I'm A Museum Person

I’m A Museum Person: Barbara Lisbona

Maman at Guggenheim Bilbao. Photo by B Mully via Flickr.

Maman at Guggenheim Bilbao. Photo by B Mully via Flickr.

My name is Barbara Lisbona, and I’m A Museum Person

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a designer living in Chile. I am a design, film, art, music and — of course — a museum enthusiast. I am very curious and I love new experiences and to learn new things. My graduation project theme was about giving an identity and creating guides and other materials for a children`s art museum in Chile, called “Artequin.”

Why do museums matter to you?

Being a curious person I have always enjoy visiting all kind of museums. Thanks to the museums we can experience, learn and enjoy things that we could not get by ourselves. Somehow I think represent the concept of democracy.

What is your favorite museum memory?

Staring at a Picasso painting and feeling absolutely thrilled and happy.

Photo by oddsock via Flickr.

Photo by oddsock via Flickr.

What museum would you love to visit?

Guggenheim Bilbao!

What is your dream museum job?

Exhibition Design and Museum Identity.

When you think of the perfect exhibit, what is in it?

The necessary mediums to ensure that the thing exposed meets the objective of the exhibition.

Who is the funnier museum twitterer…@SUEtheTrex or @NatHistoryWhale?

I didn´t know them, but now that I´ve checked them out, I´m going for @SUEtheTrex.

What is the most random item you have bought from a museum gift shop?

Hmmm…let me think, a Guggenheim NY snow bubble?

To test your museum knowledge…put these museums in order from earliest founded to most recently created: The Smithsonian, The British Museum, The Rijksmuseum, The Louvre, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Don’t worry if you don’t know…just make a guess!

Let´s see;

Louvre

British Museum

Rijksmuseum

– MET

Smithsonian

You may have heard of the Month at the Museum contest recently held at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. What museum would you move into for a month if you could?

Maybe the MET, I loved the Japanese Garden and I feel that you definitely need to take your time while you are there to enjoy the exhibits. I guess I would never get bored there!

Rooftop Garden at the Met. Photo by jebb via Flickr.

Rooftop Garden at the Met. Photo by jebb via Flickr.

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Thanks to Barbara for sharing her experiences. If you’re interested in participating in the “I’m A Museum Person” series, send us an email at editor@museumist.com, and we’ll get your story up on the site.

I'm A Museum Person

I’m A Museum Person: Restless Curator

National Museum of Ireland. Photo by infomatique via Flickr.

National Museum of Ireland. Photo by infomatique via Flickr.

My name is Restless Curator, and I’m A Museum Person.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am currently working the Natural History Museum in Dublin, Ireland as part of the Documentation team. So I spend my day cataloging the collections which include Geology, fossils, taxidermy, specimens in alcohol and dried. My family were always avid museum goers, so I strongly believe my love of museums and heritage could very well be genetic! I originally studied to be a graphic designer but quickly fell in love with the idea of working in museums after deciding to write my thesis on them. This thesis explored ideas of how design in museums can create a sense of a national identity for a nation, specifically looking at Ireland as an example. During this time I started volunteering in the museum which involved cataloging the dry mollusc collection, which meant once my job arose I had the relevant experience. I am now doing a part time masters in which my thesis will explore the idea of institutional memory within museums. Institutional memory is the knowledge that those who work within museums, or any organisation, collect about that institution over time. People who work in museums, their knowledge and their sense of humor about the collections they work with, plays second fiddle to the more academic treatments of museums and collections. I hope to investigate how this accrued knowledge could be collected and communicated to the public and other museums.

Why do museums matter to you?

They not only tell us about the past but they help us understand the making of the world as we know it. They tell personal, national and international stories that can inform, educate and amuse us. They are fragmentary, a giant puzzle that we shape to explain the world as it is now. In the future the manner in which we assembled that puzzle will be an artifact within it’s own right.

What is your favorite museum memory?

My father was involved in the local county museum when I was a child. My favourite memory was standing on a little set of steps leading to the stage in the old theatre that housed it’s exhibition staring up at the skull of a Giant Irish Deer above me. The vast breadth of it’s antlers were as dizzying then as they are now.

