Why museums are fun

During finals week, I was sitting in Thwing attempting to write a paper but looking to procrastinate on it at the same time. As I distracted myself from writing and researching, I looked around at what was actually in the atrium besides the many couches, chairs and the FedEx office. I looked up and started to read all of the past museum banners that were hanging from the ceiling and realized how I wished that some of the exhibits were still open today.

Many of them looked quite interesting. A lot of the banners are pretty old, some from exhibits in the 1990s when I was just a child. As I looked at them, I realized how much there is to learn outside of school at these museums. As a student, most of the museums in University Circle are free or admission is discounted with a Case ID. I just graduated in May and realized that I should have taken advantage of this privilege more and gone to museums to see some of the current exhibits to enhance my learning.

As a humanities major, I always appreciated the opportunities in my classes to visit some of the museums and have tried to go on my free time. During the school year, this can be difficult because of the amount of work and studying involved in classes. Now that it is summer, I feel like it is the perfect opportunity to finally take a walk to these museums on a nice afternoon. Looking at the old banners in Thwing made me realize how I shouldn’t keep stalling my trips to the Museum of Art or the Western Reserve Historical society. To do so would allow the current exhibits pass by and enter the assortment of past exhibits banners that Thwing proudly displays.

I would like to briefly highlight some of the interesting things that the museums in University Circle have this summer that I think are worth taking time to look at.

The Cleveland Museum of Art, right next to campus on the other side of East Boulevard from Kelvin Smith Library, hosts the Mix every first Friday of the month. This event is a fun way to interact and spend time with friends at the museum with drinks. It costs money to get in, so if you don’t want to spend money you can always go to the museum any other day of the week without facing a cost. There are also many events that the museum holds during the summer in addition to their art exhibits. Their event website has a full list of events, but it can also be fun to just go there and stroll around to look at a new gallery that you might not have seen before.

The National History Museum, also close to campus, is located in Wade Oval across from the front of the art museum. In addition to their exhibits on dinosaurs and endangered animal species, the museum offers different movies and shows in their planetarium. Recently, I saw a live show in the planetarium, “Out Like a Lamb,” which showed the constellations today and also covered information about stars. Although it was basic astronomy and felt like I was back on an elementary school field trip to the planetarium, it was a great learning experience. It was cool to sit back and see things that I had learned years ago, as well as to learn new knowledge. The museum has a lot to offer and can be more interactive than an art or history museum if you don’t find those as interesting. It is worth the walk to the oval. Their website has information on the show times for the planetarium as well as what exhibits they have at the moment.

In the same general area on East Boulevard is the Western Reserve Historical Society. The museum has a lot to offer, from their collection of cars and planes to historical dresses. The museum also now holds the Euclid Beach carousel that you can ride after looking at all of the things they have collected. If you are a sports fan, the 1964 Cleveland Browns exhibit is still up at the museum where Browns memorabilia is displayed.  Check out their website to see a schedule of events and what they have going on in the summer.

These are just some of the highlights that these three museums have to offer in Cleveland, right next to campus in University circle. They are not a far walk away and are a great way to learn outside of a classroom setting during time off.

If you have a free afternoon and are on campus, I would highly recommend using it to go to one of the museums. Even if you are home for the summer and far away from Cleveland, it’s worth looking at what museums your city offers, along with any events, especially when you have more free time without classes. Since many exhibits do not stay at museums for long, there might not be another chance to see them again.

Summer is a good time for relaxing from hard work during the school year, but it can also be a time to explore your surroundings and find different types of fun, educational activities right next door.

Abby Assmus recently graduated from CWRU with a BA in History and English and looks forward to spending the summer reading for fun and catching up on her favorite T.V. shows.