Museum Trip Reports: Week 1

Museum of Chinese in America

—good location in Chinatown, adds to authenticity

–small storefront-like facade makes it welcoming


—feels like walking into a small family-run business rather than a government-sanctioned museum.


—wood-tones, brick walls, and dim lighting add to the homeyness of the museum

—they pack a lot of info onto each wall and into each of the small rooms— feels cluttered in an interesting, homey way.  Like an explorer gathered all the artifacts and looked for places in his/her home to display it all

IMG_2603.JPG—even the text feels crammed onto the walls— there is so much to say in so little space
—They seamlessly blend text, images, video, and artifacts for a very holistic feel.
—The whole museum is quite small and short– it allows you to see the whole thing in detail rather than racing through to see the whole thing (as opposed to, i.e. The Met)
—Feels like a homey living room of a well-travelled expert of Chinese history in America.
—i.e. a wall of anti-chinese cartoons and articles effectively convey the oppression felt by 19th century Chinese in America
—No guards.  Just the attendants in the front (very nice)— You are left on your own, but the museum flows linearly and smoothly so you never feel lost.
—I was one of the only patrons, since it was 11am on Tuesday.
–No interactive exhibits
– Standard but navigable page.
-Lots of white and washed out colors make it aesthetically less pleasing than the museum it represents.
-Hours at the top of the front page, maximum visibility
I like the compact, manageable size of the Chinese museum– it’s very digestible but the amount of information packed onto each wall makes it feel exhaustive as well.  The ambience is homey and welcoming, and makes me want to spend time there.

Rubin Museum of Art

—feels more like the Met than the Chinese museum

—artifacts are much more spaced out, less cluttered.  

—Each artifact has its own pedestal, making it seem important, and allowing us to view it without peripheral distraction


—Much grander foyer with spiral staircase prepares us for something big


—6 floors makes it feel more intimidating that the one-floor Chinese museum.

—Each floor is relatively small, so its more accessible/digestible than its 6-floor arrangement first make it seem.

—NYU students get in for free (cool, unless you are a New School/SVA student)

—Whole experience feels more high-brow, grander, fancier than Chinese museum

—‘Stages of Nepalese Hollow Metal Casting’ is very cool– it shows the same statue at different stages off production, giving us special insight that is rarely seen in a museum


–Illustrated explanations of symbols give us insight into the meaning of the artifacts


–videos of giant statues getting washed offer contrast with the tiny statues on the museum’s pedestals


–fully assembled Buddhist shrine room with full array of artifacts and music for holistic experience


—Touchscreens that you can sit down at and explore specific parts of paintings– very detailed



-White background contrasts moodily-lit museum.

-Vivid, large photographs allow bits of the museum to shine through.

-‘Itineraries’ section allows for customizable searches.

-Hours all the way at the bottom of front page, a little out of the way.


I like the way the Rubin Museum presents each piece with its own importance and grandiosity– it doesn’t try to pack too much into its space, allowing each artifact to attract its own attention and focus.


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