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How to Recognize a Great Museum

When I was a kid, it seemed like museums stored old stuff that only grandparents recognized.  Now museums come in all shapes and sizes in every community.  Representing agricultural Tulare County a gigantic steel barn in Mooney Park houses everything from large equipment to a farm worker’s cabin from Linnell Camp.  Of all the museums I’ve dragged Vince to see, Bishop Museum was his favorite – ever.

It doesn't look like much from the street, but I'm from Indianapolis.  I was sold.

It doesn’t look like much from the street, but I’m from Indianapolis. I was sold.

What made Vince choose Bishop Museum as the best of the world?

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The layout of the grounds and the architectural structures took our breath away.  It didn’t hurt that they were in Oahu.

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Lots of exhibits alone don’t make the museum enjoyable, but a museum needs many exhibits, and some changes so that local folks don’t get bored.

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The exhibits grabbed you and pulled you in.  The more you looked, and read, the harder it got to move on.

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Variety of exhibits gives each person in the family something to remember.  I apologize for the blurriness of some of the photos, but I still wanted to share them.   Believe it or not my astigmatism has been mostly corrected.  🙂

Imagine wearing a cape of feathers.

Imagine wearing a cape of feathers.

You knew you couldn’t see it all in one visit, and maybe ever.

Only one of the buildings held more than we could see in one day.

Only one of the buildings held more than we could see in one day.

At the end of the visit, you needed a nap to rest your eyes and brain.

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The Bishop Museum had so many more excellent qualities, you would need a break after reading this if I listed them.  What is your favorite museum ever, and why?

19 replies »

  1. Best museums I’ve had the opportunity to visit, in no particular order: Chicago Museum of Science and Industry (it has a real German U-boat, captured during World War II, among other exhibits); National Gallery of Art, in Washington, DC (incredible array of art); Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond (another museum with a vast array of different exhibits); the Canadian Museum of History, near Ottawa (it does a great job encapsulating much of Canada’s history); The State Museum in Columbia, SC (it is *the* museum to see if you want to get a taste of for all of South Carolina’s history); the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (the artwork of Rembrandt, Vermeer and Jan Steen alone make it worth the visit); the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., (a tribute to the industrial revolution) and any of the Smithsonian museums (amazing number of fascinating exhibits). Oddly, I’m a huge sports fan and have never been to a single Hall of Fame museum.


    • Now I’ve got a bucket list! I’ve been to most of the Smithsonians, but they change, so it’s always good to go back. I went to the Chicago Museum on a field trip when I was a kid, and remember that it was fantastic, but haven’t been back to it since then. I’ve been to Columbia, SC, which is an amazing place, but missed that museum. I went to Ft. Sumter, but you can’t see much in a day or two! You have had a wide assortment of museum experiences, which doesn’t surprise me in the least! Thanks for the great list. 🙂


      • Thanks, Marsha, but the more museums I’ve been to, the more I’d like to see. I’ve never been to Great Britain, for example, but I can only imagine some of the high-quality museums they have there. And I’d love to visit Rome and see the Hermitage, as well.

        One thing I’ve learned is that if you’re going to go to a good museum, make a day of it, at minimum. It’s almost a waste to try to rush through a good museum, particularly if it’s not one you’re going to be able to visit again anytime soon.


        • That’s for sure. I get museum overload, though. Even if I’m not going back, it is hard to take in more than four hours. After that I sort of tune out, and I’m ready to go. Afterwards I think, I wish I could have spent more time, but that is what research is all about. When you travel, you find out an over view of what is there, without having a particular purpose. I remember going into the Vatican. There was so much art: the floor, ceiling, walls and statues, I got a headache. In one hallway there were some windows, and I had to go look out the windows to get a break from all the art and history. I don’t know about you, but my brain pops after a while.


          • Oh, yes, I know the overload feeling. I haven’t been to the Vatican, but I can imagine it would be sensory overload X 10. And it’s almost better to go by yourself, so that you don’t have other tugging at your sleeve, telling you to look at this or that while you’re trying to take things in at the same time.


  2. Looks like a fascinating place to spend a couple of decades, Marsha. 🙂 The Natural History Museums in both New York and London are my two favourites ever. I adore looking at dinosaurs and thanking my lucky stars that they’re extinct. 🙂


    • Your lucky stars helped us all. I’m not sure I’d want one parading around my house at night. We had something upsetting the cats last night, and I’m glad it wasn’t a dinosaur. I’ve spent some time in museums in both of those cities, but can’t remember which ones. I remember the maritime museum in London, which was so cool. Mom and I spent three weeks in London when she was my age. It was an amazing experience for both of us. Sorry I’ve gone like I’m writing a post! 🙂


    • That is my favorite game. I reward myself with it when I finish a post or a chapter, or am bored at night. I think Mr. ET might be even more of a history buff than you, and I wouldn’t have thought that was possible! 🙂





Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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