So, this past week, I got the awesome opportunity to see a Terracotta Warrior exhibit at the Asian Art Museum in SF.
I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t necessarily thrilled to shell out $20 to look at old stuff, but after the whole experience, it was definitely worth it.
It was fascinating. I hadn’t even really heard about the Terracotta Warriors before, so it was really eye-opening for me. Apparently, the First Emperor of China had a huge army made for him, consisting of soldiers and chariots and horses, to protect himself in the afterlife.
The exhibit had a couple of the warriors that were dug up around the 1970’s, but there are thousands and thousands more soldiers that were found. Seeing the pictures of all the warriors together was sort of like visiting the Colosseo for the first time: its sheer size and age makes you feel so small and humbled. The detail of the statues, too, were exquisite. And the rest of the exhibit was fairly neat too, with great artifacts and visuals and explanations.
(Seriously, I wanted this pendant so bad. )
(And this teapot.)
But after an awesome meal, me and the fabulous people I was with…we decided to check out some of the other exhibits, featuring other parts of Asia.
(We all chose an object that we identified with, and I chose this puppet. Which also happened to be a stepdad. So…I guess I was a man in another life. Cool.)
Needless to say, I had an amazing time. But what I find most astonishing is that this museum has been in my backyard all this time and this had been my first time there. I mean, how many other great museums and cultural wonderlands are right at my fingertips? Then I was reminded of all the times I’ve said Boy, I miss traveling. Woe is me. Poor grad student. And it dawned on me: I can travel to ancient times and learn about other cultures right here!
I know I may be lucky, living where I am, but there are other museums out there too. Do some digging. You may be surprised.
So, this week, my Favorites Spotlight is on museums.
I loved going to museums in Italy, when I went back in 2010. That was mostly what I did there, when I wasn’t scarfing down gelato and pizza margherita or exploring or checking out the ancient sites. Now, even though it’s been three years since then, I still talk about the experience like it was my favorite child (Shh, don’t tell my future children). See, what I loved about my whole experience from Rome was that 1.) it was a magical experience, and 2.) I could relive the experience through my experience of telling stories. Like a bard telling a story passed down from tradition, a traveler’s experience is not a fixed moment in time. Which is why, despite the costs, it is always worth it. It’s immortal, in a way. That’s why happy, wise traveling buffs always say Don’t think about the money–just do it!
But the great thing about museums are that they’re right here. They can take you to faraway places. Or give you a new perspective on how you see the world. I know a lot of people find the idea of museums boring, but give them a chance! Like my experience in Italy, I now have new tales to tell about the Terracotta Warriors and Asian artifacts.
And I’m not even kidding. I’ve used one joke taken from an exhibit–twice –at the residential facility where I intern…and I’ve gotten laughs both times.
See, there was this guy. He could control the sun. One day, he was eating at a restaurant and it was time for him to pay the bill. The owner was like okay, seriously, pay your bill. But y’know, he didn’t want to. So…he moved the sun close to the restaurant–and kept it there–until eventually the owner became so hot that he said Okay, okay, I’ll pay the bill.
Yeah, I paraphrased it, but seriously, it’s funny!
Anyway, do some research and check out a local museum. And maybe report back to me and share your experience!
P.S. Got ideas for other favorites for me to spotlight? Leave a comment or shoot me an email