Trip Report#1: Connection Between America and The Himalayas

First museum: National Museum of American Indian(NMAI)

On September 9th, I went to National Museum of the American Indian at One Bowling Green, New York. It is an open 7-days museum with free admission. It makes me feel good, because I think museum should work in this way to give people more opportunities to get in, “anytime, free entrance”.

Impression

The style of the building of NMAI is a little bit similar with Met, and the dome of NMAI is really beautiful(as the picture below), it also remind me of Grand Central. It’s a very impressive and grandiose lobby.

Atmosphere

It was not very crowded during that time, so I feel more comfortable than in a very crowded museum. I feel this museum is very traditional and monotonous in some way.

Personality: grandiose, monotonous.

Actually, the main exhibition is about the whole historical process of American Indian history based on the America Map, including South America and North America, from Andes, Amazon, to the Arctic and Subarctic area. From the exhibition, it shows Indian people’s daily objects, from containers to clothes. Since I’m very interested in a map, I think a specific kind of  culture is mostly based on the area, the weather, and all geographic elements. Culture is the complexity thing by combining all these elements, then influences from their food, the appearance of human, specific beauty standard, fashion and all that.

I get very impressed by those American Indians outfits. They are super beautiful and their influence still could be found in today’s fashion.

It reminds one of Bjoke's outfit in her MOMA exhibition.

Display:

In terms of display, I like the description,  because each object has a graphic next to it. It’s much more easy to recognize each piece and read their introduction.

 

Backward aspects:

actually, there is only one floor which be used for exhibition. I went to downstairs, because I be told that there is some exhibition in downstairs as well. The first floor of NAMI (downstairs) is nonsense. There is one room which showing a big tent, a deer skin, and even a table with a sign “Feel free to take one free piece”. This part totally took me out from the museum context. I went to another room in this floor which is a screening room with a huge space, but I don’t think that they use this room very well. The projection screening is placed with so many lights on. This room almost empty. It could be a very nice screening space with providing immersive experience.

In NMAI, there are mostly tourists, because it near the south ferry to Liberty Statue.

Interactivity

There are only some touch screens show some information of certain piece.

Website: I didn’t pay attention to its website. It seems very easy to find the info, but it is not looks like a museum website.

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Second Museum: Rubin Museum

Impression

It’s my first time to go to Rubin Museum. Before that, I just “wiki”ed that it is a museum about Himalayas art. “, which “is dedicated to the collection, display, and preservation of the art and cultures of theHimalayas, India and neighboring regions, with a permanent collection focused particularly on Tibetan art.”

In some way, I feel  familiar with this culture. However, since I’m not a Tibetan Buddhism, I always see this culture in a really respectful way. Tibet is in China, (of course, it probably is a complicated topic. ), but it is a religious-leading area which is totally different with the other provinces.

I stand in front of a part of Asia map, I feel that I just came from America, then now come to Himalaya.

Atmosphere

For some reason, I feel it is very overwhelming being in this religious atmosphere, some of these elements are looks warthful. At the same time, the buddhas’ painting and sculptures are super beautiful. I have read a book called “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying”. Its author is Sogyal Rinpoche, who is a Tibetan Dzogchen lama of the Nyingma tradition. I have heard a lot about Karmamudrā, Saṃsāra from this book.

Personality: Mysterious, religious

Hospitality: The Cafe, checking room are really good and friendly.

I’m really satisfied with the experience in Rubin museum. There are six floors. We went to Spiral stair, and visit the show each floor by floor. It’s naturally easy to visit everything single thing, because it is a circle space. The lighting is Rubin museum is pretty good. In addition, they also provide magnifier to visitors to help them look at the details. The painting and sculptures of Himalayas art are very delicate and exquisite.

 

They set up a Tibet-style temple in a corner in second floor. That’s my favorite and amazing experience in there. It’s seems impossible to combine the museum context with a mediation experience. They provide a angular platform to allow us to lean on, accompanying with chant sutras sound and candles. That’s beautiful!

I think in this way, a museum is not only showing artworks, but also provide a context to allow people to encounter the culture behinds the artworks, or let them immerse in this context.immersive in this context.immersive in this context..immersive in this context.immersive in this context..immersive in this context.immersive in this context..immersive in this context.immersive in this context..immersive in this context.immersive in this context..immersive in this context.immersive in this context.

In Rubin Museum, the visitors are more like researcher or students who specifically research on this culture.

On the sixth floor, there is a special exhibition o fa mask. There is an interactive piece with iPad, so visitor will be automatically covered by a mask, and able to choosea  different one.choosea  different one.