This post is pretty self-explanatory. Every picture in this post was taken by me.
The flag hanging at the JFK Presidential Library and Museum.
The view from the Museum of Science, Boston
What qualifies as contemporary art
Early human skull
This is what qualifies as fine art. Also, I fell inside.
They really love their Dr. Seuss.
Where the armed resistance we know as the American Revolution began!
I also jumped on a spaceship and landed on this thing.
This qualifies as wearable art.
Okay, guys. This is just a tiny snippet of the pictures I took during my trip, which I’ll be sharing on my Instagram account over the coming days and weeks! Follow for more!
I could write a 10,000 word post about everything I loved during my trip to Boston. I could. I won’t.
Boston was simply magnificent. There are 300 year old buildings next to modern hotels. There is history on every corner. And there is water everywhere. Several of the museums and places I visited were on the water. The best view was probably from the JFK Presidential Library. I wasn’t able to do anything out on the water, but that’s okay! It was more than enough to just get a glimpse of it.
The beauty of this whole thing is I know for certain I’ll be going back. I’m not sure if it’ll be in 2017, 2018, or beyond. But I know it’ll happen. And I’ll be just as excited for round two as I was for the first time.
Again, I cannot encourage you enough to visit as many places as you possibly can. Austin, DC, and Boston have been first on my list. What’s on yours?
Over the next few days I’ll likely be posting a wrap up of my vacation. But first I wanted to post once more about why I want to travel to cities all over the world and visit their museums.
It comes down to one thing, but this one thing is as important as any other thing in my life. Learning. I understand that some people kind of give up on learning new things once they’ve earned their degree and gotten a good job. But there’s so much out there I’ll never get to experience. We like to think 70-80 years on earth is an eternity. But it isn’t. Not even close. My primary purpose is to learn as much as I possibly can during my brief time on earth. That’s it. There are other things I’d like to do, but learning trumps them all.
I’m one person in a world of billions. I only know one life experience. Mine. Is it so unbelievable to want to learn about the experiences of other cultures, people, and geographic areas? I don’t think so. Museums work to preserve. And I work to learn.
I’m leaving you today. I suppose we both knew this would be the end result. But there are so many things I’ve loved about you. I wanted to let you Know a few of them.
The history. There’s history everywhere. Which means there’s ample opportunity to learn. And that’s my sole aim. To learn as much as I possibly can during my brief time on earth.
The museums. Boston is a city of museums. This of course is right in line with the history. Museums are about educating, and it seems that Boston is doing a wonderful job of educating.
Education. I’m from Houston. There are a number of universities located within the city. At least one is highly ranked among all universities in the country. But Houston simply doesn’t have the university presence Boston does. Which leads me to believe that the city is a hub for obtaining knowledge. Boston University. Northeastern. MIT. Harvard. I mean, wow. And yes, I realize Harvard is actually in Cambridge but SHH.
The diversity. Again, I’m from Houston. A city regularly touted as the most diverse city in the country. And heck, maybe it is. But everywhere I went in Boston I saw it on display. I heard more languages spoken than I can possibly count. In Houston I regularly hear two. English and Spanish. In eight days in Boston I probably heard 10.
But at the end of our brief time together there was certainly some negative. The roads. The roads here are terrible. And what’s with those weird three way intersections with no stop lights or anything? Are you asking for car accidents to happen?
But this isn’t about being negative. We had a spectacular eight day relationship. Maybe we can still be friends?
A Wannabe World Traveler
I began my day by making the short drive to Concord, MA and visiting the Concord Museum. Though relatively small, the museum had some great information and exhibits. I didn’t know so many prominent authors had ties to the small city. Louisa May Alcott. Ralph Waldo Emerson. Henry David Thoreau. And others.
I followed with a trip to Minute Man National Park about a like away. The park is rather large, but the focal point for me was the Old North Bridge. This was the site of the battle of Lexington and Concord. There’s a statue of a minute man, a statue to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battle, and an English gravesite. One of the more interesting places I’ve been to on this trip.
