Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Best of 2017: The Most Enjoyable & Enlightening Museums, Exhibitions and Attractions I Experienced defines "museum" as:

a building or place where works of art, scientific specimens, or other objects of permanent value are kept and displayed 

This seems a perfectly logical definition, but what if you go to a building that in itself is a work of art?

And so too is every painting or carving or sculpture or structure within?

On my 2-week trip to India this summer, I went relatively few "museums;" most prominently just the Gandhi Smriti in Delhi--the last residence of Mahatma Gandhi, which displays several images from his life, and death on the premises.

But in terms of appreciating art and beauty and history and "objects of permanent value," many of the sights I saw in India--the Taj Mahal, I'timād-Ud-Daulah's Tomb, Agra Fort, Humayun's Tomb, Amber Fort, Jaipur City Palace, the Elephanta Caves, Mysore Palace, Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue in Mumbai), ISKCON Temple, Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace, Lalbagh Botanic Garden and more--all could be considered museum like.

But so, too, I guess, could an ornate old church.

So like all of my Best Of lists, there are imperfections in terms of definition and delineation, but I've tried to have one list specifically for museums--or simply exhibitions--and another for other tourist attractions, such as the above.

And while the second list could be comprised entirely of sights in India, I'll try to mix things up a bit.

Speaking of which, in the museum listings, in some cases I cite particularly great Special Exhibitions, while in others simply a visit to the museum itself (or both). In the specific case of the Art Institute of Chicago, I have visited it for so long and so often--including a few times this year--here I will merely consider special exhibits I saw this year, although the museum as a whole could always rank near the top My Favorite Museums list.

My Favorite Museum Visits of 2017

1. Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York

2. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art - Kansas City, MO

3. The Rolling Stones: Exhibitionism - Navy Pier, Chicago (my review)

4. Gandhi Smriti - New Delhi, India

5. Harry S Truman Presidential Museum - Independence, MO
6. Eugene Eda's Doors - Chicago Cultural Center (my overview)

7. Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution - Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center - Skokie, IL (my review)

8. National World War I Museum - Kansas City, MO

9. Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
- Kansas City, MO

10. Take a Stand Center - Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center - Skokie, IL (my review)

11. Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg - Museum of Contemporary Art - Chicago (my review)
Honorable Mention
- Frick Collection - New York
- Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist - Art Institute of Chicago (my review)
- American Writers Museum - Chicago
(my review)
- Hallmark Visitors Center - Kansas City, MO
- Terry Firkins: The Saddest Happy Ending - Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Art, Chicago
(my overview)
- Evanston History Center
(my overview)
- American Toby Jug Museum - Evanston, IL
(my overview)
- Whistler’s Mother: An American Icon Returns to Chicago - Art Institute of Chicago
- American Jazz Museum - Kansas City, MO

Best Non-Museum Attractions Visited in 2017

1. Taj Mahal - Agra, India (my photos)

2. Amber Fort - Jaipur, India
(India photo gallery)

3. Chand Baori Stepwell - Abhaneri, India

4. Oculus - New York
(photos in this post)

I'timād-Ud-Daulah's Tomb - Agra, India

6. Elephanta Caves - Near Mumbai, India

7. Community Christian Church (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) - Kansas City, MO
(photos in this post)

8. National Elks Memorial - Chicago
(recap & photos)

Mysore Palace - Mysore, India

Fine Arts Building - Chicago (my photos)

11. Albany Park Walking Tour - Chicago
Honorable Mention 

- Taj Mahal Palace Hotel tour - Mumbai, India
- Country Club Plaza - Kansas City, MO
- Crabtree Nature Center - Barrington, IL
- Chicago Botanic Garden - Glencoe, IL
- Central Park - New York
- Radio City Music Hall - New York
- Humayun's Tomb - Delhi, India
- City Palace - Jaipur, India
- Agra Fort - Agra, India
- Lalbaugh Botanic Garden - Bangalore, India
- ISKCON Temple - Bangalore, India
- Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue - Mumbai, India
- Chamundeshwari Temple - near Mysore, India

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