Esther is a Museeum KIDS editor, artist, designer, art historian and explorer. Professionally, she has been a Commercial Interior Designer and Art consultant in the Los Angeles area for over 10 years, and has also worked in and with art galleries, been an art educator and public art advocate. Her passion for art and museums started from a young age. She loves to share museum experiences with her family as a mother of two young children, and hopes to nurture creativity and imagination in them as well as her parents did for her.
Your secret art venue when you seek peace and quiet
I haven’t had a peaceful or quiet Museum going experience in years, since having the little boogers – when we are out I’m constantly trying to find new and exciting things to keep them interested! I find the most solace in museums that possess beautiful landscapes and gardens. The Getty Museum in Los Angeles would be one – the venue rests high above the city, the clean lines of the architecture and colors of gorgeous natural limestone are so calming in a world of such visual over stimulation. I love the outdoor landscaping and sculpture garden. I remember taking a slow stroll in the gardens on the gravel terrain, listening to birds and looking for flowers that caught my eye. The other would probably be Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena – specifically the garden café. The sculpture garden and pond area is like an oasis, a feast for the senses and truly serene. I wish I could be transported there now.
The best food experience in an art space
I would say that the Matmekka Restaurant inside the Varldskultura Museerna (Ethnography Museum) in Stockholm was the most memorable. The interiors are warm, inviting and cultural. The vibrant colors and unique eye catching décor really stimulates the senses and brings out the flavors of the dishes themselves. The eclectic menu ranging from Japanese noodles to salmon with curry mixed with Swedish traditional dishes like sweet crepes were all seasonal and delicious. The lattes and cakes were great, I could have had dessert and sat for 3 hours chatting away with our party of new Swedish friends. They had an adorable little play area for kids to boot! We went into this museum JUST to dine at this restaurant, if that tells you anything. Overall perfection.
A museum gift shop that you never leave empty handed
This applies to almost any museum shop for me. Since a young age I’ve gotten into the habit of collecting art postcards of works that inspired me. I love picking up other small interesting pieces that are unique to that particular Museum – I’m like a grandma that collects souvenirs and displays random objects around the house and on my refrigerator. My favorite museum shop would have to be the MOMA store in New York City. There is so much unique and good design to browse through. I am also addicted to browsing the online store. Since I can’t afford most things I covet there, I can’t say I never leave empty handed.
Your museum with a wow-factor
So many museums come to mind for this question. However, I would definitely have to choose the Vatican Museums in Vatican City. The art collection is just out of this world, from the Masters fresco paintings to the Dali works. It’s one of the largest museums in the world. The Raphael rooms and the Sistine Chapel are obviously mind-blowing. However, for me the WOW factor moment that was truly IT for me is walking through the Gallery of Maps during our evening tour. The way the entire gallery was up lit in gold hues against the dark evening sky, the quiet of the night (thankfully, we were among very few visitors), the long view down the hallway, walking through with these extremely impressive works of historical records telling the story of our world… it was so magical. It was like a dream.
Please share with us a special personal memory related to a museum experience
I really don’t know where to start. I really have to dig through my memory bank for this one. One of my special memories is actually going to the Tokyo National Museum. I was travelling alone, and taking my time walking through Ueno park during the cherry blossom season was so refreshing for my soul. The museum itself was impressive and educational. Another would be going through Chateau de Versailles on my honeymoon. I know it is technically not a museum but at the time, they were holding a Murakami exhibition throughout the palace. The juxtaposition of the traditional and historic with these shockingly modern / anime inspired sculptures was so jarring yet harmonious. It was a once in a lifetime experience for sure. A third would have to be the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Cambodia. It was a former high school which was used as a notorious prison during the Cambodian genocide. Simply walking through the buildings was such an emotional and life changing experience for me.