In the beginning someone created museums (the Romans?) and they were without form and void, and darkness was upon the displays. And then the curatorial spirit moved out over the galleries, and said, “let museums be interesting!” Unfortunately, today’s institutions were deaf to the cry.
Duncan, Katherine and Allison met up at the Museum of Finance. The most interesting part was… there was no interesting part. This was the most boring museum we had ever been to, bar none. And that’s saying something because we have been to the Museum of the American Gangster and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. Here’s a picture of Allison and Katherine in front of a display of live cattle (noticeably mislabeling that which is obviously not live cattle, the inclusion of which would have improved the exhibit).
Nearby was the Fraunces Tavern Museum, owned by the Sons of the Revolution, (providing a downtown counterpoint to the Colonial Dames of America), who would not have let the likes of us (a Jew, an Asian and a Tory) into its hallowed halls would it not be for the fact that it needs funds to maintain the historic Delancey Mansion.
Interesting artifacts included: a large Turtle Soup tureen, a piece described as ‘wood’ that was removed from the preceding structure during restoration/renovation, and several pictures of Washington that were clearly intended to make him look much better than he ever did in real life. And some of his teeth, which, contrary to popular belief, were not wooden. And a lock of his hair. And our favorite, fake food in the restored dining room.
The docent referred to nearby buildings (the museum is a block from Wall Street) as “phallic symbols of capitalism” not once, but twice, which meant we had to skip the Dingle whiskey bar, much to Duncan’s disappointment, and head to the Skyscraper Museum, or the Museum of Phallic Symbols of Capitalism.
The Skyscraper Museum is only one story. Let that irony sink in. There are lots of models of international skyscrapers and charts showing their relative height. Here is Allison, taller than whatever’s at the end of West 37th Street.
Museum of American Finance 3 stars
Fraunces Tavern Museum 3 stars
The Skyscraper Museum 3 stars