Cincinnati Art Museum

I recently took a job in Cincinnati, so get ready for a bit more of these about/from Cincinnati!  My husband and I just got a year pass to go to the  Cincinnati Art Museum.

My husband and I went a couple of weeks ago as the start of the date night.  We went to two of the exhibits about Japanese culture.

The first exhibit we went to was Dressed to Kill: Japanese Arms & Armor.  I was really excited about this exhibit since it had 11 Samurai suits of armor!  They even had one for a 13 year old boy.  Three of the suits of armor were the museums, but eight of them were from a private collection.  I was enraptured by the armor.  They had a box that was used to store the armor and I was shocked at how collapsible the armor was -- it folded up into the smallest box.  One of the samurai suits was the most elaborate ones I had ever seen.  They also had one with feather plums on the helmet!  It was the most suits of armor I had ever seen in one place -- I really appreciated the opportunity to …

Senso-Ji Temple

When I was in Tokyo, I actually ended up going to Senso-Ji Temple twice!  I went on Friday (right before my rain soaked visit to the Edo-Tokyo museum).  Then after doing a walking tour with some of my coworkers, two of us ended up back at Senso-Ji on Saturday.

What a cool temple!  First, it is really in the middle of the city.  It goes from bustling city to a sacred (but still very bustling) temple.  The shrine was crazy busy in the rain, and also crazy busy on the weekend (obviously).  

On my second visit, Chariti and I were actually approached by five university students who wanted to practice their English.  They were part of their university's English club who occasionally goes to the temple to practice.  

It was great because I was able to get all my questions answered from the day before...including where the sandals of the gods were.  As you can see in the picture below, I am not sure why I could not find them on Friday.

Another question: where was the big pagoda?  It turns out…

Edo Tokyo Museum

After the shrine, I walked to the Edo Tokyo Museum.  

I had contemplated getting a cab, but unfortunately due to the rain, I could not find one.  I was soaked by the time I arrived...and cold (as you can see with the fogged up glasses).  

I start with this as a preamble because I am very sure this impacted my view of this museum.  

This museum focuses on the history of Tokyo; it started with when Tokyo was known as Edo.  It has been the third capital of Japan and has held that role since 1603.  

You start at the top of the museum and work your way down.  The museum is fantastic for children as it is quite hand's on and full of interactive displays.  It starts out with large scale replicas of different buildings from different periods within Tokyo.  One was a theater, Nakamuraza.  Inside the theater, you could see a replica of a play with life-sized actors.  

They also have a number of smaller scale models.  The level of detail is remarkable.  They have small magnifying scopes so that y…

Tokyo National Museum

While I was in Tokyo, I wanted to hit the top museums, but at the same time, realized I did not have a ton of a time available.  Going to the Tokyo National Museum was a natural, easy decision.

The museum is at the northern end of Ueno Park, which has a number of Tokyo's museums, similar to Berlin's museum island or even how Madrid has a number museums centered around the Prado.  

The Tokyo National Museum is a museum compound of different museums.  I focused on the Honkan museum, which has the Japanese collection.  I also went into the Heiseikan collection.

The Honkan had a wonderful brochure that pointed out the highlights in the collection.  I also really liked the stamps on the exhibit descriptions about "important cultural item"  This museum really had everything you would htink of when considering traditional Japanese items of cultural importance.  

Based on my visit to the DIA to visit their Samurai exhibit, I have been really interested in the cultural significan…


One of the mornings in Amsterdam, I met my dad at the Verzetsmuseum.  In English, the museum name translates to the Dutch Resistance Museum.  It felt like an appropriate activity for Rosh Hashanah.  

It was an interesting contrast to Norway's Resistance Museum.

It was one of those deceptive museums -- that looks like it is going to be really small and quick to go through.  This one quickly proved me wrong!  

It was very interactive and multimedia.  I believe it had recently been renovated and redone.  

It walks through what Amsterdam and by extension, the Netherlands experienced during WWII from May 1940 through the end of WWII.  It showed what the Netherlands was like leading up to the raise of Hitler in adjacent Germany.  

I found the museum really well laid out.  It had a number of objects and interactivity.  There were videos, first person narratives to listen or read, objects saved from that time period, and photographs.  

I did find it a little difficult at times to do the museum …

Van Gogh Museum

About a month ago, I went to Van Gogh museum with my dad.  He got off the red eye and pretty soon after we showed up at the Van Gogh museum at 10:30.  
It was fairly crowded for 10:30 AM on a Sunday.  I would always recommend buying a ticket in advance.  It is pretty easy and they seem to be available even just the day before.  

The new entrance is very well designed.  It provides some much needed extra space in the museum.  They have moved the gift shop and the entrance.  It gives so much more breathing room.  It also makes the first floor workable gallery space.  

I loved the progression of self portraits on the first floor.  You can see how Van Gogh's style changed throughout the years.

Every time I visit the museum, I learn/focus on something new.  This time it was how prolific Van Gogh was in, what really was, a short amount of time.  He went to Paris in 1886 where he was introduced Bernard and Gauguin.  At this point, he started evolving his style and his distinct broad, colorfu…

National Portrait Gallery

I was recently in England for a global conference.  I ended up staying through the weekend.  Before I went, I was scanning through my Goldman Sachs Alumni newsletter.  I happened to go all the way to the end (which doesn't always happen) when I saw that they were the main sponsor of a new exhibit, Picasso Portraitsat the National Portrait Gallery.  I knew I had to go!

I bought my friend and I tickets advanced.  Highly recommend. There was a significant queue to buy tickets, but with advanced purchase, we could move to a very short line.  

The exhibit was really great.  It is one large loop and is primarily in chronological order.  

I continue to be amazed by Picasso's earlier work.  It is so lifelike and realistic.  It demonstrates that to bend the rules you need to know the rules, and Picasso definitely knew the rules. 

Matt would probably get mad if I didn't mention how obsessed I was with how many different museums, collections these paintings, sculptures came from.  

I foun…