Day 11 of Blog Every Day in May is about Museums. I used to go to museums fairly frequently, but there’s way too much walking involved so I haven’t been to any for a while. I like exhibits that show people’s stories, where you can get a real feel for what it was like to live during that era. They tend to be more ‘recent’ historical periods, obviously because records only go back so far.
The last museums I went to were the American Museum of Natural History and the museum on Ellis Island, both in New York while on honeymoon. To be perfectly honest, the only reason we went to the natural history museum was because it was 38 degrees, we were in Central Park, and we were looking for somewhere with air con. We also had a pass which gave us free access.
Actually, it turned out to be pretty good. We didn’t see all of the exhibits, but we did see the dinosaurs, the space and climate change exhibit and some of the other exhibits in the basement (I was struggling by then- I’m not completely uncultured!). It was also interesting because the museum appears in many films, so it put it into context.
The next day we went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. This was fascinating. Ellis Island depicts immigrants’ first view of America and the process involved in being granted access. There were many rules that had to be adhered to, some were almost contradictory in that you had to be able to prove that you needed to live in America because you were struggling financially, but not too much because you would be sent home. They also were subject to various different examinations to check they were healthy enough to live in America. The first thing we did was walk up the stairs to the main room/hall and I needed a rest, which, we found out a few minutes later, would mean that I wouldn’t have been allowed to move to America in those days and would be sent home, because there were reportedly doctors stood at the top of the stairs watching for anyone struggling! This made us laugh.
This museum had lots of accounts of people’s journeys, and I could have spent hours here learning about how the system developed over time. The Statue of Liberty is clearly the ‘main’ attraction, because it’s a well known icon, but Ellis island should not be missed, and you also get amazing views across the city with the Statue of Liberty as well, like this one: