American Museum of Natural History, New York, Photo via Flickr cc, Thursday July 18, 2019. Retrieved Jan 17, 2021 from
Perched on a hilltop above Bentwood, LA’s posh neighborhood, the Getty Museum is a playground for architecture and art lovers. Photo:Getty. March 30, 2017, Retrieved Jan 17, 2021 from

Upon reflection for the question above, I will start with my earliest experience. As a young child growing up in Germany, my first experiences revolved around weekly outings with family members to all sorts of places in particular museums and zoos. Walking and taking trains were common place for our family outings. My uncle would take me to areas in the museum that a child would be interested in. He loved answering my questions.

After moving stateside, my family and I had the opportunity to visit additional museums in New York and Washington D.C. My idea of a museum has not changed from a child to an adult. It is a place of wonder that evokes questions about broad topics, as well as the creation of how ideas began and physically take shape. These physical artifacts and their displays create a window into a unique time and place. Museums provide an environment that entices all who enters its doors. Museums are educational, exploratory, applied, creative, and offer thought provoking environments to all, no matter your age.

As an adult, I had the opportunity to visit the Milwaukee Public Museum of Natural History in Wisconsin with my own children. I took photos of my tour. Maybe, I will be able to find them and share with the class my trip from years ago. The museum had a huge Native American exhibit, as well as wildlife exhibits. The displays were detailed and life like. The attention to details were amazing, right down to the feathers on the ducks and pheasants.

Upon a military move, we ended up in southern California. I’ve had numerous opportunities to explore different museums. I have visited Getty Center museum and their gardens as part of a class field trip in college. I’ve visited the Riverside Art museum numerous times. The Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens were overwhelming. In one room that was on display, tapestries hung from the walls and the furniture was vibrant with colors of red and gold. This display depicted a castle’s furnishings. I learned that carpet was placed on the walls to keep the rooms warms and to add decorations as well. I remember my thoughts upon viewing this display. I could not believe that people lived so well and had quality furnishings during this particular time period. Huge museums can take all day or numerous visits. Each time you visit a museum, you will inevitably find something new that wasn’t seen before. One year, I did miss the exhibit from Egypt of the mummies at the Natural History Museum. It is a beautiful museum that has hands on applied and/or interactive activities for all ages.

I often helped with displays at our campus in southern California. My Anthropology Professor was setting up a display for the Day of the Dead, which is celebrated in Mexico. Our department had no shortage of people viewing our displays. People flock to see our campus exhibits. I’ve seen so many museums, each always leaves me with many memories. It’s funny, I remember several people that were on dates. They told me that the museum is a great place to take a date. They were older people but enjoyed their time in the museum. Our exhibits evoke discussions and a sincere interest in cultures around the world.

Question: What museum would you like to visit and why?




3 Thoughts to “What is a Museum?”

  1. Tony Thompson

    Hi Barbara!

    I really enjoyed reading your post! It was great to read about your early experiences with museums. In your second paragraph, the description of the museum environment is so beautifully well-written and well-stated! I agree that the role that museums play in public engagement is very important! I love how museums have a way of kindling the sparks of curiosity and encourage people to have thoughtful conversations about the past, present, and future. That’s really interesting that you helped with the displays at the museum in Southern California! The work that goes into preparing an exhibit has always fascinated me.

    To answer your question, I would definitely have to say the American Museum of Natural History in NYC is high on my list.

    Thanks for your thoughtful post!

    1. Barbara Long

      Good Afternoon,

      Thank you for your kind comments on my post.Yes, the Museum in New York is wonderful.

  2. Michael Hubert

    hello Barbara,
    someone that has grown up in other California I know this places that you talk about in your post. thanks for sharing. I would love to go back to Europe and explore a lot of the museums that I went to years ago before I think I had the knowledge and appreciation that I would enjoy them more today.

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