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Welcome to Museumpalooza, a project that provides a non-traditional starting point for people to learn about museums and all the cool stuff inside of them. 

On the Road Blog

When I travel, I go to museums...and I usually bring Tim the T-Rex with me. Here are the collections of interesting stuff we've seen, learned, or experienced on these adventures.


Andrea Duffie


This trip is right up there on my list of Most Impulsive Things I've Ever Done.

My sister and I had planned to go to Denver for a fun, sister vacation. We'd had the trip planned for months. But it turns out that March is not a great month to visit Denver, on account of the unpredictable weather. And sure enough, on the day we were set to fly out, the Denver International Airport got over 5 feet of snow and the entire area looked like something out of Game of Thrones.

We knew nothing.

We knew nothing.

Since the bags were packed and the time off had been obtained, my sister and I determined that the U.S. is a big place, that some things weren't buried under snow and direwolves, and that all we needed to do was pick somewhere where there was 1) museums, and 2) cold (but not blizzardy) weather. We settled on Chicago.

And thus began the most frantic trip planning ever, from the panicked calls to Expedia, to the late night drive through a hailstorm to reach a hotel close to the airport, to the struggle of catching a 5:30 a.m. flight, to arriving in a strange city with no idea where we were going in the middle of early morning rush hour, to all of my friends texting me and asking why on earth my Facebook posts said I was in Chicago when I was supposed to be in Denver.

All of that was a delirious, exhausted haze that inadvertently left me and my sister lost and exploring the sights of Chicago's infamous South Side, which was a fun experience in hindsight. Suffice to say, we enjoyed our vacation, we saw some cool stuff, and the trip there didn't actually kill us, although it tried. Wins for everyone!


This is what dedication looks like: overlooking DFW at 5:30 a.m. on our way to CHICAGO. Because other places in the country also have great museums and NO BLIZZARDS. #Museumpalooza


I'm simultaneously fascinated and inspired by all the detailed, skillfully-executed graffiti murals I've been coming across in Chicago - mostly seen by train. #Museumpalooza #StreetArt


First #Museumpalooza stop: The Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago!

Mark Rothko, No. 2. Oil on canvas. (1962)

Mark Rothko, No. 2. Oil on canvas. (1962)

Tim the T-Rex loves his #Rothko paintings, and No. 2 at the Smart Museum of Art is no exception. (Although the Rothko Room at the Phillips Collection still remains his favorite!) #Museumpalooza


Starting a new tradition today! From now on, on every trip, I'm going into the nearest independent bookstore and buying novels that are set in the general area I'm visiting. Today, I got The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham and The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson. Both were purchased from Powell's Books. #Museumpalooza #Bookpalooza


#Museumpalooza Stop #2: The Field Museum! SO EXCITED!


SUE! Tim the T-Rex was stoked to meet "Sue", the world's largest, best-preserved and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. Sue is 42 feet long and named for Susan Henderickson, the fossil hunter who discovered her. #Museumpalooza


Tim couldn't resist photobombing these Herrerasaurs - some of the earliest dinosaurs to exist during the Triassic Period.


The name "Stegosaurus" means "roofed lizard", and the 17 plates that line its back are technically called "scutes". #Museumpalooza


Fun Fact: The Daspletosaurus at the Field Museum was once thought to be an Albertosaurus. Dinosaur fossils are often discovered in bits and pieces, and complete skeletons are extremely rare. Once more complete skeletons of different tyrannosaurs were discovered, museum scientists reevaluated this particular specimen and determined that it was actually a Daspletosaurus. #Museumpalooza


Tim the T-Rex and I REALLY lucked out at the Field Museum; we got to see an exhibition of the terra cotta warriors from the tomb of the first emperor of China. These statues are INCREDIBLY delicate and rarely leave their home country, and the intricacy of their construction is astounding!


In 1898, the British government started building a railroad bridge over the Tsavo River in East Africa. Over the next 9 months, a pair of male lions killed and ate nearly 140 workers, effectively halting construction on the bridge until both were shot and killed by Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson. These lions are preserved in the collection of the Field Museum...and if you ever saw the film The Ghost and the Darkness with Val Kilmer, it's based upon this story. #Museumpalooza

End-of-the-day sisterly picture with Sue. Everybody smile!

End-of-the-day sisterly picture with Sue. Everybody smile!


And now, for a #Museumpalooza experience that is so choice, we highly recommend you pick one up for yourself. On to the Art Institute of Chicago! (And also, #SaveFerris.)

René Magritte,  Time Transfixed . Oil on canvas. (1938)

René Magritte, Time Transfixed. Oil on canvas. (1938)

Tim the T-Rex is venturing into the Surrealism wing to visit one of his favorite works by René Magritte, Time Transfixed.

René Magritte,  The Tune and Also the Words . Gouache over traces of graphite on cream wove paper. (1964)

René Magritte, The Tune and Also the Words. Gouache over traces of graphite on cream wove paper. (1964)

I may have experienced a minor geek-out over one of René Magritte's infamous pipe paintings, which are some of the most "meta" of his Surrealist works. The text in the work states clearly, "This is not a pipe," which sounds like a misdirection but is technically true: In Magritte's mind, his painting was a representation of a pipe, not an actual pipe.

Roy Lichtenstein,  Oh...Alright.  Oil and Magna on canvas. (1964)

Roy Lichtenstein, Oh...Alright. Oil and Magna on canvas. (1964)

When they tell you it's time to leave the art museum, but you're not ready yet... #Museumpalooza


Uh oh. Someone let a T-Rex into the Art Institute of Chicago's Thorne Miniature Rooms. These 68 rooms, designed by Mrs. James Ward Thorne, reflect historical American and European architectural styles at a scale of one inch to one foot.

Edward Hopper,  Nighthawks . Oil on canvas. (1942)

Edward Hopper, Nighthawks. Oil on canvas. (1942)

Edward Hopper's Nighthawks was purchased by the Art Institute of Chicago a few months after its completion in 1942 and has remained in its collection ever since. The painting has become one of the most recognizable works of 20th century American art, and is one of our personal favorites! #Museumpalooza

Felix Gonzalez Torres,  Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A. ) Candies individually wrapped in multicolor cellophane, endless supply; dimensions vary with installation, ideal weight 175 lbs. (1991)

Felix Gonzalez Torres, Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) Candies individually wrapped in multicolor cellophane, endless supply; dimensions vary with installation, ideal weight 175 lbs. (1991)

Felix Gonzalez Torres' Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) at the Art Institute of Chicago features 175 lbs. of candy, which visitors can take and eat. This act is representative of the weight loss suffered by the artist's partner, Ross, during his battle with AIDS, but the candy is perpetually replentished, which metaphorically grants the piece eternal life. #Museumpalooza


We had a blast visiting the Field Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Smart Museum of Art over the past few days! Thanks for a great time Chicago, we'll definitely be back!



Museums visited: 3

Additional locations of note: