Tour the stunning portals and crystals exhibit in Arkansas

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I’ve been to this museum. For those who don’t know, it is funded entirely with money from the Walton family, and the Wal-mart headquarters are nearby in Bentonville. It is certainly an incredibly beautifully designed set of buildings and and the permanent collection there is fantastic, which reflects the enormous endowment from one of the richest families in America. Like the Getty museum in LA, the kind of money which can establish places like this is morally and ethically problematic. But the results are undeniably spectacular.


A beautiful display. The Houston Museum of Natural Science has a similar gems and minerals exhibit that is always nice to visit.

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Beats all heck out of the Earth & Planetary Sciences Gallery in the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Although it does appear they spruced things up since I used to visit. I remember it as much darker.

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The Museum of Old and New Art - MONA - here in Tasmania may be an exception to the rule if you consider an art collection paid for by gambling on horse races morally OK!

David Walsh has spent his ‘ill gotten gains’ on the most amazing collection of modern art and ancient artifacts from around the world. Most of the gallery exists 3 cavernous levels underground. They have a summer and winter festival every year which has hosted the likes of David Byrne, Nick Cave, Einstürzende Neubauten and Laurie Anderson.

A new permanent installation from James Turrell was installed last year.


One of my friends made the long trip to Tasmania 2 years ago specifically to see that museum, and not only is it fantastic, the story of the originator of it is equally fantastic. I spent an afternoon delving into everything that I could find online about it and its creator.

I have to admit that while I am completely conflicted about the ethics of using dubiously derived wealth for self aggrandizement, or to whitewash one’s sins, I am very willing to separate the artistic merit and value which follows and enjoy it once it is done. A person, or an institution like the RCC, can be an absolute monster and still create something wonderful. The Carnegie libraries, Biltmore mansion, Hearst Castle, Polanski movies, Notre Dame cathedral, the list is endless. It would be a much duller world without them.

Thanks for the reminder about Mona. I hope to see it in person some day.

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