What museum would you love to visit?

Right now I would love to see The Museum of Jurassic Technology, as I believe humor is a key element in involving the public in the majority of collections especially those of eclectic nature!

Scene from the Museum of Jurassic Technology. Photo by saschapohflepp via Flickr.

Scene from the Museum of Jurassic Technology. Photo by saschapohflepp via Flickr.

What is your dream museum job?

Right now, I think I would love to create the role of Display Manager in the Natural History Museum in which I work. For those who don’t know this museum, it is often referred to as a “museum of a museum” – a classic Victorian museum of cabinets which has remained largely untouched for most of it’s 150 plus life span. It’s collections date back to the late 1790s and it still has a very didactic museum feel. The challenge of working with the over all aesthetic of the building whilst courting more modern museum practices of display would be immense but I think it would be full of joy and surprise also.

When you think of the perfect exhibit, what is in it?

This is a tough one! I think it would have to be something that spans a huge amount of time in a glimpse. So something like a fossil Archaeopteryx and a modern bird, or even a very early taxidermied animal shown beside a more modern specimen. They are items that can be appreciated purely for their fascinating beauty or ugliness or can be exhibited with a whole host of information.

Who is the funnier museum twitterer…@SUEtheTrex or @NatHistoryWhale?

Well I’m going to be very biased here and say neither and that @SpotticusNH is the only tweeting specimen for me!

What is the most random item you have bought from a museum gift shop?

I’m drawing a bit of a blank on this one! The most random thing I have ever seen is a Garfield soft toy in with all the more ‘real’ soft toy animals in a Natural History Museum – that was a bit odd!

Photo by hdaniel via Flickr.

Photo by hdaniel via Flickr.

What is the strangest museum you’ve ever been to or heard of?

The National Leprechaun Museum that opened in Dublin in 2010 is pretty strange, but I have yet to hand over the 10 euro to go inside!

You may have heard of the Month at the Museum contest recently held at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. What museum would you move into for a month if you could?

I think it would have to be the Field Museum in Chicago, I know Spotticus quite well – I’d like to meet Sue too!

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Thanks to Restless Curator for sharing her experiences. If you’re interested in participating in the “I’m A Museum Person” series, send us an email at editor@museumist.com, and we’ll get your story up on the site.


Marketing, Photo Gallery

Brrr. It’s Cold Out Here

titian

Someone clearly thought this Titian nude could use a little help bracing herself against the Minnesota cold.

For more info, check out the full post on Neatorama.

I'm A Museum Person

I’m A Museum Person: Jennie Carvill

Beth Shalom Holocaust Center by Whistling in the Dark via Flickr.

Beth Shalom Holocaust Center by Whistling in the Dark via Flickr.

My name is Jennie Carvill, and I’m a Museum Person.


Tell us a little about yourself.

I have a blog (www.MuseumsandStuff.tumblr.com) which I began to try and keep myself in contact with the museums community back home in the UK but has broadened my horizons much further than I first imagined! I started off studying archaeology and then did a masters degree in museum studies. I am currently writing my PhD about museums in Austria. My favourite museums are history museums, especially those with have a difficult story to tell.

Why do museums matter to you?
I believe that museums can make a different to individual lives and communities and society as a whole. I love that museums can be a driving force in reexamining certain periods or attitudes towards history/art/science etc and empowering groups. No two museums are the same, so you you always know you are in for something new when you step into a new museum. Museum studies has also taught me to enjoy even ‘bad’ museums – what makes them boring/inaccessible/whatever?

What is your favorite museum memory?

When I was writing my undergraduate dissertation I visited the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre in Newark. I had already visiting two other Holocaust exhibition in order to write about the events were represented in a British context. After seeing the exhibition, listening to a child survivor of the Holocaust and listening to the questions posed by the schoolchildren, we were shown something about the Rwandan genocide and then about the ongoing situation in Sudan. I was really angry that I hadn’t known anything about it and at the end of the video I heard some of the other school children expressing surprise that something like this was still happening, in their lifetime. I think it was this experience that showed me the potential that museums have and has led me to want to work in the field of social inclusion and attempt to ‘harness the power of history’.

