Tag Archives: museums

Benjamin Franklin Museum

The weather is getting warmer and the summer is coming soon, I hope to see more places this year, but we’ll see how that goes. Any who, continuing on with my previous adventures in Philly…

Benjamin Franklin Museum, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Benjamin Franklin Museum is open 7 days a week, from 9am to 5pm. Admission to the museum is $5. The museum is part of Franklin Court, which was Benjamin Franklin’s Philadelphia residence from 1763 until his death. Franklin Court contains the “Fragments of Franklin Court” exhibit, a Printing Office and the courtyard, which all are accessible to visitors. (My one-tracked mind latched onto to the museum as the main event, so I was unaware about the additional exhibit and the printing office. I suppose they are also part of the reason as to the small crowds when I visited.) The museum is accessible by car and public transportation. There is no onsite parking for those who intend to drive, but there are various parking lots within a mile of the museum. For those who wish to use public transportation, take the SEPTA Market-Frankford Subway, the blue line, to the 2nd Street station or 5th Street Station (they’re about equidistant from the museum) and then walk a few blocks to reach the museum. Visitors can see the other attractions at Franklin Court if they have time, or walk a little further to visit Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. If it’s too much history for one day, then stroll around the corner to the museum at Chemical Heritage Foundation (which I highly enjoyed).

The Benjamin Franklin Museum is located underground, beneath Franklin Court. The museum is one floor and contains five exhibits exploring the different aspects of Franklin’s life. Right at the start of the museum, visitors can find Skugg the squirrel, who is a sort of scavenger type-like guide for visitors; he can be found sporadically throughout the museum, pointing out fun tidbits. The first exhibit is “Ardent and Dutiful”, which focuses on Franklin’s personal life. Visitors can learn about his family, his friends, his hobbies and even his household expenses. Franklin suffered from gout, due to excessive eating of red meat and drinking wine, hence he wrote a story about a conversation he would have with his personified gout; visitors can view a clip of the story at this exhibit.

The next exhibit is “Ambitious and Rebellious”, which focuses on Franklin’s life as a printer. Franklin bought the Pennsylvania Gazette, oftentimes contributing pieces to the newspaper under various alias, and made it one of the most successful newspapers during his time. The exhibit contains some of the tools that are needed for printing. Following is “Motivated to Improve”. This exhibit highlights various inventions and ideas that came about because of Franklin, such as bifocals, the “Franklin Stove”, universities, lending libraries and home deliveries by the postal system.

Most people have heard the story of Franklin flying a kite with a key during a thunderstorm, thereby discovering electricity. “Curious and Full of Wonder” focuses  on his other experiments with electricity and science, in general. The last exhibit is “Strategic and Persuasive”, which showcases Franklin’s time as a diplomat. Included in the exhibit is the “Join or Die” cartoon used to encourage the American colonies to unite against British rule. The museum ends with a small segment on Franklin’s efforts to write an autobiography that he never finished.

My travel buddy and I spent about 45 minutes at the museum, but the timing will vary from person to person. Admission to the museum is reasonable for the amount of material that is on display. Adults and children will both enjoy a visit as there is enough information to keep the adults busy and equally as much for children to touch and interact with, thus it’s a good place to bring the whole family for a visit. If you’re visiting Philadelphia, it is only appropriate to take some time to learn about Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and “The First American”, and a great place to start is at the Benjamin Franklin Museum.

