Monday, December 29, 2014

The Best of 2014: The Most Enjoyable & Enlightening Museums, Exhibitions and Attractions I Experienced

From a local historical museum I'd never visited to major exhibits in Chicago & beyond to multiple institutions celebrating manned flight to various Frank Lloyd Wright creations to the foot of Christ the Redeemer poised atop a mountain in Rio, I enjoyed a nice variety of enlightening, eye-opening visits to various museums and attraction in 2014. 

Yet even in separating this Best of 2014 post to cover Museum Visits and Non-Museum attractions, the delineations are inexact, parallels imperfect and rankings rather nebulous.

While my goal is as much to illuminate others about places they may wish to visit as it is to highlight some of those that I enjoyed, in the case of Special Exhibitions, almost all cited have come and gone.

So take my rankings below for what little they're worth in terms of comparison value, but hopefully they might inspire you to seek out something equally rewarding in the realm of museums and other attractions.

For those in Chicago, please note that two of my favorite Special Exhibits seen in 2014--David Bowie Is as the Museum of Contemporary Art and The 1968 Exhibit at the Chicago History Museum--run through January 4, so you still have a few days left to get to them. All other special exhibitions noted have now ended.

My Favorite Museum Visits of 2014
(All in the Chicago area unless noted)

1. Milwaukee Art Museum - Kandinsky Exhibition (my review)

2. Museum of Contemporary Art - David Bowie Is Exhibition (my review)  

3. The Art Institute of Chicago - Magritte Exhibition (my review) 

4. Chicago History Museum - The 1968 Exhibit (my review)

5. Museum of Science and Industry - Walt Disney Exhibition (my review)
6. Carillon Historical Park including Wright Flyer III - Dayton, OH (Columbus/Dayton recap & photos)

7. Field Museum - 1893 World's Fair Exhibit and General Collection (my review)

8. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes - Buenos Aires (BA & Rio photos)

9. Dayton Art Institute - Dayton, OH (see #6 above for link)

10. Illinois Holocaust Museum - Charlotte Salomon: Life? Or Theater? Exhibit (my review)

Honorable Mention (in preference order)

- Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes - Rio de Janeiro (BA & Rio photos)
- Picasso Restaurant - Las Vegas (part of this piece)
- Chicago Sports Museum (my review) 
- Columbus Museum of Art (part of this recap) 
- Niles Historical Museum - Niles, IL (recap/photo) 
- Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park (part of this recap)
- Chanute Air Museum - Rantoul, IL (photos here)


Best Non-Museum Attractions Visited

1. 9/11 Memorial - New York (photos)

2. Christ the Redeemer Statue - Rio de Janeiro (BA & Rio photos)

3. Teatro Colon - Buenos Aires (BA & Rio photos)

4. Unity Temple - Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW) - Oak Park, IL (recap & photos)

5. Sugar Loaf Mountain - Rio de Janeiro (BA & Rio photos)

6. Metropolitan Cathedral - Buenos Aires (BA & Rio photos)

7. Metropolitan Cathedral - Rio de Janeiro (BA & Rio photos)

8. B. Harley Bradley House (FLW) - Kankakee (photos in this post)

9. Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park - Dayton, OH (part of this recap)

10. Newark, Ohio including the Longerberger Basket Building & Downtown sites (part of this recap)

Honorable Mention (in preference order)

- Topiary Park with Sunday Afternoon on the Isle
of La Grande Jatte
in shrubbery - Columbus, OH
(part of this recap)
- Emil Bach House (FLW) - Chicago (photos & Frank Lloyd Wright local guide)
- Morton Arboretum - Lisle, IL (recap & photos)
- Flamingo Las Vegas Wildlife Habitat
- Willowbrook Wildlife Center (part of this recap)
- The Grove - Glenview, IL
- Lincoln Park Zoo
- Chicago Botanic Garden 

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