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 you can see the true level of detail.  They have hundreds of little people in them.  

Now, after these, you head downstairs.  I will admit that I really do not remember much of the rest of the museum.  I think I had been a bit overhwlmed at this point and honestly, cold and wet.  It was really loud in the museum and not particularly helped by all the school children.  

I hope the next time I am in Tokyo I have a chance to go again on fresh, dry legs.

Time in museum: 1 hr
Times visited: 1
Overall: B+

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 significance of the Samurai.  The armour they have in Japan is beautiful.  It is so elaborate and well preserved.  

 The museum also had some beautiful kimonos showing different techniques 

They also exquisite examples of letter press, woodprint and paintings. The museum does not allow a ton of photographs of them, but I took a few where I could.  This painting was an example of satire. The level of detail and color was fantastic.  The planning required to execute these correctly is hard to imagine.

These statues were also beautiful.  

If you have one day in Tokyo, you need to go to this museum.  It is just a wonderful curated and edited collection.  It has the full breadth of art you would expect and was easy to navigate.

Time in museum: 2.5 hrs
Times visited: 1
Overall: A



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 in the right order, which is the slight ding in the score.  

I think Amsterdam should be promoting this museum more than it does!

Times visited: 1
Time in museum: 1.5 hrs
Overall: A-


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, colorful strokes.  He died in 1890, so that is about four years of the stereotypical method.  In his last few months, he was averaging a painting a day.  Could you image that? 

I do with the museum would not allow tour guides, or at least limit the size of the groups.  It can just be really challenging to navigate the museum.  Certain paintings were very crowded with groups of people not moving for longer than typical viewers would stay...

Times visited: 3
Time in museum: 1.25 hrs
Overall: A-