Museum at the Chemical Heritage Foundation

 Life’s been a bit hectic lately, so I’ve been busy attending to it, and neglecting this a bit, but now I’m back… Considering that I’ve lived in NYC all my life, and that Philadelphia is only 2 hours away, it’s a pity that I’ve never been there until last summer when I took a spontaneous trip to Philadelphia. Philly has so many things that I want to see, but on the top of my list is one that is less well-known…

Museum at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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The Museum at the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm; on the first Friday of the month, from March to December, the museum is open from 10am to 8pm. (I think they’ve changed the hours since I went as I distinctly remember them not being on open on the weekend, which is why I went on a Friday.) Admission to the museum is free, but they  have a suggested donation of $5. The museum is accessible by both car and public transportation. Should you decide to drive, which you may have to if you’re coming from out of state, note that the museum doesn’t have onsite parking, but there are plenty of parking garages within a mile. Public transportation to the museum is pretty simple if you are already in Philly: take the SEPTA Market-Frankford Subway, the blue line, to the 2nd Street station and then walk a few blocks to reach the museum. There are plenty of other things to do around the area, such as the Benjamin Franklin Museum, which is right by the museum, and if you walk a little further, you’ll be at Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

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The Chemical Heritage Foundation is an institution that promotes and preserves the understanding of the history of science; it consists of a library, museum, archive, research center and conference center. The Museum at CHF is a rather small museum within the Foundation, but is comprised of 4 exhibits, 3 of which are permanent and 1 is a rotating exhibit. The main exhibit “Making Modernity” provides an overview of how chemistry is part of everyday life. “Making Modernity” is broken into 11 different sections that focus on different aspects of chemistry. The first section is  about the origins of chemistry and what people considered as chemistry. The next section is “Materials for the Masses”, which shows the contributions chemistry has made to society, such as synthetic fibers and plastics. “Tools for the Task” focuses on the tools used in chemistry, such as beakers, balances and other specialized glassware.

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The largest section is “Empowering Technologies”, which focuses on how chemistry helped overcome the limits of time, space and speed through the developments of batteries, light bulbs and computer chips, respectively. There are 4 smaller sections in the middle of the room that highlight the more sophisticated tools, such as microscopes, spectrometers and various types of chemical detectors. Also in the middle of the room is a video column that has an interactive panel and a video on the periodic table.

On the second floor are the last two sections of the exhibit, “Becoming a Chemist” and “Chemists and the Wider World”. “Becoming a Chemist” contains a variety of notes and books related to the field. The section also contains some games and lab kits that were available to children. “Chemists and the Wider World” focuses on how chemistry is portrayed in the arts, how chemistry became a more unified field with the introduction of chemical symbols so that all scientists know that C stands for carbon or O for oxygen, how chemistry has impacted the world-both the good and the bad, and how chemistry continues to evolve.

The rotating exhibit that was on display when I visited was “Science at Play”, which was on view from October 2015 to September 2016. The exhibit highlighted the various toys and kits that came about to encourage kids to explore science. Chemistry kits and miniature laboratories came about in the early 1900s and became mass produced consumer goods. Early kits predominantly featured boys on the covers, but as more females became involved in the sciences, girls started appearing on the covers, too. The exhibit also contains other toys that came about due to science, such as the View-Master (I had one way back when, I adored the thing.)

The museum has two other exhibits,  “Transmutation: Alchemy in Art” and “The Whole of Nature and the Mirror of Art”. Unfortunately, I missed these two exhibits as they aren’t directly connected to the main exhibit, so I didn’t even know there is more to see. (If you decide to visit, remember to look out for these two, they are elusive.)

My travel buddy and I spent about an hour at the museum, but as always others can spend more or less time depending on their interest levels. (My buddy took about half the time that I did, so the time allotted is just an estimate.) Admission to the museum is free, so it’s a great place to drop by, take a look and learn a little chemistry. The museum is more suitable for adults and older children as there is plenty of reading involved, and the museum isn’t really interactive so it may not keep younger kids interested for long. When people think of chemistry, they think of a laboratory with flames and boiling liquid, but that’s not all it is,  just visit the Museum at the Chemical Heritage Foundation and find out how chemistry is actually a part of the everyday.