I then made the short drive into Lexington, MA to visit Buckman Tavern. This was where members of the rebellion waited for the British to arrive just prior to that first battle. It’s very small, but on the second floor there’s a new exhibit on 18th century social media. It gives such great perspective because we think we have so many advancements in how news is spread, but in reality all we’ve done is speed up the process a bit. The exhibit compares Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and even fake news to the different methods used during the 18th century. A great exhibit. And that was my day.
I planned on visiting the Louisa May Alcott house and Ralph Waldo Emerson House, but one was closed and the other closed very early in the day. Too bad.
Ugh. Today was not the most productive day. I began the day by picking up my rental car. But it didn’t go smoothly. At first they wouldn’t give me the car because they said Equifax declined it or denied it through their system even though the score requirement was well below what my score actually is. When I called customer service he told me he could cancel the previous reservation and start a new one. I’d pay $217 for four days instead of the $90 I originally paid. Not happening. Eventually the woman at the counter figured it out and I got the car after almost an hour.
I began my day with a 60 mile drive to Springfield to visit the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. It wasn’t worth the time or the $24 admission fee. It seems like they put in the bare minimum as far as exhibits and information. There’s a basketball court that takes up most of the first floor. Seems like a giant waste of space to me.
Followed up with a trip to Springfield Museums. It’s four museums located adjacent to one another around a Dr. Seuss sculpture garden. Yes, a Dr. Seuss sculpture garden. Honestly, the sculptures were pretty great. The Dr. Seuss museum is opening here later this year.
The first museum of the four I went to was the Museum of Science. I’d hardly call it a museum. It was mostly dioramas. Which are nice, but an entire museum made of them isn’t worth the price of admission. Then moved on to the Museum of Fine Arts. A much needed pleasant surprise. They had an exhibit on loan from the Smithsonian. I think it was called Jeweled Up. It was regular everyday objects JEWELED UP. Absolutely stunning.
I planned on ending the day at Six Flags New England. I love roller coasters and it had become a nice day outside. I went to the main gate and told them I have a Go Boston card. Which grants me free admission. I was told by two workers that the people who deal with my card had left at 5:00. It was 5:19. The card is extremely simple. I pull it up on my phone. They scan. That’s it. But they said no. The alternative was I pay $63.99. Absolutely no chance of that happening. I left. And that was my day.
I began the day with the Walk Through History tour along the Freedom Trail. The guide was in full costume and had lots information to share. It wasn’t even that bad that it started raining on us.
I followed with a brief trip to the New England Aquarium. It wasn’t high on my list so I visited for less than 90 minutes. The main attraction was the whale watch I was planning to take part in. It was going to be my first time on a boat. Of course it was canceled. So I walked across the street and watched two features at the IMAX theater. One on whales and the other on the Galapagos Islands.
I followed with another trip to Faneuil Hall. I ate and got to see three different street performers. All different acts, but all extremely entertaining. And that was my day. Today I pick up my rental car to visit some things a little outside the city.
I’m about halfway through my trip. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite photos tomorrow. Stay tuned!
I began the day with my second presidential library. This one of course built for John F. Kennedy.
I had two minor issues with the library. First, it was small. Of course he was president for less than three years, but still. Second, it focused solely on his time in the White House. At the beginning of the museum there’s a short movie on his life leading up to his nomination at the 1960 Democratic National Convention. I would have like that information incorporated into exhibits rather than the film.
I next went to the Edward Kennedy Institute of the Senate. This was also rather small. But they have a replica of the Senate chamber and host different events throughout each day. They did a debate on the censure of Joseph McCarthy, a live vote of everyone in attendance on a real bill currently under consideration by the real Senate, and hearings on a fake real world problem we created. It was interesting and really interactive.
I followed that with a visit to the Institute of Contemporary Art. It’s currently under renovation. Extremeley small. If I’d had to pay for entry I’d have wanted my money back. Also, I was a little baffled by what qualifies as art. But I’m no artist.
