A Road Trip Through Texas: Day 6

I decided to go back to Fort Worth for a second day since I’d only spent a short time there the first time.

I began by going to the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Two minor, but real issues. The second floor is not currently open for viewing. And they have a photography collection of amazing photos, but only a few are actually on display. I know I’m not very good at photography, but seeing really great photos in person strikes me just the same as seeing any other great piece of art.

This was probably my favorite piece in the museum. Because even though it was done over a hundred years ago, the message I took away from it is something we know is still prevalent today. But I’ll let you decide what you think of it.

Immediately after leaving the Amon Carter I went to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. This absolute beauty awaits you just as you walk into the galleries. It was done by an artist who continuously uses books as subjects in his art.

I said in one of the previous posts that I wanted more modern art. This museum was great for it. All works were done after WWII. Many of them by American artists.

I feel like I’m starting to have something of an artsy eye. I saw this and thought to myself “that looks like a Picasso”, and it is!

What I enjoy about modern art is that it isn’t only one medium. It isn’t only paintings or sculptures or photos, it’s whatever we can come up with.

Like this. From the picture it likely looks like any other oil on canvas painting. But it isn’t. It’s actually a photo. But it also isn’t just any photo. It’s the backyard of one of the Tsarnaev brothers at his Cambridge, MA home. Still more. This was created using a widely circulated photo of his wife leaving the home after the Boston Marathon bombings. The artist removed her from the photo and built a replica himself just for this picture. How incredible is that?

I finished the day at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. Something that isn’t clear online (at least for me) is it is 100% for kids. The entire first floor has no real galleries, only interactive exhibits for kids. The second floor includes the Cattle Raisers Museum, which had some cool stuff, but I wasn’t there for that.

I still made my way through it, but in total I spent maybe 45 minutes there before leaving. It was my first three museum day, and ultimately the last day of my trip. I have more to do, but I’m going home. This has been a great weeklong getaway. Now I still have this weekend to prepare for normalcy on Monday.

Advertisements

A Road Trip Through Texas: Day 5

Another late start for me. Not because I wanted more sleep, although that’ll always be the case, but because I had to pack up all my things before leaving for the day. It was my last day in my Airbnb. Since I decided to lengthen my time in Dallas I’m staying the rest of my trip with my brother.

So because of that, because I also decided to get breakfast beforehand, and I had a 45 minute drive to get to Fort Worth I only visited one museum. The Kimbell Art Museum, which has the only Michelangelo painting in any American museum! Seen above.

I had limited expectations because I thought a museum created by a wealthy couple may struggle to keep pace with other museums. Wrong.

I can’t speak for the size of their permanent collection, but everything they had on display was rather amazing. Many of the sculptures on display were thousands of years old. And some of the paintings were more than 500 years old!

I was a little disappointed not to visit any other places, but I’ve gone to quite a few so far.

After I left the museum I had to burn a little time. I went to the Half Price Books Flagship store! Oh my. I didn’t take pictures because I didn’t want anyone to be like “what’s he doing?”, but y’all! I’ve been to 6 different locations in Houston. The flagship store might be bigger than all of them combined! By far the biggest bookstore I’ve ever been inside. They have tons of everything. A coffee shop. An events room because they have real author events. An entrance specifically for selling your books. An information desk when you get lost in the maze of everything. And lots of places to sit down.

I decided against buying any new books, but I did find a nice replacement copy for a book I’ve had a long time in really bad condition.

A Road Trip Through Texas: Day 3

I didn’t have a late start today! Or did I? Anyway, I began the day by visiting the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the SMU Campus here in Dallas. Fun fact: my initial plan was to do this Saturday. But, sleep.

The museum itself was extremely well done. This is probably my second favorite of the four I’ve now visited. It’s a good size and had a nice exhibit on presidential retreats I really enjoyed.

But I feel like I have to be fully transparent. There’s quite a bit on 9/11 and the War on Terror. Most of it is quality material. There’s a 9/11 memorial inside the museum. This part of the museum stands out among everything else. But when I visited the LBJ library in Austin I remember walking out thinking I’d learned quite a bit about the man, but also that the museum didn’t sugar coat anything. He left office because everything he was doing up to the 1968 election was being heavily criticized and there was a solid chance he’d lose, anyway. So he walked away.

But in the Bush 43 library there was nothing on the financial crisis. At the very end of the museum there’s a wall called Crisis Management and issues were simplified down to a sentence or two.

How can the stock market crash of 2008 and the subsequent recession it kicked off get no attention whatsoever? There was VERY little on Iraq. And of course there was no mention of the fact that he was leaving office with no political capital left. I don’t expect the museum to tear him down. But there was a lot going on during those 8 years and I think a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration should present the reality.

After leaving there I went to the Perot Museum of Science and Nature.

I had lofty expectations because it is so well reviewed online. It’s a brand new, modern museum. It’s interactive. And the entry fee is on the high side. But it seemed to be geared toward children way more than I was expecting. There’s an entire floor of games and robot stuff for kids.

They do have the largest T Rex in the world on display, so that was nice. But I made it through an entire science museum in half the time as the presidential library. That should be switched.

One thing I did like was the benches had these different fun little facts on them.

Tomorrow will be a long day, but only because I’m going to an Astros game here in Dallas!

The Diary of an Unhappy Nobody: Day 3

I said yesterday that I’d tell y’all about the first organization I’ll be donating to this year in my yearlong effort to be more giving.

But first I need to tell you why.

Last April I purchased a new vehicle. Fully electric. Why? Because I believe every one of us should do what we can to preserve and protect our planet. But circumstances forced me to purchase a gas powered vehicle a week ago. I’m not one bit happy about it.

What I know is scientists working in many different fields are constantly coming up with technologies or improving processes to protect and preserve the earth. Scientists are working to save your planet even if you refuse to “believe” in climate change. It might be funny if it wasn’t so serious.

The first organization I’ll be supporting in 2018 will be the Houston Museum of Natural Science. I love museums more than any person I know. But it’s so much more than that. When huge swaths of the population claim not to “believe” in climate change or evolution it just leaves one questioning where the hell we are and how we got here.

HMNS is an incredible place of scientific knowledge. Scientific fact. Scientific history. Scientific education. 

Boston: Final Thoughts

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?

Why I want to Visit the World’s Museums

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.

A Letter to Boston

Dear Boston,

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?

Sincerely,

A Wannabe World Traveler

John Guillen