What museum would you love to visit?

I would love to visit the Ellis Island Museum in New York.

Ellis Island Museum by David Paul Ohmer via Flickr.
Ellis Island Museum by David Paul Ohmer via Flickr.

What is your dream museum job?

I would love to work in a city history museum or something like like that, developing exhibitions and programming in conjunction with marginalised groups and working to make museums representative of as many people as is humanly possible. Enabling people to have a say in how their stories and histories are told.

When you think of the perfect exhibit, what is in it?
The perfect exhibition is multi-faceted. I should be able to have some flexibility about how much I read and how much I experience. I should learn something new, something so interesting that it comes up a few times in conversation over the next week or so. 

What is the most random item you have bought from a museum gift shop?
I went through a phase of kind of collecting packs of playing cards. Some of my favourite museum-bought ones are a pack with a different Shakespearean insult on each and another with a different, bland grey DDR building on.

Photo by stevendepolo via Flickr.
Photo by stevendepolo via Flickr.

You may have heard of the Month at the Museum contest recently held at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. What museum would you move into for a month if you could?
The Imperial War Museum in Lambeth. They have great exhibitions and loads to do. They also have a cinema where they show old propaganda films and documentaries, I could sit in their for hours. And at night, I would wait until everyone goes home and then climb on the tanks…

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Thanks to Jennie for sharing her experiences. If you’re interested in participating in the “I’m A Museum Person” series, send us an email at editor@museumist.com, and we’ll get your story up on the site.

Publications

Stranger Than Fiction

Photo by See-Ming Lee via Flickr.

Photo by See-Ming Lee via Flickr.

Recently, in my museum studies class, we have been tackling the issue of defining museums and the shift from collection-focused to audience-focused outlooks. So, when I came across the following exchange in P.D. James’ The Murder Room, it really caught my attention…

(A museum visitor asks of the curator)”What did you say the museum was for?”

Calder-Hale hesitated and turned. “I told him what he already knew. The Dupayne, like any reputable museum, provides for the safe custody, preservation, recording and display of items of interest from the past for the benefit of scholars and others interested enough to visit. Dupayne seemed to think it should have some kind of social or missionary function. Extraordinary!”

The debate continues further along in the chapter. The character Ackroyd is describing the history of the small Dupayne museum:

“…For the old man the museum was a private indulgence, as of course museums tend to be for some of their curators. He didn’t exactly resent visitors – some were actually welcomed – but he thought one genuine enquirer was worth fifty casual visitors and acted accordingly. If you didn’t know what the Dupayne was and the opening hours, then you didn’t need to know…”

His friend Dalgliesh responds with the following:

“But a casual uninformed visitor could enjoy the experience, get a taste for it, discover the fascination of what in the deplorable contemporary jargon we are encouraged to call ‘the museum experience.’ To that extent a museum is educational…”

The Murder Room was published in 2003, but this debate is still raging today. Is one of these characters correct, are they all correct? I’m not sure there is one right answer.

I'm A Museum Person

I’m A Museum Person: Jenni Fuchs

National Museum of Scotland

National Museum of Scotland

My name is Jenni Fuchs, and I’m a Museum Person.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m an expat German living in Edinburgh and work for National Museums Scotland as their Audience Research Officer. I also sit on the Board of ICOM’s Committee for Education and Cultural Action, and write a museum blog (http://jennifuchs.tumblr.com). In my free time I’m an enthusiastic amateur photographer.


Why do museums matter to you?

Museums are the keepers of our cultural heritage; they help us understand our past, preserve our present, and look ahead to our future. They’re also great places for informal and independent learners, many of whom are failed by our education systems, to develop themselves.


What is your favorite museum memory?

One day when I was about 10 years old, my mum wanted to keep me home from school because I had a temperature and was looking fairly pale. But I begged her to let me go as it was the day of our trip to the National Museum of Scotland and I absolutely didn’t want to miss it!


What museum would you love to visit?

