Most Americans have a favorite museum or two. And since the world’s museum professionals look to the United States for the best way to exhibit art, natural history and other objects, there is probably a great museum near your home or work.
When it comes to international museums, there are some very interesting ones in other parts of the world that make travel and learning about other cultures fun and fascinating. As a regular traveler and lecturer on art, museums and culture all around the globe, some museums require a shout-out.
Here are some of my favorite places to view, explore, contemplate and learn.
If you want to experience a museum that has been described by words like “first,” “largest” and “best,” then travel to Tokyo and take in the a new art museum called the MORI TeamLab Digital Art Museum. Located in the Odaiba district of Tokyo, the world’s first and largest digital art museum combines art, science, and images of the natural world for a visitor experience like no other. The museum opened on June 21, 2018, and the exhibits are natural world simulations generated by 520 computers and 470 high-tech projectors displayed in five sections: Borderless World, Forest, Future Park, Forest of Lamps, and Tea House. It shows museum-goers that the future is now.
National Museum of Ireland offers a wide array of objects and exhibitions, ranging from archaeology featuring the winter solstice at the Newgrange site to 21st-century craft featuring fashion designer Ib Jorgensen. Dublin is an early Viking city dating back to 841 AD that sits along the River Liffey and was named Dubh Linn for “Black Pool.” Dublin’s major museum features a fine collection of taxidermy animals, which is always a winner with the kids and is known locally as the Dead Zoo. Recent exhibitions at the National Museum of Ireland include the Spanish Flu in Ireland, Irish Glass and Mammals of the World.
Guanuhaya Archaeology Museum in Trinidad is like most museums in this town, deemed Cuba’s museum city because of its numerous of museums of all types. It is about a one-hour drive from the 19th-century port city of Cienfuegos. As you navigate the town’s numerous cobblestones streets and enthusiastic street merchants, you’ll explore the old Spanish colonial town that now focuses on tourism, which is Cuba’s No. 1 industry. Housed in a Spanish colonial building, the Guanuhaya Archaeology Museum boasts ancient stone tools and weapons, pre-Columbian clay figural sculptures and taxidermy animals. There’s even a 2,500-year-old skeleton on display.
The Icelandic Phallological Museum is dedicated to all things and some art associated with the science of phallology. An unusual museum, the museum displays phalluses from many different species and other related artifacts.
A few tips to remember when you are in a museum anywhere in the world:
— Hands off the exhibits is a no- brainer.
— Don’t forget that the smaller the purse or backpack, the better chance you have of holding onto it as you tour. It is also good to have a small bag so you don’t run the risk of bumping your bag into a precious work of art
— If your language skills are rusty, keep your smartphone handy to translate exhibition labels or signage presented in foreign languages.
— Allow extra time to view the displays and experience the museum to the fullest.
Museums are a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and get a taste of the history as you visit some place new.
Dr. Lori Verderame is an author and antiques appraiser on History channel. With a Ph.D. from Penn State University and vast experience appraising art, antiques and artifacts worldwide for museums and collectors, Verderame is the director of DrLoriV.com, a resource for identifying art and artifacts. Visit Facebook.com/DoctorLori, or call 888-431-1010.