Salem Witch Museum

Last Massachusetts post from May, met my own expectations of posting within half a year of visiting. Yay! This post would’ve been much more relevant  if it was posted around Halloween, but still a fun visit…

Salem Witch Museum, located in Salem, Massachusetts

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The Salem Witch Museum is open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm; with extended hours during the summer and the month of October. Admission to the museum is $11. The museum doesn’t have its own parking lot, but there are several parking garages with nominal fees that are within walking distance should you desire or need to drive. If you are already in Salem, walking to the museum is the best option. The Salem Witch museum is a bit out of the way from the main tourist area, but it is right next to Salem Common, a wonderful outdoor space with monuments and a gazebo where one can just sit and enjoy some sun and grass.

The Salem Witch museum is divided into two sections, and both are guided: the first section is a presentation where visitors take a seat and watch for an allotted time, and the second section is with a live museum guide.  (I’m not exactly sure about their photography policy, but I don’t think they allow it, so there’s no other photos in this post.) The first section is a presentation of the Salem witch trials where visitors get to experience the trials through a combination of narration, lighting and 13 dioramas. The trials lasted a little over a year, but they resulted in the death of 20 innocents: 19 people were hanged and 1 was pressed to death by rocks, and even 2 dogs were hanged by association. If you’ve read The Crucible by Arthur Miller, you will realize that the characters in the play are actually real people who had a part in the trials, such as Abigail Williams, Tituba and John Proctor. The second section is an exhibit called Witches: Evolving Perceptions, where a live guide explains how witches evolved from pagan midwives who used healing herbs to the modern day witch with the green skin. A bit of pagan history and Wiccan Religion is also covered. Lastly, the guide explains about the phenomenon that is “witch hunting”, which is brought on by widespread fear and a trigger that leads to a scapegoat deemed as the “witches” of society. Through this explanation, one understands that the Salem witch trials isn’t an isolated event, this phenomenon has happened again and continues to happen in society, e.g. McCarthyism.

My buddies and I spent about 1 hour at the museum; the presentation section is about 30 minutes long and the live guide section is about 10 minutes long. One should allocate an additional 10 minutes to waiting on line to get a good seat for the first section as the ticket is timed, and the doors don’t open till then, but if you don’t particularly care, you can just head in when the doors open. For the second section, the group is split into two groups (your ticket will have either A or B) as the exhibit area is smaller and can’t accommodate the large group, so while one group is in the second section, the other group can hang out in the gift shop. (Their gift shop easily fitted the second group of people. Also, what a good way to entice visitors to buy something at the gift shop.) The museum is a fairly good family trip idea, but younger children may not respond so well to the dark setting and lighting.  As Salem is most famous for the witch trials in 1692, a good place to learn about it and more about Salem is at the Salem Witch Museum.

Peabody Essex Museum

Salem, Massachusetts is best known for the Salem Witch trials that occurred in 1692. The city does have a witchy-theme, but that’s not all there is to Salem. Salem has plenty of other non-witch related places to see, one such is…

Peabody Essex Museum, located in Salem, Massachusetts

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The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm; every third Thursday of the month, the museum is open till 9pm. Admission to the museum is $20, and an additional $5 for Yin Yu Tang: A Chinese House. If you are already in Salem, the best way to get to the museum is by walking there. If you are traveling from outside of Salem, getting to the museum by car would be the best option; the museum doesn’t have its own parking lot, but there are various lots with relatively cheap rates nearby. The PEM is located in the tourist section of Salem, so there are plenty of other things to do within walking distance to make it a fun and worthwhile day trip.

The Peabody Essex Museum consists of three floors of art, and visitors can go about however they like, as there isn’t a set route to take. My main reason to visit the museum was to see the Chinese house, thus I paid the extra amount and started there first. Yin Yu Tang was built around 1800 in southeastern China, and was inhabited by eight generations of the Huang family. It was dismantled and reassembled at the PEM, and is presented as it was last inhabited in the 1980s so that visitors can learn about the architecture and culture of China. The house is two stories tall, and is decorated with a variety of objects that are original to the house that show how the Chinese lived. Yin Yu Tang has a no photography policy (thus no photos), but it comes with an audio guide for visitors to listen to as they explore to better understand the house and the decorations. Yin Yu Tang is significantly different from western style houses, and it’s worth the extra money and time to take a look.

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The first exhibit that I visited after Yin Yu Tang was on Chinese art, “Double Happiness: Celebration in Chinese Art”. The exhibit highlights the role art played in special occasions, such as seasonal festivals, religious ceremonies, birthdays, weddings, and the remembrance of the dead. The various items on display allow visitors to get a glimpse of life in China. Following is an exhibit on Native American Art, “Raven’s Many Gifts: Native Art of the Northwest Coast”. The exhibit contains art from the indigenous people of the Northwest Coast that was made throughout the past 200 years.

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“Asian Export Art: China” is located in three different rooms and all focus on porcelain. Porcelain is a ceramic material that resembles a shell’s translucent surface; porcelain making originated in China, and thus was heavily exported by the Chinese. The three different exhibits all feature a variety of porcelain objects, from figurines to vases to plates and bowls.

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The Art and Nature Center is split into two exhibits: a permanent exhibit and a special rotating exhibit. In the permanent exhibit, visitors can see birds, fish, and mammals that are found in nature; very similar to exhibits that one sees at natural history museums. (I haven’t really thought about it, but the stuffed animals we see at natural history museums are a work of art; someone has to make the animals and the displays).  The rotating exhibit was “Sizing It Up: Scale in Nature and Art”, which was on view from October 10,2015 to September 18, 2016. This exhibit focused on art that explores size and proportion, and has some interactive elements to engage visitors. I don’t really get contemporary art (or art in general), but I particularly liked the pieces where the artists manipulated everyday small objects to be larger than life, such as the donut piece above(third row left); it’s odd, but interesting.

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Moving on to the second floor is the “East India Marine Hall” that commemorates the members of the East India Marine Society, who were among the first Americans to bring back art from their travels. The exhibit features a variety of cultural objects, paintings and portraits of the members of the society. Following is an exhibit on American art, “American Art: Traditions Transformed”. The pieces featured in this exhibit are made using numerous different types of material, and are for domestic purposes with innovative twists. “Intersections: Anila Quayyum Agha” is another special rotating exhibition that is on view until October 16, 2016. The exhibit, which is inspired by traditional Islamic architecture motif, contains a single lantern that lights up the room in a geometric pattern that is quite beautiful to behold.

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Continuing on the second floor is “Japan on the Move”, an exhibit that features Japanese art from 3000 years ago to the present. In addition to figurines and paintings, the exhibit also contains a small collection of Japanese ceramics. There are two additional “Asian Export Art: China” exhibits on the second floor. The first of the two focuses on silver. China actually traded items for the silver, and then turned the raw material into a more refined form, silverware, that was then exported back to Europe. China had skilled silversmiths that copied Western pieces to exact likeness, but for a fraction of what it would cost to produce in Europe. (The beginnings of outsourcing to Asian countries?) The other exhibit focuses on other types of exported items, such as furniture, paintings, and decorative objects (it has a no photography policy, thus no photos; the exhibit is small and can be easily missed if you don’t look for it.)

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“Asia in Amsterdam: The Culture of Luxury in the Golden Age” was a special rotating exhibit that the museum had on view from February 27, 2016 to June 5, 2016. The exhibit explored the impact that Asian luxuries had on Dutch art and life in the 17th century. The exhibit was separated into several galleries with different themes that highlighted the influence the Asian amenities had. A variety of different objects, ranging from paintings to books to textiles to furniture, were on view.

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First up on the third floor is an Indian art exhibit, “MegaCity: India’s Culture of the Streets”, which contains several vibrant paintings. There is also an “Asian Export Art: Japan” that focuses on porcelain and lacquer from Japan. Ceramics from Japan were only accessible to Europeans through trade with the Chinese or Dutch due to Japan’s self-imposed policy of isolation because of the rapid spread of Christianity in Japan.

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Finishing out the third floor was the special rotating exhibition, “Rodin: Transforming Sculpture”, which was on view from May 14, 2016 to September 5, 2016. Auguste Rodin is such a celebrated sculptor due to his ability to capture the emotional and psychological complexities of human beings. The exhibit had a variety of iconic sculptures and works in progress, and also live performers (not sure what they were doing, they seemed to be dancing). Visitors were able to see replicas of Rodin’s most famous works, such as “The Thinker”, “The Kiss”, and “The Gates of Hell”.

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There are two additional exhibits on the first floor, American Art and Maritime Art, that I missed at the beginning. (They are isolated from the others and tucked away, so you might not notice them unless you are looking at the guide map.) The first I saw was on American Art, which all appear to furniture pieces and self portraits. One object that got my attention in this exhibit was the “Why don’t you speak for yourself, John?” sculpture, which is based on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The Courtship of Miles Standish. Apparently Longfellow’s narrative poem is quite famous as is the sculpture. The Maritime Art exhibit had a variety of ships and paintings relating to the sea on display.

My buddies and I spent about 3 hours at the museum; the Chinese House took about 45 minutes to explore, so if you choose not to see the house, you will need approximately 2 hours to see the museum, but as always, others may take more or less time depending on their interest. I’m not a big fan of art museums and try to avoid them when possible, but the Peabody Essex Museum was pretty exceptional, and well worth the time and money spent there. Art lovers will definitely have a great time at the museum, and the PEM is a good family day idea, as there are some exhibits that are for the younger crowd. When you’ve done all the touristy, witchy things that Salem has to offer, stop by the Peabody Essex Museum and embrace a bit of the high culture in the area.

Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery

This past weekend has really felt like summer with the excessive heat, so I am really thankful that I have air conditioning. Anyways, let’s think back to better weather, maybe around late May. During Memorial Day weekend, my buddies and I went to Massachusetts where we visited Boston for a bit, but our final destination was Salem. The first place we saw was…

Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery, located in Salem, Massachusetts

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Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm and Sunday from 12pm to 5pm. This schedule is applicable during the summer only, check their website for hours if you visit during any other season. Admission is $8 (save $1 if you buy the tickets online; not sure if it needs to be printed or not as I didn’t buy the tickets ahead of time.) Count Orlok’s is accessible via car and walking. If you decide to drive, there is a parking garage nearby that costs 25 cent an hour (I’ve never seen such inexpensive parking rates); you can leave your car there and explore the city for less than $5 for the whole day. Walking to the museum is an option if you are in the touristy area of Salem (near the train station). I was lucky and got a buddy to drive me around, thus I am unclear about the public transportation in Salem.  Salem is only a half hour train ride from Boston via the commuter rail, and has plenty to do, so it’s a great day trip or overnight stay idea.

Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery has a no photography policy, so there’s only the exterior photo. (I’ll try to make it short.) Count Orlok’s is a cinematic monster museum that features a variety of wax figures from horror, science-fiction and fantasy films spanning from the 1920s to about 2010. Notable wax figures include Count Dracula, Frankenstein and the clown from Stephen King’s It. (Turns out I haven’t seen as many horror films as I thought I did, so the other figures are most likely notable too, but just not to me.) The museum includes plenty of information about the films. For example,  I learned that House of Wax (1953) was the first 3-D film from a major American studio. (I had no idea 3-D movies existed quite so early.) The museum creates a spooky atmosphere using dim lighting and an eerie soundtrack, which adds to the experience. In addition to wax figures, the museum also contains some autographed photos of actors who starred in the films, the life masks of famous horror celebrities, head props and even a replica of Dracula’s ring.

