Are you ready to visit a museum? If so, it’s a good bet you’ll find a museum near you that’s open, or getting to ready to open its doors to the (masked ) public again soon.
Here are some of the museums we’ve got on our list.
Seattle’s Museum of Flight
It was cute when animals from Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo got to visit the Museum of Flight. But we were still jealous. Now we’re happy people can visit the museum too.
Can’t make it? Don’t worry. The museum’s collection can be viewed online. In the artifact section, we found this talking GI Joe Astronaut from 1970. “When his dog tag is pulled, GI Joe narrates his way through a lunar mission, from liftoff to Moon landing to splashdown.”
Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum
The Mütter Museum is a medical museum with far-ranging collections of anatomical specimens, models, and medical instruments. Einstein’s brain is here. And so is a specimen from John Wilkes Booth’s vertebra.
We’ve spent a lot of time with Memento Mütter, the museum’s online exhibit of more than 60 items from the Museum’s collection, about half of which are not on public display. If you check it out, be warned that the paper mache eyeball is one of the least alarming objects you’ll see.
Now that the museum has reopened, there’s a new exhibit of photographs by Nikki Johnson, who got to go behind-the-scenes at the museum and create still-life photos of items that intrigued her.
Fashioning Art from Paper at Louisville’s Speed Art Museum
A new exhibit at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, KY features life-size costumes that look like fabric but are actually made from paper. Beginning in 1994, Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave started creating these incredible paper works. She ended up with four collections ranging from the fashion of Elizabeth I to 20th century Venice and tributes to famous artists like Picasso and Matisse. All four collections are part of this exhibit.
The museum made a video of the ‘unboxing’ of some of the dresses in the exhibit.
If we can’t fly anywhere right now, how about a ride on a motorcycle?
A new exhibition by the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) explores the history of motorcycling from the 1890s to 1915. On display are fourteen motorcycles that were made prior to 1916, rare engines, and photographs from the pioneering era of motorcycling.
From the exhibition notes:
“Along with the automobile, the motorcycle was one of the earliest and most exciting applications of another new invention, the gasoline-powered internal combustion engine. Motorcycle technology progressed rapidly during the early 1900s, and as motorcycling gained traction, riding evolved from a novelty to a hobby, sport, and reliable source of transportation. By the 1910s, there were approximately 100 motorcycle manufacturers in the United States, all vying for consumer attention with distinctive attributes and designs.
Today, early American motorcycles are prized by collectors around the world who showcase their bikes on vintage rides, endurance runs, and at special events.“
Here are some photos of the motorcycles on display in the Early American Motorcycles exhibitionin the International Terminal of San Francisco International Airport. The exhibition will be on view through September 19, 2021.
Here’s proof that you never know when you’ll come across something cool in an unexpected place.
Case in point: the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. The sprawling museum is not just the largest children’s museum in the world. It is also home to more than 130,000 artifacts, many of them true treasures.
One example: these aviator goggles that belonged to Amelia Earhart. According to museum notes, Earhart “supposedly didn’t enjoy wearing goggles, and would only put them on at the end of the runway and would take them off as soon as she landed.” The museum says these goggles were given to Earhart by a friend who also gave her a leather jacket and a flight cap.
No word on what happened to the leather jacket and the flight cap. But the goggles are on display at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis right now as part of an exhibit called Barbie You Can Be Anything: The Experience. In addition to telling the story of the iconic doll, the exhibit highlights more than 200 careers Barbie has had over the years. Airline pilot is one of them.
Mattel’s Amelia Earhart Barbie doll and the museum’s Amelia Earhart goggles are part of the exhibit.
In ‘normal’ times, when we’re not in airports, we’re in museums.
And the ongoing pandemic is wreaking havoc with museums.
“The financial state of U.S. museums is moving from bad to worse,” said Laura Lott, President and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums.
AAM has been surveying its membership since the pandemic began. And in its latest survey of 850 museum directors around the country it finds that 30% of museums remain closed since the March lockdown.
“Those that have reopened are operating on an average of 35% of their regular attendance—a reduction that is unsustainable long-term,” says Lott. “Those that did safely serve their communities this summer do not have enough revenue to offset higher costs, especially during a potential winter lockdown,” she adds.
And, as we know, communities around the country have already begun to institute winter lockdowns.
Here are some other key points from the survey that are sure to alarm museum-lovers.
*Over half (52%) of museums report that they have six months or less of operating reserves.
*Over half (53%) of responding museums have had to furlough or lay off staff. And about 30% of museum staff around the country are currently out of work.
*On average, museums responding to the survey anticipate losing approximately 35% of their 2020 operating income and an additional 28% of normal operating income in 2021.
Because besides the wonderful exhibits museum present and the special collections they protect, museums employ a lot of people. And they add a lot to the economy of their communities.
Prior to the pandemic, museums supported 726,000 direct and indirect jobs and contributed $50 billion each year to the economy, according to AAM.