I’ve worked on two loan exhibitions from the State Hermitage Museum and the artefacts were absolutely amazing. So, I would love to visit the museum in St Petersburg to see more of the collections, and I’ve heard the building itself is pretty impressive too.


What is your dream museum job?

I actually really love the job I have. I’ve loved the National Museum of Scotland since visiting there as a kid, and now I get to work there! Asking people lots of questions is really interesting, and it’s satisfying to know that the outcomes of my research help to improve the visitor experience.


When you think of the perfect exhibit, what is in it?

The perfect exhibit would have different layers of interpretation and cater to different learning styles. That doesn’t necessarily mean having the latest state-of-the-art digital interactives though. Something that encourages dialogue among visitors, or self reflection with oneself, can create just as much, if not more, of a lasting memory and experience.


Who is the funnier museum twitterer…@SUEtheTrex or @NatHistoryWhale?

Tricky question, as I’ve only just discovered both of them, but I think so far @SUEtheTrex has made me laugh more. I’m also a big fan of @OWNEYtheDOG from the National Postal Museum.


What is the most random item you have bought from a museum gift shop?

Probably a rosary with a picture of Pope Benedikt XVI on it at the Vatican Museums during a trip to Rome in 2006.

St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica

To test your museum knowledge…put these museums in order from earliest founded to most recently created: The Smithsonian, The British Museum, The Rijksmuseum, The Louvre, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Don’t worry if you don’t know…just make a guess!

Oh, I think I know four of these. The oldest is the British Museum (mid 18th C), the Louvre was turn of the 18th/19th C, the Smithsonian in the 1840s, and I would guess that the MET is the most recent one. I have to admit I have no idea where the Rijksmuseum fits in.


You may have heard of the Month at the Museum contest recently held at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. What museum would you move into for a month if you could?

If it’s for a whole month, I would probably choose St Fagans National History Museum in Wales, where I did an internship during my museum studies. It’s an open air museum with over forty different buildings, including a church, a school, a post office, a grocery store, various houses to sleep in, a working bakery and even a castle, so for a whole month there would a building for every situation.

St. Fagan's National History Museum

St. Fagan's National History Museum

Out of all the museums you have visited so far, which one if your favourite?

There’s so many to choose from, but one that I particularly adore is the Edo Tokyo Museum in Japan. The building is absolutely massive – they’ve got a full-scale kabuki theatre inside – and there’s lots to explore, with some of the interpretation helpfully being in English. The last time we visited a very friendly elderly gentleman showed us how to make origami sumo fighters!

What is the most bizarre museum you have visited?

It would have to be the Phallological Museum in Húsavik, Iceland, which we visited during our honeymoon no less. As the founder, owner and curator said to us, “Well, what’s a retired teacher to do but open a museum about phalluses? Times are tough, you know.”

Icelandic Phallological Museum

Icelandic Phallological Museum

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Thanks to Jenni for sharing her experiences. If you’re interested in participating in the “I’m A Museum Person” series, send us an email at editor@museumist.com, and we’ll get your story up on the site.

I'm A Museum Person

I’m A Museum Person: Sarah LaVigne

Winterthur Museum and Gardens. Photo by bobistraveling via Flickr.

Winterthur Museum and Gardens. Photo by bobistraveling via Flickr.

My name is Sarah LaVigne, and I am a Museum Person.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m in the last semester for my master’s in American Material Culture through the Winterthur Museum and the University of Delaware. I’m very interested in architectural history, religious history and objects, and collective memory of the past. My thesis is about the revival of vestments in the Episcopal Church from 1870-1920. Doing research at historic churches is always challenging but fun – their sacristies are like little uncurated museums.


Why do museums matter to you?

They are a tangible, accessible connection to the past that anyone can experience. Objects and buildings help tell stories in ways that books can’t.


What is your favorite museum memory?

It’s too hard to pick just one! In college I spent an amazing day at the Museum of the American Indian with a group of friends. We even sat down and had a discussion about culture and how we can express our own ethnic heritage. Being a costumed interpreter at the Colonial Williamsburg Apothecary my senior year at William and Mary was also very memorable. There was this wonderfully bittersweet moment on my last day when I closed the door behind me just as the fife and drum parade was going by. I’ll never forget my first tour of the Winterthur collections, either. I was completely overwhelmed by the 8 floors of decorative arts!

The Fife and Drums at Colonial Williamsburg. Photo by ktylerconk via Flickr.

The Fife and Drums at Colonial Williamsburg. Photo by ktylerconk via Flickr.


What museum would you love to visit?

I’d love to return to the Museum of London now that their new galleries are finished. The Louvre, the Prado, and the Vatican Museums are also on my must-see list.


What is your dream museum job?

Any job where I can do research but also interact with the public audience. It would be cool to teach a university course or two on the side to aspiring museum people. I’d love to work at a major historic site like Mount Vernon, helping people consider the history they learned in grade school with new eyes.


When you think of the perfect exhibit, what is in it?

There would be lots of interdisciplinary context – a good combination of many types of objects. (The new MFA Boston American Wing is a great example of this.) There would be fun hands-on activities to try and electronic stations that don’t overwhelm with text. There would be a clear narrative and path so that visitors don’t get lost. There would be something I’d never seen before that would make me think about the world in a new way.


Who is the funnier museum twitterer…@SUEtheTrex or @NatHistoryWhale?

My parents are from Chicago, so I have to go with the Field Museum’s T-Rex.  I love that her user name is her museum accession number.


What is the most random item you have bought from a museum gift shop?

On a high school trip I went to a re-created Canadian First Nations village. Because of the exchange rate and tax exemption the gift shop had really low prices, so we kids went a little nuts. I left with about ten maple sugar lollipops, and a rabbit pelt just because I could.

Photo by Foxtongue via Flickr.

Photo by Foxtongue via Flickr.


To test your museum knowledge…put these museums in order from earliest founded to most recently created: The Smithsonian, The British Museum, The Rijksmuseum, The Louvre, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Don’t worry if you don’t know…just make a guess!

Hmmm, the Louvre, the Rijksmuseum,  the British Museum, the Smithsonian,and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


You may have heard of the Month at the Museum contest recently held at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. What museum would you move into for a month if you could?

Do I get to sleep in an antique bed like in The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler? I’d pick the Victoria and Albert Museum because you could never run out of things to see, and they have some really fantastic religious artifacts.

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Thanks to Sarah for sharing her experiences. If you’re interested in participating in the “I’m A Museum Person” series, send us an email at editor@museumist.com, and we’ll get your story up on the site.

Visit

Standing Guard

Photo by David Reber's Hammer Photography via Flickr.

Photo by David Reber's Hammer Photography via Flickr.

Over at Start Me Up, they’ve been discussing the role that a museum security guard can play in a visitor’s experience. You should check it out.

Have you had any good or bad encounters with a museum security guard that really affected your visit?

I'm A Museum Person

I’m A Museum Person: Karine Huys

My Name is Karine Huys, and I’m A Museum Person

Tell us a little about yourself.

I currently work as the Coordinator of Volunteer Services at the Indiana State Museum. I have an MPA in Nonprofit Management and an MA in Museum Studies. I love museums and most of my vacationing is centered around museums and exhibits. Science museums are my first choice, but there is very little that I would turn down.

Photo by Paul J Everett via Flickr.

Photo by Paul J Everett via Flickr.

Why do museums matter to you?

The Internet has brought the world to our backdoors, but it’s flat on a screen. Only in a museum can you stand before an articulated dinosaur skeleton and realize the real size. Only in a museum can you stand in front of the Mona Lisa and see the brushstrokes and crackles in the paint with your own eyes (if there are any).

What is your favorite museum memory?

I was tied between 3 so in no particular order the winners are: 1)  the first time I saw “Titanic: the Artifact Exhibition” the case with the perfume vials in it had 3 holes cut in the top and you could stand there and smell the perfume some 90ish years later and up from the sea floor  2) the turning of the page of the Audubon “The Birds of America” book in the library at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.  If I lived in Philly I would go there every Friday afternoon and watch.  3) Walking up to the entrance of “Science Storms” at the Museum of Science and Industry the first time.  That exhibit is awe-inspiring, over-whelming and mind-blowing, I never wanted to leave!

