National Museum of the Resistance: The Most Important Museum You’ve Never Heard Of

The world is full of obscure museums, but most of them are obscure for a reason.

Typically, such places are devoted to select topics that appeal to only a select few, and frequently they are located in out of the way places. 

The National Museum of the Resistance, however, breaks the mold. Located in cosmopolitan Brussels, Belgium, the museum enshrines wartime artifacts with a particular emphasis on World War II and the Belgian Resistance to German occupation of their country.

The mainstream appeal and placement in a large and prominent city make it somewhat baffling that this museum, which opened its doors on the 28th anniversary of D-Day on June 6, 1972, isn’t more renowned.

An Historic Building

The building itself that houses the museum is historically important, as it was the site of the publication of a satirical newspaper, Faux Soir, that spoofed the Nazi propaganda publication Le Soir (which means “the evening”). At great risk of personal danger to themselves, members of the Belgian Resistance produced and distributed this publication, managing to spread tens of thousands of copies throughout Europe. Unfortunately, the Gestapo arrested fifteen of the people involved in the satire’s production and at least two of them never returned from the prison camps to which they were sent.

A Somber and Meaningful Collection

Included in the museum’s archives are items such as an original edition of Faux Soir, a radio set that the Resistance recovered from a downed allied plane, and a violin scavenged from Mauthausen Concentration Camp (it is thought that the violin was played during executions). Make no mistake, this is a sobering yet compelling and ultimately very important place to visit. After all, it is said that everyone who ignores history is doomed to repeat it.

Unfortunately, due to renovations the National Museum of the Resistance is currently closed. Hopefully it will re-open soon, because the world is always in need of reminders that freedom is never free.

Everything You Need to Know About the Trap Music Museum

Everybody’s familiar with rap music, but have you ever heard of trap music?

Trap music is gritty, with raw lyrics that express what it’s like to grow up feeling “trapped” in a society that greatly limits opportunity based upon things such as race and wealth. 

The Trap Music Museum at 630 Travis Street NW in Atlanta, GA, is similarly gritty and seeks to accurately recreate the experience of living a bleak, drug and violence-filled existence on the margins.

What to Expect

The museum recreates a corner store through which museum-goers enter a simulated trap house, complete with drug den living room, a kitchen that appears to be used for cooking crack, and other weapons, before finally, inevitably, is a reproduction of a jail cell. The purpose is to accurately replicate the culture from which trap music springs rather than to glorify the criminal lifestyle.

Beyond the Museum

Besides the museum itself, there is a bar that is host to Trappy Hour from 4-10 pm every Thursday, when patrons can book half hour private tours of the museum for $20 per person, with a complimentary glass of champagne and 2-for-1 drinks. There is also Escape the Trap, a 30-45 minute escape room experience that for $30 per person includes admission to the museum.

Plan Your Trip

Admission to the Trap Music Museum is $10 per person and parking is available nearby for $10. The museum is open 4 pm to midnight on Friday, noon to midnight Saturday, and 2 pm to 10 pm Sunday. Admission is only available to those under 18 before 8 pm. Escape the Trap is open 7 days a week at various times, with private tours of the museum given Monday-Thursday.

The Trap Music Museum is a unique experience that seeks not just to represent trap music itself, but the culture that is its source.

There’s No Place like the Judy Garland Museum

If you’re planning a trip to Grand Rapids, MN, including a stop to the Judy Garland Museum is a must.

The museum includes the entertainer’s childhood home, the Children’s Discovery Museum, and of course, the Land of Oz exhibit. So, embrace the magic and follow the yellow brick road.

It’s No Longer Just a Dream

A walk through the modest 1920s home where Frances Ethel Gumm, a.k.a. Judy Garland began life’s journey offers a poignant glimpse into the star’s history.

The museum includes an array of memorabilia from Garland’s extensive film and musical career as well as her personal effects. Scripts, personal letters, photos, jewelry, and clothing combine to create the lasting legacy of her career.  

The most extensively memorialized aspect of the museum includes mementos of Dorothy’s heroic journey through Oz. Here, you’ll find the carriage ridden into Oz, which incidentally, once belonged to Abraham Lincoln.

Secure your own legacy and request to have a personal message engraved on the museum’s yellow brick road.

The Case of the Missing Ruby Slippers

When Dorothy’s missing ruby slippers mysteriously vanished from the museum in 2005, the case went cold. It wasn’t until a phone call in an attempt to cash in on insurance money and subsequent FBI sting operation in 2018 that the iconic slippers were returned to their rightful owners. It proves once again that, “There’s no place like home.”

