A museum a day keeps the cobwebs away

By JQuisumbing

Oh, how I do love Museums. 

Just recently, I watched Sidney Poitier’s 1967 movie, To Sir, with Love. One of my favorite scenes was when Sidney Poitier’s teacher character brought an unruly class of teenagers to the London Museum for the very first time. Seeing the  fascination on their faces, brought back my own memories of my first time. 

We were living in Santa Rosa, California, around the mid sixties. I just had a cast removed from my last corrective orthopedic surgery and I was again up and walking on my wobbly legs. My father announced that he had a treat for me. And so, he packed up the entire family into our brown Pontiac Bonneville station wagon and off to San Francisco, we went. When my Dad was pestered relentlessly (not by me, of course) on where he was taking us, there was a loud collective sound of ‘aw’ in the car, when he said the museum. Some of my siblings were hoping for a day at the zoo or at the Embarcadero where they can eat fresh crab and shrimp cocktails on the wharf. But my dad wanted to take us to the California Academy of Sciences and natural history museum which was located within the vast Golden Gate Park. It was my first time in a museum. I was 8 years old. The exhibits that were foremost in my memories were the animals of the Sierra Mountains. One in particular was the display of an eight foot tall ferocious grizzly bear towering over me. A lot of the stuffed animals that I have seen that day were giants to me. I could not get enough of it. When I got home, I made a promise to visit as many different museums that came my way. To this day, I have no regrets except that I had not established a small museum of my own… yet.

When was the last time you visited a museum? I sincerely hope that you will visit one soon and bring your kids. Why? Well, if you look closely at the definition of the root word, ‘Muse’, a museum was meant to provoke long and careful thoughts in you. I get some of the best inspiration whenever I go to a museum… any museum.

My wife and I once went to Friday’s Harbor, a quaint island town in the San Juan Islands in Washington. While walking through the town, next to the harbor, I came upon the Whale Museum. It was not a large museum. In fact, it was in actuality, a single room. But it was packed with artifacts specifically dedicated to the mammals of the Puget Sound. I spent 2 hours in that place learning about seals, humpback whales and the orcas. I enjoyed my time in that small museum so much that I was inspired to adopt an orca.

These days, I am mostly bedridden but I do make a point to seek out virtual museums on the internet. The effect is still the same. 

Visit a museum soon before the cobwebs get thicker.


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One response to “A museum a day keeps the cobwebs away”

  1. As a short story writer, I can completely relate to the inspiration and curiosity that museums can bring. The descriptions of the exhibits in the California Academy of Sciences and the Whale Museum sound so captivating, it’s no wonder they left such a lasting impression on the author. It’s heartening to hear that even when physical visits are not possible, virtual options can still provide the same level of enjoyment and creativity. I will definitely be making an effort to visit a museum soon, before those cobwebs get any thicker!


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