Lastly, I finished up with the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. I discovered during the ride over that it’s the fourth largest museum in the country. An absolute behemoth. I got there around 6:30 and left around 9:30 and still didn’t cone close to getting all the way through. There were so many great exhibits and pieces. I’m most likely going back on Tuesday.
FOUR museums in one day is a new record for me. Though it was really 3.25.
I’ve been using Lyft to get around. Last night I hailed a driver with my phone at 12%. He called me probably 20 minutes later saying that the app gave him the wrong address and he was in Cambridge, nowhere near me. I explained that my phone was going to die (2% by this time) and that I’d just keep waiting, but he kept blaming the app. Over and over again. I hung up and canceled the trip. Phone died. Again. But this time it was 10:00 at night and raining. I started walking. I had my charger with me. I just needed somewhere to actually charge. I walked for 10 minutes before realizing I’d walked in a circle. I changed directions and started looking for outlets on the outside of buildings. Nothing. I finally found a Mexican restaurant open and decided to eat and then figure out what to do. Found an outlet by the restrooms. Charged up. Good to go. End of a long day.
Today wasn’t as productive as I’d have liked. Let me explain.
I started late. The goal is to make it to my first museum each day as soon as it opens. I’ve !issued that goal two days in a row now. I entered the Museum of Science, Boston around 10:30 in the morning. It opens at 9:00. So immediately the clock is against me. But I put that out of my head as soon as I enter the museum. It’s massive. Reminds me of any Smithsonian. I fall well behind schedule. I finish my trek through the museum around 2:00 PM. My original schedule gave me until noon.
At this point I knew I’d cut off something from the day. Because I happened to eat lunch in Faneuil Hall, and I wanted to explore it. So I’m walking along looking at all these cool shops and stands, right? Just minding my own business. Then it happens. I hear this girl singing live from around the corner. I can’t move. She’s so good. I find out her name is Lauren Weintraub. She’s 18. I sit there and listen to her sing for 90 minutes. Who throws EVERYTHING off. I no longer have time for any more museums. I explore the market son more and get a smoothie. By this time my phone battery is quickly dying. But it surely won’t get all the way down to 0% before I can hail a Lyft, right? Wrong. Phone died. I’m in what I think is downtown Boston with no way to get back to my Airbnb. I enter a “Mercantile Mall” believing a store would have a charger. Nothing was open. No charger. I asked the only person I came across where I could find a charger. She said CVS was nearby. I hopes she was right.
She was. And it was within walking distance. I bought a cheap charger and charged my phone in the store. All is well that ends well. I’m packing my charger everyday now. Just in case.
PS: My absolute last resort would have been to have someone hail an Uber or Lyft and then just give them the money in cash. Not sure if that would have worked.
I got off to a late start yesterday. I was tired, but my late start was due mostly to being cold. I’ve had warm weather for months now. Coming here was like walking back into winter.
First stop was the Harvard Museum of Natural History. A very nice, small museum. I’m still struggling to wrap my head around the lack of central air here. There were huge specimens on display, including a kronosauraus. Which makes a shark look like a shrimp.
That museum was followed by the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. I lucked out because the two museums are actually connected. Less time walking, more time learning.
This one had some really cool pieces on the Mayans. I felt like I walked through the Mayan Empire at one point. The most fascinating for me was an exhibit on a project Harvard students tackled a few years ago. They dug up certain areas around the campus to unearth any artifacts related to the now-demoloshed Indian College.
The third and final stop of the day was the MIT Museum. I had no big expectations for it. I knew it was small and focused almost exclusively on MIT work. Which is extensive, but seemed limiting. I was wrong. The museum is definitely small. But there’s an exhibit on ROBOTS. I haven’t seen anything like any of them. It was really cool. And lots of interactive exhibits. And one on the works and research being done by current students.
I made it all the way through all three museums I visited yesterday. I’m looking to keep the streak alive today.
Also, I has my first Mexican food here. It was forgettable.