I have a segmented bucket list. There are separate sections for where to go, things to master, and books to read before giving up. My fastest growing section is always where to go (because the list of books is growing). In constant search of new adventures, I think I have kept a pretty good list. In this article, I’m going to share five history museums that you’ll definitely want to add to your own bucket list!
International Spy Museum (Washington, DC, USA)
I first heard about this museum when I was in DC on a trip to high school. Unfortunately, this unique place was not on our agenda. Since I set myself a goal to go back and visit. The International Spy Museum is the only one of its kind in the world. History connoisseurs, aspiring Nancy Drew, and spy gear fanatics will all love this museum. It is dedicated to both real-life spies and fictional ones. The museum is “engaged in the apolitical presentation of the history of espionage in order to provide visitors with precise and impartial information”. The experience begins with a “briefing” video. Then, guests are free to explore two floors of spy history dating back to early biblical times. Then at the end there is a concluding film about the place of spy work in the modern world.
Colonial Williamsburg (Williamsburg, Virginia, USA)
The cool thing about Colonial Williamsburg is that it’s a living history museum. I visited a family vacation when I was younger and loved it. What is a living history museum? This is when costumed performers piece together the story. At this particular location, you can meet George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other ordinary settlers. There are shows, gardens and architecture representative of the colonial era. Apothecaries, blacksmiths, shoemakers, tailors, wigmakers, gunsmiths – these are just a few of the reconstructed historic buildings that patrons can visit. Sometimes the best way to learn history is to interact.
British Museum (London, England)
Opened in 1753, the British Museum was the first public museum in history. He made my list for two reasons. First, entry is free. Second, it houses the Rosetta Stone (used to decode hieroglyphics). The permanent collection has around eight million pieces. The galleries include artifacts from ancient Egypt, Sudan, the Middle East, Greece and Rome. Wikipedia says the British Museum has “one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of ethnographic material from Africa, Oceania and the Americas.”
Inside there is also an African garden and a giant reading room. In fact, Alfred Hitchcock fans will recognize the Reading Room and Dome of the 1929 Film Museum. Blackmail. The piece was also referenced in Virginia Woolf’s essay, “A Room of One’s Own”. Currently, the space is used to present special exhibitions. The entrance fee being what it is, there is no reason not to go!
National Museum of Denmark (Copenhagen, Denmark)
This museum I found on an article listing the best free museums in Europe. Besides the excitement of a free history lesson about the Danes, you should also head to the museum to check out its children’s area. Children can dress like Vikings or choose other clothing appropriate for the time. Another interesting feature is that the building is a prince’s mansion. The mansion was once the residence of the Crown Prince of Denmark before it became the museum (a restaurant and a movie theater are also included).
San Diego Museum of Man (San Diego, California, United States)
As the name suggests, the San Diego Museum of Man is the history of mankind; an anthropology museum. West American history is highlighted, including Native American and Mesoamerican cultural exhibits. A unique element is this museum is its Ptolemaic child’s coffin. It is one of six that still exist. The coffin is part of the ancient Egyptian collection of mummies, painted coffins and more. The museum offers a wide range of things to see in one place.
The current building is also historic. The California Tower was built in 1915 for the Panama-California Exposition. Every quarter of an hour, the bells ring inside. The museum is located 200 feet below the California Building tower. Orson Welles introduced the landmark as the exterior of Xanadu’s estate in his film, Citizen Kane. Another fun fact is that if you’re a San Diego County resident or an active military, you can get free admission to the museum on the third Tuesday of the month.
That’s it! These are my five most recommended additions to everyone’s list. If you know of a museum that needs to be shared with others Daily oddity readers, comment below.
Image courtesy of William Warby
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