Euro Top 10: #4 – Free museums

 

No 4

#4 – Free museums

I am a firm believer that all museums should be free.

I know, I know – sometimes this isn’t possible.  Sometimes funding is short and demand is high and who wouldn’t want to make more money to preserve their paintings and sculptures and such?  But just as with other beautiful and important things in life, preserving greatness doesn’t mean nearly as much if the audience isn’t there to enjoy and learn from it.

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Rainy afternoon at the Tate Britain

 

That’s why I’m such a huge fan of the vast number of free museums in London.  On any given day, a person can walk into the British Museum and see the Rosetta Stone. They can go visit the Magna Carta or Shakespeare’s original manuscripts at the British Library.  They can take a free tour of the Tate Britain and follow a literal timeline of British art.  They can form their own opinions about censorship, ownership (as in the case of the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum), citizenship (as in the Imperial War Museum – NOT free grumble grumble). Whether visitors take a free tour (offered at all free museums here and highly recommended!), stay for five minutes, or visit every day all day for a week, they can do so without barriers, without balancing the cost versus what they hope to get out of the experience.

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Guerrilla Girl costumes in the V & A – this group protests the extreme lack of female artists in art museums around the world, often talking about how there are many MANY more times more naked women in museums than female artists represented. I’m a big fan!

 

Museums have a lot to teach us – about where we came from, how other cultures live, what we can learn from the past as we plan for the future.  I think we’d all be better off if we hung out in free galleries a few hours a week, just reminding ourselves to slow down and enjoy the beauty of the world.

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Period clothing at the V&A. Be still, my Darcy-loving heart!

 

The #4 is brought to you from… somewhere in France!

All photos are my own unless otherwise stated.

Click here to read the other posts in this series.

Summer fun for penny-pinchers

It’s going to hit 90-degrees today.  I ate ice cream for lunch yesterday.  Yep, summer has definitely arrived.

My summer plans involve sun (and sunscreen!), good food and drinks, and as much free fun (and air conditioning) I can manage.  Here are my top recommendations for free fun in Beantown:

  • Scooper Bowl – Happening right now at Boston’s City Hall, the Scooper Bowl is a chance to support the Jimmy Fund and cancer patients while trying a bajillion kinds of ice cream, just $8 for all you can eat.  If you go, try the key lime sorbet – it’s ridiculously good.  (Ends tomorrow, don’t miss it!)
  • Free Fun Fridays – all around the state, museums, gardens, and zoos are opening their doors for free admission on Fridays.  Check out the full schedule here – highlights for me include the Museum of Science and the JFK Library and Museum.
  • Author readings at Porter Square books – cool authors, a neat local bookstore, and free A/C.  The Fonz was there this past weekend – proof that the owners have good taste.
  • Classic movies at the Somerville Theater – this is two inches from my house, and I am excited about all these films (though I probably need someone to hold my hand during “JAWS”).  If you go for a daytime matinée to beat the heat, it’s only set you back $7.
  • Shakespeare on the Common – This year’s play is “All’s Well that Ends Well” and if last year is any indication, it should be spectacular.  (My Yelp! review of last year’s production was just highlighted in the latest Yelp! newsletter – check it out!)
  • Book sales at the Boston Public Library – I love these things, and haven’t missed one yet this year.  More on this month’s treasures soon…
  • Concerts at the Hatch Shell – the Landmark Orchestra, KC and the Sunshine Band, and more, all for free and within walking distance of the T. (Thanks, Jess, for telling me about this!)
  • Free evenings at the ICA – Check out the latest contemporary art exhibits for free from 5-9 every Thursday night.
Did I leave off any Boston summer treasures?  What awesome things are you doing this summer?