Design Museum Danmark | Design Nu/Danish Design Now

July 12, 2017

When I was in Copenhagen I was curious to see this exhibit about Danish design in the 21st century at the Museum of Design. I have always loved mid-century Danish design, and I wanted to see how it has evolved. With lots of beautiful and interesting objects, I was not disappointed. The exhibit makes a good case that Denmark has once again become a capital of the design world.


July 3, 2017

Micropia is an unusual museum in Amsterdam that is all about the microbes. It is a science museum about things that are too small to see with the naked eye, which most people barely know about or think about, but are a critical part of their life.

Tassenmuseum Hendrikje | It’s a Men’s World

June 29, 2017

While the Tassenmuseum Hendrikje, the Amsterdam Museum of Bags and Purses, is certainly a niche museum, the exhibit “It’s a Men’s World” is a niche within a niche — it takes the specialized interest in bags and purses and slices that further to the small fraction of men’s bags.

Rietveld Schröderhuis

June 27, 2017

I have been to several great house museums, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water, William Morris’s Red House, Gaudi’s Casa Batlló, and Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion House but I don’t remember gasps of delight like ones we all gave out with the unexpected details of the Rietveld Schröder House. I had seen Rietveld’s chairs, and photos and models of the building’s exterior in museums, but the house was full of surprises.

Museum Speelklok

June 27, 2017

I like this museum on lots of levels — it appealed to my inner child’s sense of wonder. It had technology. It had music. It had history, both of the rich and the everyman. It had design, from the baroque to deco to contemporary.

Museum Prinsenhof Delft | Porcelain for the Forbidden City

June 22, 2017

This exhibit connects two great ceramic traditions — that of the town of Jingdezhen in China, with Delft in the Netherlands. It explains how the Dutch in the 17th century imported Chinese porcelain at great expense, and then started creating their own ceramics primarily in Delft, some imitating Chinese designs, others with Dutch scenes.

Museum Het Schip

June 14, 2017

Het Schip is a social housing complex designed in 1919 by architect Michel de Klerk in the Amsterdam School style of architecture. The Museum Het Schip celebrates this masterpiece building, as well as documenting the Amsterdam School, the beautiful design of Michel de Klerk (architectural and other), and the history of the development of social housing in the Netherlands.

Teylers Museum

June 11, 2017

Teylers Museum in Haarlem is the first and oldest public museum in the Netherlands. It displays Dutch paintings, prints and drawings, scientific instruments, fossils and more, but the coolest thing on display is the museum itself.

Museum of Alchemy – Speculum Alchemiae

June 3, 2017

This museum in Prague purports to be an 16h century alchemists laboratory. However, as I entered the building through the gift shop and saw elixir of eternal life and elixir of love for sale, I knew that I would have to suspend my disbelief for the duration of the museum tour.

Radvilų rūmų muziejus | Lithuanian Traditional and Folk Costumes: Textiles, Graphic Art, Painting. Exhibition

May 27, 2017

Something about the poster for this exhibit caught our eye. We were visting Lithuania, what could be more Lithuanian than the country’s traditional costumes? And the show also featured art about these costumes, demonstrating the Lithuanian  nationalist pride in some eras, as well as Soviet celebration of the peasant in other periods.

Museumwinkel Albert Heijn

May 23, 2017

While staying in Amsterdam, we go to the Albert Heijn grocery store almost every day, so when I heard that the original store that Albert Heijn had started in 1887 had been turned into a museum in Zaans Schans I knew we would have to check it out.

Museum Het Rembrandthuis

May 20, 2017

I enjoyed visiting The Rembrandt House on several levels. First off, it is always interesting to see where the rich-and-famous have lived and worked. Second, this museum shows us a bit about life in the Dutch Golden Age. Finally the museum is set up with interesting demonstrations of the tools of a 17th century artist.

Rijksmuseum | An Ode to Maria Sibylla Merian

May 18, 2017

Visiting a massive museum full of old-master paintings like the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, it is a pleasant surprise to come across a gallery with a small gem of an exhibit like this one. Maria Sibylla Merian was a 17th century naturalist, entomologist and scientific illustrator, who is known for her books with pictures of flowers and insects.

Stedelijk Museum | Ed van der Elsken – Camera in Love

May 13, 2017

The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam’s museum of modern and contemporary art, is one of the major museums in this museum city. It shares the Museumplein plaza with the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum. Right now the Stedelijk is featuring its second huge retrospective of Ed van der Elsken, Dutch street photographer — the previous one was 25 years ago — and he has had other shows there as well.

Anne Frank House

May 9, 2017

I knew I wanted to go to this museum, so I had been rereading The Diary of Anne Frank. But what, I wondered, would the museum experience be, and how would it add to what I got out of reading the book?

Gemeente Museum | Piet Mondrian and Bart van der Leck

May 3, 2017

This year is It’s the 100th anniversary of De Stijl. To celebrate, the Gemeente museum created this exhibit about two painters and their two years of experimenting together that were critical to the birth of this movement.

