Tuesday, August 30, 2011

World's Greatest Museum

As a connoisseur of museums I don't bestow that title lightly.  I've been to many a museum in my day--military, natural history, maritime, art, sculpture, transportation, railroad, botany, farm machinery, historical homes, missions, wax, archeology, wax, food, and children's museums to name a few, BUT none are better than The City Museum in Saint Louis, Missouri

The City Museum in Saint Louis, Missouri is the find of a lifetime.   It embodies so many things I try to teach my children and live my life by.   


Respect for history

Respect for other's work


Good clean fun (that can get a bit dirty)



And plain ol' joy!

What was once a 600,000 square-foot shoe factory is now a playground, wonderland, funland, cave complex, architectural marvel, restaurant, circus school, aquarium, party spot made from materials found within the boundaries of Saint Louis.  Most of the materials used to make this indescribable structure were sitting in old buildings which were slatted to be demolished.    The joy I feel inside the City Museum can't be described.   To see the imagination that went into creating this museum is thrilling.   

This is what greets you as you round the corner after purchasing your ticket.

The reused products are everywhere you look and all have a story.

  The wall you see above encases the ladies bathroom.   It is made from loaf pans.   Not just any loaf pans, but loaf pans that have already lived double lives.   These loaf pans were loaf pans before they became homes for lab rats.  Now they live at the city museum as a wall. 
The found objects are everywhere you look.  

The city museum is full of places to climb and explore.   Nothing is off limits.   This refrigeration coil from the  Anhueser-Busch plant takes you up into the ceiling of this space.  

Here is a view from that ceiling.  Look at that floor and you will see just a bit of the largest continuous mosaic in the United States.   

And by continuous I mean continuous.   It covers the floor, yes, but also crawls up columns and sculptures throughout the space.  

And includes all different types of materials and subjects.

Beware of bumped heads and scrapped knees.  Some patrons even come prepared with knee and elbow pads.   Here A-M bumped her head exiting a slide which ends here in the elephants mouth.  

The museum is full of slides.  Some originating in duct work and shoe chutes (remember this use to be a shoe factory).

Some requiring this ten story climb.

And some a wee bit more tame traveling just from the third floor to the first.

Ever wonder what one could do if one asked local cement trucks to dump their leftover cement at the end of each day?  

Pretty fantastic, ehh?

The space is full of concrete sculptures of all sizes, shapes, and subjects. 

Which needs to be cleaned on a regular basis.  Aren't you glad this isn't your job.  She had a spray bottle of blue stuff, some rubber gloves and boots, a mask, and a handful of steel wool.  

Our trip to the City Museum would not be complete without a visit to the outdoor area 

What do you get when you combine a firetruck, two airplane fuselages, a capula, an old school bus, and miles of wrought iron?

In the words of Bob Cassilly, creator of this genius museum, "the most monumental, monolithic, monstrous montage of monkey bars in the world."  

Like the rest of the museum, nothing is off limits!

Did I mention the giant ball pit with beach ball size balls?
(Don't worry, there is a more appropriately sized one for littles around the corner)

And did I mention this museum is created with found objects?

From stairs to LOG CABINS!  Bob Cassilly's found a new life for it.  

Printing plates,

To bank vaults--so much to explore you can't fit it all in in one visit.   If at all possible, plan to spend lots of time here and to return often.

Do you think you are a City Museum type of Gal or Guy?  

Perhaps you should prove it like this pigeon did!

I have hundreds of more pictures I could share, but I need to leave something 
for you to discover!

Happy Discovering.

When trying to find a word with the opposite meaning of materialistic to describe this place I kept running into the word spiritual.   And that is what the City Museum feels like to me.   A spiritual uplifting joyful place to be.