The Children’s Discovery Museum

The interactive exhibits are designed for children aged 12 and younger. Included among the adventures are Treesa the Talking Tree, a dinosaur dig, and Lions and Tigers and Bears exhibit.

The Wizard of Oz Festival

The third week of June every year is set aside to participate in activities that celebrate Judy Garland’s life and career as well as the iconic production of The Wizard of Oz. The three-day festival includes memorable film clips, concerts, and dining.

Manhattan’s Poster House Museum is Dedicated to Graphic Arts

Posters as advertising billboards are graphic art as well as history.

The Poster House Museum at 119 West 23rd Street in the Chelsea neighborhood exhibits posters from around the world.

This is the first museum in the United States to focus on the graphic art of posters from the late 1800s to the present.

Exhibits

The Poster House opened in June of 2019 with a special exhibit of the work of Alphonse Mucha titled “Art Nouveau/Nouvelle Femme”. The exhibit “Designing Through the Wall: Cyan in the 1990s” details the graphic form of using the blue-green cyan for contemporary design. Future exhibits include posters from the 2017 Women’s March and “100 Years of Chinese Posters”. A collection of hand-painted movie posters from Ghana will also be on display.  

The Art Of Advertising

This is a celebration of the art of persuasion using posters to advertise everything from beauty products to concerts, exhibits, and events such as movies or plays. This is where business and commerce meet art and artists. Posters are the artwork of advertising.  A poster must be visually appealing as it usually communicates its message asking the public to buy or participate in an event that will cost money.

The Poster House is a “living archive” of contemporary poster design as well as those from the past. Posters developed from photos and even computer-designed art are also on display. The posters reflect the fashion and morals of different times over a 160 year period. They are part of the pop culture of the past where different print media and techniques were used to create the posters.

Extras

The museum features a gift shop and cafe along with a special children’s exhibition. There is also a classic poster photo booth and a modern digital poster wall.

Let’s Go!

Poster House is open Wednesday through Monday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. Admission is $12 for adults with children under 18 admitted free. Students and seniors pay only $8.00. This is a new experience for New Yorkers and visitors in a city that offers many museums. 

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Bending Reality at the Belgrade Museums of Optical Illusions

Brain-twisting, perception-puzzling, just plain weird-and-whacky optical illusions have been bending our reality for eons.

They’ve become fascinating and visually appealing to many viewers because of their trickery.

Similar to magicians and illusionists who use similar tactics to fool their audiences, the first known example of an optical illusion related to both sight and touch dating back to the time of Aristotle. 

In his ancient experiment, it was suggested a person cross their fingers and touch a pen simultaneously and it would appear and feel as though two pens (technically it would have been quills at the time) would be present. Today, many forms of optical illusions are found on the internet as 2D images appearing three-dimensional or changing their appearance in some way.

The Belgrade Museum of Optical Illusions

A more practical, hands-on approach to enjoying these mysterious images and elements are found at The Belgrade Museum of Optical Illusions with locations in over a dozen cities around the world. Currently, there are only two in the USA, Kansas City and New York, but more are slated to open in America soon including new museums in Dallas, Las Vegas and Miami. 

Speaking of locations, it would seem the signature site in Belgrade, Serbia would be the oldest but technically, a museum in Athens would be considered more ancient simply from a historical aspect. Other global venues include Paris, Vienna, Shanghai and Dubai just to name a few. 

Eye-Popping Exhibits

Some of the museum’s most mind-boggling exhibits include three-dimensional displays and auditory avenues that challenge multiple senses. Although venues vary with rotating illusions and different displays found in various locations, visitors generally see and experience:

  • Unusual and interactive illusions
  • Creepy clone concepts
  • Rooms that warp space and gravity
  • Mirrored displays that expand to infinity
  • Colorful, customized kaleidoscope creations for the imagination to unwind on multiple levels

Throughout history, museums around the world have been acclaimed and memorable for many reasons. For an experience that will really remain inside the sights and senses, be sure to check out one (or more) of the Belgrade Museums of Optical Illusions. These beautiful and beguiling images will remain engrained in a visitor’s brain long after they’ve left these halls.

Visiting Museums On Your Trip

Museums are perfect for learning about the history and culture of a country, region, or city.

Modern museums have evolved from being repositories of dusty collections to state-of-the-art buildings that feature socially significant artifacts. Some museums even provide immersive experiences so you can see a historical event unfold before your eyes.

