The Getty Center (Los Angeles, California)
A great place, but it doesn’t beat out the National Gallery in my mind.

1. Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)
Another of my favorite art galleries, up there with the Louvre and Picasso Museum in Paris.

Do you agree with #1? If not, what is your top choice?
I’ve only been to the Art Institute once, but I loved it. I can’t say it would be my #1 though. Picking from this list, my top choices would probably be the National World War I Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, the National Gallery of Art, and the U.S. National Holocaust Memorial Museum. I would have a very hard time choosing a favorite from those four.

Is there something you can’t believe isn’t on the list?


A couple of posts ago I mentioned the green penguin art installation at the Museum Hotel in Bentonville. After finding a penguin just a couple of doors down from us one evening, the husband and I embarked on a little art project of our own. I’ll present it here without comment.


Continue Reading…

Art, Alcohol, and Amazeballs – Day 2

We started day 2 by sleeping in, one of my favorite things to do when vacationing without the children. Neither of us slept well that night and we ended up sleeping until around 11. It was gloriously indulgent.

When we did finally get out of bed, we headed to Crystal Bridges and ate lunch in their Eleven café. The husband had a hamburger and I had brown beans with cornbread. It was very tasty. [Smaller photos for today’s photo-heavy post so I don’t overwhelm you feeds.]





First stop after lunch was an exhibition of works by European masters. Admission to the Crystal Bridges permanent collection is free (thanks Walmart!) making it a no-brainer for us to buy a ticket to this special exhibition. I picked out a few works to share with you. Just a couple of my favorites.

IMG_0288Strawberries by Pierre Auguste Renoir

IMG_0289Two Dancers by Edgar Degas

Next up was the American art from the regular collection. It was arranged chronologically starting with pre-Revolutionary War and ending with artists still producing today. That was a great way to approach the art – you really got to grow along with it. Again, here are a few of my favorites.

IMG_0301George Washington by Charles Willson Peale

IMG_0303The Bubble, by H. Fishmuth

IMG_0307Rosie the Riveter by Normal Rockwell
I have to say, Rosie was amazing. Rockwell’s paintings are known for their storytelling ability and this one was no different. The detail was stunning. My favorite part – She was resting her feet on a tattered copy of Mein Kampf.

IMG_0310Old Self: Portrait of the Artist as He Will (not) Be. Variation #2 by Evan Penny
I can’t even explain how realistic this piece is. If we had taken a photo without the wall, you wouldn’t even know he wasn’t living.

We headed back for dinner at a nice, but overpriced, Mexican restaurant. It was too dark to take photos, but trust me, it looked, smelled, and tasted good. After dinner we walked over to the Walmart Museum. We toured a small exhibit space that made you wish someone in your family had the foresight to buy stock in the company in 1970 and ended up exiting through a stereotypical soda shop.

We decided to give in to the nostalgia and shared a MoonPie-Palooza sundae.


IMG_0334Sam Walton’s office as it looked when he died. Apparently they took the whole thing apart, carpet and all, and recreated it in the museum.

The rest of the night was spent in bed watching trashy television. We were both exhausted. We did hit up room service for a nightcap though, i.e. the cheapest bottle of champagne available.