It’s 2017 / It’s 2115
Through a visit to the Tenement museum, I realized that there are old buildings with immigrant history that still exist in NY. Furthermore, it reminded me of a place called ‘Samchungdong’ in Seoul.
I love going there because I can walk through historical and contemporary streets and buildings which coexist, inspiring and comforting me. There are art galleries, shops, a national museum and planty of restored historical buildings.
I Especially like The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art which was built based on a building called Gimusa(Defense Security Command). Before that buildings construction, the land was used for the ancestral heritage of the Joseon Dynasty. By using a historical building, this museum reminds people not only of the historical issues of our past, but also gives us a contemporary modern art museum. It means that this place embraces both the past and present.
Another Gallery that came to mind is the Hakgojae gallery near the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. This gallery also uses a restored traditional building from the Joseon Dynasty. You can view original structures both outside and inside of this gallery building. Visitors can see the original shape of ceiling, roof and structures left over.
SamcheongDong has been modified over the years. As a Korean living in the contemporary era, I sometimes reminisce about what this area was like one hundred years ago: sunshine would penetrate through the museum windows, the children would run around the front of the museum garden, and I would walk by the old palace wall. These combined images become a part of my own personal historical tie with this place. On a nice day this fall, I want to walk through again with coffee and friends to see the exhibitions just like I used to in the past.
I would plan….
Museum Visit -Tenement Museum
The Tenement Museum website is similar to a movie theater website. This website gives a good impression about what the museum is like. Visitors can buy tickets online depending on the theme and time. I bought a ticket for the ‘Sweatshop Workers’ which included a visit to the Levine Family’s Garment Workshop and Rogarshevskys’ Room.
At the shop, I met with the guide holding a sign for the Sweatshop Workers tour. She gave a few instructions: there were no photos allowed, we needed to stay with the guide at all times, and if we needed help, she would call for another guide to assist us to the main museum. She gave the impression that this museum was very old but neatly organized, and similar to a small European museum.
After a short time, we headed to one of the next buildings and went up to the second floor. Here, there were a few rooms in which people lived at the turn of the 20th century. There were very narrow hallways, bathrooms and rooms. The guide said that In the 1880s, immigrants from many different countries came to New York for a variety of reasons, and they densely populated the Lower Eastside.
One of the Jewish families that lived in this building, which was a standard building for the time and neighborhood, was the Levine family. Their room was preserved and decorated with artifacts from that era. I felt this history was not too far in the past from now, and I could imagine the family’s daily life in the cramped room. The guide explained that they worked six days a week, ten hours a day and they made ten dresses each day. One dress cost much more than a week’s worth of labor. Through this exhibit, I was able to learn about one of the late 19th century families who demonstrated the daily life and labor in New York at that time. It reminded me that a tiny story of one family can be a way for museums to teach history.
Week -2 NY Hall of science
It was an entertaining museum, and If I could have visited this museum every weekend as a kid, I might be a scientist now. Looking back at my childhood, I remember how boring my science textbooks were and how I had to take many tests that were scored based on my performance. However, at this museum, I was able to learn about science through playing, which is an experience that could encourage children to learn science without fear. Also, it is clear that this museum draws kids and parents to a place where they can learn and participate together.
– The play ground
There is a really interesting and unique playground outside of the museum. It’s not your typical kind of playground though. It’s large and has many objects that kids can interact with, such as rotating handles, balls that can be moved from the bottom of some stairs to the top, a really huge xylophone with different pipes and a waterwheel. I saw kids rotating this giant screw that water travels up through and then drops down. This activity requires just a simple movement, but the fact that the screw was very large helped demonstrate the physics and allowed kids to participate.
Most of the kiosks in the museum and on the playground were designed to accommodate a child’s height, making it easily accessible for them.
Haley and I participated in an arm-wrestling game, which can only be used with 2 participants.
There were several kiosks that required a partner to use, like this mirror kiosk which we could use to see each other’s face and mix our face together to create a distorted image by manipulating a pair of lights.
– Connected World.
What really caught my eye about this museum, was an interactive exhibit where children could experience the different aspects of nature: There was a cascading waterfall, we could also move around gray logs to change the flow of the water and when this water reached some grass, the grass grew. This experience allows us the chance to understand how nature is interconnected and even if a teacher never explains to the students how this exhibit works the students would still understand how water can affect the grass. In addition, the virtual ponds, flowers, aquariums and other visuals would also be attractive and interesting to adults.
1. Rubin Museum
Last week, I went to the Rubin Museum because it presents contemporary sound projects and Asian art. I was curious about how they designed the exhibition of two significantly different themes.
LE CORPS SONORE(SOUND BODY),2017
Eliane Radigue (b.1932, Paris, France; based in Paris, France)
Laetitia Sonami(b.1957, Paris, France; based in Oakland, CA)Bob Bielecki(b.1947, Pennsylvania, based in Olivebridge, NY)
For me, the interesting thing in the museum was that they presented a contemporary art sound project – LE CORPS SONORE on the first floor, and the sound coming up through the spiral staircase immerses visitors into the sound exhibition. Additionally, when visitors go up to the top floor, they can explore meditative sound exhibitions and see each Tibetan instrument playing with sound.
What impressed me the most in the museum exhibit were the sacred spaces in which the visitor can see collected artifacts. There is a description of the room on a monitor, and when visitors touch the different points on the screen, more information appears about the different items. When visitors enter the room, they can hear the music of Pauline Oliveros. Initially, the music sounds like traditional Tibetan music, but in reality, this music was recently produced by the artist. I felt that the designer of the exhibit combined the spiritual room and Pauline Oliveros’ music so visitors can meditate intimately in a sacred space.
Overall, I felt that the structure and the layout of the museum effectively combines the themes of sound and Asian art so that visitors can reflect on the significance of sound and how it relates to art.
2. NY Historical society
When I first checked out NY Historical Society’s website, I noticed that this museum displays a Gallery of Tiffany Lamps and I immediately gained a curiosity about these lamps and wanted to see the display for myself.
When I stepped onto the the fourth floor of the NY Historical society, I felt that this area was similar to a jewelry display in the Victoria and Albert museum space. (Photo is not allowed so I can’t attach it.) Two of the floors in one exhibition area are very similar and both museums are historical in nature.
A few weeks ago, I visited V&A museum for the 3rd time. During this last visit, they had an exhibit dedicated to Pink Floyd’s Mortal Remains, which is one of the worlds foremost influential bands. This exhibit shed light on the band’s life, music, and era while using an audio guide. Visitors would have to be listening to the audio guide as they traversed the exhibit to better understand their memorabilia, albums, and instruments. I feel like this museum gave me diverse visuals, scales, and sound, by designing different moods and flows.
The reason why I came up with the idea of going to the Pink Floyd exhibit in the V&A, is because they present exhibits in a dark room, similar to the way Tiffany Lamps are presented in the NY Historical society. The difference though, is the range of interactive work. Both are presented in a dark room, but I found some differences.
Lighting in a dark room affects other lighting when displayed, so the luminosity, and distance from each lamp must be taken into account. The Tiffany room, was properly dimmed, so that visitors could appreciate the lamps more. All the details of each lamp was explained in an easily viewable description. The only issues I found were that the font in the descriptions were too small, and that there were more many lamps than I would have liked together in one area.
There were wooden molds to see how the artisans created some of the lamps and glass pieces that could be seen if visitors opened a drawer. The visual descriptions of this process were easily comprehensible.
There was an interactive lighting kiosk, which allowed people to change the colors using a joystick. This was my first experience ever changing the light pieces of the glasses.
In summary, this exhibit’s design could be manipulated depending on different subjects, themes, layouts, context, etc. The diverse story, could be built in a very fancy and artistic way, so that visitors could get a broad understanding of their theme.
Grover and the Everything in the Whole Wide World Museum
Norman Stiles and Daniel Wilcox ~ illustrated by Joe Mathieu
Random House, 1974
This is a children’s book that changed my perspective on what a museum is. In this book, Grover describes many different rooms in a museum. For example, he talks about one room that only contains cute and furry things, a hall that contains very, very heavy objects, and another room that is completely underwater–just to name a few. By doing so, Grover shows us the basic meaning of what a museum is and the different things that a museum could consider as a collection.
The category and the sensation that the exhibit creates aren’t the only things to consider in a museum collection. Basically, it is a space that contains stories from our world, and presents artifacts with very organized designs, heights, and interiors. At the end of the book, Grover says, “I have seen many things in this museum, but I still haven’t seen everything in the whole world.”
Current museums are good if you want to see a visual linear timeline of things from the past to the present, but what Grover showed me is that there is no substitute for the museum of the real world experience. Sometimes, it is best to go outside and experience the real world.