I can’t remember the first museum I ever went to, but I remember an early one—maybe middle school, maybe early high school. My parents took me on a trip to Niagara Falls that included a border crossing into Ontario. I have no idea what museum it was (Royal Ontario Museum? Museum of History & Art?) and I don’t remember any of the art I saw, but I remember the rooms. It was like a mansion, that museum—far more livable than any museum I’d yet been in. There were maybe even living rooms set up, like some museums do. Roped-off bedrooms frozen in time, parlors and solariums and elaborate wallpaper, thick, untouched carpets.
This is the museum where I invented the museum game. I was young, bored, and I needed something to keep me interested while my parents wandered in and out of the elaborately curated rooms. In my memory, the museum wasn’t busy, and I kept finding myself alone. It was easy to imagine, in that setting, the end of the word. Some catastrophic event. Mass alien abduction. The rapture, maybe. A zombie invasion. The majority of the world’s population gone in an instant and me, alone in that museum. I would have to stay there forever. I would have to call it home.
That’s how I’ve moved through museums ever since. I pick out the rooms I’d sleep in, the rooms I’d eat in—what rooms would be used for what if I suddenly called the whole thing mine.
It’s always been a big disappointment I can’t live in a museum. They’ve always been some of my most treasured places.
Yesterday, S took me to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. I’ve long called the American Museum of Natural History in NYC one of my favorite places. This wasn’t too far behind.
photographs taken at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles County
with a Canon 60D and a 50mm 1.4 lens.