Museums

Where will you go? 1500 museums are free on Museum Day

Smithsonian magazine’s Museum Day is coming up on September 21 and we’re celebrating because on that day 1500 museums will be joining in to offer free admission to anyone who downloads a ticket.

Many science centers, aquariums, zoos and gardens will be offering free admission on Museum Day as well.

The free nationwide event presents a great opportunity to stop in and revisit a favorite exhibit at a local cultural institution or visit a museum in a town you’re visiting without worrying about all the admission fees.

Where can you go?

This year, Museum Day is celebrating the Smithsonian Year of Music, with many participating museums offering special music-themed programming.

The Lightner Museum in Saint Augustine, FL, will host a museum-themed scavenger hunt in its galleries. The music will also demonstrate the electric self-playing violin, the Gem Roller Organ and many other early mechanical musical instruments in its collection;  

The Armenian Museum of America in Watertown, MA will have live Armenian music in the galleries;  

In Missoula, the Montana Natural History City will offer demonstrations and experiments to show and explain how different animals hear;  

In North Carolina, a high school Rock Orchestra will play a selection of train related songs at the Wilmington Railroad Museum;

And in Mumford, NY, the Genesee Country Village and Museum, the state’s largest living history museum will be celebrating early shape-note music with a shape-note sing open to all.

Many all-music-all-the-time museums are participating as well.

Museum Day visitors to MoPOP in Seattle, WA will have full access to galleries and to exhibits dedicated to Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and more. 

Music-fans will also get full access to the music history offered at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles; to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, VA; and in Memphis, TN, to the Blues Hall of Fame, the Memphis Rock ‘N Soul Museum and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.

And in Kansas City, MO, the American Jazz Museum will host a jazz storytelling session that explores the sounds and styles of jazz and present a screening of “Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary.” 

TThe full list of museums participating in Museum Day, September 21, can be found here. And Museum Day tickets can be downloaded here.

Only one ticket will be issued per email address, but each ticket is good for admission for two people.

(A slightly differen version of my story about Smithsonian magazine’s Museum Day first appeared on CNBC)

Travel Tidbits for a holiday weekend

Have you had enough barbecue, fireworks and parades yet on this holiday weekend? If you need more things to do, consider going to a museum – for free.

Free Museum Admissions

As part of the Museums on Us program, more then 225 museums, science centers, gardens and other attractions around the country are offering free admission this weekend (July 6 and 7) to Bank of America debit or credit card holders. Many other attractions around the country are hosting special events as well.

Participating museums in the Museums of Us program range from the Seattle Museum of Art to Chicago’s Alder Planetarium and the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York.

You can also take advantage of this offer at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan; at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia and the World War I Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. Find more details here.

Curtiss biplane at Henry Ford

Museum Monday: Insects at San Francisco Int’l Airport

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has bugs!

But don’t worry. The bugs are all under glass and are part of a new exhibit hosted by the SFO Museum.

The exhibit, titled The Intriguing World of Insects includes more than 1000 specimens, fine art photography and rare books. There’s also an atomical model of Musca domestica, the inscect we know better as the house fly.

Display drawer of camouflage insect specimens – courtesy SFO Museum

Why an exhibit of insects?

Besides that fact that they look really pretty and non-threatening inside the cases, insects, the exhibit notes tell us, are the most diverse macroscopic organisms on the planet.

Researchers have identified over one million species of insects – so far – and estimate that five to thirty million more insects are waiting to be discovered.

In fact, there are more species of ants than species of birds, and more species of beetles than all species of plants combined.

Display drawer of ladybug (Coccinellidae) specimens – courtesy SFO Museum

Here’s a quick insect class, to get you ready for the exhibit:

*Insects, spiders, lobsters, and their cousins are arthropods. That means they have jointed legs and an external skeleton.

*The first insects appeared around 400 million years ago and evolved wings over 300 million years ago.

*Fossils of dragonfly ancestors, called griffinflies, had wingspans of over sixty centimeters. In contrast, the tiniest insects today have wingspans of less than one millimeter.

*But not all insects have wings. Some species, like silverfish, never evolved wings, while others, like camel crickets, lost them millions of years ago.

*Insects play integral roles in ecosystems. They pollinate the flowers of many fruits and vegetables, produce wax and honey and keep pest plants and insects at bay. Insects also recycle nutrients through decomposition, and are important food sources for other species.

Class over, for now.

