Danny Yee >> Travelogues >> California + Arizona


I'm not one of those people who can spend a whole week doing nothing but visiting art galleries and museums, but I do enjoy them in moderation.

Golden Gate Park

The California Academy of Sciences (basically a natural history museum), the DeYoung art gallery, a Flower Conservatory and a Japanese Tea Garden are clustered together inside Golden Gate Park. Good stuff, but (apart from the Tea Garden) not really very different to museums or art galleries in Sydney (or anywhere else, probably).

The Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix

This botanical garden has the most amazing collection of cacti. It also has exhibits on Indian adaptations to the desert environment and a model house designed for desert conditions. I spent most of a day here, and found it more interesting than the nearby Phoenix Zoo.

The Getty Museum

On the coast in North-West Los Angeles, the J. Paul Getty museum is a reconstructed Roman villa. Set in the trees far enough from the road that the traffic noise doesn't reach, it is a really peaceful place to spend a day. Downstairs is all classical stuff, but upstairs there's an assortment of European paintings, sculpture, manuscripts and suchlike. Admission is free if you come by bus; you have to pay to park a car.

The Museum of Tolerance (LA)

Run by the Simon Wiesenthal centre, the museum is mostly devoted to the Holocaust, but one section is about intolerance in general (particularly in the US). This is heavily interactive, with lots of A/V and computer displays. The Holocaust section is a walkthrough documentary. Upstairs there is a multimedia resource centre for Holocaust studies. Powerful stuff emotionally, but for me the A/V approach is never as good as a book at presenting information. The ideal target audience would be high school children, but from what I saw most of the clientele appears to be middle-aged and middle-class.
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