Het Scheepvaartmuseum | The Atlases

April 25, 2017

The other day we saw an intriguing poster which I just had to translate — it turned out to be for the National Maritime Museum (Het Scheepvaartmuseum) in Amsterdam for a show about cartography in the Dutch golden age. Intrigued, we put it on the top of our list of museums to visit, and when we saw it, we were not disappointed.

Amsterdam Cheese Museum

April 22, 2017

Amsterdam is a city of many museums, great and small. In fact, it has two cheese museums! I picked this quirky place for the first of my Amsterdam museum blog posts.

National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology

April 12, 2017

The richness of the archeology of Ireland, as presented in this museum, is largely due to the country’s geology. Wetlands archeology digs have unearthed treasures from the Irish bogs, both literal royal treasures and unique artifacts.

Irish National Stud Horse Museum

April 11, 2017

We stumbled upon this small museum when visiting the Irish National Stud. Its collection of artifacts, augmented by wall-sized informational panels, describing the history of the horse as a species, the history of horses in Ireland, horse racing and the history of the Irish National Stud, it’s founder and its most famous horses.

National Museum of Scotland

March 29, 2017

This museum delighted me at every turn with unexpected juxtapositions. Formed in 2006 by the merger of the Museum of Scotland and the Royal Museum, the National Museum of Scotland is a eclectic amalgamation of what would in most cities be four museums – an antiquities and history museum, a technology museum, a design museum and a natural history museum.

National Library of Scotland | You are Here

March 28, 2017

This wonderful exhibit demonstrates how a small, thoughtfully crafted show can be as engaging and educational as a huge blockbuster, such as Drawing the Line at the British Library last winter.

EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum

March 20, 2017

This wonderful museum in Dublin tells the history of Irish emigration, through the clever use of technology and interactivity. There are 20 galleries, each telling a different side of the story.

Irish Whiskey Museum

March 13, 2017

I decided to visit this museum for my birthday this year, even though I knew it was going to be a “tourist trap”. My wife and I like bourbon and not Scotch, and since we are in Dublin for 3 months I wanted to learn more about Irish Whiskey.

Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio

March 4, 2017

On a recent visit to Howth, a small port town just outside of Dublin, Ireland, I discovered this little museum hidden inside a Marello Tower. This museum is jam-packed with Pat Herbert’s personal collection of radios, gramophones, and other communication technologies.

Trinity College | The Book of Kells: Turning Darkness into Light

March 2, 2017

What do you do when you want to display one of Ireland’s finest national treasures, but it consists of four volumes, each 13 by 9½ inches, and you can only show two pages on any given day? Trinity College’s solution is this educational exhibit.

Science Gallery Dublin | Humans Need Not Apply

February 18, 2017

The Science Gallery is an unusual in the museum world, because it’s goal is to use science and art to provoke discussion on issues. This is somewhat different from art museums where objects are displayed for their intrinsic value and from science museums who use exhibits to teach. This exhibit both educates and raises questions about progress in AI and robotics, the replacement of human workers by machines, and the implications for society.

Irish Museum of Modern Art | Historica – Republican Aesthetics

February 10, 2017

In some ways the IMMA in Dublin could not be more different from MOMA in New York, or the Tate Modern in London. First off, it is not in a modern building but rather in the 17th Century Royal Hospital Kilmainham. Also, I did not see any art from the late 19th through mid 20th century that is traditionally labeled Modern Art, all of the art on display seemed to be Contemporary Art from the  21st century.

National Museum Ireland – Natural History

January 31, 2017

The Dead Zoo, as the local Dubliners call this museum, is a wonderful victorian “cabinet style” natural history museum. While I have visited a few similar institutions — the Horniman Museum in London, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, or the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, this museum was unique.

The Little Museum of Dublin

January 25, 2017

This museum tells the story of the city of Dublin in the 20th Century through artifacts donated by the public. A tour guide leads groups through two rooms of a Georgian House, that are chock full of everything from posters to beer bottles to photos, organized by decade. Only a few items have labels on them, a few others will be picked out to for explanation as part of the tour, and the rest are left to the visitor to interpret (while the guides are available to answer questions).  This feels a bit frustrating at first, but it part of the charm of the museum, and it allows them to squeeze many more objects into a small space.

Museu Carris

January 8, 2017

Lisbon is a city where two of the main attractions are historical public transport — the Tram 28 and the Elevador de Santa Justa (Santa Justa Elevator), so I made sure to a visit to the Carris Museum, the city’s transit museum.

Museo do Design e Da Moda, Lisbon | Graphic City

January 8, 2017

MUDE, the design museum was closed for renovation when we were in Lisbon, but they had an amazing temporary exhibit in a temporary space. The exhibit was of 80 different 20th Century commercial signs from Lisbon that have been saved after they were taken down from their original location. The signs were stunning as objects, and took on a different feeling taken out of their context on the street and moved inside on the walls of a gallery.

Museo Marítimo de Barcelona | 7 Ships, 7 Stories

January 2, 2017

This very smart museum has a great balance of whimsey, social responsibility, historical information and playfulness. This was reflected in the range of excellent exhibits on display when I visited — an exhibit of robotic sea creatures made out of recycled machine parts, a photography show about the dying cultures of village fisherman around the world, a large show of toy boats, and the show I am writing about — 7 Ships, 7 Stories, which tells the history of Maritime Barcelona through 7 model ships.

Museu Frederic Marès

December 31, 2016

I love oddball museums, and this combination Cabinet of Curiosities and religious art museum was very interesting. This museum, located in the old Royal Palace of the Counts of Barcelona, next to the cathedral in the heart of Barcelona’s tourist area, was nonetheless empty on New Years Eve, a day when the area was bustling. Perhaps this is because many visitors wouldn’t know what to make of this place.

Fundació Joan Miró

December 30, 2016

Miró was personally involved in building this museum in his hometown of Barcelona, as well as donating much of the art and making decisions on how the art should be hung. While this personal involvement is similar to the Dali Theatre and Museum in Figueres, the museums are as different as the artwork of their creators.

Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya | Modern Art Collection

December 23, 2016

I found this museum fascinating because so many of the artists represented were completely unknown. Yes, there was one or two works by Juan Gris, Picasso and Miro, and there is a lot of Modernista furniture and poster design, including some Gaudis. But the bulk of the works were by artists unfamiliar to me, some of which were very interesting. In some ways, having this art presented, not a the best in the world but rather the best in a small nation was liberating for me as the viewer.

Dali Theatre and Museum

December 19, 2016

This museum in Figueres, Spain — about 2 hours by train from Barcelona — is the first museum I have visited that was created by an artist. Dali said he intended the museum to be “the largest surrealist object in the world”, and the museum did, in fact, give me the same feeling as the art inside — a mixture of amusement and uncomfortableness.

The Design Museum | Designer Maker User

November 29, 2016

Designer, Maker, User is the new permanent exhibit of objects from the Design Museum’s collection, telling the story of design. I found the title, which is an organizing principle of the exhibit, very interesting. Design isn’t just about designers, but also the user who the design impacts, as well the maker and the manufacturing process.

British Library | Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line

November 14, 2016

This exhibit at the British Library is amazing. It took my wife and I over 4 hours to look at the hundreds of wonderful maps. The exhibit covers the history of maps in the 20th century, as well as how maps changed the history of the 20th century.

Victoria and Albert Museum | Engineering the World: Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design

November 8, 2016

This exhibit displayed a large and varied body of work by an engineering company who, working with architects, facilitated and influenced the design of many of the 20th and 21st century’s iconic buildings.

Kew Gardens | Marianne North Gallery

October 24, 2016

My jaw dropped as I came into this gallery — less from the individual images than the installation of these paintings that Marianne North herself arranged. The gallery, while quintessentially Victorian, is the unique vision of an unusual artist.

Hackney Museum

October 18, 2016

The Hackney Museums is a wonderful community museum, which tells the stories of the diverse people in this area of London, with an emphasis on social justice. We discovered this place by accident on google maps while cycling through the area.

Beaney House of Art and Knowledge | Grayson Perry: The Vanity of Small Differences

October 12, 2016

This exhibit, which we stumbled on entirely by accident, was a surprise and a joy. We were visiting Canterbury for the day, and we stepped into the Beaney House because it houses the town’s Visitor Information Centre. I had a vague idea that it also housed a collection of historical paintings and artifacts. However, I had no idea that it would also have an exhibit by Grayson Perry, one of Britain’s most popular contemporary artists.

Whitechapel Gallery | William Kentridge — Thick Time

October 4, 2016

I was only slightly familar with William Kentridge’s work, but after seeing this show of exciting installations, I can’t wait to see more.

London Sewing Machine Museum

October 4, 2016

It’s always a treat when a museum exceeds my expectations. I had expected the London Sewing Museum to be a quirky little place with a couple of impressive items, it turned out to have hundreds of beautiful sewing machines, and seemed to be a sampling of the history of 19th and 20th century design.

Dulwich Picture Gallery |Winifred Knights

September 16, 2016

It is always exciting to discover a great artist who have been forgotten because they did not fit into the traditional art history narrative. While Winifred Knights was well known in her time, and one of her images “The Deluge” is popular, almost 70 years after her death, this is the first retrospective of her work.

Museum of London |Fire! Fire!

September 14, 2016

For the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire, the Museum of London has created an amazing exibition, great for kids and adults. By combining artifacts, “environments”, informational panels, and games, both digital and physical, the exhibit engages at many levels.

Geffrye Museum of the Home |Swept Under the Carpet

August 13, 2016

I had been to the Geffrye Museum on a visit to London, which I wrote about here, but this new exhibit was so intriguing, I thought it merited a separate post.

Walpole Bay Hotel and Museum

July 19, 2016

We had just arrived in London, a heat wave was predicted, so we planned a trip to the shore. I was delighted to discover a “Hotel and Museum” in our hotel search, so we booked a night, and were not disappointed.