Display drawer of scarab beetle (Scarabaeidae) specimens- Courtesy SFO Museum

The SFO Museum’s exhibition, The Intriguing World of Insects, comes to San Fransicsco International Airport from the Essig Museum of Entomology which is has a collection of more then 5 million arthropods stored at the University of California, Berkeley.

Look for the exhibit pre-security in SFO’s International Terminal, on the Depatures Level through August 18, 2019.

Display drawer of blue and green butterflies (Rhopalocera) and colorful beetles (Coleoptera) – courtesy SFO Museum
Wasp (Vespula vulgaris) sculpture –
by Gar Waterman  courtesy SFO


Museum Monday – Cars, Guitars, Espresso & the Moon Landing 

Today’s post on StuckatTheAirport.com is made possible by Deem – your most powerful solution for booking and managing corporation travel online.

Courtesy SFO Museum

Here at StuckatTheAirport.com we’re big fans of the Philadelphia International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, San Francisco International Airport and the many other airports which have robust exhibition programs or their very own museums.

Of course, we’re big fans of museum exhibitions outside of airports too.

Three we’ve spotted that may be worth planning trips, or side-trips, around, are at America’s Car Museum (ACM) in Tacoma, WA, the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) and the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

 See the USA in your Chevrolet

1960 Chevrolet Corvette – Courtesy ACM

In Tacoma, WA, America’s Car Museum (ACM) is celebrating summer driving with a display of classic Chevrolet cars in the Route 66 exhibit showcasing vehicles that traveled the Mother Road during the golden age of American motoring.

The “See the USA in Your Chevrolet” display runs through October 14, 2019 and includes a 1960 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible and almost a dozen other great examples of early Chevys ranging from a 1919 Chevrolet FB Baby Grand Touring Sedan to a 1972 Chevrolet El Camino Pickup.

Espresso and Iconic Guitars


MIRAGE TRIPLETTE, KEES VAN DER WESTEN, 2001

Through June 15, the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) is hosting Passione Italiana, a perky exhibition chronicling the evolution of the espresso machine.

On view are Italian espresso makers, inventive coffee sets and unique crockery from the mid-twentieth century to today.

From June 29 to September 29, MODA’s featured exhibition will focus on guitar design and construction, with a great line-up of guitars played by performers such as Bo Diddley, Jack White, St. Vincent and others.

Visitors will first see guitars in their most minimal form and be asked to consider how simple and traditional design elements such as the shape of an instrument and the species of wood affect the sound.

The exhibition will then take visitors through advancements in the craft of making string instruments (luthiery) and share stories of how some of the 20th century’s most famous guitars came to their honored status.

Guitars scheduled to be on view include:

Junior Brown’s Custom Guit-Steel, Bo Diddley’s Gretsch 6138, Jack White’s Diddley Bow (from It Might Get Loud), Buck Owens’ Harmony Acoustic, Rich Robinson’s Scala Telecaster, Derek Trucks’ Gibson SG and St. Vincent’s Signature Ernie Ball Music Man

Wire & Wood: Designing Iconic Guitars will be on view at the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) beginning June 29.

Out of this world: Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing

Lunar spacesuit worn by Neil Armstrong on Apollo 11 mission showing the reflection in the face shield (NASM photo by Jim Preston)

While we’re talking about museum exhibits worth planning a trip around, keep in mind that in July the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing with a five-day celebration at the museum and on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The celebration will stretch from July 16 – exactly 50 years from the launch of Apollo 11 – to July 20, the day Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took the first steps on the moon.

A wide range of educational and commemorative activities are on the schedule, but perhaps most noteworthy is the fact that Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit will go on display July 16 for the first time in 13 years.  Look for it near the 1903 Wright Flyer.

Museum Monday: Cars, Guitars, Espresso and the Moon Landing is made possible by Deem – your most powerful solution for booking and managing corporation travel online.

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London’s Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities

If you’ve been to London more than once, you’ll want to start exploring the neighborhoods and attractions beyond the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the like.

I suggest venturing out to the Bethnal Green neighborhood, which is home to the Museum of Childhood (and is part of the V&A) and the far more unusual Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities.

Upstairs is a cocktail bar with an emphasis on absinthe.

Downstairs, entered via a narrow winding staircase, is a highly entertaining cabinet of curiosities filled with natural history specimens, assorted taxidermy, skulls, marine creatures and a collection of books with titles ranging from ‘A Guide to Faking Exhibition Poultry’ to ‘A Sex Guide for Irish Farmers,’ and “Shopping Center Sex.”

Here are some snaps a two-headed lamb and other snaps from a recent visit: