Well, maybe not exactly love-hate.
More like love-OMIGOD-I-CAN’T-READ-ANY-MORE-OF-THESE-ITTY-BITTY-SIGNS-OR-MY-EYES-ARE-GOING-TO-FALL-OUT-OF-MY-HEAD-AND-I’M-SOOOOOO-HUNGRY-IT’S-LIKE-I-HAVEN’T-EATEN-FOR-AN-HOUR-AHHHHHHHHHH-I’M-TOTALLY-GOING-TO-DIE-IN-HERE!!!!
But I can really only take about an hour of museum-going before I’m tired and cranky and hungry and distracted by something sparkly.
What can I say? I’m basically a three-year-old in a thirty-eight-year-old body.
When going to museums, I try to stick to really small museums or free museums. That way I can either get through the whole lot pretty quickly or I can leave after an hour without feeling like I wasted my money.
So it was kind of by accident that I visited the Grand Rapids Public Museum this past Tuesday.
My plan was to go to the Grand Rapids Art Museum, which is free on Tuesdays. Then I was going to bum around town for a while before heading to Founder’s Brewery to drink beer. But almost all of the exhibits at the art museum were closed due to construction, so it took me all of twenty minutes to get through. When I was finished, it was too rainy to bum around town and too early to just go drink beer.
So I ended up at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, which is neither free nor particularly small. In fact, the museum is three floors high and, according to my rough count, has something like fifty kajillion exhibits.
Upon purchasing my ticket, I asked for some advice on how to go about tackling the monstrous museum. The attendant behind the counter suggested I start at the third floor and work my way down through all the exhibits because apparently I look like some kind of super-human person.
I really didn’t think I’d be able to do it, but I did a much better job than I expected.
I spent over two hours in the museum.
I visited almost all of the exhibits.
I didn’t hurt anyone in the process.
And I learned a lot.
Okay, maybe learned is not the right word.
Let’s just say, I looked at a lot of things and took a lot of pictures. But I can’t really say I read a lot of signs because THREE FLOORS OF EXHIBITS, YOU GUYS.
Luckily, I have a pretty good imagination, so when I got tired of reading signs, I just tried to imagine what all the exhibits were about. Which is almost like learning things. Except maybe not.
10 Things I Learned at the Grand Rapids Public Museum (And by “learned” I mean “totally made up.” I’ll just go ahead and apologize now.)
1. Michigan really likes fossils. Also, wolverines are jerks.The first exhibit I stopped by was all about Michigan.
Seeing as it was my very first exhibit and I wasn’t tired and cranky and hungry yet, I read almost all the signs and learned quite a bit about my new home state.
Also, despite being called “the wolverine state,” Michigan has very few wolverines these days. Which is probably a good thing as according to the signs I read, wolverines are pretty much jerkholes.
2. I am really super duper old.Here’s something that you don’t necessarily want to see in a museum case: the toys that you used to play with as a kid.
If Michigan is looking for another state fossil, maybe I could volunteer? Because, apparently, I’m as old as dirt.
Or as old as Post-it Notes and ATM machines. Which is pretty darn old.
3. If you stand in front of a stuffed moose and hold your camera at the right angle, you can make it look as if you have antlers coming out of your head.And, you’re welcome.
4. When not underwater, clams like to hang out in fireplaces.
I always pictured clams to be more the furnace-loving type.
5. I suck at Legos.I used to think I was fairly decent at Legos. I mean, I’ve made a few Lego houses in my day. And I always do the thing where you stagger the Legos so the walls don’t fall down.
And then I came across this exhibit of famous buildings made out of Legos:
And, yeah, I suck.
6. But that’s okay because I rock at guessing Civil War camp smells.My sadness over my grossly inadequate Lego skills was soon lessened when I learned that I am surprisingly good at guessing Civil War camp smells.
You see, there was this Civil War exhibit, and one of the things on display was this barrel.
Along the perimeter of the barrel were these holes that you could smell and then you could guess which hole corresponded with which Civil War camp smell. I managed to guess all the smells correctly! Despite having no idea what salt pork is!
I know, right? This skill is going to come in handy SO MUCH! I mean, how many times have you been hanging out at a Civil War camp, thinking, “What is that I smell? Whiskey? Coffee? Gun powder? Cigars? If only there was someone around here who knew!”
I expect to be pretty much the most popular girl at Civil War camp this summer.
7. Armadillo purses exist. And I need one.
Also, that button coat is pretty groovy.
8. Just say no. To Starbucks.In one of the displays, there was this great collection of vintage cautionary books for kids about drug use. There were books on the dangers of opiates, marijuana and crack.
Because basically the same thing, right?
I especially love the judgy, disappointed expressions on the cartoon kids’ faces. Like, “Oh, God, Mr. Smith is at it again with his nasty coffee habit. Gah! It smells like a Civil War camp up in here.”
9. A Dilophosaurus once guarded the streets of old Grand Rapids.Now, them were the good old days, amirite?
10. Dolls are alive. And they’re hungry. FOR YOUR FACE.
Honestly, I can’t really think of anything more frightening than an entire exhibit of old dolls. In fact, as soon as I saw the sign, I was terrified.
But by then I’d been in the museum for a good two and a half hours and was hungry and tired and seriously in need of a beer, and I was not making the best judgment calls, so I figured I’d check out one more exhibit because what’s the worst that could happen and OMIGOD THAT DOLL IS TRYING TO HYPNOTIZE ME WITH ITS EYES SO IT CAN EAT MY FACE OFF.
And that’s when I knew it was time to leave and go drink beer until the beer erased all images of face-eating dolls from my head.
Sadly, the beer didn’t erase the images of the face-eating dolls from my camera.
I think I’m going to need more beer.
A LOT more beer.What’s your relationship with museums? Do you love them? Hate them? Love them, but can’t spend more than an hour in them before you get tired and hungry and scared old timey dolls are going to eat your face off? (This is totally a rational response, by the way.)