-100th Museum Visit Celebration!

*Since writing this, I’ve added about 200 more museums so the “20% done” cake is mathematically incorrect… Terribly so.

In recognition of my visiting 100 Connecticut museums (Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk on 4/18/2009), instead of my typically verbose yammerings about the cultural importance of museums or how life-changing this idea/blog has been, I’ll just share with you some of the delicious cake made by the coolest wife in the world and perfectly decorated in the exact corny style I wanted by my sister, whom I guess is relatively cool too. For a little sister.

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Delicious!

My sister’s family came up to Connecticut for the weekend and we all met at the Norwalk Aquarium to visit together. Everyone stayed at CTMQ HQ and enjoyed tales from ol’ Uncle Steve about museums of days gone by… It was grand.

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L to R, CTMQ nieces Rachel and Christine and nephews Joseph and Stephen

And since I am constantly asked what my favorites are, and because I always defer; instead droning on about how impossible it would be because they are all so different and attract different niches, blah, blah, blah – Yes, I’m going to do it. I’m going to pick my 10 favorite museum visits.

Disclaimers:

This list could change tomorrow. The reasons for inclusion differ immensely from place to place. I have not written about all these visits yet. One or more may be closed before you even read this. There are at least 10 others that could have easily made this list. Other non-museum places I’ve gone may or may not be “better” than one or more of these top 10. My opinion is mine alone; Visit these places and form your own.

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And now… Drumroll please… Without further ado… CTMQ’s Top 10 of the first 100 Museums Visited! It is odd eight of these top ten I was with at least one other person. EdHill went to three of these places with me – which is really crazy when you consider he’s only been to maybe 8 all-told with me. Weird.

10. Stone Museum, Barkhamstead: While I’ve been to perhaps better nature museums, this one stands above. Why? It’s very old; built by the CCC all in stone, giving it a very rustic and homey feeling. It has a great collection of Native American artifacts. It’s in perhaps the prettiest location of almost any of the 99 other museums I’ve visited. Some great trails begin out the front door. It’s got a great name. But most of all, they’ve got the coolest bear display in the state.

CTMQ’s visit to the Stone Museum (with Hoang and Damian)

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9. Slater Memorial Art Museum, Norwich: Can an art museum be totally surreal even though there aren’t any surrealist works there? After visiting the Slater, I say “absoflippinlutely.” Aside from the large, incredibly varied and eclectic collections of art from all over the world… Aside from the local – and I mean really local, like Norwich local – paintings from past centuries… Aside from the random nautical, furniture, thimble and gun displays… Yes, aside from all that, the Slater houses one of the largest sculpture cast collections in the WORLD. There are tons of them, all over the place. It’s simply amazing.

CTMQ’s visit to the Slater Memorial Art Museum (alone)

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8. The Children’s Museum, West Hartford: In a state with lots of childen’s museums, this one stands out. Of course, I’ve yet to visit a bunch of them, but that’s beside the point. The simply named “Children’s Museum” has it all: Large live animal exhibits, planetarium, huge science room with a bunch of cool physics things to play with and learn stuff. And of course a giant plaster whale to walk into like Jonah. The kaleidoscope picture that has graced the front page of this blog for many months is from this museum.

CTMQ’s Visits to The Children’s Museum (With my parents, Hoang and Damian)

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100e.jpg7. Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven: I’m learning about art as I visit the various art museums around the state. I’ve yet to visit the granddaddy of them all (The Wadsworth in Hartford) but Hoang and I were hugely impressed with the unheralded Yale University Art Gallery. Perhaps it’s just my ignorance, but I wasn’t expecting to see original Picasso’s, Matisse’s, Motherwells’s, Rothko’s, or Van Gogh’s here. At 3 floors, this place is also pretty huge, in a cool building, and very well presented.

CTMQ’s Visit to the Yale Art Gallery (with Hoang)

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6. American Clock and Watch Museum, Bristol: This not-so-little museum in oft-maligned Bristol (like several of the top 5) really exemplifies what CTMQ is all about. Low expectations, a singular subject-matter, eye-rolls from anyone you tell you are going there, and… it’s amazing. It’s several times bigger than you think it is and the collection is ten times more impressive than you believe. It’s not like I’m a watch and clock collector, but I found this place endlessly fascinating.

CTMQ’s visit to the American Clock & Watch Museum (alone)

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5. Menczer Museum of Medicine & Dentistry, Hartford: Sad tale – this museum closed in October 2008. Hoang and I were fortunate enough to visit before this though and we loved it. Quirky, unique and historic, the Menczer had it all. A museum that celebrates dentist chairs through history and had a large portrait of the father of laughing gas who went crazy and killed prostitutes for fun. This place had it all.

CTMQ’s visit to the Menczer Museum of Medicine and Dentistry (with Hoang).

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4. Witch’s Dungeon Classic Movie Museum, Bristol: I waffled on this one… I mean, in a way, it’s by far the worst museum in the state. We hated the freezing cold two hour wait. We hated being lied to about what this place really was about. The actual museum experience was over in less than three minutes. We left maniacally laughing like lunatics. It was absurd. Beyond absurd… but looking back over the first 100, it was an experience that solidified my idea for this blog and brings a smile to my face every time I think about that dude in the ceiling.

CTMQ’s visit to Witch’s Dungeon Classic Movie Museum (with EdHill)

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3. Haul of Fame Trucking Museum, Canterbury: Awesome. A punny museum about trucks in a dump (literally) that has been successfully fined by the state for environmental transgressions in the middle of nowhere (Canterbury) staffed by a guy on a LARK. EdHill and I stepped through the door into the unknown that day… and my preconceptions would forever be challenged henceforth. Our guide was fun, funny and crazily knowledgeable. He made old trucks (and other trucking related items) cool.

CTMQ’s visit to the Haul of Fame Trucking Museum (with EdHill)

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2. Museum of America and the Sea, Mystic Seaport: This place is so vast and so well done (and so well known) I’m not sure why I need to talk it up. Nothing funny here – just straight up good stuff. A family could spend a day here and not experience everything. For some reason the Aquarium up the street gets a lot of the pub… For my dollar, the Seaport is ten times better.

CTMQ’s visit to Mystic Seaport (with Hoang and Damian)

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1. New Britain Industrial Museum, New Britain: The one that started it all… I’m not sure the NBIM will ever be dislodged from its lofty perch. No, it’s not empirically the best museum in the state. Not even close. But it was my first; it has all the ingredients I’ve come to love about CTMQ and its mere signage along the highway launched this hobby and this blog and who knows… a burgeoning writing career. That said, it IS a very interesting little museum tucked away on the second floor of some downtown Central Connecticut State University building. To this day, I still don’t think they are aware of what they started…

CTMQ’s visit to the New Britain Industrial Museum (with EdHill)

That’s it! Perhaps I’ll revisit this at 250…

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Comments

  1. Little Sis says

    Congrats. We feel honored to have been part of your historic event. We look forward to doing more questing with you in future.

  2. says

    Congratulations on reaching your first 100!

    The cake bar is now set really high. I can’t wait to see how you will top this work-of-art for 250 and 500. Architecturally correct renditions of your favorite museum(s) with layers of different flavors? Mmmm… cake.

  3. A Bristling Son says

    Ha… who knew the first comment on the post featuring cake would be from honeybunny?

    Congrats on the milestone…. Looking forward to reading about the next 80%… or making a surprise appearance on one of the quests.

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