Posts about Museums

Chocolate: The key to Happiness?

Chocolate: The Key to Happiness?

19.10.2015

My, my. Could a connotation to a food product be more flattering and mollifying than the one attributed to chocolate? It is a scientifically corroborated happy-maker! Endorphins – hormones produced by the human brain – make you see the bright side of life even on a grey November day. Heaven knows what else is triggered by the miraculous components chocolate evidently contains. Speculations are manyfold. Hips and pouch? Rumour! Just succumb to the temptation! Chocolate also works wonders as an antidote, should a guilty conscience creep up after unbridled indulgence. It is a virtuous circle indeed.

Chocolate, respectively the use of cocoa beans, looks back on a history of nearly 4000 years. It has been a long way from the heaven-sent bitter drink Maya and Aztec civilisations consumed, to the solid sweet treat of our day. The Chocolate Museum of Bruges in Belgium unravels the development of the mysterious substance and its long voyage from Central America to remote Europe in: The Choco-Story.

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Reading time: about 3 minutes
Black-and-white: Astronauts resting during a training at the Askja Crater in Iceland.

Astronauts: Fly me to the Moon – but fly me to Iceland first

20.07.2015

The vast and diverse landscape of the United States of America is not only the stuff an authentic Hollywood backdrop is made of. In parts, it also offers the essentials a training ground for missions of national and international gravity requires: a moonlike scenery with lots of rubble bearing geological secrets to be lifted, in preparation for lunar missions by NASA, for instance.

Yet, when it comes to „moonlike“, no place on earth is more suitable to simulate an extraterrestrial situation better than Iceland can thanks to its volcanic origin. In 1965 and 1967, two groups of Apollo astronauts accompanied by geologists travelled to the destination for geological studies in preparation for their journey to the Moon. Among the 1967-group was Neil Armstrong, whose Apollo-11-mission was the component vital for the US Space Race to be won over the USSR. It made John F. Kennedy’s challenge, pronounced in 1961, come true: to “land a man on the Moon, and return him safely to the Earth”, before the end of the decade. On the 20th of July, 1969 at 20:17 UTC, Apollo 11 landed on the Moon and Neil Armstrong became the first human ever to leave his footprints on the powdery lunar surface.

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Reading time: about 4 minutes
Pink for girls: Sleeping Beauty's castle at Disneyland Paris - excellent fairy-tale stuff.

Germany’s Blockbuster: Neuschwanstein Castle

1.08.2014

When the King is a Queen

As is endorsed, Schloss Neuschwanstein, Germany’s prime tourist attraction perched on a steep rugged rock deep in Bavaria, served as a role model for what was to become the epitome of a castle eligible for the classical Disney story. Its silhouette was even chosen for the logo of the Walt Disney Studios. The elaborate palace is a real estate shrouded in ever-lasting mystery and thus an ideal venue for the incarcerated, bewitched or poisoned princess desperately waiting to be rescued. Read article

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Yellow ribbon with black dots: Blindness is the topic of the Dialog Museum in Frankfurt.

Germany. Frankfurt: Trading places with the blind

6.01.2014

A Dialogue in the Dark

I had decided to join a group on a guided tour through a museum that functions vise versa to the regular ones: here the exhibits are invisible; they only become apparent to the touch. The guide cannot rely on his eye-sight, he has been blind since childhood. Still he convinces me that I will be safe in his care these next 90 minutes of absolute darkness. For more reassurance, he takes my hand and strokes it softly. I am surrounded by a merciless sea of black. No ray of light gives away where I am.

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The Nelson Mandela Museum in Howick: Freedom is a basic human right.

South Africa: The ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ has ended

7.12.2013

Nelson Mandela is dead

August 05, 1962 in KwaZulu Natal: Coming from Groutville in the Midlands Meander, an Austin Westminster was rolling along the R103 country road, chauffeured by Nelson Mandela, who acted as a driver in disguise for his comrade Cecil Williams. They were heading back from a visit they had just paid to Albert Luthuli, then president of the African National Congress ANC. Near Howick, the car was stopped by armed police and Mandela captured. 27 long years of incarceration followed, 18 of which Mandela served at the high-security jail on Robben Island off Cape Town’s coast.

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Reading time: about 2 minutes