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Passionate experience junkie. Lover of the arts and architecture. Want to see and share the world, one village at a time.

Put Yourself “On the Map” with Museums

House sitting and immersion travel in France

Travel encompasses a lot of different activities – bungee jumping or hot-air ballooning. Poking around ancient ruins or lingering for hours over fabulous meals. We all love travel because it gets us out of our usual routines – out of our same four walls – and plants us squarely in front of something new. In short, travel opens horizons. That’s a very good thing.

As a young girl traveling with my parents, my mother enthusiastically stopped in front of each item in museums and read aloud the information posted there. I remember once while on the Freedom Trail Walking Tour in Boston, the reverent hush of The Old North Church – where she whispered her words – and at Copp’s Hill Burial Ground where we ran our fingers across the barely legible carved words and dates on the tombstones.

My mother wanted to merely read the words but I wanted to connect with the dead.

 

It was my first realization of a past – of people and families that came before. I was fascinated by the graves of the young, and wondered what life was like back then, when their harsh life took so many babies only days old.

Fast-forward to now, and museums still hold the same fascination for me because they are our connection to all people involved in history, art or culture. The connection is the main ingredient that keeps me searching for more because it puts me “on the map” of our humanity.

Here are perspectives I gain from museums:

  • At what phase are we in history – on an upswing in innovations, for example?
  • How have our motivations changed over time?
  • What is the range of human thinking?

House sitting and immersion travel in Bilbao, Spain

 

House sitting around the world gives me the opportunity to linger in the great museums – The Uffizi Gallery in Florence, The Louvre in Paris, and the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain, (above).

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Innovations in history go in a 50 to 60-year cycle.
    • First, the 1860’s saw much change – Darwin’s Origin of the Species, inventions included the automobile and the telephone. Sixty years later the 1920’s were tumultuous. Ragtime and Jazz, discovery of insulin and penicillin, Einstein’s theory of relativity. The 1960’s experienced radical change in racial and gender equality and society in general. I believe we are in a state of great innovation now in the 2010’s with exploding technology plus shifts in world political awareness, like the Arab Spring. Dictators have nowhere to hide any more.
  • There’s a connection between Michelangelo and computer geeks.
    • I have long bent an ear or two with this theory: that without the powerful Medici family in Renaissance Italy, there would be no Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Leonardo. It was the huge coffers of the Medici’s that funded artists, and the artists complied with their benefactor’s desire to see religious subjects. Having financial freedom gave the great masters the ability to try new techniques.  Today, where is the money? In technology. I contend that the innovation follows the money, just as it did when Rembrandt put brush to canvas. The great computer minds of today come up with the most mind-blowing inventions! The sky’s the limit when it comes to technology and those that can come up with the next great innovation are paid handsomely. The money motivates the innovations.
  • The range of human thinking is limitless.
    • Only by entering the fabulous spaces of modern art museums will you discover this. Whether you shake your head in wonder at the weirdness of it all, or must retreat outside because the hugeness is fully profound, as I did while visiting the football-size Richard Serra installation at the Bilbao Guggenheim, modern art squeezes out to the absolute limits of human thinking. What that means to me is that no thoughts – no accomplishments – are off-limits. If I’m passionate enough about something, there’s a place for it. It’s inspiring. Here is a link to a YouTube video showcasing the actual installation of Richard Serra’s Installation “Matter of Time.”

     

    House sitting and immersion travel in Florence, ItalyThat’s just a tiny sampling of how museums give perspective. How do museums put YOU on the map?

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