I spent approximately 45 minutes at Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery. I read everything and looked at all the exhibits super thoroughly (since I can’t rely on my pictures, I had to memorize as much as possible), so I spent quite a bit of time, but as always other visitors may take more or less time. The admission price is pretty decent for what the museum has to offer, there’s enough to see to keep me occupied, and the spooky atmosphere made it more enjoyable. Horror movie fans will definitely want to make a visit, as will anyone who enjoys wax figures. Adults and older children will probably enjoy the museum, not sure about children and anyone who scares easily. Nothing jumps out or pops up, but consider if you can handle what is offered before visiting, every person scares differently. Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery is a great place to see some iconic creatures from various horror films and learn about the history of horror films, so drop by and see how these creatures came to life and became the stuff of nightmares.

National September 11 Memorial & Museum

My summer plans remain summer plans, I haven’t done anything this summer yet. I still have about two months though, and I really do hope to do something, so when I think back, I’ll be able to say “Ah, I went (fill in blank) during the summer of 2016”.  For now, let’s go back to sometime in May when I took an after work adventure, and went to the…

National September 11 Memorial & Museum, located in New York, New York

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The National September 11 Memorial and Museum consist of two separate entities, the 9/11 Memorial and the 9/11 Memorial Museum. The memorial is open daily from 7:30am to 9pm and admission is free. The museum is open Sunday to Thursday from 9am to 8pm and Friday to Saturday from 9am to 9pm. Admission to the museum is $24. The 9/11 Memorial Museum offers free admission every Tuesday after 5pm till closing. The free tickets are distributed at a first come first serve basis at the museum starting at 4pm or tickets can be reserved online one day prior. (Reserve the ticket online and print the ticket at home to avoid any unnecessary lines and for the best use of your time.) The National September 11 Memorial and Museum is accessible by various forms of public transportation and by car. There is no onsite parking and on the street parking is extremely limited, so public transportation is the best option.

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The National September 11 Memorial and Museum commemorate the September 11, 2001 attacks and the World Trade Center bombing of 1993. (A word about the 9/11 Memorial before delving into the museum.) The 9/11 Memorial is located at the site of the former World Trade Center complex, and features two reflecting pools situated where the original Twins Towers stood. The 9/11 Memorial Museum is pretty punctual with their timed tickets system, they open the door at the hour specified, but don’t expect to get in immediately, especially if there is a long line, as the security is pretty strict (Very similar to airport security; I waited about 25 minutes, which isn’t too bad.) The museum is located in the lower level of the building. Visitors start at “the Ramp/Introductory Exhibit”, which gives an overview of what happened on 9/11 and includes a variety of multi-media installations detailing the days following 9/11.

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Connecting the “The Ramp” to the other exhibitions is the “Survivor’s Staircase”, the last remaining above ground structure from the World Trade Center site. The staircase served as a route for many to escape during the September 11 attacks.  Adjacent to the staircase is the “Memorial Hall”, which features an art installation, “Trying to Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning” and a quote made by steel from the World Trade Center. Immediately in front of the staircase is the “Tribute Walk” that contains a variety of artwork created in response to 9/11. Following is the”South Tower Excavation” where visitors can see the remnants of the steel box column of the Twin Towers. Finishing out on the original footprint of the South Tower are two exhibits, “South Tower Gallery” and “In Memoriam”; both exhibits have a no photography policy. The “South Tower Gallery” features a media installation, “Rebirth at Ground Zero” that uses time-lapsed images and recorded interviews to capture the transformation of the World Trade Center site. (I skipped this exhibit as there was a long line to get in, and the run time is about 15 minutes.) Also in the gallery is “Hope at Ground Zero” a series of photographs capturing the changing landscape of Ground Zero. “In Memoriam” is the memorial exhibition, one of the two core exhibits, that commemorates the lives of those who died in September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 attacks.

