Since 1977 the International Council of Museums (ICOM) has organized International MuseumDay (IMD) held on (or around) May 18 each year. The objective of this day is to raise awareness about museums and their role in our cultures and lives. Museums help us to learnabout other people, places and times, to understand the world around us, and promotecommunication. International Museum Day is becoming more and more popular. In 2022more than 37,000 museums in 158 countries and territories participated in the event.
In this blog we will talk about how to celebrate IMD. Then we will talk about why museums areimportant to learning a language and the opportunities they provide for you to practice yourskills! Finally we will look at some of our favorite museums and talk about how to prepare foryour visit.
This year, the theme of IMD is “Museums, Sustainability and Wellbeing”. The theme aims toshow how museums contribute to the “wellbeing and to the sustainable development of ourcommunities” (ICOM, 2023). ICOM believes that all museums can help create a sustainablefuture through educational programmes, exhibitions, community outreach and research.
How to celebrate International Museum Day
Obviously the easiest way to celebrate IMD is to visit a museum! However, on IMD and oftenthe weeks before and after, museums arrange a special program. This may include specialexhibitions based on the theme, activities such as practical classes, and tours as well as funactivities for kids. Many also have special prices and free times in celebration of this specialday.
Check the website of the museum to see what is happening on and around May 18 to makethe most of your visit.
How museums help you learn English and about the United States
Regardless of which Zoni campus you study at, there are many amazing museums nearby.Visiting museums is a “must” activity for anyone learning English and getting used to life inthe United States. Museums help you to:
In a museum there are so many opportunities to read. Each display has a sign explaining what it is and giving some background. These signs might not look like much, but after walking through an entire museum you have read a lot! You can also practice your listening skills at most museums by renting an audio guide. Audio guides are especially good for practice as you can repeat things until you have understood them. Finally, if you are feeling brave, you can take the opportunity to ask questions. Museums often have information points and staff members scattered around the exhibitions. You can ask. them about things you are unsure about, or use the opportunity to practice asking where to find things and getting directions.
These are just a few ways that museums can really help you to improve your English.Museums are much more than just a place to “see stuff”. They provide endless opportunitiesto learn!
Some of our favorite museums
Zoni has campuses in New York, New Jersey and in Miami Beach, Florida. This means thatthere are many, many opportunities for you to experience a very wide range of museumsand exhibitions! The Tristate area offers museums from American history to art and evenfood to name a few! Miami also offers a range of exciting options including pop culture,science and contemporary art. On top of permanent museums, it's not unusual to find pop-up museums also! There is really so much to see and do!
Here is our list of some unmissable museums:
MET Tickets: $22 for adults, $17 for students. Residents of NY and NJ may make a donation (youpay what you want to enter).
Opened in 1902 the Metropolitan Museum of Art (or the MET for short) is one of the mostfamous museums in the world.
The museum holds a vast collection of art including works by artists such as Renoir, Matisse,Vermeer and many American artists also. The Met has over 2,500 European paintingsconsidered to be one of the greatest collections in the world. The MET also has an extensiveEgyptian gallery with 26,000 ancient Egyptian objects. The MET also has collections fromAfrica, Oceania, the Americas, and Asia, as well as costumes, drawings, sculptures, musicalinstruments, photographs, and much more!
MoMA Tickets: $25 per adult or $14 for students with valid ID. Tickets are timed and must bebooked in advance.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and MoMA PS1 aims to be an inclusive museum withdiverse cultural, artistic, social, and political positions reflected in its collections andcommunity. MoMA is committed to sharing the “most thought-provoking modern andcontemporary art” and is home to some of the world’s most recognised pieces from artistssuch as Picasso, Matisse, Warhol and many more!
Guggenheim Tickets: $25 per adult ($18 with valid student ID). Booking in advance is highly recommended.
The Guggenheim is known for its commitment to the preservation and interpretation ofmodern and contemporary art. It aims to explore cultural identities through dynamic andeducational displays and exhibitions. Another thing the Guggenheim is famous for is itsarchitecture. Each of the Guggenheim’s four museums - in the US, Spain, Italy and Abu Dhabi- are housed in architecturally unique buildings. The New York Museum is famous for itscylindrical design.
Holders of the New York City Pass get a discount on entry into this museum.
Museum of Ice-cream Tickets: $25 - $36*. Tickets MUST be booked in advance The Museum of Ice Cream is probably New York’s most delicious museum!!!! Not only do youlearn about the history of Ice-cream, you also get to eat as much ice-cream as you can - that’sright you can choose from 5 different types of ice-cream formats in unlimited quantities!! Aswell as make your own edible slime, that you can take home in a free jar! The museum saysthat it wants to inspire your imagination and help you to rediscover the kid in you.
Check for discounted time slots. At certain times you can get up to 30% off the full price.
Original Selfie Museum Tickets: $25 per person and MUST be booked in advance This museum calls itself “The most instagram-able place in the nation”. The Original SelfieMuseum was the first museum of its kind. It provides a creative space for taking photos andmaking videos! The Original Selfie Museum is the coolest Modern Art Museum you will evervisit! It has unique displays and ‘walls’ for you to let your imagination run wild and createyour own original content in a custom-built space!
Frost Science Museum Tickets: $29.95* and includes the museum, aquarium and planetarium. Recommended tobuy tickets in advance The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science is a world leading science museum. It isdedicated to sharing the “power of science, sparking wonder and investigation, and fuelinginnovation for the future”.
At the Frost Science Museum you can learn about earth’s living systems, the solar systemand known universe, the physics of flight, light and lasers, the biology of the human bodyand mind, and so many other cool things. The museum provides many opportunities toconduct experiments with interactive exhibitions.
Tickets are more expensive on weekends and holidays.
ICA Miami Tickets: FREE but pre-booking online is HIGHLY recommended ICA is a contemporary art museum in Miami. It prides itself on being one of the leading artmuseums for contemporary American and Latin art. The museum includes paintings,sculpture, sketches, multimedia and mixed-media art. The museum also has an extensivecommunity outreach program running courses, tours and activities such as family days.
Preparing for a museum visit
This might seem pretty easy but there are a few things you can do to make sure you get themaximum enjoyment and benefit from your visit. Firstly, be sure to check the museum’swebsite. Some museums still require you to book tickets in advance AND as we said beforearound IMD many museums have special offers, opening times and activities.
Another good thing to check is if you can take a bag inside. Many museums have restrictionson the size and type of bag you may take in. While you are checking this, look to see if theyhave lockers and how they work. Are they coin or e-operated?
Visiting a museum can take all day and so you are bound to get hungry. Does the museumhave a cafe? We recommend taking a few snacks in your bag just in case, as well as a bottleof water (if it's allowed).
It is not unusual for bigger museums to have a security check before you enter. This is oftensimilar to the check at the airport. Check your bags and pockets for anything that might notbe allowed like pocket knives, aerosol cans and so on. Lists of what is not allowed is usuallyfound in the FAQ section of the museum’s website.
Finally, check how to get there. Most museums are within easy reach of public transport, orin some cases can be reached on foot from Zoni’s campuses! Now you are ready to go!
International Museum Day is a great time to remind everyone how interesting and usefulmuseums are for learning about culture and improving language skills. Although there arelikely to be extra activities and events around IMD, you do not need to wait for this day tomake the most of museums! You can visit any time and benefit in the same way!
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