Travelers and locals alike have been visiting museums since Babylonian times. The oldest surviving museum is the Capitoline complex in Rome. It was established in 1471 and opened to the public in 1734. In the United States, the museum of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia dates back to 1743, making it the oldest museum in the United States.

Meanwhile, the Charleston Museum in South Carolina was established in 1773, the first museum in the Southern United States. It has been open to the public since 1824.

Immerse Yourself in the Treasures of the Big Apple

According to TripAdvisor, the most popular museums in America include New York City’s Metropolitan Museum and the American Museum of Natural History. The 145-year-old Metropolitan (known as “The Met”) features everything from Ancient Egypt’s tombs, mummies, and artifacts to modern art collections. The Costume Institute at The Met showcases 33,000 costumes spanning seven centuries of fashionable clothing. 

Just a bus ride away and still a part of The Met, The Cloisters is devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. The building incorporates elements of medieval architecture and combines both ecclesiastical and secular spaces in perfect harmony. The exterior of the building looks like a monastery, while the interior boasts a cloister filled with herbs and flowers. Meanwhile, gleaming suits of armor and medieval stained glass windows take us back into the past. The museum overlooks the Hudson River and is a pleasant escape from the city. 

The American Museum of Natural History is perfect for dinosaur lovers. You’ll see a giant T-Rex skeleton above a major hall. However, the museum also displays more than dinosaur bones. Often called “A Field Guide to the Planet,” it shows wildlife from all over the world in dioramas of their native habitats. The Cosmic Pathway is a 360-foot long walk through the 13 billion year history of the universe. Each step along the walk is said to represent millions of years.

Headed to the Windy City?

The Art Institute of Chicago has a wing dedicated to modern and contemporary art, including the works of Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock. The Old Masters are well represented as well as Impressionists like Monet and Van Gogh. The museum is located next to Chicago’s famous Millennium Park. You may enjoy taking a stroll in the park after your time at the museum.

Of Chicago’s many museums, two outstanding ones aren’t featured on the TripAdvisor list. Therefore, you will likely avoid large crowds. The Richard H. Driehaus Museum at 40 East Erie Street is a 1880s mansion that features the art and architecture of the Gilded Age. Furnishings from the period decorate every room in the mansion. Visitors can also venture downstairs to see how the servants lived. The museum has an extensive collection of Tiffany glass covering the glassmaker’s sixty years of artistry. 

The Chicago History Museum at 1601 N. Clark Street shares stories of the Windy City through exhibitions, programs, publications, and digital media. A room of dioramas illustrates the city from its founding through the Great Chicago Fire and beyond. Here, you can find the definitive example of a Chicago hot dog (hold the catsup), climb aboard an L car,  visit a jazz club, window shop long-ago fashions in a Marshall Field’s store window, and learn what makes Chicago one of the world’s greatest cities.

Experience a Museum the New Way

Today, many museums are experiential in nature, where visitors become immersed in the cultural scenes of the era portrayed. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, is one of the first and finest examples of this type of museum. It combines scholarship and showmanship to connect visitors to Abraham Lincoln’s life and times. Interactive exhibits and sound effects give visitors a feeling of immediacy. Meanwhile, a Holavision presentation portrays the ghosts of historical figures interacting with live actors. 

In Memphis, Tennessee, The National Civil Rights Museum4 at 50 Mulberry Street presents a complete picture of slavery from the Triangle Trade through the Civil Rights Movement. You can crouch into the crowded spaces allocated to captured slaves on their ocean journey to America.

You can also visit the church where children were murdered at the height of the Civil Rights protests. Sit at the back of the bus and imagine what Rosa Parks must have felt prior to the Civil Rights era. Perhaps the most significant area is Martin Luther King Jr.’s room at the Lorraine Motel, which looks exactly as it did when he was murdered — right down to plates of half-eaten chicken and overflowing ashtrays.

You’ll see a few cars from the late ’60s in the parking lot outside of the hotel room. Across the street, you can visit the assassin’s room and peer out the window.

Information About Special Exhibits

Special exhibits are often a museum’s greatest draw, so check the museum’s website before your visit. In this way, you’ll get advance notice when a particular artist or era in history is being featured. Before visiting a city or a region, see what museums are nearby. TripAdvisor has insightful information about many locations, and you can also post questions there. Meanwhile, Art Geek is an excellent online resource for museums and historic homes and gardens. You can search by city or state.