Photo by Boston Public Library via Flickr.

Photo by Boston Public Library via Flickr.

What museum would you love to visit?

The Baseball Hall of Fame.

Photo by ewen and donabel via Flickr.

Photo by ewen and donabel via Flickr.

What is your dream museum job?

My dream museum job would be at the Field Museum in Chicago – nothing in particular, I’d probably take janitor!

When you think of the perfect exhibit, what is in it?

Sensory experiences beyond just the visual.

Who is the funnier museum twitterer…@SUEtheTrex or @NatHistoryWhale?

I’ll have to go with Sue, cause I love dinosaurs!

What is the most random item you have bought from a museum gift shop?

A card that says “I love you more than dinosaur bones.”

To test your museum knowledge…put these museums in order from earliest founded to most recently created: The Smithsonian, The British Museum, The Rijksmuseum, The Louvre, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Don’t worry if you don’t know…just make a guess!

Here goes my best guess!

  • The Rijksmuseum
  • The Louvre
  • The British Museum
  • The Smithsonian
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art

You may have heard of the Month at the Museum contest recently held at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. What museum would you move into for a month if you could?

I would have loved to be at MSI! But I am originally from the Chicago area, so I’m biased.

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Thanks to Karine for sharing her experience. If you’re interested in participating in the “I’m A Museum Person” series, send us an email at editor@museumist.com, and we’ll get your story up on the site.

I'm A Museum Person

I’m A Museum Person: Exercise Eleven

Museumist is happy to present our latest series…

I’m A Museum Person

…a brief look at the people that make museums tick. Whether they are museum professionals behind the scenes or simply fans of the thousands of museums around the world, we wanted to know more about them, and we think you will too.

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My name is Exercise Eleven, and I’m a Museum Person


Tell us a little about yourself.

I studied art history at university and I write an art blog focusing on modern and contemporary art. My specialty is Asian art, but I’ll write about anything interesting that comes across my desk.

Photo by Milton CJ via Flickr.

Photo by Milton CJ via Flickr.

Why do museums matter to you?

Museums have been quite controversial throughout various stages of art history, huh? I love them because they create a central place to view objects that would otherwise been hidden away.


What is your favorite museum memory?

Visiting the Tate Modern for the first time… It was the first museum I visited in London and it has works from many of my favorite artists. At one point I had to sit down on a bench (in front of the Monet) and pause just to drink in everything that was around me.

What museum would you love to visit?

The Centre Pompidou. It’s a work of art all on it’s own!

Photo by philh via Flickr.

Photo by philh via Flickr.

What is your dream museum job?

I think being the head of Education or Programming would be brilliant. I enjoy coordinating activities and events. The art informs the programming, and the programming informs the visitors.

Photo by my_new_wintercoat via Flickr.

Photo by my_new_wintercoat via Flickr.

When you think of the perfect exhibit, what is in it?

You ask tough questions… The medium of the art isn’t important as long as the content is good, so my answer is: good content, good wine, and good people.


Who is the funnier museum twitterer…@SUEtheTrex or @NatHistoryWhale?

Yes.


What is the most random item you have bought from a museum gift shop?

Ah, I’m so boring! I mostly buy books. I bought one of those ceramic mugs that looks like a takeaway coffee cup once.

Photo by Dewayne Neeley via Flickr.

Photo by Dewayne Neeley via Flickr.

To test your museum knowledge…put these museums in order from earliest founded to most recently created: The Smithsonian, The British Museum, The Rijksmuseum, The Louvre, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Don’t worry if you don’t know…just make a guess!

The British Museum, The Louvre, The Rijksmuseum, The Smithsonian, The Metropolitan Museum of Art


You may have heard of the Month at the Museum contest recently held at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. What museum would you move into for a month if you could?

Is there a “Museum of Soft Beds and Good Food”? If not, I’ll pick the Louvre. It’s quite cozy in there.

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Thanks to Exercise Eleven for sharing their experience. If you’re interested in participating in the “I’m A Museum Person” series, send us an email at editor@museumist.com, and we’ll get your story up on the site.

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