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Starting on the footprint of the North Tower is the “Center Passage”, where a variety of large artifacts illustrate the scale of the 9/11 attacks. The “Foundation Hall” contains remnants of the original World Trade Center, such as the Last Column, which was the final steel beam removed from Ground Zero. Next up is the “North Tower Excavation”, where visitors can see the original North Tower box column footings. Also on display is “Witness at Ground Zero”, a series of photographs captured on the days immediately after the attacks at Ground Zero. Rounding out the North Tower exhibits are “Reflecting on 9/11” and the other main exhibit, “September 11, 2001”. “Reflecting on 9/11” allows visitors to explore others’ personal reflections about 9/11 in addition to recording their own experiences regarding the attacks. “September 11, 2001” is the main historical exhibit that is separated into three parts: the Events of the Day, Before 9/11, and After 9/11, which discuss the day of 9/11, what led to the attacks, and the immediate aftermath, respectively. (This exhibit also has a no photography policy.)

I planned to take as long as necessary at the museum as needed, but due to time constraints, I only spent a little over an hour at the museum. (I didn’t want to be the last to leave, so I sped up a bit towards the end to make sure I saw everything before the museum closed.) The museum estimates that visitors will need about 2 hours to explore the museum, and I wholeheartedly agree with that estimation, as there is plenty to see. (Also allow for an additional half hour of waiting time, so if you plan to visit, allow at least 2.5 hrs.) The 9/11 Museum is more suitable for older children and adults as it’s a place for remembrance and contemplation. Anyone interested in  history should take a visit as anyone interested in learning more about the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001. The museum offers a lot of information, but I’m not quite in agreement with the steep admission price, thus if you are unsure about museum, take advantage of the free Tuesday admissions after 5pm and visit then. (You can always make a donation to the museum after or go back again and pay the full admission price.) The National September 11 Memorial and Museum is a place to reflect, to remember, and to recover, so take a visit, regardless of whether it affected you personally or not, and think about the tragedy that occurred on September 11, 2001.

Museo del Ron y la Caña

Last post in the Dominican Republic. It took me about 8 months to write about all the places I visited there. I’m getting close to finishing all the destinations within the half year mark that I want, so I’m improving and will try to continue to do so. Now onto the last destination…

Museo del Ron y la Caña, located in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republican
(Museum of Rum and Sugar Cane)

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Museo del Ron y la Caña is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm, and admission is free. The museum is very similar to other store-museums, but one major difference is that this museum is by guided tour only. (Good thing some other people toured when my buddy and I did as guided tours aren’t quite our thing.) The museum is located a bit farther away from the main tourist destinations in the Zona Colonial, but it is still easily accessible by foot. If you are not in the Zona Colonial, a taxi is the best option to getting there. There are some other places within walking distance of the Museum of Rum and Sugar Cane that make it worth a visit.

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Museo del Ron y la Caña is housed inside a 16th century restored building and contains a variety of exhibits on rum and sugar cane, two of the country’s most exported items. The museum is rather small, there’s about 3 rooms altogether (but there’s plenty to see). There are a variety of displays and photographs explaining the importance of the two products to the Dominican Republican’s economy. In addition, the museum has numerous artifacts from the history of rum making and for the harvesting of sugar canes. There’s also a bar inside where our guide gave us some samples of their rum varieties, and if you like the rum, you can get a cup right there or a bottle to go at the store. (I felt that I should’ve bought some rum since I got a free tour and free samples, but I held out and just left cause I really didn’t want a bottle of rum.)

My travel buddy and I took about 15 minutes in the museum. The time is dependent on your guide and your group, as some guides may give more details and some people will have more questions than others. (Our guide was quiet, I’m not sure if I caught everything that was said as I spent most of the time snapping pictures, and our group didn’t have questions, so the tour was short.) The guided tour was decent, but I think it would’ve been better if the tours were a little longer so that people can learn a bit more about the displays, or if they let visitors explore on their own and had set times for rum sampling (it might attract more people with the second option as people like to sample alcoholic beverages.)  Anyone interested in rum making or tasting will want to take a visit to the museum, as will those interested in history. The museum is not a family trip destination, but is definitely for a group of friends (of drinking age) to visit. Museo del Ron y la Caña is worth a to visit, you’ll leave with a bit more knowledge on rum and sugarcane, and maybe even a bottle of rum.