What will help museums make it through the pandemic?
Museums are asking federal, state, and local governments for financial support.
They deserve it.
We can help out museums by making donations to our favorites. By joining museums as new members or by making sure to renew our memberships. We can give memberships as holiday gifts, shop in museum giftshops (many are online), and we can make a point to visit the museums that are open in our communities and/or offering activities online.
Hotels offering perks and packages for Election Day
(Our story about Election Day perks first appeared on NBC News in a slightly different version).
Election Day, and perhaps the days and weeks following, may be especially tense this year for a myriad of reasons. To help ease the stress and mark the day, some hotels and restaurants are offering discounts and perks for overnight guests and complimentary cocktails for those who have proof they have voted.
And some hotels, and at least one museum, are even turning their lobbies and rooftops into polling stations.
A president slept here, now you can visit and vote
During an Election Day tour visitors can see historical voting machines and learn about the history of the U.S. voting process in the “Protect the Vote” exhibit. While that’s going on, actors portraying the Harrison family will be on site awaiting results from the 1888 presidential election.
Vote on a hotel rooftop or in a hotel ballroom
Some hotels around the country are turning ballrooms, rooftops, and other large event spaces into polling places where citizens can cast a vote or drop off a mailed ballot with adequate social distance.
In California, the Kimpton Le Peer Hotel in West Hollywood is serving as an early voting and vote-by-mail ballot drop off location from October 30 through November 3. The dining space on the outdoor rooftop is being refitted with voting booths so voters will have fresh air, social distance, and great views.
Voting booths will be sanitized after each use and guests who vote on-site will receive a 15 percent discount on special menu items, including sliders adorned with American flags and a “Bubbly Pilgrim” cocktail. In the lobby, the hotel’s resident artist will be working on a new Election Day inspired mural.
The historic Hotel Figueroa in downtown Los Angeles, which was funded and built by women in 1926 and served as a YWCA women’s hostel in its early years, will serve as an official polling place from October 30 through November 3, with voting booths set up in the hotel’s Gran Sala event space.
And although the historic Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. is closed through early 2021 due to the pandemic, its ballroom joins the Capital One Sports Arena and other area sites as a Super Vote Center to accommodate large numbers of voters from October 27 through November 3.
Vote, then drink or eat free, or for cheap
In Texas, from now through election day, the LINE Austin is offering a $1 cocktail, beer, or wine at their bar P6 for visitors who show proof of voting. (1 drink per vote.)
In Houston, Texas, three of the restaurants in the H Town Restaurant Group – Hugo’s, Caracol, and Xochi – will be treating voters who wear their “I VOTED!” sticker to the restaurant to a complimentary red, white or blue margarita. (Value $11).
The Kimpton Sawyer Hotel in Sacramento, CA will offer a complimentary glass of wine to guests who show their “I Voted” sticker from October 24 to November 3 on the hotel’s rooftop bar and lounge, Revival. The hotel is near the Golden 1 Center, an arena that will serve as a voting center on those dates.
In Denver, from now through Nov. 3, a red, white, and blue “Rock the Vote” cocktail will be complimentary to guests who sport their “I Voted” sticker and purchase a menu item at Local Jones restaurant at the Halcyon hotel in Cherry Creek.
The Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery, in Arlington, VA, which boasts of serving sweets and sides to Washington insiders, will have two special candidate-themed sandwiches on the menu November 2 and 3: a catfish filet for Trump and a sliced roasted turkey sandwich for Biden. Each sandwich will come with a complimentary “Vote” sugar cookie with red, white, and blue icing.
And starting at 5 pm PST on Election Night, The Hoxton, Portland will be hosting a political trivia night with an evening-long Happy Hour and comfort-food snack fest with corn dogs, chowder, tater tots and apple pie. Tickets start at $4.60 and include a welcome drink. For those anticipating a late night or who just want to stay in bed until the election results are tallied, the hotel is offering 30% off rooms that week with code AUTUMN.
Stay over, sleep it off
The Crossroads Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri is offering a “Not at a Crossroads” package on November 3 to guests who show proof of voting. The $169 room rate includes CBD gummies, Painkiller cocktails and a variety of candies and snacks, including WHOMP popcorn, Hot Tamales and Milk Duds.
Through November 3 Les Cactus Palm Springs is offering a 10% discount, a bottle of wine and a relaxing Mar Mar candle on all reservations of 3 nights or more to guests who show valid proof of voter registration.
In Washington, D.C. guests at the Kimpton George Hotel who show an “I Voted” sticker or an Early Voting equivalent, will receive a ‘surprise & delight’ from the front desk in the form of a small gift, food or beverage amenity, upgrade or late check out. And in addition to the hotel’s normal wine offerings at the complimentary daily wine hour, on Election Day the options will include a glass of bubbly or a glass of whiskey from Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home.