What museum should I visit if…

I’m hungry: Neue Galerie

I’m kind of just going for the gift shop: American Folk Art Museum

I’m overstimulated: Noguchi Museum

I’m under-stimulated: The Museum of Sex

I’m on a 2nd date: Fisher Landau Center

I appreciate yachts and a subtle seam of homoeroticism: Forbes Gallery

I need to break up with someone: Fraunces Tavern (beer!)

My parents are in town: Socrates Sculpture Park (followed by a Costco trip)

My artist parents are in town: Judd Foundation (book well in advance)

My friend from college wants to see the “Real” New York: The Tenement Museum

I love animals: Queens County Farm Museum

I hate animals: Torah Animal World

I want a please-touch experience: Torah Animal World

I want to travel a long way: Bartow-Pell Mansion

I want to ride my bike up a giant hill: Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art

I want to visit the pre-eminent Himalayan collection in Staten Island: Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art

I need a place to sketch tombs in delightful solitude: The Hispanic Society

We Made It!!!

Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum

Judaica Museum of the Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale

King Manor Museum

Queens County Farm Museum

Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum

Children’s Museum of Manhattan

New York Botanical Garden

 

All 3 star museums

 

We finally finished the project, with a lovely day at the New York Botanical Garden where nothing was growing because winter.

And we appeared in the primo news source of all things cultural: Metro NY.

Now that the project is over, we are a bit at a loss of what to do with ourselves. Katherine has joined a metal working class. Allison actually wrote part of her novel. Duncan has resumed his regular griping. 

What’s next for us? A reunion trip to Marfa, Texas, hopefully. And perhaps a museum or two that doesn’t suck. 

Thanks for sticking it out with us, Dear Reader.

A Further Wrench

Duncan has started referring to the Museum Project as “Your Project.” Morale is low, especially after the addition of the historic houses. If we make it now, it’ll be through sheer will power and perseverance, which they don’t sell in the Ripley’s Believe it or Not gift shop. Wish us luck.

National Jazz Museum of Harlem

So the National Jazz Museum in Harlem is more of a room than a museum, in the sense there’s nothing to look at and no regular visiting hours. So Katherine and Allison went to an event: Rhythm and Dance with Michela Marino Lerman.

Between the two of us, Allison was the tap expert: she had lessons at the local community center when she was 7. What do jazz and tap have to do with each other? Apparently, tap dancing was always a part of jazz, and musicians and tappers (called “hoofers” if you’re in the know. Now you’re in the know) improvised together. Then the golden feeling of brotherhood soured, as it always does, with two competing styles developing in rancor: the Hoofers and the Copacetics.

Michela didn’t look like a dancer, but it turns out that jazz tap is percussion more than dance. And she tore the roof off the one-room storage unit/museum. She also spoke with the same blowsy unhurried inclusivity of the veteran jazz musician to an audience which seemed to consist mostly of those who know Michaela. Then everyone was invited to get their dance on. Allison didn’t bring her shoes. Katherine was happy about that.

National Jazz Museum of Harlem. Perhaps not a museum, but ….. 3 stars.

A Wrench in the Works

Allison noticed a flyer for the Historic House Trust of New York. It contained over twenty historic houses, none of which we had visited. We had only 5 more museums on our list, and now we were confronted with another year’s worth of historic homes. (Duncan refuses to visit these; as a European he does not consider a home built in 1800 “historic.” And he hates fake food).

What to do?
Katherine admitted she was aware of the existence of these homes, but wasn’t sure she should bring it up. The following amendment to the rules of the Museum Project was proposed and voted on, winning by majority (with one member in abstentia).

Amendments to Rule 1:

  1. Historic houses must only be visited if they have the word “museum” in their names.
  2. Historic houses do not need to be entered to be considered visited. A photo in front of said house will suffice to count as visited.
  3. Historic houses can be visited by only one person and will still count as visited.

Because, come on.

Also, the Queens County Farm Museum is back on the list—but will be visited in conjunction with a Costco trip to ease the pain.

Hispanic Society of America, Van Cortlandt House Museum, Dyckman House Museum

It was cold. We were hungover. And Allison and Katherine could not convince Duncan to join for the Saturday outing. The first stop was for a coffee. Then uptown to the Hispanic Society of America, housed in a beautiful building in Inwood. The building itself was the most impressive, with an ornate double height ceiling and a ballroom with a 360 degree Sorolla mural depicting rural Spanish life. They even had a Goya or two. And an absolutely enormous, studio-sized bathroom (with just one toilet stall). Bigger than Allison’s apartment.

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Allison is a terrible photographer.

You could live in here.

You could live in here.

A donut was eaten. It was that kind of day. And up to the Van Cortlandt house where a volunteer docent who was WAY too into his job was giving the most minute detail tour. After going through the biographies of all the van Cortlandts, including which crops were planted by which ancestors, and how the Native Americans cleared the fields (they lit fire to them and then killed all the animals flushed out for meat. Clever.) Allison and Katherine had a REALLY IMPORTANT APPOINTMENT and skeddadled out of there before the docent could tell us again about the mechanism behind the cuckoo clock. Did you know that Van Cortlandt was not his real name? They called him that to tease him. Fascinating.

Ready to throw ourselves under the train, we instead road inside it to the Dyckman House Museum. There was fake food, but, oddly, thankfully, no taxidermy. People used to be shorter. Commodes were in bedrooms. Samplers were the old selfies.

Hispanic Society  3 stars

Van Cortlandt House Museum  3 stars

Dyckman Farmhouse Museum   3 stars