Perhaps one of the greatest effects or rewards of this trip is the connection we now have to different parts of the world. In so many places, I have seen pictures, scenes, and references to locations, maybe even specific sites, that I have been to. I can look at those reminders and tell myself that I have stood there, in front of the Taj Mahal, or on the Serengeti plains. The American Natural History Museum in New York is the perfect place to look for such references, and boy did I find them.
As we walked into the museum and got maps for the place, I was completely blown away by the number of rooms that had titles about places we had been to.
We saw some stuff about dinosaurs and dark matter, and then proceeded to spread out completely, each of us going where we wanted, visiting the rooms that seemed most interesting to us.
They had rooms with displays of animals from around the world. I got to connect with seeing a huge recreation of an Asian elephant. Also the Hall of African Mammals brought back memories of our safari. Oh, the wildebeast, African elephant, zebra, and all the other animals we had so much fun watching.
I silently shrieked excitedly to myself at Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and Southeast Asian displays of costumes and culture all around me. I wasn’t so much there to learn about the culture, but to feel the connections I have to those countries. The room for South American peoples had captions on Andean and Amazonian culture. Memories of Peru came flooding back.
The Hall of African Peoples had Islamic artifacts and displays from the Sahara, as well as exhibits about Sub-Saharan African customs.
But the thing that made me jump the most was the Hall of Pacific People, which outside had a picture of a marketplace in Denpasar, on Bali. Inside, out of all things, they had a diorama set of little figures enacting a traditional Balinese dance. In Bali, we had sat and watched a presentation much like the one that was being displayed.
They had metalwork from Bali and Java, and also stuff from Hawaii. I could not help but squeal at the top of my lungs (inside) at the sight of so many familiar things.
I feel like going to the museum after having been to those places completely morphed my experience and view of the museum, though in a good way. Ending with New York and museums such as the MET and the American Natural History Museum is so well constructed, because it brings together everything we have seen.
I know that if I lived in New York and had never left the city, going to the American Natural History Museum would not have been as special, nor as perfect.
Below: Museum Pictures–Brings back so many memories