By Dahlia Fisher & Courtney Krieger — 4/1/2020
Just weeks ago we were focused on visitors joining us at our physical location to explore artifacts and images as a way to learn about Jewish heritage. Similarly, we could visit a number of amazing cultural institutions across Northeast Ohio to discover art, music, history, science, and more. Suddenly, we’re feeling pretty isolated and that got us thinking. What if we could travel anywhere and visit any five cultural institutions, which ones would we choose?
We think you’ll know why these places are amazing (but just in case, we’re giving you a few hints). Read on for the top five cultural institutions we love right now!
CROW MUSEUM OF ASIAN ART
Location: Dallas, TX
Why we love it: They’ve got a stand up mission. In fact, it’s a lot like ours. Their website says, “By cultivating compassion and inclusivity through our work, we build greater awareness and a shared sense of what it means to be human.” Bravo! We’re hooked. Bonus? Their institutional goal is to “put compassion into action.” We think our museums might be soul sisters.
Favorite feature: When you visit their website’s exhibitions page, you can hear from curators of various shows and lean about key artifacts by watching short videos.
See for yourself: https://crowcollection.org/exhibitions/
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY & CULTURE
Location: Washington, DC
Why we love it: Founding director Lonnie G. Burch III is quoted as saying, “This is America’s Story and this museum is for all Americans.” We share a serious bond with this museum. Maybe because our permanent collection is called An American Story and we similarly believe that stories of minorities in this country hold universal truths about American values like resilience and optimism. Or maybe, because we’ve gotten to know key staff during annual Council of American Jewish Museums conferences where they’ve shared wise words. Either way, we admire what they’re doing. This museum poetically and powerfully showcases a collection of over 36,000 artifacts and we think every American should be running – not walking – to learn more about what’s inside.
Favorite feature: Through the museum’s Open Access Initiative anyone can search a database of historical objects spanning a wide range of topics, one more fascinating than the next.
See for yourself: https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/collection
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF MEXICAN ART
Location: Chicago, IL
Why we love it: This museum works to break down barriers and preserve cultural heritages. A mission we can relate to one-hundred percent. According to their website, they are “One of the most prominent first-voice institutions for Mexican art and culture in the United States,” with “a history of being bold and activist in our approach and reach.” We are in awe of how they use their voice to effect positive change in a community. Activists unite!
Favorite feature: With a permanent collection of approximately 10,000 pieces, they’ve digitized sections anyone, anywhere can explore online. Plus, the public is invited to submit pieces for a chance to be selected and showcased – wow!
See for yourself: http://nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org/the-collection
NATIONAL WOMEN’S HISTORY MUSEUM
Location: Alexandria, VA (admin offices)
Why we love it: Exploring this museum offers a wealth of information about women in America, including the reality that, “Women’s stories have been left out of history.” But you can discover them here. You can also learn about women making history right now. “Presenting women’s stories that have been traditionally overlooked…educators will feature five historical pioneers and contemporary newsmakers each month that inspire us to change the world,” and it’s all online. In fact, this museum is entirely online making it one of the most in depth digital spaces we’ve discovered.
Favorite feature: Check out their electronic field trips. They offer some video recordings that are currently free for use. And, don’t miss the online exhibits that allow you to tour a variety of topics at your own pace from the comfort of home.
See for yourself: https://www.womenshistory.org/womens-history/online-exhibits
THE BRITISH LIBRARY
Location: London, England
Why we love it: With an abundance of online materials, we became fascinated with this specific online exhibit, “Discovering Sacred Texts” which explores sacred texts from world faiths, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and the Baha’i Faith, Jainism and Zoroastrianism. Created by the Library for religious education students, educators, and lifelong learners, “The site showcases over 270 digitized collection items, alongside articles written by academics, curators and faith leaders, film content and teachers’ resources,” says the website. Be prepared to spend some time here. We were blown away!
Favorite Feature: Sacred texts are both aesthetically and spiritually stimulating. In depth articles invite you to view the texts as artifacts as well as decode their meaning. You can also gain perspective through easy to digest videos discussing five different world faiths.
See for yourself: https://www.bl.uk/sacred-texts#
We’re taking a tour of the world and all of its offerings to curate cultural connections aligned with our museum’s mission and values. Join us as we explore exhibits, art, film, literature, lectures and more.
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