My Parents’ Museum Visits

My parents spent a week and a half in Italy earlier this summer, and upon their return, I gave them an assignment. I asked them each, independently, to list all the museums they’d seen during their trip.

They immediately asked, “Do churches count?”

I told them each would have to use his or her own definition of “museum.”

The results:

  • My mother’s list was longer than my father’s, mostly because he worked only from memory, while she made her list based on what she’d written in her journal. Also, she accidentally listed one place twice.
  • There was only one location whose museum-ness was disputed. She listed a winery; he said the winery was not a museum because it was “more commercial.” She maintained that the visit to the winery was “seeing something different, not like around here, and you can learn something,” and therefore it was like a museum.
  • Both counted the many old churches they saw.
  • They both seemed to have a desire to have as long a list as they could. My dad kept calling the exercise a “contest.”
  • He noticed that he tended to remember the art museums (which he is more interested in) but not the history museums (which she is more interested in).

My parents, Jim and Carol, in Montepulciano. They each have their own opinion on whether Montepulciano's winery counts as a museum. Photo by their friend Barbara Warner

Here is their final list (the names of places may not always be the official or correct names):

  1. Batisteria in Siena
  2. Cattedrale dei Santi Gervasio e Protasio
  3. Cattedrale in Siena
  4. Chiesa di San Francesco (Cortona)
  5. Church – San Augustino
  6. Church – San Clemente
  7. Church – San Luigi dei Fancesi
  8. Church – Santa Maria in Aracocli
  9. Church – Santa Maria Sopra Minerva
  10. Duomo in Citta della Pieve (Chiesa di San Francesco)
  11. Duomo in Montepulciano
  12. Duomo in Todi
  13. Emigration Exhibit
  14. Etruscan Museum
  15. Franciscan church (Rome)
  16. Imperial Forum
  17. Orvieto caves
  18. Orvieto Duomo
  19. Palatine
  20. Palazzo Piccolomini
  21. Pantheon
  22. Pienza Duomo
  23. Pope exhibit
  24. Roman Forum
  25. St. Peter’s Basilica
  26. Torre Argentina (cat sanctuary)
  27. Winery in Montepulciano

Torre Argentina is a site of ancient Roman ruins, where 250 cats are cared for while they await their forever homes. It is paradise for cats, full of structural relics to climb on and hide behind. This use of ruins may not exactly conform to best practices in conservation, but it’s an example of a historic site making a big difference for creatures in need.

A cat at Torre Argentina. "I took a picture of every cat I saw," my mother reported proudly. Photo by Carol DiSciullo

About Laura

Paralegal with Master of Arts in Teaching in Museum Education, frequent museum visitor, based in Washington, DC. I care about what museums can do, both in terms of public offerings and internal practices, to make the world a better place. I blog about museum education ("informed"), the social work of museums ("humane"), and visitor experience ("citizenry").
This entry was posted in Lists of Museums and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My Parents’ Museum Visits

  1. Carol says:

    Those two sound very fascinating. It’s too bad that the husband had to see it as a contest.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s