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See Cool Gadgets and Test Your Espionage Skills at D.C.’s New Spy Museum

By Candyce H. Stapen

Posted on 05/17/2019, 12:00 AM

The new and improved International Spy Museum, which opened May 12 in Washington, D.C., claims to house “the world’s largest public display of authentic spy tools and gadgets.” Among the clever gizmos lining the walls: a shoe with a hidden microphone, a silver dollar concealing a tiny suicide syringe, a KGB lipstick pistol, and a bunch of other contraptions worthy of James Bond or at least Maxw...

Kid-Friendly Ninja Museum Opens at Historic Japanese Castle

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 04/18/2019, 10:45 PM

A new museum in Japan shines a light on the shadowy history of ninjas, and, via kid-friendly interactive exhibits, gives visitors a chance to hone their own ninja skills.  Opening April 20, the museum is located on the grounds of Odawara Castle, a 15th-century landmark about 80km (50 miles) southwest of Tokyo. The site is easily reached from that city by a short train ride, along the same route th...

Floating Art Museum Soon to Open in Paris

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 03/13/2019, 5:00 PM

Paris, which has made popular museums out of train stations, royal palaces, and modernist tangles of exposed infrastructure, is innovating yet again: The city is putting a museum on the river Seine.  Billed as the world's "first floating urban art center," Fluctuart is a three-level, bargelike structure located at the foot of the Invalides bridge, facing the Grand Palais in the heart of the city....

Mascot Hall of Fame Ready to Rev Up Crowds Near Chicago

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/12/2019, 12:00 AM

Original Phillie Phanatic Dave Raymond founded the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2005 to pay tribute to professional and college sports teams' costumed crowd pleasers. The enterprise started out online-only, but after a five-year, multimillion-dollar project, there's now a brick-and-mortar-and-faux-fur building in Whiting, Indiana, on the southern shore of Lake Michigan, about a 45-minute drive from dow...

In Nevada, a School for Stolen Native American Kids Will Be a Museum

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/11/2019, 12:00 AM

Starting in the late 19th century, the U.S. government forced tens of thousands of Native American children to leave home and attend boarding schools with the goal of assimilating students into the dominant Euro-American culture.  While providing a basic education, the schools also often required Native attendees to do manual labor and forbade them from speaking their languages, carrying out cultu...

Better Visit D.C.'s Newseum Soon: It Closes in 2020

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/07/2019, 2:00 PM

Just a little more than 10 years after unveiling a splashy new steel-and-glass building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., the journalism-focused Newseum has announced it will close to the public in January 2020.  The site opened in 2008 with much fanfare and much high-flown talk of preserving the Fourth Estate as print news organizations struggled to adjust to the digital age.  The New...

Museum of The Dog Learns New Tricks As It Returns to NYC

By Michele Herrmann

Posted on 01/10/2019, 1:00 PM

After being in Missouri for 32 years, the AKC Museum of the Dog is a getting a new leash on life.   The American Kennel Club’s repository of canine-related art will now be dog housed at the club’s headquarters at 101 Park Ave. in Midtown Manhattan, two blocks south of Grand Central Station.   This is actually a homecoming for the museum, which originally opened in New York City in 1982...

NYC's New Museum of Optical Illusions Wants to Blow Your Mind

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/19/2018, 9:00 PM

Remember that day in fourth grade when your teacher distributed photocopied handouts of M.C. Escher prints, figures that appeared to be differing sizes but were actually the same, and drawings of ducks that, on closer inspection, were also rabbits?  The new Museum of Illusions in New York City is two floors of that, with the added benefit—crucial in the age of Instagram—that guests can put them...

Acclaimed Houston Art Museum Open After Renovations

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/24/2018, 8:00 AM

After more than six months of renovations, the Renzo Piano-designed main building of Houston's Menil Collection—home to an eclectic horde of 17,000 artworks, from antiquities to contemporary creations—reopened to the public on Saturday, September 22.  The interior has been extensively reconfigured to make the place less cluttered and to make room for new and expanded galleries, allowing for the p...

Huge Projections and New Architecture Center Added to Chicago Riverwalk

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 08/15/2018, 7:00 AM

The Chicago River has had about as strange a career as any waterway in North America, starting with its namesake city's decision in the late 19th century (enacted in the early years of the 20th) to reverse the river's course in order to keep sewage out of Lake Michigan.  Of course, that just sent the sewage—including the foul runoff from the same meatpacking factories that gave Upton Sinclair the...

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